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hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 06:09 AM
Allen McFarlen of Barron River Guitars and Ukuleles has been sending me progress photos of the build of my 8 string tenor over the past few weeks. It is quite interesting to watch a master luthier turn some planks of wood into a beautiful instrument. I thought I'd share these with my UU friends.

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hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 06:14 AM
More photos:
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M3Ukulele
09-19-2015, 06:21 AM
Beautiful wood....is it quilted mahogany? Allen makes great ukuleles. He's on my list for future custom when funds are available. Congratulations.

Mivo
09-19-2015, 06:27 AM
Big fan of Allen's work here. Love how your custom tenor comes along -- it's beautiful even now! Gorgeous wood, especially in the last picture of the second post.

hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 06:53 AM
Beautiful wood....is it quilted mahogany? Allen makes great ukuleles. He's on my list for future custom when funds are available. Congratulations.

I had been originally looking for some curly Honduran Mahogany that he used in a few previous builds. He didn't have any of that left so he looked through his wood to try and find something special. It is Honduran Mahogany that we both termed as 'waterfall '.

hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 06:58 AM
Big fan of Allen's work here. Love how your custom tenor comes along -- it's beautiful even now! Gorgeous wood, especially in the last picture of the second post.

How could you not be a big fan of Allen's work? I decided to put in a commission right after I played one of his instruments that a friend owns.
The beauty of the wood is starting to reveal itself now that the finish is being applied. I've been waiting for this stage and I am not disappointed by how it is turning out.

wayfarer75
09-19-2015, 10:28 AM
That is some gorgeous mahogany! I love my BR concert, it sounds so sweet and looks so good.

Andy Chen
09-19-2015, 03:29 PM
So you are the lucky person getting the lovely hog soundboard - congrats!

Now that I just received my BR huon pine tenor from Allen, I've become a huge BR fan too.

Flawless craftsmanship and great tone, excellent value!

hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 05:02 PM
So you are the lucky person getting the lovely hog soundboard - congrats!

Now that I just received my BR huon pine tenor from Allen, I've become a huge BR fan too.

Flawless craftsmanship and great tone, excellent value!

All of how you describe Allen's work, Andy, and playing one example myself is why I commissioned the new Uke.

A point that might interest some players is, like the first 8 string tenor that Allen did for another client and an 8 string Concert that he did for Bosko (of Bosko and Honey) the 4th course is slightly different than normal. I believe it was Bosko who started it by requesting that the string spacing of the 4th course was wider than normal to allow the player to pluck either the high or low octave string separately but not too wide so that you can't fret both strings at once. The first client to build one this way was very satisfied with the outcome. After talking with him I asked Allen to replicate what he did on that 1st 8 string tenor.

Allen
09-19-2015, 06:41 PM
The concert that I did for Bosko is actually only a 5 string one. And that double course for the octave gG is spaced quite wide. It would be something I would only recommend to the most accomplished player, and only if they new what they were getting into.

The other 8 string tenor I did had a far more user friendly spacing. Still wider on the octave gG, but with some practice you could pick out one string and mute the other.

hollisdwyer
09-19-2015, 09:33 PM
Allen, thanks for clearing up the background to the build of these instruments. Something that my post operation medicated brain mixed up even after Peter told me the story of how he spoke to Bosko and the final spec that was decided upon.

mm stan
09-20-2015, 03:47 AM
Congratulations on your new br, happy strummings :)

hollisdwyer
09-20-2015, 06:24 AM
Thanks to all for your good wishes. I'll keep on posting pictures of how the build is progressing as I get them.

hollisdwyer
09-23-2015, 03:58 AM
The final lacquer has been applied and the Uke has been hung up to dry for a few weeks while Allen gives a Uke building class in Brisbane. I retire next year and that class is one activity that is definitely on my bucket list.
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DownUpDave
09-23-2015, 06:15 AM
Hollis, I absolutely love it. It is great when you have a chance to play a uke made by the builder your interested in, most don't get that opportunity. Allen's work in fabulous and your instrument is really special. We all enjoy a good "build in progress" thread, keep them coming.

hollisdwyer
09-23-2015, 07:47 AM
Hollis, I absolutely love it. It is great when you have a chance to play a uke made by the builder your interested in, most don't get that opportunity. Allen's work in fabulous and your instrument is really special. We all enjoy a good "build in progress" thread, keep them coming.

Dave, I'm glad to hear that people enjoy this thread. Now that Allen is busy with other matters for a few weeks I'll have to pop a Valium or two to help with expectation anxiety. I am amazed by how the top came out. It's beautiful but it's not what I was expecting. I truly appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to make this journey. What fun!

Mivo
09-23-2015, 08:13 AM
The wood looks really amazing, it's very beautiful -- a definite eye-catcher. I can only imagine the pain of the wait for it to get done, but it'll be fantastic when it does arrive! :)

Cfiimei
09-23-2015, 09:18 AM
Woof! That is awesome! I am a nut for 8 strings anyway, and I think that one example will represent the best of them. NICE! Btw, with standard double-course spacing on the G one can pretty easily pull a high G, and I've found the low G sounds fine even if the high G is struck with it in a low G song/chord. I think a little extra spacing there would be a plus though. I am very envious... You have a gem there.

hollisdwyer
09-23-2015, 08:21 PM
Woof! That is awesome! I am a nut for 8 strings anyway, and I think that one example will represent the best of them. NICE! Btw, with standard double-course spacing on the G one can pretty easily pull a high G, and I've found the low G sounds fine even if the high G is struck with it in a low G song/chord. I think a little extra spacing there would be a plus though. I am very envious... You have a gem there.

Re the extra spacing of the gG course, I had a few conversations with the fellow for whom Allen built his first 8 string tenor before I had the confidence to ask for the same build. You should have a look at the Barron River website gallery to see the absolutely gorgeous 8 string that Allen first did; http://www.brguitars.com/gallery/tenor/8_string_tenor/
Although I am very happy with how mine is turning out, I would have been very happy to have the same wood if it was available.

hollisdwyer
09-23-2015, 11:41 PM
I just received these photos from Allen that really show what the finished instrument will look like.

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With this gift to stare at I can now wait for the Uke to be finished in the fullness of time.

mds725
09-24-2015, 12:40 AM
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83711&d=1443087584

hollisdwyer
10-29-2015, 08:25 PM
Well it is really almost NUD as Allen McFarlen has posted photos of my completed 8 string tenor on his Barron River Guitars and Ukulele website. I am extremely happy about how it turned out. Cant wait to start playing it.

Andy Chen
10-29-2015, 08:39 PM
That hog board is da bomb. Among the loveliest hog boards I have seen. Congrats!

The more I play my BR, the more I love it - depending on the song, sometimes I love it even more than the Kinnard.

hollisdwyer
10-29-2015, 08:59 PM
?......depending on the song, sometimes I love it even more than the Kinnard.

Wow, that's sure something to say. I haven't had the pleasure to play a Kinnard but it's' reputation puts them among the best.

hollisdwyer
10-29-2015, 09:46 PM
Andy,
That Mahogany is pretty unique isn't it. I have never seen anything like it before. It was hiding in Allen's woodpile.

hollisdwyer
10-29-2015, 09:47 PM
Wow mate, what a beauty! I love the Gotoh Stealth Tuners, totally awesome.

They were the only ones that would fit without enlarging the headstock out of proportion.

Andy Chen
10-29-2015, 09:47 PM
Wow, that's sure something to say. I haven't had the pleasure to play a Kinnard but it's' reputation puts them among the best.

Well, I guess it's because they are such different instruments: Kinnard is low and mellow, BR has snap and meaty mid-range.

hollisdwyer
10-29-2015, 10:34 PM
Well, I guess it's because they are such different instruments: Kinnard is low and mellow, BR has snap and meaty mid-range.

How wonderful that instruments have different voices. When you acquire a new one it's like meeting a new friend.

Andy Chen
10-29-2015, 11:39 PM
Indeed, and it justifies to the wife why you have to have so many :)

DownUpDave
10-30-2015, 01:22 AM
How wonderful that instruments have different voices. When you acquire a new one it's like meeting a new friend.

UU store has a t-shirt that says "Say Hello to my Little Friend". Should be mandatory apparrel for all of us with UAS.

Damn Hollis that is one spectacular instrument. I am not going to be able to resisit ordering a Barron River now that I have seen that. Congratulations and let us know when it arrives into your anxiously awaiting hands.

Andy Chen
10-30-2015, 01:45 AM
UU store has a t-shirt that says "Say Hello to my Little Friend". Should be mandatory apparrel for all of us with UAS.

Damn Hollis that is one spectacular instrument. I am not going to be able to resisit ordering a Barron River now that I have seen that. Congratulations and let us know when it arrives into your anxiously awaiting hands.

Dave, you definitely will want a Barron River in your stable.

DownUpDave
10-30-2015, 01:54 AM
Dave, you definitely will want a Barron River in your stable.

A Kinnard is high on my list and to hear you are so pleased with your BR considering the ukes in your stable.........that speaks volumes.

Not only am I sampling different woods but now builders from different countries......will it never end.

hollisdwyer
10-30-2015, 03:35 AM
UU store has a t-shirt that says "Say Hello to my Little Friend". Should be mandatory apparrel for all of us with UAS.

Damn Hollis that is one spectacular instrument. I am not going to be able to resisit ordering a Barron River now that I have seen that. Congratulations and let us know when it arrives into your anxiously awaiting hands.
Allen told me today that it will be posted on Monday so I should have it in time to play it at my Saturday Uke jam at the local farmers market.
I've only played one BR before commissioning mine, but you should really consider one of these ukes. Especially as even the Canadian dollar is worth more than ours.

wayfarer75
10-30-2015, 03:50 AM
So exciting! It looks fantastic, I am sure you will love it.

hollisdwyer
10-30-2015, 04:57 AM
So exciting! It looks fantastic, I am sure you will love it.

Thanks Laura, I'm sure I will.

Rakelele
10-30-2015, 06:37 AM
Congratulations, your BR turned out amazing! Awesome pieces of wood, both on the body as well as on the fretboard and faceplate. Looking forward to hearing more from this Uke.

hollisdwyer
11-04-2015, 05:35 AM
I think the most fitting way to complete this thread is to post the email I sent Allen McFarlen a little while after the 8 string was delivered today:
Allen,
The uke arrived safe and sound about half an hour ago and I’ve been playing/exploring it ever since. I would like to say just WOW! and leave it at that but must also add that the instrument has exceeded my expectations. It has that superlative quality that confirms my decision to ask you to craft this wonderful object of joy for me. Therein lays good value.

The spacing of the G pair is fine. I can manage to separately pick each individual string. Actually I can also do that on the C pair. The action is spot on as it plays like the proverbial ‘Butta’. I particularly enjoy the harmonics on this instrument. If it was a 4 string it would be great but as it is an eight, the instrument produces a heavenly chorus.

Thank you so much for your skill, knowledge and craftsmanship. I will treasure this instrument forever.

Best Regards,
Hollis Dwyer

Andy Chen
11-04-2015, 06:00 AM
From one BR fan to another: right on! "Butta" sounds about right. Congrats!

sam13
11-04-2015, 06:46 AM
Hollis. This is a fabulous Uke.

I am interested in getting a BR as well. Just need to figure out what it is I am desiring.

It was. Super Soprano, but then a Concert and now I am thinking a Tenor. Lol

DownUpDave
11-04-2015, 08:00 AM
Congratulations Hollis that is so nice to hear that this instrument exceeded your expectations. Good on ya for sending such a nice email to Allen. He deserves the accolades............ and you deserve this wonderful ukulele, enjoy it.

You like the little (aussie) "Good on ya" that I threw in there........ eh! ( that is our Canadianism) :cheers:

Nickie
11-04-2015, 04:19 PM
Wow, those pics are great. I can't play an 8, we have a Kamaka 8. I highly respect anyone who can play one. Congrats. I think you should post pics in Ukulele Porn when you get it!

rappsy
11-04-2015, 04:48 PM
Absolutely stunning. Love the back and that side port. Use it well my friend. You've been waiting awhile.

hollisdwyer
11-04-2015, 08:36 PM
Thank you all for your kind comments and sharing the joy with me that we all feel when a beautiful new instrument enters our life.

hollisdwyer
11-04-2015, 08:41 PM
Hollis. This is a fabulous Uke.

I am interested in getting a BR as well. Just need to figure out what it is I am desiring.

It was. Super Soprano, but then a Concert and now I am thinking a Tenor. Lol

Sam, I knew I wanted a tenor but the difficult thing was deciding how it should look. I poured over all of the photos in Allen's website gallery. Ultimately Allen found that most beautiful piece of wood and that settled it for me. This is my first all mahogany instrument of any kind and I am glad I chose as I did. Of course all we really do is pick from the great design portfolio of Allen's work and combine those elements into one instrument, ours.

hollisdwyer
11-04-2015, 08:51 PM
Wow, those pics are great. I can't play an 8, we have a Kamaka 8. I highly respect anyone who can play one. Congrats. I think you should post pics in Ukulele Porn when you get it!

When I was younger I used to play a 12 string quite a lot. I have alway loved multi-coursed instruments. I even tried an Oud for a while but couldn't deal with the fretless finger board. Playing this instrument is very transformative. I haven't played any of the usual songs I play with my Uke group. That will happen on Saturday. I am wondering if this will fit in as my Mya Moe 6 string did or if it is going to be the instrument that I compose my own music on.

hollisdwyer
11-06-2015, 08:18 PM
First play date with my Saturday Uke group. The Barron River was quite a sensation. Everyone who played it today thought it was a very amazing instrument.8505185052

The friend who took the photos as caught a bit of me playing before the group arrived. Although there is a lot of ambient noise you can get an idea of its sound.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3fsW3XgwJg

hollisdwyer
11-06-2015, 11:43 PM
Love it Hollis! I'm so happy to see you happy old mate, just the tonic you deserve after the recent surgery! Enjoy it in good health!

To say I am happy with this instrument is an understatement.

ukuleleden
11-07-2015, 03:50 AM
Beautiful uke! Your patience was well rewarded! Enjoy!