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mmfitzsimons
08-06-2017, 08:12 AM
Hi, all!

OK, so “custom” is the key word to describe this uke — it features a giant inlay of my childhood stomping grounds, it's built mostly of wood from my home state of California, and it's all wrapped up in a 19-inch scale tenor with fat 1.5-inch nut… oh, baby, it’s like I conjured it from my head!

But I didn’t conjure it, of course, this uke was hand built for me by Dave Sigman of Little River, California. Not just built, mid-wifed. He totally embraced my desire for a California uke—he calls it the uke-Cal-lele—and provided expert guidance along the way.

The headstock inlay depicts a lookout on Bodega Head in Sonoma County, where I grew up. We studied paintings of the spot and exchanged sketches; Dave even sent me a box of wood and shell to test out in various combinations, which allowed my daughter to get involved in the process — holy cow, what a fun journey!

The body of the uke is claro walnut, which was used for rifle stocks in the Old West. The rosette is mountain mahogany, which was used by Native Americans for arrowheads. Fun fact, huh? (We reached across the pacific for the ebony fingerboard and bridge.) Both the claro walnut and mountain mahogany are used again in the inlay, along with some golden yew and of course some really amazing shell. The abalone, which is native to the area as well, totally captures the sky over Bodega when the marine layer blows in. Sea and sky shimmer and shift color in the light. The oval frame reminds me of old sailor scrimshaw. I get lost staring into it; I love how Dave used the natural figuring of the materials to create the details of the seascape…. amazing.

Not everybody’s dream uke, for sure, but it’s mine. Reminds me a song by the Bottle Rockets, called “Dog”:

I love my dog
He's my dog
If you don't love my dog
That's okay
I don't want you to
He's my dog

Hey, I’ve even given the uke a doggish name—Bodi, short for Bodega Bay! ☺

OK, sound clip to follow when my iMic gets here, since my laptop microphone is useless for this sort of thing.

If you all are lucky I will record my girlfriend playing instead of me, she’s easier on the eyes and ears, haha!

102010102012102009102011

mmfitzsimons
08-06-2017, 08:15 AM
The Bodega Head peghead...Notice Dave has this really cool and original headstock design that allows the strings to run through the headstock to Stealth tuners. No bolts on the front! :)

Jim Hanks
08-06-2017, 08:26 AM
Wow, that's something else! That headstock looks practically three dimensional.

What's strings and tuning do you have it in?

mmfitzsimons
08-06-2017, 08:34 AM
Wow, that's something else! That headstock looks practically three dimensional.

What's strings and tuning do you have it in?

Thank you so much, Jim! Yes, it is super 3D—photos don't even really capture how much. That sky appears to roll into the horizon; Dave's a magician!

I am using low G tuning, and for strings I have drank the Tomastik-Infeld Kool-Aid for wound basses.... using Oasis Warms for the E & A right now, but have the Moore Bettah 2.0 set on standby.

Doc_J
08-06-2017, 08:38 AM
The Bodega Head peghead...Notice Dave has this really cool and original headstock design that allows the strings to run through the headstock to Stealth tuners. No bolts on the front! :)
Congrats. Dave's headstock design with the string-thru approach is awesome. That is a Super cool inlay.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=102014&d=1502043037

mmfitzsimons
08-06-2017, 08:47 AM
Thank you so much, Hodge! Super easy to string, and tunes just like normal. He really did a fantastic job; I can practically hear the waves, and sea lions barking in the distance... :)

Osprey
08-06-2017, 09:24 AM
Congratulations! That headstock is beyond spectacular.

Ukulele Eddie
08-06-2017, 09:44 AM
Wow, Matt, I'm so happy the wait is over. I'm a fan of Dave's ukes and his inlay work, which is so well executed. You have a special uke there, even before considering its special meaning for you. Look forward to hearing it when you get to do a sound sample.

robinboyd
08-06-2017, 12:08 PM
That is just gorgeous. Well done!

dkcrown
08-06-2017, 12:33 PM
Congrats on one sweet looking uke!

mmfitzsimons
08-06-2017, 01:17 PM
Aw, you guys are the best; only here does someone's new uke get treated the way it should — like a beautiful newborn baby!

I think I hear him crying for me in the other room... better go sing him back to sleep... ;)

jer
08-06-2017, 01:41 PM
Wow.. 3D was my first thought too when I saw the inlay work. I hope you enjoy it greatly!

DownUpDave
08-06-2017, 02:46 PM
I love everything about this instrument. I am a huge fan of clario walnut and the set Dave used on yours is really excellent!!! So cool that you made it very personal, the inlay on the headstock is some of the very best I have every seen. This is obviously a life time keeper. A big congratulations........you did it up right. Thanks for sharing.

wayfarer75
08-06-2017, 03:20 PM
Fantastic uke, very much one-of-a-kind!

spongeuke
08-06-2017, 04:27 PM
I have one of Dave's Walnut Tenors. His work reflects the true artist that he is.102018
Your head stock is certainly the best I've ever seen. The view from Bodega Head is spot on and I can almost see myself surfing out at Salmon Creek Beach in the upper left.
I'm sure yours plays wonderfully, mine does. I'm taking it out of its case right now to fall in love again.
Keep on Strumming Dave in Petaluma

Nickie
08-06-2017, 04:38 PM
OMG! Congratulations, I've never seen anything quite like that. You must be very pleased....

mmfitzsimons
08-07-2017, 03:12 AM
Thank you all so much for the kind words; I feel really lucky to have had the stars align to make it possible, and to have someone of Dave's creativity and skill building it


I have one of Dave's Walnut Tenors. His work reflects the true artist that he is.102018
Your head stock is certainly the best I've ever seen. The view from Bodega Head is spot on and I can almost see myself surfing out at Salmon Creek Beach in the upper left.
I'm sure yours plays wonderfully, mine does. I'm taking it out of its case right now to fall in love again.
Keep on Strumming Dave in Petaluma

Hey, wow, another Dave—and in Petaluma! My best friend lives in Petaluma, plays in an uke band there (And my mom does her grocery shopping in Petaluma--you already know how small Bodega is, lol..)

And I think our ukes are related, Dave!! That claro is from the "Chico log," right? The figuring is really distinct; in fact I think it was photos of your beautiful uke that sold me on claro in the first place! The other Dave was down to the last of it, so we both got really lucky!

I think next time I'm up we need to get together and let our ukes have a playdate!!! :)

JackLuis
08-07-2017, 04:48 PM
Are you sure it's not a 19" Baritone? :D

Just beautiful though in any event!

Chopped Liver
08-07-2017, 05:08 PM
I love the way the sky and ocean change color based on the lighting. It looks alive! Gorgeous!

luv2uke
08-07-2017, 06:30 PM
Gorgeous looking headstock and ukulele. Can't wait to hear a sound sample.

DanY
08-09-2017, 05:17 AM
Wow what a beautiful uke, that headstock is amazing. I love how the strings just disappear into the wood. Love it!

saltytri
08-09-2017, 08:48 AM
That's a very special instrument. Kudos to Dave!

mmfitzsimons
08-09-2017, 01:56 PM
Wow, thanks guys. Seriously -- that's high praise indeed, coming from folks who truly know, love (and now I see even build) ukuleles. I will pass the compliments along to Dave, the person who really deserves to hear them. He's not only a great craftsman and artist, he's a great guy. :)

tangimango
08-09-2017, 02:01 PM
19-inch scale tenor with fat 1.5-inch nut is really great setup. also that tuners in the back is just a great idea. awesome build

scottcocoabeach
08-09-2017, 05:41 PM
Very cool, unique, and personal. Looking forward to hearing it. Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Jayfuzi
08-16-2017, 01:15 PM
This uke came out fantastic! I hope more people give Dave's ukes a try. They are great ukes from a nice man who is very passionate about ukes!

eighteen
08-16-2017, 07:46 PM
That is something else. Wow. Lovely!