I was slow in coming around to the ukulele -- just had so many other
instruments I seemed more interested in. Now that a friend made me a beautiful
uke, I've discovered just what a neat instrument it is. From the start, I was 
inclined to clawhammer the thing. While a good many tunes can be clawhammered 
on the 4-stringer as is -- if only it had another, a lower-pitched
string, then a person could really go to town.

On an internet auction site I bid on and obtained a very well constructed,
inexpensive uke for $4.25 & promptly set about to turn it into a 5-stringer.
By the way -- this same auction site had several similar ukes - all for less
than $15.

This is a very easy conversion. I simply, and carefully marked the nut and
filed three new grooves (used the existing uke's nut's top & bottom-most
grooves - as is). Similar treatment was done to the bridge - carefully
drilling the additional holes to acept the tie-on nylon strings. 
I should point out that on my instrument the three new grooves in the nut 
& bridge nicely miss the existing grooves, so that wasn't an issue.

All that remained to be done was to install another tuning gear, put on some 
strings & that's it. The resulting 5-string uke-jo is very pleasing to play.

Altho having double-thumbed on real and not-so-real banjos for a lot of decades,
for some reason I never "liked" the feel as my thumb rolled off a metal string
-- something to do with my thumb's tendency to "catch" -- and somehow not feeling 
"natural". This uke banjo, with it's nylon strings exhibits none of this oddness. 
My thumb slips by the nylon string like butter. 

For strings I use a combination of weed-whacker line and fishing-line. You'll get
lots of purists decrying this stuff, but I love it. Dirt cheap and very hard to
tell any difference over "music quality" nylon strings. Here're the gauges.

- Thinnest playing string: 30 pound nylon fish-line
- Next string: 50 pound nylon fish-line
- Next string: 60 pound nylon fish-line
- Thickest playing string: .040" weed-whip line 
- "5th" string: 30 pound nylon fish-line

Dennis Havlena - W8MI 
Mackinac Straits, northern Michigan

Click here to access my webpage