Instrument Building at AMC
Join Esteemed Luthier Dennis Lake
Come to Camp with your hands and heart ready for an amazing experience — building your own ʻukulele! You will spend the week lovingly fashioning the parts and putting it together. And you will return home with a perfectly playable instrument!
Along with the Beamers, Luthier Dennis Lake has been a permanent and extraordinary part of Aloha Music Camp since we started in Puna, Hawaiʻi back in 2001.
Kumu (Instructor) Dennis says, “As many of you know, I have been honored to have taught ʻukulele building classes at Aloha Music Camp for the past several years. Here is an explanation of how the Class works and what we do.”
How it Works
“For those of you unfamiliar with my Class at Camp, this is what happens: the first night, right after Opening Ceremony, we all get together and work out our schedule. Each student chooses one class period in the morning and one in the afternoon each day. This means there is a certain time commitment — this class takes up two of the five available class periods.
“Monday through Thursday we install the lining on the rim, fit and glue braces, glue top and back on, fit and finish shaping neck, glue bridge and neck on. On Friday we install the tuning machines, string the ʻukulele, and do a set up so it is playing by the Hōʻike on the final evening, where the class is recognized and the ʻukulele receive a traditional Hawaiian blessing.
“The applying of finish is done at home – I provide easy instructions for that.”
No previous woodworking or ʻukulele playing experience is required. “Our builders have ranged from age 12 to Auntie Irene of Lanaʻi City who built her first instrument at age 92!” says Dennis. “I am happy to say that every one who has taken the Class has completed an instrument they can be proud of.”
This is a great way to learn about how instruments are put together and have a great week with your fellow builders and campers — all while in the beautiful surrounds of the Hawaiian islands. Everything is provided except the finish, including a nice gig bag to take your ʻukulele home in.
Aloha Music Camp 2023
For Aloha Music Camp in 2023, we will have five (5) spaces available for ʻukulele builders on a first-come/first-served basis, so be sure to sign up early. If you register for a spot in his class and there isn’t one available, we’ll put you on a wait list and also email you to let you know.
Dennis has positively tantalized us with the description of what students will build under his watchful eye. The 2023 class will build a tenor body with longer scale neck ʻukulele out of Big Island mango wood. The scale and bracing will allow for this little wonder to be strung as either a baritone or standard ʻukulele! Dennis will offer more details in the near future.
Regarding class meetings, Kumu Dennis says: “As usual, we will meet twice a day, morning and afternoon, and by Friday’s Hōʻike [student performance evening] we will have a playing ‘ukulele ready to take home and apply finish.”
Save Your Spot!
This special class is available on a limited basis: there are only five slots available for ʻukulele building in 2023. You will be able to add this item to your Camp Registration on the Registration Page.
There is also a Materials Fee of $500in addition to regular Camp tuition for ʻukulele building.
“Absolutely no woodworking experience is required, just a lot of gluing and sanding,” says Dennis. “I am looking forward to seeing everyone in April. Aloha, Dennis Lake.”