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 2022
For Aloha Music Camp in 2022, we will have five (5) spaces available for ʻukulele builders, so be sure to sign up early. Kumu Dennis says, “This year we will be building a new style: it will be a Soprano sized body with a Concert length neck. I am becoming very fond of this, as it gives the old traditional sound with a little more space for the fingers most people find helps. Also a Low G works fine with this.”
“It will have a Curly Koa body with a nice Abalone rosette, Honduran Mahogany neck, and I think a Wenge fingerboard. A nice gig bag is included.”
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 2022. You will be able to add this item to your Camp Registration and pay the fee to hold your spot on the Registration Page.
There is also a Materials Fee of $450 in 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.”