This has got to be the most alien-looking uke you'll ever see...  BUT IT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE!  Simply put, the Styrofoam Cooler Ukulele is nothing but a neck without a body and a huge cooler screwed to the butt end.  

Watch the video to hear it for yourself:

Here's the parts I used:

  • 1x2 plank of maple, 33 inches long
  • A separate thin plank of oak for the fretboard
  • Small piece of maple for the floating bridge
  • Medium/Medium fretwire
  • A four pack of Shane Speal signature tuners
  • A pack of standard ukulele strings
  • a used styrofoam cooler
  • One drywall screw and a large washer to anchor the cooler to the neck.

This is a very easy project! 

  1. Scoop out the headstock and drill for the tuners.
  2. Make the fretboard separately (I chose a 13.5" soprano scale) and attach it to the neck.
  3. Create a floating bridge that is high enough for proper string height. 
  4. Drill two holes for each string, 2 inches behind the placement of the floating bridge.  These will be your string anchors where you feed the strings through and tie them tight.
  5. Drill a pilot hole at the end of the stick for the cooler screw
  6. String up the ukulele.
  7. Attach the cooler to the end of the stick using a drywall screw and washer.

Note: This ukulele was inspired by Bart Hopkin's seminal book, Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Design.   (Purchase on Amazon here.)

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Now now... My family keeps telling me you cannot lose that which you never had. I get Shane's subtle point.... Anything that will resonate will sound good! I am thinking ammo-can uke...
That is just too cooler! Have to wonder how little volume is there with just the stick? Could also try a plastic flower pot or old piece of Tupperware too.

Very little volume with just the stick.  I tried them both and the difference in volume was staggering.  The styrofoam is just the perfect low-tech resonator!

Mod 2.1b - a paint stir stick inside the cooler between the screw-washer and the Styrofoam. might improve the volume some and might improve the stability of the connection (oops,  I bumped the cooler clean off).

I am a simple man. I see a cool way to make a uke and I hit like.

Beer gets emptied whether there's a uke there or not. 


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