Updated: Jun 7, 2020
I was spending a week in Shanghai with my sister, and was looking for a craft workshop to join. By some stroke of luck, a search on baidu returned a workshop to make a Ukulele.
This was a lovely coincidence, because I had planned to get a Ukulele to learn how to play (in fact, I had already agreed on a deal on Carousell., but the seller and I never managed to find a good time to complete the transaction / exchange). My China-savvy sister made reservations for a class for me, and that was one of the highlights of my time in Shanghai.
The workshop was on a Thursday morning, and it was a small group of a mother and her daughter, and myself, conducted at a lovely little space where they showcased many other wood work products.
We were presented with a kit of various parts of the Ukulele, and the instructor guided us through the assembly process.
The body of the ukulele was already in place (thankfully), but the other parts where in various pieces, and we spent a good amount of time smoothing the wood surfaces with sandpaper.
After gluing the parts together (great precision required – I had to measure 17.1cm to mark out where the piece of wood needs to be stuck on), and holding it in place for a bit – we had a short break (while waiting for the glue to dry), and the instructor taught us the basics of playing a ukulele. Only playing with single strings, but not chords – I still need to figure that part out.
After the short lesson, we had to wax the wood, and I really loved the lovely shade of brown my ukulele took on after that. The final steps involved installing the tuning knobs and strings – the workshop was super helpful as we were also taught how to string the ukulele and tune it (since it’s part of the process to make one). A whole lot more educational for a complete beginner than buying one off Carousell 🙂
The final product is a lovely wooden ukulele – I like it a lot better than the common colourful plastic ones (I have a thing for wooden things these days). Next steps for me: learn how to play it!
Price: 398 RMB (~85 SGD), inclusive of all materials needed to make a ukulele + a ukulele bag; I paid another 30 RMB for a tuner. My sister got a local friend to book it from here, but this is the company’s website (everything is in Chinese)
Duration: ~3 hours
Level of “fun”: 3.5/5
Extremely enjoyable session – not solely from the “making” element, which to be honest, was relatively straightforward, but the other aspects like learning how to tune the Ukulele, and also the basics of playing one made the session very engaging.
Level of difficulty: 2/5
This was a relatively easy workshop, with most of the materials well prepared, and the steps very clearly laid out and explained, with instructor guidance (in Chinese, but generally easy to follow). In fact, they market this workshop as something tht can be done between a parent and child (which was the case of the other set of participants who was at the workshop with me). Nothing too strenuous or “dangerous” – just having to be a bit more thorough in sandpapering the wood to ensure all splinters and rough surfaces are smoothed out.