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uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 06:07 PM
Disclaimer: Just a word of warning, this is going to be a long story with lots of pics.

About a year ago I was fortunate enough to visit Chuck Moore's shop in Opihikao, about 40 minutes away from my home. With cash in my paypal account, I was hoping to make a purchase. Lucky for me, a customer bailed out of a custom order and I went home with a beautiful tenor, see my youtube review, link on signature. I asked myself, how could I have not known such a great luthier lived in my back yard. Months later, I went back to Chuck's to have a MiSi pickup installed in the uke and got to see some of his latest projects, simply amazing! I kept saying, Moore Bettah Ukuleles is Hawaii best kept ukulele secret.

I had dreamed of having a custom uke of my own built by Chuck. I drooled over his gallery pics and dropped in on his website from time to time to see if there was anything for sale, which there was, but at the time, I was not in a financial situation to purchase another MB, but I still held on to my dream of having one built.

Chuck and I developed a friendship, which was easy given his friendly nature and ever so unique sense of humor. Chuck gave me advice on business and even helped me get started on my business website.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Chuck once again, this time to check out an uke he was building for Henry (Hankthetank). We had a great time, putting a short video together which was sent to Henry that day, father's day.

After seeing Henry's uke, I was certain that I was going to ask Chuck to build me an uke. On yet another visit to his shop, I had he opportunity to select the wood. Growing up working in a koa shop, I've had an extreme passion for the wood, and picking one set was not an easy task, everything looked so good. The next visit to the shop was to discuss with Chuck ideas for the uke build. Being an artist myself, I didn't want to put too many demands on Chuck as the builder, knowing that most artist work best when they are allowed to let their creative juices flow. Seeing his previous work, I had the utmost confidence in his work, discussed some ideas, and left the rest up to him.

Fast forward a few weeks down the road, and numerous emails. I got an email from Chuck of the koi to be inlaid followed by emails of the soundhole preparation and then the soundhole with the inlay.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/MooreBettahKoi.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/soundholerosette.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/soundholeprep.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/soundholeinlay.jpg

Part 2 coming in a minute.

uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 06:13 PM
More weeks went by, I finally get an email that says "Pictures", I was excited to say the least. I quickly opened the files to find the following pictures:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/blurry1.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/blurry2.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/blurry3.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/blurry4.jpg

Part 3 to come.

uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 06:20 PM
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/blurry6.jpg

After viewing the pics, I realized that I had been the victim of Chuck's humorous wrath!

More weeks went by and this time the update was on a fretboard inlay of my middle name "TAKEO".

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/mispelledfret.jpg

I might not be the best speller, but something looked wrong to me. When I emailed Chuck back, he told me that "TAKOE" was his American Indian name, or something to that effect. I noticed that the inlays were just laying in the fretboard and once again, I was the victim of humorous wrath!

More time went by and I get an email that the fretboard was done. Chuck sent me another email and this time he promised it was a clear picture of the fretboard, which it was.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/undersidefret.jpg

It was a clear picture alright, a clear picture of the underside of the fretboard. The wrath continues!!

More weeks go by and the anticipation of the build is so tense that I find myself checking my emails every few hours..why? You got me! Perhaps it was the slim chance that I would get an email with real pics. I continued to get updates saying it was a matter of just a few weeks before the uke would be done. Then, emails saying the uke was just about done. And then, an email saying "the fat lady has sung". I arranged to meet Chuck on Friday, today, at 9:00 am. I was up by 5 am this morning despite going to sleep at about 1:30 am.

Part 4 to follow.

uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 06:31 PM
As I drove out to Chuck's home, I continuously checked my email and Facebook page. Chuck said he would post pics, but over a day went by with no pics. As I neared his home, the cellphone reception was lost, which I knew from being to his home on numerous occasions.

I was greeted by Chucks two dogs and then by the man himself, my friend, the humorous one, Mr. Chuck Moore. One of the first things Chuck asks me is if I got the emails and saw the pics on Facebook. I laughed at his humor, but this time he seemed serious. I confessed that I had been checking my phone all the way to his home till I lost reception. He swore that he sent emails and posted pics. He showed me on his laptop, and I noticed that he had posted the pics three minutes before...just as I was driving in his driveway, busted!!

Chuck goes on to tell me that he had trouble with the ukulele pickup and that he had a friend working on it but that he would bring it by in an hour or so. My heart sank a bit, I was all ready to see the ukulele! So, to kill time, we go into his shop and he starts opening cases showing me his latest batch of ukes, simply amazing!! I got to strum them all, impressed by his workmanship, but all the while thinking about my uke! The suspense was killing me!

Chuck hands me the last case and I open it up, to my surprise, there she lay in all her glory!!! I was speechless!! I didn't want to cry, but I have to admit, I did get chicken skin! As I pulled her out of the case, I knew that no words out of my mouth would do justice! I was simply blown away! Everything I wanted on the ukulele was there, and more!

Here she is:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk1-1.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk3-1.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk4-1.jpg

Part 5 to follow

uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 06:44 PM
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk5-1.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk7.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/lk8-1.jpg

Each item inlaid has symbolism, "Takeo" my Japanese middle which ties in to the bamboo inlays since "Takeo" means bamboo. The family crest on the fretboard, my family crest. And the koi, a symbol of love and resilience in Japanese culture.

The uke not only is a work of art, the sound is breathtaking. I have had the opportunity to play many nice ukuleles, customs included, and I must say, the ukes that Chuck builds are second to none. That's my biased yet accurate opinion.

I share this experience with a heart of gratitude and to give praise where praise is due. I consider myself blessed to not only have such beautiful instrument, but to have made a wonderful friend along the way! Chuck, Mahalo Nui Loa!!! I will treasure this for my lifetime.

dnewton2
10-23-2009, 06:51 PM
the ukes that Chuck builds are second to none.

:agree:

I saw some pics of your uke on facebook earlier today. Thank you for shareing the experince with us. I need to start saveing so I can have Chuck build me a special uke. Enjoy you new ukulele.

thejumpingflea
10-23-2009, 06:53 PM
Best thread in the history of UU!

Haha, I am literally balling right now. This is such a Chuck way to do things!

Congrats to you and what a beautiful instrument!

OH! I almost forgot! I DEMAND a video from you! ;)

cornfedgroove
10-23-2009, 07:08 PM
I've been blown away looking at every one of chuck's builds...I crapped my pants after seeing the first one, but it was so good that I just sat in it while I went through his entire gallery:) It was well worth the subsequent rash!

The humorous antics make me wanna buy one even more...if he only made them for about $50 I'd be set!

Ronnie Aloha
10-23-2009, 07:22 PM
Oh my!!! That is a think of beauty. I would probably encase it in glass and never play it!

therimidalv
10-23-2009, 08:10 PM
Thanks for sharing this experience! The whole process is really cool to watch, how your uke is cut, and made and finally put together. I also wish that one day Chuck could make me a custom uke as well. One day....:rolleyes:

Ahnko Honu
10-23-2009, 09:27 PM
Ho'omaika'i, omedetou, sugoi, awesome, WOW, not enough words to decribe. :eek:

Would you mind sharing a close up picture of your kamon?

uluapoundr
10-23-2009, 10:09 PM
Ahnko,
Here you go! Note the string change to Savarez Alliance. I have to admit, we did a comparison and the Aquila strings sounded really good on this uke. The clarity and sustain was very close with the Aquila possibly having a bit fuller sound. As the uke breaks in, I'll determine which strings will stay on the uke.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/koimoncloseup.jpg

thomas
10-23-2009, 10:24 PM
Congratulations to both of you, that is mighty nice.

Take care,
Thomas

phanzo
10-23-2009, 10:57 PM
That seems like such an awesome experience! What a beautiful piece of art. I bet it sounds like heaven.

I really don't want to be the one to ask how much it cost....so I'm not going to ask you HOW MUCH IT COST....

I am curious though bc I have been saving up for a "K brand" but am thinking that I may be better off to keep saving for one of these. Unfortunately, I don't think my UAS will allow that to happen. I have an extreme case flaring up and don't think I have enough ointment to cool the burning for that kind of time. One day Chuck....one day....

Congrats though, beautiful instrument, I hope you cherish it forever...

erich@muttcrew.net
10-24-2009, 12:26 AM
...What a beautiful piece of art. I bet it sounds like heaven.

:agree: Maybe you could post a sound file or a video so we can all hear?

taylordb
10-24-2009, 12:47 AM
Such an amazing instrument!!! And you can tell that Chuck is having a blast making it.....a vibe that no doubt is reflected in the outcome.

Kanaka916
10-24-2009, 05:40 AM
Eh, Laron - da buggah look ono. I no mind gettin one from Chuck, but I like get one from Aaron too. Auwe, as why hahd wen no mo kala.

Ronnie Aloha
10-24-2009, 06:37 AM
Just to add to my first post.

Chuck, as soon as I had your custom in my hands I'd have to kill you for the pain you've inflicted during the build!

Does the claim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" mean anything to you????;)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-24-2009, 07:04 AM
Note the string change to Savarez Alliance. I have to admit, we did a comparison and the Aquila strings sounded really good on this uke. The clarity and sustain was very close with the Aquila possibly having a bit fuller sound. As the uke breaks in, I'll determine which strings will stay on the uke.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j21/uluapoundr/koimoncloseup.jpg

What Laron is trying painfully hard to avoid admitting is that Aquilas are indeed the best strings ever made!
As far as the price goes, I put Laron on the easy payment plan for the next twelve years. In the time being I'll take good care of his truck.

bbycrts
10-24-2009, 07:20 AM
I always say "someday" I'll have Chuck build a custom for me...now I really know it. Chuck's pranks speak to me...

uluapoundr
10-24-2009, 12:41 PM
I will admit, open strumming this uke with the Alliance strings and another similar build ukulele with Aquila, there was little difference with the Aquila having a bit fuller/fatter sound. The Alliance are very bright strings, perhaps a bit too bright for this ukulele..in it's new state. As for playability, I am use to the Alliance strings, but I'll give Aquila a chance. I've always said strings need to match the instrument and the player. The white strings do look nice though.

I switched out the strings, back to Aquila this morning. Sad thing is, the A string slipped as I was tightening it and the string contacted the top, right below the bridge, leaving a tiny pencil tip sized dent! After a few minutes of cardiac arrest and verbal expressions for my carelessness, I apologized to my uke as any loving parent would, wrapped it in my arms, and she began to sing. I'm going to play this uke, not leave it in it's case and I'm sure there will be other character marks in the near future. God forbid if I ever feel the urge to order yet another custom from Moore Bettah, I don't think my weak heart could handle any more torture!

As for price, I've told Chuck his prices are too low...of course this was after we had agreed on a price, ha! Seriously guys, this man is undercharging for his work. I have found the cure for UAS! I think I may actually be willing to thin out my collection, maybe.

ukuleG
10-24-2009, 01:21 PM
i'm gonna have to sell one of my kidneys to get one of these bad boys.

Ukulele Friend
10-24-2009, 01:35 PM
Aloha,

Loved the write-up and, wow, what a cool uke as well. I love the Koi inlay around the sound hole and the slotted headstock as well. Really nice stuff there.

Chuck - You're really spoiling us all with these incredible ukes! And you've always got us wondering, "What's next?"

Mahalo,
Shawn

http://ukulelefriend.com

uluapoundr
10-24-2009, 01:47 PM
Aloha,

Loved the write-up and, wow, what a cool uke as well. I love the Koi inlay around the sound hole and the slotted headstock as well. Really nice stuff there.

Chuck - You're really spoiling us all with these incredible ukes! And you've always got us wondering, "What's next?"

Mahalo,
Shawn

http://ukulelefriend.com

Shawn,
I saw some of "what's next" for the near future. All I can say is, make sure you are sitting down and wearing a bib when you visit the Moore Bettah website.

Hankthetank
10-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Chuck outdoes himself with every single build. And the amazing thing is that what he give you is something that no factory built uke can give-it was made for you. All of the details in your ukulele have true and significant meaning for you and only you. And I know the only thing that can rival your ukuleles look is her sound. Chuck may be best known for his inlays, but the sound is so amazing. I can't wait to see the first video with your new uke.
Thank you for sharing your build. I am so happy for you and your new uke.

UkeNinja
10-24-2009, 04:50 PM
Each item inlaid has symbolism, "Takeo" my Japanese middle which ties in to the bamboo inlays since "Takeo" means bamboo. The family crest on the fretboard, my family crest. And the koi, a symbol of love and resilience in Japanese culture.
That's a great story, and a very nice ukulele. The fish around the soundhole look very cool. Chuck's working process is obviously for the more cool-headed customers, a red haze started to form in front of my eyes already at the second set of photos ;)

...by the way, "take" is bamboo in Japanese, but often not in the name Takeo, which uses a homonym to form take-o. Do you know what Chinese characters are used to write your middle name? The bamboo looks cool anyway, but just thought I'd ask. :nana:

uluapoundr
10-24-2009, 06:13 PM
That's a great story, and a very nice ukulele. The fish around the soundhole look very cool. Chuck's working process is obviously for the more cool-headed customers, a red haze started to form in front of my eyes already at the second set of photos ;)

...by the way, "take" is bamboo in Japanese, but often not in the name Takeo, which uses a homonym to form take-o. Do you know what Chinese characters are used to write your middle name? The bamboo looks cool anyway, but just thought I'd ask. :nana:

From what I know, Takeo as a name means "Strong like bamboo" which is why my parents chose it. The family crest called Kashiwa, was often chosen by fishing families, which goes along perfect for my favorite hobby and my business of printing fishermen's catches. Either way, it was things that had deep meaning to me and I'm grateful that Chuck was able to incorporate it in my ukulele.

UkeNinja
10-25-2009, 05:04 AM
Fair enough. You have a great name and a great uke that means a lot to you. I had no intention to be negative about anything.
I really need to see one of Chuck's ukes in real life to see if they are really that shiny and perfect. They look unreal :)

loondoo
10-27-2009, 06:36 PM
I'm already a huge fan of Chuck's incredible ukes and the amazing inlays he does...but yours takes the cake!! What a beauty!! Congratulations on an awesome looking (and I bet awesome sounding) ukulele!!

Hopefully I'll be able to save up enough pennies to get me a "Moore Bettah Ukulele" one of these days as well. A video of that awesome uke would definitely be appreciated! : )

P.S. Being a huge 000-Slothead Martin fan as well, I LOVE the slotted headstock and binding...really incredible!!

uluapoundr
10-27-2009, 06:52 PM
I'm already a huge fan of Chuck's incredible ukes and the amazing inlays he does...but yours takes the cake!! What a beauty!! Congratulations on an awesome looking (and I bet awesome sounding) ukulele!!

Hopefully I'll be able to save up enough pennies to get me a "Moore Bettah Ukulele" one of these days as well. A video of that awesome uke would definitely be appreciated! : )

P.S. Being a huge 000-Slothead Martin fan as well, I LOVE the slotted headstock and binding...really incredible!!

Okay, I was hesitant to post this video since my laptop mic sucks big time. I'll be ordering a microphone soon...does anyone have one for sale? Anyhow, I'll do more videos soon! You can drop in on my youtube to see the latest songs on the MB uke!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1emu_FSXqQQ

uluapoundr
10-27-2009, 07:12 PM
I hope you don't mind, I added bigger pics so you can see the great work Chuck does. Chuck poured his heart and soul into this build. BTW, the pictures are great, but it doesn't do it justice! Thanks again Chuck!

thejumpingflea
10-27-2009, 07:42 PM
Okay, I was hesitant to post this video since my laptop mic sucks big time. I'll be ordering a microphone soon...does anyone have one for sale? Anyhow, I'll do more videos soon! You can drop in on my youtube to see the latest songs on the MB uke!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1emu_FSXqQQ

I'll trade you a mic for the uke!

;)

Spooner
10-27-2009, 07:47 PM
Laron....

I love how your life and personality has been captured in a Moore Bettah Ukulele!

It is amazing!!!

You and Chuck have come up with a real beauty!!!

If you don't want your other one send it over. I have opened the Center For Orphaned MBU's. :p

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Draven451
02-20-2010, 12:09 PM
His ukes are getting Moore Bettah with each new one I see!

sukie
02-20-2010, 12:21 PM
Best thread in the history of UU!

Congrats to you and what a beautiful instrument!

No kidding -- hands down best thread ever.

I was totally blown away with the story, the pictures, everything. It's simply beautiful. All of it. Thanks, Uluapoundr.

zog
02-20-2010, 08:22 PM
Chuck is the master! I have played one of his ukes at Hilo Uke & guitar last year, It is what inspired me to start building ukes. Awesome sound and the most flamed koa I have ever seen.
Funny though some of my friends are Hawaiian and the have never heard of Moore Bettah when I show them his website there eyes glaze over and the start to drool! These are the best looking ukes made in the world,
and I think chuck has met his goal of making the best ukuleles on the world!

Nu Uke
02-21-2010, 01:53 AM
Chuck not only builds the most beautiful ukuleles made, his kind and helpful nature comes through on his posts to this forum. I find his responses and advice found here to be some of the most helpful for the aspiring or new builder. There's a spirit of generosity evident. Knowledge is power, they say. Some wield it like a club. Some share it freely, without a lot of ego. Chuck falls into the latter group.
He is an invaluable asset to this forum. I'd like to thank him for sharing his knowledge with us.

Darrel
02-22-2010, 05:42 PM
Here is the Moore Bettah that my wife got me for my 40th birthday this year. I can attest that the level of quality is second to none. It sure is a humbling experience looking at this then at the ones I build. And the fact that Chuck so freely helps others here with advice is what helped sway me to choose his uke over a few other high-end builders.

Looking at it, playing it, or just thinking about it, brings much joy! I absolutly love this uke.

Sorry for the poor picture quality (certainly doesn't do this uke justice). Better pictures at the music emporuim's web site.

-darrel