View Full Version : Amazing luthier! Jeff Menzies gourd ukuleles

01-14-2018, 03:02 PM
my focus continues to shift, from classical on a godin multiuke to strumming on an 8 string Lanikai, but along the way I picked up easily one of the two best built instruments I have played. a gourd banjo built by Jeff Menzies. The best quality uke I have played is a mya moe, after that a kanilea. This banjo is in line with the mya moe!

Pics of it are at this link. https://imgur.com/gallery/5GRPS

In many ways it is uke-ish, nylgut strings, reentrant tuning... i actually use it to play the very old style of banjo music played attributed to Joel Sweeney, most of who's songs only use 4 strings anyway.

I recently emailed Jeff to encourage him to make a gourd uke, and he responded that he already makes them! I never have luck posting photos directly to this website but here's an attempt.

Anyway, if anyone gets a hankering for a gourd uke, check him out, it's true functional art!

(Not an ad I promise, just an admiration/appreciation!)


01-14-2018, 04:17 PM
Wow, very different!

01-14-2018, 06:26 PM
Thanks for sharing this info. That looks very cool!

What is the scale length? Looks to be ~19" or so...

I've often thought of converting one of my ukes to a fretless by defretting it (I have a baritone that I can sacrifice, and also baritone since methinks that the longer scale length will help me to intonate better with my 'fretting' hand)

Also kinda reminds me a bit of the Minstrel Banjo style fretless banjo as played by Riannon Giddens...

If you are inclined, I would love to hear a sound clip...:)

01-15-2018, 07:53 AM
For anyone who is interested, there is a forum thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?40642-Gourd-Ukuleles) regarding gourd ukes that Jeff himself posted here six years ago.