PDA

View Full Version : Latest uke builds



Vespa Bob
01-15-2015, 05:52 PM
Started last October, my latest build, a concert pineapple, is finally finished, flaws and all! With each new project, I have hopes that it may turn out worthy of offering for sale, but, so far, no luck. Although the construction may be accurate and the action, intonation and playability may be satisfactory, I still end up with numerous cosmetic boo boos, which make the result unacceptable, in my estimation, to the buying market. Anyway, the learning process continues, and I enjoy every minute of frustration I endure! The specifics are: Sitka spruce top, Peruvian walnut Back, sides and neck, Indian rosewood fret board and bridge. The design was painted on the soundboard as my inlay skills have a long way to go.
I also completed a Favilla style soprano teardrop design which required a new top and refinishing . Built entirely from Honduras mahoganey.
Onwards and upwards.

Bob7509675097750987509975100

Jim Hanks
01-15-2015, 06:16 PM
Although the construction may be accurate and the action, intonation and playability may be satisfactory, I still end up with numerous cosmetic boo boos, which make the result unacceptable, in my estimation, to the buying market.
Have you asked any opinions from the "buying market" to see if that's true from their perspective? That uke looks pretty good from here. If it sounds good and plays good, many "boo boos" can be overlooked

Patrick Madsen
01-15-2015, 06:27 PM
I'd call them character enhancements rather than boo boo's.

lauburu
01-15-2015, 08:15 PM
Agree with Jim. You might be the only person who sees the problems.
However, you ukes are quite ornate. Did the mistakes happen during the construction phase or the decoration phase? If the former, perhaps you're still on a learning curve (as I am).
If the latter, then focus on making simpler instruments and slowly add decorative elements as you build up skills. Just my opinion. Feel free to ignore it if it doesn't suit your thinking.
Miguel

greenscoe
01-15-2015, 10:52 PM
'Although the construction may be accurate and the action, intonation and playability may be satisfactory, I still end up with numerous cosmetic boo boos, which make the result unacceptable, in my estimation, to the buying market. Anyway, the learning process continues, and I enjoy every minute of frustration I endure!'


I could have written these words! I know what you are saying, the ukes look great and no doubt sound good too. Mass produced ukes are so cheap and are heavily marked down for the odd cosmetic flaw. It makes you think that handmade instruments need to be perfect to ask a higher price than mass produced instruments: I've not yet tried to sell anything for this reason.

I think you just need to patiently persevere and try to figure out whether there are better, slower, more certain ways of doing things to eliminate minor issues. With me its all about lack of patience, I'm too keen on getting things done rather than doing them correctly.

The only other thing I can offer is to suggest you use cheaper or recycled woods for your instruments until you achieve the standard to which you aspire.

Pete Howlett
01-15-2015, 11:18 PM
The famous, now retired classical guitar maker Jose Romanillos ripped the label out of one of his first guitars when it came back for repair he was so ashamed of it - personally, I couldn't see what was wrong with it! Just keep on building - your designs are quite ambitions for a novice and therefore you are laying down potential traps for yourself. Try a few 'Hawaiian' style builds without the binding and stuff. The confidence you will gain from this and the embedded skills will help you when you resume binding and rosettes and stuff. In a nutshell, there is less to go wrong and you can concentrate on set-up, intonation and finish. It's how I started out - 200 ukuleles in and I was just starting to get the hang of it and now 650 under my belt I am beginning to properly understand what to do in a sure-footed way sufficient for me to teach it.

BTW - from the photos, I think you are doing fine...

PhilUSAFRet
01-16-2015, 02:35 AM
If it makes you feel any better, you can "give" that concert to me for the cost of materials, LOL

gerardg
01-16-2015, 04:48 AM
So cool.
Well done.

jwieties
01-16-2015, 05:04 AM
Style wise, I love what you are doing! The painting on the pineapple is great. I especially like the shape of the head stock and the end of the fretboard. You certainly have a great eye and are on the right track.

Vespa Bob
01-16-2015, 10:11 AM
Thank you all so much for your encouragement, wisdom and advice, you really made my day! The fact that I turn 78 this month makes it obvious that I'm never going to make a living out of building ukuleles! All I wan't to accomplish is to complete an instrument without having to say "if only I didn't do so and so, I'd be happy. With regards to selling my instruments, the only reasons would be due to lack of space to store them and that I could use the cash to help feed my hobby! Unfortunately, I don't come in contact with other uke builders/players, so I have no way of knowing how my instruments would be accepted in the uke market. I know the answer to that is that I should get out to where the action is!
In reply to some of your comments, firstly most of my mistakes are things like sanding through the sides, messing up part of a finish by spilling something on it, the body shape being slightly out of symmetry, file marks around the frets and so on. I definitely agree that keeping it simple is the way to go. In fact my plan was to build Favilla style tear drops with the hope of finding a market for them and perhaps I'll continue along those lines, but my initial two attempts are not up to my expectations. Possibly a one on one personal sale would work, but I'd hate to have one come back in the mail over some minor fault.
Anyway, all your replies were of great value, to me and I'm sure to others who are at the same stage in this wonderful craft. Thank you very much!

Bob

jcalkin
01-16-2015, 03:32 PM
So offer a uke for sale. Give them a warranty of some sort and a five day return policy. If it comes back, politely ask why, and learn from it. If it doesn't come back you can assume they felt they got their money's worth. That's how we all start, even Nunes and C.F. Martin. Its not uncommon to hear a dealer say something like,"His work was nice to start with, but in the last couple years he's really stepped it up". In other words, no one expects a perfect product, and they appreciate it when they see you grow. They spotted the weak points right off, but the work was OK and the price was fair, and as the work progresses they feel good for sticking with you. If all your sales come back, well, all you wanted to begin with was an interesting hobby and you got it.

jwieties
01-16-2015, 03:45 PM
Or set up a road trip. Lots of builders used to do that on AGF. Ask for a list of 5 to 10 players. You ship it to the first, and everyone else pays to ship it to the next in the list. Last person ships it back to you. People can keep it for two weeks. Along the way everyone gives you a little review with what they like and what should be changed. Someone might love the uke and want to buy it in the end. Others might commission something with some confidence of what you would deliver. If nothing else you will get a bunch of useful feedback. I'm sure there are those who would love to play around with one of your ukes for a week of two and be happy to pay the $30 to ship to the next person.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-16-2015, 05:01 PM
The fact that I turn 78 this month makes it obvious that I'm never going to make a living out of building ukuleles!

Sweet looking uke Bob. I hope I'm as good as you at your age.
Like you, I build in isolation and rarely have contact with other builders or instruments. Be true to yourself and build to your own high standards and you'll be a happy builder. Mistakes are growth and learning opportunities. When you sell it do so with a few days or a week inspection period for the buy. Or sell it on consignment at your local music shop. They'll love having a handcrafted local uke hanging on their walls.

Vespa Bob
01-17-2015, 02:38 PM
Thank you for these suggestions, I realize that if I don't attempt to sell one, I'll never know how they rate with the public. I guess I'm afraid of rejection! Actually, since I've never shipped one before, I'm not sure how to go about packing it securely, and other than Paypal, not sure about the handling of payment. However, I'm seriously thinking of giving it a try.
Chuck, thanks for your kind comments. If I had spent the last 50 years building ukuleles instead of RC model aircraft, I just may have reached your standard about now! As it is now, I can only persevere onward and upward! I like your idea of selling on consignment at the local dealer. I'll give that a try.
Bob

gerardg
01-17-2015, 05:29 PM
Chuck's suggestions are the right way, Bob.
And think about the pleasure you'll give and receive when one of your hand made
uke will be customer's allround choice uke...
Small defaults are the soul of hand made ukes.
And model aircraft building is the perfect gate to go in ukes building world.
I have made many rc gliders, oldtimers and so too... in an another life...
Sorry for my poor english.
Gerard.
France

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-18-2015, 05:56 AM
It seems to me there are quite a few of us uke builders who have built model airplanes at some point. I started under the guidance of my brother (who still builds) at the age of about 7 or 8, moving to model ships in my 20s and then furniture later on. I probably wouldn't be building ukes if I hadn't learned this skills early on.