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View Full Version : My new Dave Talsma custom Tenor



RyRod
08-21-2010, 03:47 AM
I've been super excited, and envious, while reading Fu's, Nuprin's, and Jake's threads regarding their MP customs. Now I can start my own thread showing the progress of my new Dave Talsma Tenor.

I contacted Mr. Talsma about a year ago in order to get a quote for his tenor model. He got back to me with his, very reasonable, price of $950 for a standard Tenor. But why be "standard" when you're getting a custom? I told him I'd get back with him when I knew I could see the deal all the way through.

In late March I e-mailed him again and I started shooting Ideas at him and he shot some back. Once we got all the details ironed out I gave him the go-ahead. Dave told me that he was about 4 months out from starting on it.

Fast forward to now and he has all the the materials for the build and is starting on it.

Here's the details:


-Tenor 17" scale length ukulele, 14 frets to body
-Martin shape body, walnut sides/back and cedar top.
-Walnut neck (maple center), 1-1/2" nut width and thicker height.
-Talsma open headstock shape w/gold leaf Talsma logo.
-B/W/B purfling around top and soundhole.
-Maple binding on top/back, soundhole rosette and center strip down back.
-Regular size fretwire.
-White side markers.
-Pearl dove inlays in fretboard and head (I'll explain the meaning later)
-Talsma style bridge.
-Corian bone nut & saddle.
-Worth tenor strings
-Gloss nitrocellulose lacquer buffed finish.
-Ebony fretboard, head veneer and bridge
-Mi-Si rechargeable pick-up
-Open classical headstock
-GOTOH Stealth Tuners

In the end I think i'll be super happy with my ukulele

RyRod
08-21-2010, 03:49 AM
He sent me the first picture today.


Hi, I was going thru my stash of cedar tops for your ukulele, I found this nice one that I have had for a while, it was taken from a sunken log in the state of Washington, and its over 300 years old, just checking that you like the looks of it, its a dark color, which will look nice with the walnut

http://a.imageshack.us/img822/7633/300yroldcedar.jpg

escee
08-21-2010, 04:58 AM
Cool ... look forward to see more pics :) Out of curiosity, how much are those specs going to cost you?

Craig
08-21-2010, 05:07 AM
I'm sure it will be beautiful! No radius on fretboard? That's just a person choice on my part.

RyRod
08-21-2010, 05:35 AM
Cool ... look forward to see more pics :) Out of curiosity, how much are those specs going to cost you?

It'll cost me a little more than a Kanilea K-2 Tenor



I'm sure it will be beautiful! No radius on fretboard? That's just a person choice on my part.

I haven't gotten the chance to try out a raidus. I gave it some serious thought, but I decided to play it safe. Maybe next time if I ever get to try one out.

jehicks87
08-21-2010, 06:39 AM
Sounds like she'll be a beaut! I really like the sound of cedar topped-ukes, very nice and mellow. Walnut should compliment both the sound and the looks of that darker cedar top... which, btw, is stunning!

Sounds like you've got a good one coming to you, can't wait to see more progress!

Jake

fumanshu
08-21-2010, 04:28 PM
Hey Ryrod!!! It's nice to see that you will get a Talsma. I was thinking to get one from him like one year ago but he was quite busy then so for whatever reason, I just forgot to get back to him after.

He makes very nice ukes and very reasonable too!!!! From the sound samples that I heard, they sound very good!!!!

Congrats on your new custom and keep us updated!!!

lambchop
08-21-2010, 04:48 PM
Cool ... look forward to see more pics :) Out of curiosity, how much are those specs going to cost you?

I have had the chance to play several of Dave Talsma's ukuleles and they are amazing - you will be so happy with it, you will not believe it. Congratualtions and all the best.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-21-2010, 05:47 PM
Dave does wonderful and creative work. I think you'll be happy :)

ukejon
08-22-2010, 01:49 AM
I have a koa/spruce Talsma (#59) that was born on 3/17/2006. Dave's instruments are absolutely beautiful--light as a feather and easy as could be to play. You will love his fretboard. Tonally, the news is just as good. In fact over the past year or so this thing has shifted into a different gear, which may be due to the settling in of the spruce top. After four-and-a-half years my Talsma has matured into a stunningly fine uke. It has incredible volume, as well as truly distinctive clarity and sustain. Nothing else like it. It is my full-time F-C-E-A tuned uke, a tuning that seems very well suited to this instrument. Here is a video of the Talsma in action (there are several more on my youtube page):

http://www.youtube.com/user/ukejon#p/u/5/fR8HHWYZ_vQ

mm stan
08-22-2010, 02:28 AM
Aloha RyRod,
You lucky guy...it's old world lumber, I wish i'd have that..
Nice tight straight grain.....almost guarantee awesome sounds...
Keep us informed on the build, now you've got my attention...
MM Stan...
do you have his contact information and does he have a website???

RyRod
08-22-2010, 02:43 AM
Wow! Thanks everyone for the comments. I'll definitely keep everyone updated. I can't wait for it to be finished.



I have a koa/spruce Talsma (#59) that was born on 3/17/2006. Dave's instruments are absolutely beautiful--light as a feather and easy as could be to play. You will love his fretboard. Tonally, the news is just as good. In fact over the past year or so this thing has shifted into a different gear, which may be due to the settling in of the spruce top. After four-and-a-half years my Talsma has matured into a stunningly fine uke. It has incredible volume, as well as truly distinctive clarity and sustain. Nothing else like it. It is my full-time F-C-E-A tuned uke, a tuning that seems very well suited to this instrument. Here is a video of the Talsma in action (there are several more on my youtube page):

http://www.youtube.com/user/ukejon#p/u/5/fR8HHWYZ_vQ

Thanks for the link Jon. I've been searching for "dave talsma" ukes on youtube but I only ever found the Tulip soprano video that someone else did. Your uke sounds amazing.



Aloha RyRod,
You lucky guy...it's old world lumber, I wish i'd have that..
Nice tight straight grain.....almost guarantee awesome sounds...
Keep us informed on the build, now you've got my attention...
MM Stan...
do you have his contact information and does he have a website???

For sure, his website is http://www.davetalsma.com/index.php

He has a bunch of nice ukes up on the site.

loondoo
08-28-2010, 05:28 PM
I have a koa/spruce Talsma (#59) that was born on 3/17/2006. Dave's instruments are absolutely beautiful--light as a feather and easy as could be to play. You will love his fretboard. Tonally, the news is just as good. In fact over the past year or so this thing has shifted into a different gear, which may be due to the settling in of the spruce top. After four-and-a-half years my Talsma has matured into a stunningly fine uke. It has incredible volume, as well as truly distinctive clarity and sustain. Nothing else like it. It is my full-time F-C-E-A tuned uke, a tuning that seems very well suited to this instrument. Here is a video of the Talsma in action (there are several more on my youtube page):

http://www.youtube.com/user/ukejon#p/u/5/fR8HHWYZ_vQ

Wow, ukejon, that Talsma sounds great! I've wondered about how a spruce topped/koa bodied tenor would sound, and you've answered that wonderfully!

RyRod, you're a lucky man! Look forward to following the progress of your uke as well.

RyRod
09-12-2010, 11:24 AM
Finally... I'm proud to present more progress.

Front: with the spalted maple rosette...
http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/9136/frontwg.jpg

Walnut Back with maple strip
http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/7541/backnp.jpg

Walnut sides
http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/1658/sidese.jpg

RyRod
09-12-2010, 11:25 AM
Neck (top view)

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/2913/neck1r.jpg


Neck (bottom view with new GOTOH Stealth Tuners)

http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/7303/neck2j.jpg

Nuprin
09-12-2010, 11:43 AM
Absolutely loving that rosette!

Lexxy
09-12-2010, 12:25 PM
Stunning neck and rosette, I must say.

RyRod
09-13-2010, 02:28 AM
Thanks, the rosette is really nice. It's too bad that the knot or whatever at the top will probably be covered by the fretboard.

seeso
09-13-2010, 02:34 AM
Right on, Ryan! Congrats! Keep us in the loop. Walnut and cedar should be delicious.

mailman
09-13-2010, 03:40 AM
It's your custom.... Can't you request that the bottom of the fretboard be curved to expose the entire rosette? I agree that it would be a shame to cover any of it. It is drop dead gorgeous....

RyRod
09-13-2010, 03:53 AM
I'm getting the fretboard inlayed and I don't know how far he is on it. I would hate for him to have to start over; even if it's just to curve that last part of the fretboard.

This is how it would look:

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/5264/fretboard.jpg

And thank's Seeso. I was gonna ask if you were coming up to see Jake again, but then I checked his tour schedule and I see he's got a show in chicago 2 days after. Oh well...

mailman
09-13-2010, 03:57 AM
I'm getting the fretboard inlayed and I don't know how far he is on it. I would hate for him to have to start over; even if it's just to curve that last part of the fretboard.

This is how it would look:

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/5264/fretboard.jpg

And thank's Seeso. I was gonna ask if you were coming up to see Jake again, but then I checked his tour schedule and I see he's got a show in chicago 2 days after. Oh well...

Would the inlay extend all the way to the very point of the fretbaord? That's essentially all you'd sacrifice to curve the end of the fretboard to follow the rosette....

RyRod
09-13-2010, 04:02 AM
I just emailed him and asked him the same thing. I'll let you guys know.

But to answer your question, I don't believe that the inlays would go that far.

RyRod
09-25-2010, 03:39 AM
It's coming together finally!

http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/149/kerfling.jpg

He said he'll have the bindings done this weekend.

Lexxy
09-25-2010, 03:40 AM
Wow! Nice!!! :)

Lori
09-25-2010, 05:56 AM
Wow, this is going to be a really nice Uke. I love the spalted rosette. The walnut looks beautiful too. Thanks for the work-in-progress photos.
–Lori

GX9901
09-25-2010, 06:47 AM
That's going to be a great custom ukulele! In-progress pictures are sweet. Looking forward to seeing the completed uke.

mm stan
09-25-2010, 07:26 AM
Aloha Ryan,
Thanks for the update and the pics....It looks soo sweet already....betcha can't wait eh!! MM Stan..

pulelehua
09-25-2010, 09:27 AM
Yummy. Ditto to what everyone is saying, with an extra WOW on that rosette. How often do we all go WOW about a rosette? Shame about those 4 strings which will be getting in the way of the lovely view.

RyRod
09-26-2010, 10:10 AM
Thank's for the comments everyone. The wait is terrible and I know most of you know what it feels like.

And to make matters worse...

http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/6451/body1n.jpg

http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/3057/body2g.jpg

http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/9159/body3l.jpg

Lori
09-26-2010, 06:41 PM
Oooo.... nice! You lucky dog!
–Lori

mailman
10-02-2010, 04:52 AM
Simply stunning....

RyRod
10-03-2010, 01:32 PM
Update Time!!!!!

He's sooooo close to being done with it.

http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/6708/body4.jpg

http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/1970/neck3.jpg

http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/1064/body5.jpg

That Tom Petty song keeps going through my head.

"The waiting is the hardest part"

Lexxy
10-03-2010, 06:01 PM
Wow that is just stunning.

maclay
10-03-2010, 07:41 PM
good lookin uke......ive never played a Talsma, but i hear they are nice.

Jake Maclay
Hive Ukuleles
http://www.hiveukuleles.com

ADD
10-03-2010, 08:35 PM
Those last pictures just took my breath away. I'll prepare myself for the final pictures. How exciting for you!

Sharada
10-03-2010, 08:42 PM
Those fretboard inlays are fantastic. They sorta look like Escher art!

GX9901
10-04-2010, 08:25 AM
That ukulele is looking pretty awesome! BTW, are the birds on the fretboard being used as fret markers or are they purely for design?

70sSanO
10-04-2010, 08:37 AM
Beautiful uke!

Love the inlays. PRS could take a lesson or two on how to do birds.

John

RyRod
10-04-2010, 09:10 AM
That ukulele is looking pretty awesome! BTW, are the birds on the fretboard being used as fret markers or are they purely for design?

The birds are for design only. I have side markers on the 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 frets. They do have a personal meaning though, which I'll explain later.



Beautiful uke!

Love the inlays. PRS could take a lesson or two on how to do birds.

John

Haha, thanks. Being the Santana fan that I am, I actually got the Idea from PRS and his guitars.

VIVA LA RAZA!

70sSanO
10-04-2010, 09:19 AM
Haha, thanks. Being the Santana fan that I am, I actually got the Idea from PRS and his guitars.


Just don't Carlos let see it, he may stop by with a bunch of cash and take it off your hands.

Good news you can get another... bad news is you'll have wait all over again.

John

rock_and_roll_camera
10-07-2010, 10:17 AM
That uke is swwwwwwwwwweet!... Beautiful timber!...

RyRod
11-03-2010, 11:26 AM
We'll, here it is. My Talsma is finished after 5-6 months of waiting.

I'll go pick it up Saturday and meet the man who made it for me.

http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/2789/finished1.jpg

http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/504/finished2k.jpg

I like it! The walnut looks like a ruffled up blanket.

Lexxy
11-03-2010, 11:32 AM
Wow it's really pretty... :drool:

RyRod
11-06-2010, 10:41 AM
Well, I went to pick it up today. It's even better in person. It has an awesome sound to it.

Video and a decent review coming soon.

http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/307/img2361v.jpg

Dave Talsma
11-06-2010, 11:20 AM
I joined joined this forum today, after hearing about it from Ryan, funny to me to read all the build process of his new tenor he picked up today. It was my first slot-head and I think it came out great.

lambchop
11-06-2010, 12:03 PM
I just went by his house recently to pick up a ukulele he was working on for me - just a repair to a cheaper uke, I am sad to say, but he really fixed the action on it and it plays great. Anyway, he showed me one of his latest builds and it is not only beautiful in tone but it is a true work of art. Absolutely beautiful. I hope to one day get Dave to build one for me as well, and enjoy yours - you are very fortunate to be having him build you one. Mike

lambchop
11-06-2010, 12:05 PM
We'll, here it is. My Talsma is finished after 5-6 months of waiting.

I'll go pick it up Saturday and meet the man who made it for me.

http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/2789/finished1.jpg


http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/504/finished2k.jpg

I like it! The walnut looks like a ruffled up blanket.

Hey, this is the one I saw today at Dave's house! Wow, it is beautiful - you are so lucky to have it. Mike

RyRod
11-06-2010, 12:39 PM
Ha, he told me that somebody came by to pick up a uke that he fixed a couple hours before I showed up. It's pretty crazy that it was you, Mike.

I'm glad people like it. I'm absolutely loving it right now.

I'll get a video up by tomorrow night for it.

dkcrown
11-06-2010, 02:39 PM
I joined joined this forum today, after hearing about it from Ryan, funny to me to read all the build process of his new tenor he picked up today. It was my first slot-head and I think it came out great.

Welcome Dave. Fantastic job on RyRod's tenor. Looking forward to hearing it in a video.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-06-2010, 02:46 PM
Beautiful uke, lovely fret board. And welcome to the forum Dave. Come visit us in the Lounge sometime.

Lori
11-07-2010, 06:04 AM
Congrats on the beautiful custom ukulele. I bet it sounds great too! Looking forward to the video. How about posting some close-up detail photos of the finished uke? I would like to see those birds a bit closer, and the rosette too.
–Lori

RyRod
11-07-2010, 07:00 AM
Here's some pictures. I filmed the video, now I just need to see how it came out and edit it. Hopefully it'll be up tonight.

http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/3561/img2362y.jpg

http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/8308/img2364k.jpg

http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/6825/img2365a.jpg

http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/9929/img2366k.jpg

RyRod
11-07-2010, 07:02 AM
http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/949/img2367j.jpg

http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/48/img2371.jpg

http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/6285/img2373.jpg

http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/7591/img2375.jpg

RyRod
11-07-2010, 07:03 AM
http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/1511/img2376uk.jpg

http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/8718/img2377v.jpg

http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/3554/img2380.jpg

mds725
11-07-2010, 02:08 PM
I joined joined this forum today, after hearing about it from Ryan, funny to me to read all the build process of his new tenor he picked up today. It was my first slot-head and I think it came out great.

Welcome to UU, Dave. That's one beautiful ukulele you built!

RyRod
11-07-2010, 05:28 PM
Here's the video! It was a little windy but the sun was finally out again so I went outside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkrldDUZSzs


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkrldDUZSzs

ADD
11-07-2010, 06:02 PM
So good to see and hear you and your new beautiful uke in action. Really stunning uke, incredible sound, damn good playing. Love the doves on the fretboard. Nice way to honor your grandfather. Thanks for posting. So happy for you.

ADD
11-07-2010, 06:22 PM
I joined joined this forum today, after hearing about it from Ryan, funny to me to read all the build process of his new tenor he picked up today. It was my first slot-head and I think it came out great.

Dave, you made Ryan a happy man with that beautiful tenor. Many of us on UU have followed this thread and shared in the excitement as Ryan kept us updated. That burled maple binding and rosette is stunning. Hope to be reading some posts by you in the Luthier's Lounge, a forum I love to visit. Welcome to UU, glad you joined.

Dave Talsma
11-08-2010, 02:48 AM
Cool, sounds great, you'll be the next super star on ukulele!

RyRod
11-08-2010, 09:42 AM
Thanks Mr. Talsma! I've been playing it non-stop and put it down only when I have to go to class.

Thanks to everyone who's been interested in my uke from start to finish too. I appreciate it.

sukie
11-08-2010, 01:09 PM
Congrats. It's very nice.

Matt Clara
11-21-2010, 07:41 AM
Brilliant!

70sSanO
11-21-2010, 08:07 AM
Beautiful uke!

It sounds so nice and your playing certainly does it justice.

Congratulations!

John

RyRod
11-21-2010, 08:29 AM
Hey Thanks!

I thought this thread was just gonna go away. Thanks for bringing it back Matt and John.

I love it! I've had it for 2 full weeks now and I've played it for hours every single day.

Now I'm in the process of figuring out what strings are best.

ukecantdothat
11-23-2010, 09:31 AM
I joined joined this forum today, after hearing about it from Ryan, funny to me to read all the build process of his new tenor he picked up today. It was my first slot-head and I think it came out great.

Hey welcome to the underground, Dave! Beautiful work you do there. I just got Lori's calendar and those ukes in there are stunning to say the least. I love the Les Paul model and my 8 yr old son was knocked out by the Jack Skellington! Nice, nice, very nice...

Dane
11-23-2010, 12:13 PM
That is one awesome lookin uke my friend.