View Full Version : Uke luthier in southern CA/ Los Angeles area?

03-30-2017, 09:49 AM
If this post belongs in a different area of the forum, my apologies!

Can anyone recommend a Los Angeles/southern CA builder other than Tomas Delgado at Candelas guitars? My long awaited "custom" ukulele did not come out as expected so I unfortunately need to find another builder.

Thanks in advance!


03-30-2017, 10:08 AM
Having recently (and periodically) run across threads dedicated to shipping ukes, I have to wonder why the specified region.

03-30-2017, 10:40 AM
Probably because the buyer just paid a premium for a custom 'ukulele, is going to have to pay to have a brand new 'ukulele fixed, and doesn't want to also pay to have it shipped to and from the luthier.

03-30-2017, 11:21 AM
True. I'd want to play some of their instruments and also see the finished instrument before final payment. Also, I live in the second largest city on earth, there has to be a few decent ukulele luthiers around. While Tomas is probably the most well known, my recent experience prevents me from commissioning any further work. While he's been cooperative in regard to my instrument, he ignored most of what I had requested as to certain features and qualities of the instrument, one of which is simply irreversible (neck width at nut). He makes great instruments, but the degree of carelessness in regard to my specific requirements is not something I can overlook. So I am looking for another luthier to build me another.
I won't commission an instrument from a shop I can't actually get to with relative ease.

03-30-2017, 01:58 PM
San Diego County ok? Kinard makes some really nice ukes. http://www.kinnardukes.com/
Pepe Romero also makes some great ukes, but you may need to wait a while for a custom. He has a production line, too.

tenor madness
03-30-2017, 04:34 PM
Jason Wolverton I've only seen his work on UU, but think he was in Laguna Beach. I also recall reading something about Ballona Creek Ukes, they might be the closest if in LA. You could try to reach out to Kohanmike or Ukulele Eddie, they are on here quite a bit and would be more knowledgeable than me.

03-30-2017, 06:36 PM
...I also recall reading something about Ballona Creek Ukes, they might be the closest if in LA. You could try to reach out to Kohanmike or Ukulele Eddie...

I've used Doug Graham of Ballona Creek Lutherie for repairs and modifications. I've also seen his custom ukes, which are very nice. He's meticulous, down to never having any excess glue showing inside around the kerf cuts. He's in Culver City down the street from Sony Studios (ex-MGM) off of Culver Blvd. near Overland Ave. He works out of the garage behind his apartment. I say sit down with him and discuss in detail your ideas and certainly your difficulties with Tomas. My best advice is give him a hard deadline, he said he likes that to keep him on track. http://ballonacreeklutherie.com

Pete Howlett
03-30-2017, 08:30 PM
LA? Rick Turner springs to mind in Santa Cruz - not so far away. To avoid disappointment I always get clients to write to me their specification before starting, even if this is a repeat/duplicate email. It refreshes my mind, helps me check out my spec sheet. We have had to do this more assiduously recently after getting those very key details wrong for a customer. So I symapthise with you. It is always preferable to meet the maker, chose your wood and watch him write down your specs in his bench-book...

Jason Wolverton
03-31-2017, 07:02 PM
Yes, I'm in Laguna Beach. Just starting a new spruce/birdseye maple tenor, but happy to build with most any tonewood.
Check out my website and look at the Recently Sold Ukuleles section for photos. There's also a section with some Youtube videos.

04-09-2017, 10:26 PM
Mike Pereira in Shandon, near San Luis Obispo is a fine builder.
MP ukes.

04-10-2017, 07:32 AM
I wonder if rufustf found someone, no posts since the first day of this thread over 11 days ago. I'm curious exactly where rufustf lives if any of our suggestions are close enough.

04-10-2017, 08:29 AM
Brian Beverly at Ojai Valley Ukulele made my main tenor. http://www.ojaivalleyhandmadeukuleles.com/

04-17-2017, 04:49 PM
Thank you for all the suggestions, I've got a few promising leads here. Also still in touch w/Tomas as to finding an outcome to this that is agreeable. The uke is, of course, a top notch build, but the extra 1/8" of neck width is not what I wanted.

Update: I was unable to work out a fair arrangement with Tomas. I thought I had, and upon showing up at his shop it became quickly apparent he hadn't actually read my email at all and had just made a bunch of incorrect assumptions, much like when he built my uke! So, unless you are very flexible about what you want in an instrument, don't use this shop. A real shame too, as he is quite skilled and is probably the last of a three generation family of luthiers. Still, if you don't pay attention to what your customers write down for you,......