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View Full Version : My Car, My Moore Bettah!



bigphil
05-04-2015, 05:02 PM
http://www.philnominalukulele.com/BugComposite3.jpg

About 12 years ago, I built this car, a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle. It's been a huge source of fun for both my wife and I since. We have a great time cruising around town, taking it to a few shows, and surprising a few tuner cars. It never fails to get attention where ever we go, it's surprising how many people have old VW stories and the car draws them out.

This is a ukulele site though so I won't dwell further on the car except to say it was the inspiration for my new Moore Bettah ukulele. Turns out Chuck has owned many air cooled Vdubs over the years. I had mentioned the idea of doing a VW uke to him a while back and was elated when I received his email asking if I was still interested last February. Of course, I was still interested and we had a trip back to Hawaii coming up in April! Time was tight, but Chuck thought he could finish it by then!

I knew I wanted my car on it and sent him some photos. He was excited about the project but was concerned about how he might accurately depict certain details of the car as inlay. I wanted him to do basically what ever he wanted to as long as the car was on there. He sent me a couple sketches and it was looking great but he was still working through details. I haven't yet mentioned that my wife is in love with Hawaii and we travel there frequently. She would move there tomorrow. Anyway, one night while I finalizing the build details via email she was looking over my shoulder and said, tell him it needs to have something to do with Hawaii. My focus was on the bug but I relayed her idea, I didn't know it but a seed had been planted...

It wasn't long before I received a photo of the top with the rosette and it was beautiful. The same email said he had been asked to build a casket for a member of the Hawaiian Royal Family and he would be setting aside his uke work to focus on that project. The schedule was already tight and he now felt it was unlikely that my uke would be complete by the time we arrived. He was honored to have been asked to do the casket and it was, of course, a very pressing schedule.

Time passed and I could see from his FB posts that some uke work was going on. Others had told me they received weekly updates while their MBs were in construction. All I received was the one photo of the top. I even asked about updates but apparently the "photo Gods" wouldn't allow it. Well as it happened, once the casket was finished, he busted butt to get my uke finished before we arrived. No easy task, since the inlay took him longer than anticipated AND he added features I had previously inquired about but ultimately hadn't included in my order.

The uke is a work of art! The woods and all materials are outstanding and his craftsmanship and artistry are unmatched anywhere. I couldn't possibly be happier with how it turned out. When I opened the case I found the arm bevel was added as a surprise. The headstock inlay depicted the car near the ocean, in a Hawaiian scene that might be any number of places around the islands. My wife's idea put into practice, another surprise! So that explains the lack of progress photos, there were too many surprises to reveal in photos. Now that we've returned home, I can't put it down and the sound is absolutely amazing too!

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Here are the details:
Tenor - master grade 5A curly koa
Bindings, fret board, arm bevel & bridge: ebony
Purflings: B/Red/B
Neck Spanish Cedar
Standard head stock design
Side sound port upper bout
Fret board markers: recon stone with beetle at 12th fret: recon stone, brown lip mussel, gold MOP, silver
Inlay: 1955 VW Bug: recon stone, faux ivory, Tahitian black pearl shell, dye impregnated maple burl, autograph wood, corian, acrylic, white MOP, sterling silver
Rosette: Dye impregnated maple burl
Nut & Saddle: bone
Tuners: Pegheds 4:1
Strings: Southcoast Medium with Fremont Soloist low g
Finish: Glossy Nitrocellulose lacquer

If you've read this far, you must share the excitement that many in the uke community do about Chuck Moore's work. The entire experience was great from beginning to completion. Chuck and Bonnie both contributed to making the experience a pleasure for both me and my wife. Now I expect to derive many years of pleasure playing this remarkable instrument!

mkatz
05-04-2015, 05:07 PM
Congratulations Phil, it is a stunning uke!

Mitch

hawaii 50
05-04-2015, 05:13 PM
Nice Phil....

I was waiting for the pictures of your bug.....looks perfect...and the license plate is too much...:)
Chuck had fun building your uke!!

congrats my friend......

wickedwahine11
05-04-2015, 05:13 PM
It truly is a work of art. I know how overjoyed you are with it and I am sure you will treasure it always. Happy strummings my friend and officially welcome to the MB ohana. :)

Patrick Madsen
05-04-2015, 05:17 PM
Congrats Phil, really stunning and deserved. The arm bevel looks fantastic and glad to see he's doing them. Welcome to the MB family!

Booli
05-04-2015, 05:27 PM
I am completely BLOWN AWAY.

There are no words I can find at the moment...

The 'beetle' on the fretboard made me smile when I saw it.

Congrats on having such a special instrument. It's, just, WONDERFUL, beyond AMAZING. :drool:

Andy Chen
05-04-2015, 05:28 PM
Gorgeous! Enjoy your Moore Bettah

Edgeguy
05-04-2015, 05:46 PM
That is one beautiful ukulele, and I love the story behind it.

mds725
05-04-2015, 06:02 PM
I thought the ukulele was out-of-this-world amazing until I saw the car! If you post a picture of you playing that uke while standing next to that car, you could break the Internet! Congratulations on the new beautiful thing that was inspired by the not-so-new beautiful thing!

Dan Uke
05-04-2015, 06:04 PM
This is such an awesome uke!! Thank you for sharing with us!!

Steveperrywriter
05-04-2015, 09:26 PM
What a delight, the car and the uke. Congratulations!

LittleCeci
05-04-2015, 09:27 PM
BIG Congrats, Phil! Your car is amazing and your uke is more than wonderful :) I could imagine when u play this gorgeous uke, it is just like your 1955 VW Beetle singing for you. Welcome to join MB family and happy strumming forever!

hollisdwyer
05-04-2015, 09:41 PM
What a delight, the car and the uke. Congratulations!

X 2. You must be over the moon. A dynamic duo!

Uncle Leroy
05-04-2015, 09:59 PM
WOW! Chuck has done it again! What a stunner.

guitharsis
05-05-2015, 12:43 AM
Wonderful story about a very special uke build. Congrats! It looks amazing and no doubt sounds amazing too.

Icelander53
05-05-2015, 02:39 AM
That's one amazing bug you got there. I've always been a fan of them since I had to use one in a Michigan winter 40 years ago and when the other cars were stuck this little gem would just plow around them. Nice how you worked a pic of your baby into the story so you could show it. It's a real beauty.





Oh yeah, nice uke.

Ukulele Eddie
05-05-2015, 02:47 AM
It's perfect and I'm sure Chuck had a ton of fun doing it! What endless joy that will bring!

Ukejenny
05-05-2015, 02:53 AM
Wow, that is incredible. Just, incredible. So lovely. Now, you need to take photos of you and your wife in front of the car with you holding the ukulele. That would make the perfect Christmas Card shot.

stevejfc
05-05-2015, 02:56 AM
Congrats Phil, Just stunning work (both yours and Chucks!). Man I loved my VW bugs........ even crawling underneath to open the heaters in the winter!! What a great idea for a ukulele, and Chuck as usual hit it out of the park. I know you will love and enjoy your MB as much as I do mine. They are very special instruments.

bigphil
05-05-2015, 04:49 AM
Wow, that is incredible. Just, incredible. So lovely. Now, you need to take photos of you and your wife in front of the car with you holding the ukulele. That would make the perfect Christmas Card shot.

Here's my wife in the car. That sounds like a good idea for a Christmas card too! :)

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bigphil
05-05-2015, 04:51 AM
Congrats Phil, Just stunning work (both yours and Chucks!). Man I loved my VW bugs........ even crawling underneath to open the heaters in the winter!! What a great idea for a ukulele, and Chuck as usual hit it out of the park. I know you will love and enjoy your MB as much as I do mine. They are very special instruments.

I actually saw yours before you did Steve. He was getting it finished up while I was there picking up mine. The inlay on yours is amazing, the photos (while good) don't capture the true beauty of it! Enjoy!

UkerDanno
05-05-2015, 05:00 AM
Gorgeous uke and car! Great idea...I had a '73 Super Beetle, drove the crap out of that thing and it never quit.

wayfarer75
05-05-2015, 05:42 AM
I have to say, I think I love the car more than the uke! And the uke is of course spectacular. I love Beetles. I hope to own a vintage one someday.

Icelander53
05-05-2015, 09:07 AM
There is an abandoned (for many years) lot near my home with maybe 6 or more Beetles of vintage age slowly rusting away to where we all eventually get to.

Nickie
05-05-2015, 03:33 PM
Congrats on a beautiful uke, and such a pretty car and wife!
I had a 1963 Beetle and a 1963 Karman Ghia, although neither one was customized. I miss the Beetle the most.
At the Blueberry Patch, a jam location in Gulfport, FL, there is a Beetle that doesn't run anymore, but has great seats facing the stage.

Camsuke
05-05-2015, 03:49 PM
Wow Big Phil, I don't know what I like more, the car or the ukulele! Both are totally brilliant! Congratulations, awesome!

KBUke
05-05-2015, 05:22 PM
Wow that's really cool. Congrats on your new ukulele!

mm stan
05-05-2015, 11:23 PM
Aloha Phil,
Looks amazing, wow ... congratulations, you have two cherished beauties. Welcome to the mb club

CeeJay
05-05-2015, 11:44 PM
Love the car . But a serious question about it . The exhaust pipe (muffler?) protruding from the back like I feel that would not pass muster in the UK MoT (Ministry of Transport Test of Roadworthiness, applied on and then annually, after a car reaches it's 4th year ).

it would be deemed a hazard to pedestrians ....and to be frank I'd be more worried that they would stand on it and snap it off when passing behind the car when parked.....Love it though.

The uke? , nice but I got lots of ukes ...ain't got me a VDub though...;).

CJ

bigphil
05-06-2015, 11:59 AM
Love the car . But a serious question about it . The exhaust pipe (muffler?) protruding from the back like I feel that would not pass muster in the UK MoT (Ministry of Transport Test of Roadworthiness, applied on and then annually, after a car reaches it's 4th year ).

it would be deemed a hazard to pedestrians ....and to be frank I'd be more worried that they would stand on it and snap it off when passing behind the car when parked.....Love it though.

The uke? , nice but I got lots of ukes ...ain't got me a VDub though...;).

CJ
That exhaust pipe is called a stinger and does little to muffle anything. It is a performance type exhaust intended to help create an efficient path to get exhaust gasses out of the engine. It does stick out a bit and you quickly learn that when passing around the rear of the car, either that or continue to bang your shin on it. It is VERY rigid and strong. As for breaking it off, it will support me standing on it and I'm not particularly small. If I caught someone standing on it, they'd be sorry though!

Actually there is little chance of that happening. This isn't driven to work or left parked unattended on the street much. It is treated as a pampered show car. People will carelessly bang their doors on it, or pay more attention to texting than driving, or countless other possibilities that might cause damage. So I keep a pretty close eye on it.

CeeJay
05-06-2015, 12:32 PM
That exhaust pipe is called a stinger and does little to muffle anything. It is a performance type exhaust intended to help create an efficient path to get exhaust gasses out of the engine. It does stick out a bit and you quickly learn that when passing around the rear of the car, either that or continue to bang your shin on it. It is VERY rigid and strong. As for breaking it off, it will support me standing on it and I'm not particularly small. If I caught someone standing on it, they'd be sorry though!

Actually there is little chance of that happening. This isn't driven to work or left parked unattended on the street much. It is treated as a pampered show car. People will carelessly bang their doors on it, or pay more attention to texting than driving, or countless other possibilities that might cause damage. So I keep a pretty close eye on it.

Well glad to hear it 'cos it just looks "Da Biz" It's the sort of car we used to cartoon and draw in our exercise books back at school in the 70's..
I may have to see if I have any left or maybe even do a new one ..Super wheels ,mate . Glad to hear that 'zorst is a tough sumbitch.

Cheers

CeeJay

Hippie Dribble
05-06-2015, 04:29 PM
Congratulations Phil. I think that's the prettiest Moore Bettah I've ever seen...either yours or a mango concert I saw one time years back. I too am a way gone lover of VWs and am in total adoration of both the car and the uke.

Icelander53
05-07-2015, 02:02 AM
lol, your comment got me taking a second look and I agree it's a gorgeous uke. It's understated from some of his others but never seems that way. It's a knockout. To be honest I haven't seen one of MB ukes that has not been full on a work of art. I usually don't like gaudy and I would never use that term on a MB uke but MB are the only exceptions to my "too much" going on thing. But I agree this one is especially beautiful. I'd take it to the beach in the bug and sit on the hood and play until I caught my dinner... so to speak. :drool:

bigphil
05-08-2015, 11:25 AM
Thank you everyone for your comments! The car has been fun for quite a while now and will continue to be while the fun with the uke is only beginning. Saturday it is going to it's first gig! :)

stevejfc
05-08-2015, 01:06 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments! The car has been fun for quite a while now and will continue to be while the fun with the uke is only beginning. Saturday it is going to it's first gig! :)

Wow! My MB hasn't ventured further than the Lanai!!

Landshark
05-08-2015, 03:34 PM
congrats great combination of car and uke

ukenick
05-09-2015, 05:58 AM
Amazing! I'd be afraid to touch the thing, but amazing nonetheless.