View Full Version : Pulled the trigger on a new custom BR Tenor ukulele

10-02-2010, 03:18 AM
After looking around for what seems like a lifetime, i've finally chosen a luthier who I completely trust. Allen from Barron River guitars/ukuleles has been nothing but understanding to my countless questions, offered ideas of his own expertise but also tried to work whatever I wanted into the mix.

As I'm from Australia, I wanted a ukulele made of Aussie timbers because I think we're totally underrepresented on the world ukulele scene, and we have amazing luthiers/tonewoods. That said, I have always wanted a western red cedar custom... so I decided to blend the two together and get Tasmanian Tiger Myrtle back/sides, with the western red cedar top - I believe the neck will also be australian wood, with the fretboard/bridge made of ebony.

Here is a picture of the rough cut top with back/sides - i'm already in love!1643016431

Will keep you all posted on the progress... it'll be an impatient few weeks for me i'm sure!


10-02-2010, 03:35 AM
Monty! Haven't heard from you in ages! Nice custom..No...Fantastic looking custom!

Ukulele Friend
10-02-2010, 04:28 AM

Looks like you're on board for a wonderful journey.

have fun!


10-02-2010, 05:05 AM
My worthless opinion is that you have done real well going the local route. Support for local craftsmen and local products is seriously lacking in this world. Not to mention dodging the tax man... Outstanding choice. I have no doubt that you will be pleased.

Take care,

10-02-2010, 05:37 AM
I went the local route as well. (woods/luthier)

I'm really impressed with that stunning Tasmanian Tiger Myrtle.

Now the waiting starts...

10-02-2010, 05:46 AM
Awesome looking Monty - enjoy!!!

Ahnko Honu
10-02-2010, 06:49 AM
One of my favorite woods is Tasmanian Blackwood a close cousin of Koa. We have some growing in Hawai'i now.

10-02-2010, 07:03 AM
I've never seen such dark Myrtle. Beautiful figure to it too. Keep us updated, she's look great.

mm stan
10-02-2010, 07:07 AM
G'day and Aloha Monty,
So you've been keep youself under the radar over here, glad to hear Allen starting to put it together...
What an awesome combination, should have a nice warm balanced sound.......Betcha just can't wait
and you're soooo excited.....I can't wait for your review and video...Keep us informed of it's progress.
Man that grain looks killers....Thanks for sharing....Cheers, MM Stan..

10-02-2010, 08:16 AM
As someone who tried and failed to source Tasmanian hardwoods for my own custom, all I can say is yummy.

10-02-2010, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the kind words gang.

@Pulelehua - Tim Spittle at australiantonewoods.com has fantastic woods at good prices, its where these babies were sourced and i'd recommend him everytime.

The wait is killing me, its only been 2 days and already i've googled my wood combinations countless times to get an idea to how it'll sound. Interestingly, I cant find a single mention to a uke with my exact combination - I think I may have stumbled onto a world first! yay!

10-02-2010, 07:42 PM
Yay! Wow! Excited for you and anxious to see this combo and even more so to hear it. Satin or gloss on that tiger?

10-02-2010, 08:33 PM
It'll be a gloss finish, and shine like a baby's bottom!

10-02-2010, 08:41 PM
Just curios monty, how much would this gem cost? :)

Hippie Dribble
10-02-2010, 09:02 PM
wow Monty...looks really lovely mate...seems that your patience will be rewarded in spades!

I have a Cole Clark "Ukelady" soprano that is made wholly from Tassie Blackwood and I agree, you don't hear of many Australian timbers being used in ukulele builds.

Western Red Cedar and Tasmanian Myrtle, what a great combination. Hope you do post some sound bites for us when it's ready. Many will be extrememly interested.

Eagerly awaiting pics. cheers mate. eugene.

10-17-2010, 12:23 PM
Hey guys, new progress pictures!
Its coming along so fast, I can barely contain my excitement. The grain on this wood is just astonishing, I cant imagine how good it'll be under finish. Hope you all like it as much as I do.

10-17-2010, 12:30 PM
It'll be a gloss finish, and shine like a baby's bottom!

I don't have kids, but I'll trust that your uke will look nice.

mm stan
10-17-2010, 01:26 PM
Hey guys, new progress pictures!
Its coming along so fast, I can barely contain my excitement. The grain on this wood is just astonishing, I cant imagine how good it'll be under finish. Hope you all like it as much as I do.

Aloha and G'Day Monty,
To say the least, thats a looker and I'm sure you'll get alot of attention from it even before playing....Congrats Buddy!!!! any idea of a pick-up yet????MM Stan...

10-17-2010, 02:08 PM
Beautiful! That is some nice grain. Can't wait to hear it!!!

10-17-2010, 02:39 PM
THat is beautiful

10-18-2010, 01:06 AM
Pulled the trigger on a new custom BR Tenor ukulele...
Anyone know the etymology of the phrase "pulled the trigger"? It's an odd phrase with violent overtones, suggestive of "Russian roulette" or assassinations, but I don't know how or why it got started in use as a substitute for "I decided" or to take action. Doesn't strike me as a phrase appropriate when engaging in a joyous activity such as ukulele buying.

But congrats on your new uke. Looking forward to seeing it progress. I personally like cedar most of all the tone woods and yours sounds like a wonderful mix.

10-23-2010, 09:57 PM
Ladies and gents, some more progress pics!

The first few are earlier days, and the last few show the first layer of lacquer.

I'm in love.

10-23-2010, 10:00 PM
Here are the latter pics, under the first coat of lacquer. Again, in love :P

10-23-2010, 10:04 PM
Looking really awesome! Very very awesome infact.

10-24-2010, 05:03 AM
Right on, Monty! Keep those pics coming.

10-24-2010, 05:41 AM
It looks amazing! Waiting for the finish to cure and the final set-up to begin is a killer. I know, I'm doing the same thing right now.

Can't wait to see how it turns out.

10-24-2010, 07:13 AM
Wow look at the back!! That is going to be one stunning uke. Keep us updated :)

10-24-2010, 08:02 AM
I love the looks of that wood. You are going to have a beauty there, Monty. Congratulations again!!

BTW, how did you happen to find a top wood that so closely matches the color of the center of the back? That is amazing.

10-24-2010, 11:26 AM
I had absolutely no idea how the top would turn out under finish, but it perfectly matches both the centre of the tiger myrtle and the Barren River logo on the headstock. Couldn't be happier really, to my eyes a truely unique combination that I havn't seen the like of before.

Looking at the back a few times last night I even noticed it had curl running horizontally! How you can get so much happening with one piece of wood is just amazing.

mm stan
10-24-2010, 11:41 AM
Aloha Monty,
Thanks for keeping us updated, It looks stunningly awesome....man, I bet you just can't wait for it eh....you know at least a month more for the finish to be cured and shipping..
Wow, so excited for you,,,just can't wait for more pictures....MM Stan

10-24-2010, 11:43 AM
I'm building an American cousin to yours for myself using Oregon Myrtle and Port Orford Cedar. I hope it looks as nice as yours.

10-24-2010, 01:39 PM
I wish you luck with your build Steiner, i'm sure it'll turn out amazing. I've heard only great things about Port Orford Cedar :)

10-24-2010, 04:37 PM
That one loks mighty nice.



10-24-2010, 08:34 PM
I'm building an American cousin to yours for myself using Oregon Myrtle and Port Orford Cedar. I hope it looks as nice as yours.

This is my dream combination! I actually have all the parts of a tenor kit, but not the guts or facilities to put it together...arrrgh!

10-24-2010, 08:36 PM
Monty -

I have to say when you first posted the pictures of the wood I thought it was kind of gaudy - but those last pictures under lacquer - that uke is nothing short of spectacular - can't wait to see the finished pictures! What a beauty!

10-30-2010, 04:29 PM
More pictures everyone! These are similar to the last ones, its the second coat of lacquer. It should only be another few weeks till its in my arms and I do a review for everyone :) Hope you enjoy!

10-30-2010, 04:51 PM
This is probably one of the coolest I've seen on here.

That wood is stunning.

10-31-2010, 09:11 AM
I tend to not like wood grains with too much wave. I don't like gloss finishes. I prefer 1-wood ukuleles to soft-tops.

By rights, I should not like your ukulele.

It is just delicious.

10-31-2010, 12:14 PM
Absolutely stunning. What an amazing grain. Congratulations.

11-06-2010, 08:23 PM
Hey guys and gals,

This will be the last photo update before I give my video review to everyone. It has come together so well, I couldn't be happier. Thanks to all those who have given warm words of encouragement as I've posted pictures, its made me smile reading each and every one of your comments :)


11-06-2010, 09:34 PM
Oh monty..Let us hear it!! (My ears are begging me for the sounds of it)

mm stan
11-06-2010, 10:17 PM
Aloha and G'day Monty,
Congrats brother it looks awesome....WOW you must be a Happy Camper now....You must give a shout out to Allen McFarlen of Baron River Guitars of Australia..
He did and awesome job...I'm sure he gave you some freebies...I just was looking at it, but I can tell it has a warm deep rich tone....are you going to make a video man??
would love to hear it...Have Fun and Enjoy!!! Happy Strummings!! MM Stan..
Mann...I just love the straight grain top and deep figured back and sides.....Gee you knew exactly what you wanted.....

11-06-2010, 10:41 PM
Hey Stan and Lexxy, I will definatly make a video to show you how she will sound, She'll be coming with Worth browns, i'll give it a try then probably experiment a little.

A definite shout out to Allen McFarlen from Baron River guitars in the wonderful land of Oz, he makes amazing instruments and he's an amazing person to work with. I'm a very impatient person on a good day, on a new custom uke i'm almost unbearable - but he shouldered my infinite emails with understanding and information. He also gave me an amazing price and threw in some freebies, just an all around great guy who I would love to meet if I didnt live exactly 1000miles away from him (google maps says 1020).

Stan - I knew exactly what I wanted, I knew exactly the sound I wanted and I researched the buggery out of the uke. However at the end of the day, it was research well spent. With the individual wood grain all credit goes to Allen, we talked about what I wanted and what he thought would work, and we worked out this combo which just makes me smile whenever I think about it.


mm stan
11-06-2010, 10:50 PM
I'm sure it makes you smile just looking at it and playing it....Have Fun and Enjoy Man!!! Happy Strummings Brother!!!!!

11-14-2010, 06:06 PM
Here is the thread that Allen put up in the building forum - everything is 100% completed, it will be in my hands next week *fingers crossed*

Hippie Dribble
11-14-2010, 06:19 PM
wow Monty...thrilled for you mate. That just looks incredible. Well done to you and Allen. Can't wait for the sound clip...and thanks for sharing the journey with each of us, it's been great to watch the dream become real. Wishing you many years of enjoyment with her brother! eugene

11-14-2010, 06:23 PM
Thanks eugene, I just knew I had to share the experience with everyone because I just love watching other people's custom stories unfold. Its a special process, and this forum allows everyone in some way to share in it together. I think that is what's so special about UU, its ability to create shared delight from an instrument that is so simple but will never be mastered! (except by jake... but i'm sure even he thinks he's not good enough).

11-14-2010, 08:04 PM
The Pickguard..The pickguard.. Wantt.....

11-30-2010, 12:54 AM
Hey everyone, its me again! The uke came, i've played it for about a week, and i've posted a review. Whooooo. Hope you enjoy :)


11-30-2010, 01:11 AM
Just wonderful. Amazing uke and great playing. Thanks for sharing.

11-30-2010, 04:29 AM
Congrats on the new uke. I hope it brings you many years of enjoyment.

11-30-2010, 09:33 AM
It sounds as beautiful as it looks! Marry it!

11-30-2010, 11:11 AM
Wow! I missed this thread early on but just had the sped up version of start to finish. What a fantastic new uke. Congrats Monty. Really love the shape on it and the detail is visually appealing... hmm quite. Have fun dude.:shaka: yeewww!!