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 or case to take your ʻukulele home in.
Concert-Scale Koa ʻUkulele
Dennis has positively tantalized us with the description of what students will build under his watchful eye. The 2024 class will build a concert-scale ʻukulele out of gorgeous curly Hawaiian koa wood. It will feature an abalone rosette, quality tuning machines, and will come with a case so you can take it safely home with you on the plane.
Save Your Spot for AMC 2024!
For Aloha Music Camp in 2024, we have six (6) spaces available for ʻukulele builders on a first-come/first-served basis, with priority given to those who have never taken Dennis’ class before, so be sure to sign up early.
When you register for Camp, you will be able to request a place in the class. Our registration staff will contact you via email and/or by phone you to let you know the status of your request. If you are selected for the class, you will be given an opportunity to pay the $500 class fee via a web form on our site.
There is a Materials Fee of $500 in addition to regular Camp tuition for ʻukulele building.
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“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.”