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View Full Version : Reprising the Fun Build for mendel



Bradford
03-29-2011, 08:04 AM
I'm building a custom uke for mendel and he has requested that I document the process here. He liked the Fun Build and wanted something unique, so this will be a concert size, solo version out of koa and myrtle. Here are a couple of pics of the top.

Brad

johntz
03-29-2011, 09:07 AM
That is stunning!!! Is there a reason the sound holes are different sizes in the different woods?

mendel
03-29-2011, 09:22 AM
Thank you Bradford!!! I'm incredibly excited about this!!!

tattwo
03-29-2011, 09:29 AM
Thats great Brad!......I cant wait to see more pictures

fitncrafty
03-29-2011, 09:42 AM
Thank you Bradford!!! I'm incredibly excited about this!!!

I am incredibly jealous!! Can't wait to see what's next mendel.. Exciting stuff!

mm stan
03-29-2011, 10:14 AM
Aloha Bradford,
Look Awesome man....interesting contrast and design in the two woods..and holes...Wow mendel you lucky guy...getting a custom already....wish I had earlier too...Thanks for sharing...we'll be waiting
for more pictures...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

mendel
03-29-2011, 10:29 AM
Hi Stan! I am excited! I can't wait! I've read a ton of things about the K brands and customs as well. I know that K Brands will always be there, but this is an opportunity to witness a build, speak to an incredibly knowledgable luthier, Bradford, and learn a lot along the way. I'm thrilled about this!!!

sukie
03-29-2011, 11:12 AM
Hi Stan! I am excited! I can't wait! I've read a ton of things about the K brands and customs as well. I know that K Brands will always be there, but this is an opportunity to witness a build, speak to an incredibly knowledgable luthier, Bradford, and learn a lot along the way. I'm thrilled about this!!!

As you should be. Looks fabulous. :-)

Chopper
03-29-2011, 11:52 AM
Wow! Mendel, you are in for a real treat!

bluesuke
03-29-2011, 12:20 PM
Looks great Brad ! I look forward to seeing the progress

v30
03-30-2011, 01:46 AM
pretty cool to be able to watch your uke being built.

mendel
03-30-2011, 02:50 AM
It is an awesome experience. That was a major reason that I feel so happy to have Bradford build the Uke for me. He is so great about documenting the process and posting pics that I will really get the opportunity to learn about the instrument as it is being built. Also, Bradford knows not only how to build the instrument, but he is always willing to explain why certain things are done in the process.

Dave Higham
03-30-2011, 09:49 AM
Looks very striking so far Bradford. Did you not think of using myrtle for the rosette in the koa and vice versa? Seems like the obvious choice to me.

Bradford
03-30-2011, 10:31 AM
Thanks Dave, that would have been an idea, but I did not have any koa or myrtle veneers and I did have these others, so I grabbed what was handy. Also, in the vein of the Fun Build, I'm throwing in a number of woods.

Brad

Bradford
03-30-2011, 11:50 AM
And here is the back. Lets see, I've got a couple of O's and an X, maybe there is a theme here. The start of the Hugs and Kisses uke.

Brad

tattwo
03-30-2011, 11:57 AM
I love it!! :drool:

joeybug
03-30-2011, 12:10 PM
And here is the back. Lets see, I've got a couple of O's and an X, maybe there is a theme here. The start of the Hugs and Kisses uke.

Brad

That is one cool looking Uke!!! :drool:

mendel
03-30-2011, 01:53 PM
Perfect name Bradford!!! It reflects what I am fortunate enough to say my life has become with my beautiful family. Every time I play, I can think about the people I love and be even happier!!!! That Uke has a sweet caboose!!! I love the back!!!

What ideas are you kicking around for the neck and fretboard and headstock??? This looks incredible!!!!

Bradford
03-30-2011, 05:17 PM
Hey mendel, as you approve of the concept, I will continue with the theme. The peghead, fretboard, bridge and end graft all offer potential sites, probably in the form of abalone or wood inlays. Here are some pics of some more materials, the sides are koa, maple bindings with b/w/b purflings, the piece of Macassar ebony would make a good fretboard and bridge. Some notes on the design; mendel and I have sent many emails back and forth prior to this point. We selected a combination of koa and myrtle, and he stated a preference for an offset soundhole. I thought the second smaller soundhole would add some interest. The four piece back was a concept that I presented to him and he liked. I am very pleased the way it looks in person. I have read many of the threads that mendel has started on UU, so with that, and our emails, I think I have a pretty good idea of what is most important to him, his family, so the Hugs and Kisses theme was a natural. By moving the soundholes up and to the side, you increase the area of the soundboard that vibrates, so I'm hoping for a strong voice. I am now considering how I will brace things.
Brad

mendel
04-01-2011, 02:30 PM
I exchanged a few emails with Bradford this afternoon. He has some incredible ideas for this build. The guy has the vision of an artist and the craftsmanship skills of a master craftsman. I can't wait until the next pics are posted. The ideas he has made me flip!!!!

Bradford
04-03-2011, 03:42 PM
I thought I would be able to do some work and post some more pics today. I went for a walk on the beach this morning, came came across a beaver in the surf. Beavers are not marine mammals, and this guy was in trouble. With my wife, ignoring animals in distress is not an option, so 5 hours later, with a lot of help from friends, said beaver is in the hands of the North Coast Wildlife Rescue people and I am exhausted. I'll try to get some work done tomorrow.

Brad

mendel
04-03-2011, 04:00 PM
That sounds like a more noble pursuit than working on a Sunday! Glad the beaver is alright! How did you go about rescuing it? I've heard they can be quite vicious! Nothing like that here in South Florida... We have otters with rabies instead.....

Bradford
04-03-2011, 06:20 PM
The bulk of the day was spent keeping curious people from scaring the beaver out into the surf, while we assembled the rescue team. The rescue itself was hairy, we waited until a big wave knocked him up on the sand and receded, leaving the beaver 40' from the water. A quick sprint allowed us to get one net and then another net on him and drag him into a dog crate. I don't think of them as vicious, but he naturally tried to defend himself and they chew down trees.

Brad

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 06:34 PM
Great work with both the beaver AND the ukulele, Brad!

Bradford
04-04-2011, 05:27 PM
Here are some progress pics.

Brad

Michael Smith
04-04-2011, 07:09 PM
Very cool endgraft!!!

mendel
04-05-2011, 12:07 AM
I love the sides and the endgraft!

fitncrafty
04-05-2011, 12:40 AM
I love the sides and the endgraft!

Oh I am just sick with envy.. it's gorgeous! You are one lucky uker mendel!

Vic D
04-05-2011, 03:44 AM
Fantastic! I just love these, and that one is... well fantastic lol...

mendel
04-05-2011, 04:44 AM
I am thrilled with this Uke. I cant wait for Brad to post a sound sample. Its always a treat to hear him play an instrument that he built from scratch and sing a tune......

Bradford
04-05-2011, 01:35 PM
Thank you mendel, the was a thread a while back that laid into those of us that sing while doing a sound sample. Unfortunately, I do not play any instrumental songs all that well, so if I don't sing, things are a little flat.

Brad

mendel
04-05-2011, 02:05 PM
That's the thing I like so much about Uke.... It doesn't matter what others think. Willie Nelson said it best when he said "It's not about how well you sing, it's about how much the singing means to you. Song isn't what's beautiful, expression is". Forget about what others think and have fun. That's what this whole thing is about, after all.

Bradford
04-07-2011, 09:38 AM
Had a rare chance to take some pics in the sun. Here is the neck and peghead.

Brad

tattwo
04-07-2011, 10:16 AM
Brad is it 1.5 at the nut?

Bradford
04-07-2011, 11:35 AM
No, It is 1.375" at the nut.

Brad

tattwo
04-07-2011, 12:00 PM
It looks amazing Brad. Im looking forward to a sound sample

mendel
04-07-2011, 02:34 PM
I am chomping at the bit to hear it too.

Vic D
04-07-2011, 03:30 PM
The latest photos made me chuckle... the kind of chuckle when you see something you really really like. Much goodness in this uke.

And I love the way the grain from each piece in the body flows the same way as the adjoining pieces... I bet this uke will sound awesome.

ukeeku
04-07-2011, 04:21 PM
Brad is like a mad scientist of ukes, that is so cool

Bradford
04-07-2011, 06:33 PM
That made me laugh. Actually, the original fun build sounded so good and unique, it opened my eyes to some of the possibilities. While walking my dog on the beach today, I found a pallet with one quartersawn board of mystery wood. I tried, but I couldn't get it apart wothout splitting the wood.

Brad

mendel
04-08-2011, 12:08 AM
It is really cool the way all the luthiers are excited about one anothers work. In most fields people would be competitive, but you all thrive on one anothers successes. Once again, the Uke community makes me smile! Brad- this looks beautiful. It looks like a truly happy instrument!!!

ukegirl13
04-08-2011, 06:05 PM
And here is the back. Lets see, I've got a couple of O's and an X, maybe there is a theme here. The start of the Hugs and Kisses uke.

Brad

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Bradford
04-11-2011, 05:10 PM
Tomorrow I string it up.

Brad

Chris Tarman
04-11-2011, 06:09 PM
That looks amazing!

Vic D
04-11-2011, 06:17 PM
Bravo! I absolutely love the Xs and Os.

mendel
04-12-2011, 12:09 AM
Unreal. Absolutely perfect!!!

fitncrafty
04-12-2011, 12:29 AM
Beautiful.. absolutely stunning!

mm stan
04-12-2011, 01:39 AM
Sweeeeeeeeeeet:shaka: You:rock::cheers:

johntz
04-12-2011, 02:11 AM
Gorgeous. Very well done!!!

tattwo
04-12-2011, 02:22 AM
Well done Brad.......Beautiful :drool:

mendel
04-12-2011, 04:39 AM
I cant wait to hear a sound sample!!! are you going to put your signature "D" on the headstock???

Ronnie Aloha
04-12-2011, 06:07 AM
That is really cutting edge. Great vision.

Bradford
04-12-2011, 04:29 PM
OK, I got it strung up with Martin clear FC strings. I like them. Here is a sound sample, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0y6weRKBOU

Brad

bluesuke
04-12-2011, 04:51 PM
Sounds great Brad! Good volume and a warm tone at least to my ear

UkeforJC
04-12-2011, 06:47 PM
hi! Brad, it sounds great.
by the way
Is it easy to apply finish while the bridge is on the uke?

mendel
04-13-2011, 02:07 AM
The sound sample is awesome!!! I can't wait to receive that Uke! The sound, even on the recording, is light years better than anything I have heard in person. I am not in a place where there are a variety of Ukes around to sample. In fact, I have never heard a Kanilea, a Koaloha, a Kamaka, an Ohana, or any other really nice brand. I have heard mostly Lanikai Ukes at my local Sam Ash store...oh, and a dolphin! This is so exciting for me. The volume, and the depth and tone sound incredible!

Canoe Lady
04-13-2011, 05:45 AM
Sounds awesome. The excitement and the waiting has to be torture!

mendel
04-13-2011, 06:01 AM
It is!!! But, I know it will be well worth it. Brad is very well reputed as a Luthier, and he has a devoted fan base on this forum.

Bradford
04-13-2011, 08:03 AM
Thanks everyone. UkeforJC, it is not any harder to apply the finsh with the bridge on, I just mask the bridge off. The problem is trying to rub out and buff the finish with the bridge on. That like many aspects of building, is a compromise. I prefer to attach the neck and bridge before finishing and know that those glue joints are as good as I can make them, and deal with the cosmetic issues later. I have tried Bob Gleason's method of using a hot chisel to remove lacquer and found that a little too exciting for me.

Brad

fitncrafty
04-13-2011, 08:09 AM
Amazing look and sound.. Mendel you must be jumping out of your skin with excitement to get it in your hands! wow..

UkeforJC
04-13-2011, 08:41 AM
Thanks everyone. UkeforJC, it is not any harder to apply the finsh with the bridge on, I just mask the bridge off. The problem is trying to rub out and buff the finish with the bridge on. That like many aspects of building, is a compromise. I prefer to attach the neck and bridge before finishing and know that those glue joints are as good as I can make them, and deal with the cosmetic issues later. I have tried Bob Gleason's method of using a hot chisel to remove lacquer and found that a little too exciting for me.

Brad

Thanks Brad.
I am always so tempted to just put the bridge on and string it up, once the body and neck are assembled. I am just so eagered to know how the instrument sounds and how is the intonation.
I might give it a try ..

mendel
04-15-2011, 01:01 AM
I keep looking at the pics. You have done an incredible job Bradford. Thank you!

mendel
04-19-2011, 03:12 PM
I am completely jonesing for this Uke!!!! I'm so psyched!! How's the finish going Bradford???

downtoearthed
04-19-2011, 04:17 PM
This looks like (and sounds like) such a beautiful uke! It was great to watch the progress in this thread...post more pics when the uke arrives!

Bradford
04-20-2011, 12:15 PM
The finish has been sprayed on. I plan to rub it out next Wednesday and ship it on Thursday.

Brad

mendel
04-20-2011, 02:23 PM
WOW!!!! I thought it would be much longer for the finish! I cannot wait to get it in my hands and start strumming it!

I have a question for you Bradford- I've been showing off the pics to my students and friends. I have some people that are curious if you also build guitars. In fact, one person told me that he has always wanted a simple mahogany handmade guitar for years. Not really any desire for bling type stuff. Just a hand-built acoustic. Do you do all fretted instruments?

Bradford
04-20-2011, 03:27 PM
Hi mendel, I've built and sold 17 guitars, nine were arch tops and the rest flat tops of various sizes. The other fretted instruments I build are mandolins. I'm starting on an F model mando now. I'll post some progress pics of it in the non uke section. I happen to have some mahogany guitar sets that I got on sale from Hibdon, so if your friend wants a quote, send me an email.

Brad

mendel
04-20-2011, 03:40 PM
I will let him know tomorrow. Thanks Brad! BTW- I was playing the sound sample you posted on YouTube, and my son started dancing! Apparently, he likes your voice too. Sing it out Man!!!

mendel
05-02-2011, 08:13 AM
I'm so antsy!!! I can't wait to get it!!!!!!!