View Full Version : Hugs and Kisses Review (WIll add to this as time permits)

05-12-2011, 07:31 AM
Many of you UUers are aware that I purchased a Concert size Uke from resident luthier, Bradford Donaldson. In my opinion, this process had three stages: conceptualization, the build, the arrival.

Brad is a dream to work with. He is exceptionally god about explaining the reasoning behind suggestions, and he has tremendous artistic vision. This stage of the process was long for me, as Brad had prior commitments and an unfortunate issue that required his immediate attention. In addition, I was not very knowledgeable about the building process and this experience was a learning process for me, as Brad provided very clear explanations and answers to every single question I posed. In the end, we arrived at a koa and myrtle wood design that featured a 2 piece front, a 4 piece back, and multiple offset sound holes including a side sound hole. In addition, Brad explained scale length, intonation, and the manner in which good luthiers build imperceptible arches into the fronts and backs of their instruments in order to accommodate humidity changes and other environmental factors to prevent the instrument from breaking. The build was to include accents that fit my personal interests. Bradford and I spoke regularly via email throughout the process, and just as I began to develop my ideas of who Brad is as an individual, he was also developing his ideas about me. This resulted in Brad designing the Uke with X and O accents as a nod to the love of family that I expressed to him in our communication. His idea was brilliant.

The Build:
The build process of this Uke was extensively documented in the Reprising the Fun Build for Mendel (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?44592-Reprising-the-Fun-Build-for-mendel) thread.

The Arrival:
The day the Uke arrived I was ecstatic. I carefully unwrapped the instrument and let it acclimate for a night. I woke up early the next morning to play it, and I am loathe to put it down. Every single thing about this instrument screams of beauty and the TLC that was put into the build and design process. The action is better than anything I have experienced before, granted my experience thus far has been limited. Regardless, this instrument feels so natural in my hands that I cannot imagine ever finding an instrument that elicits the sheer joy that I feel when I strum her strings. I was surprised by the size of the soundbox, because my Lanikai Concert size is significantly larger, and upon learning of this, Bradford offered to build me an entirely new instrument in order for me to be completely satisfied. Let me explain my response: I am sure that someday I will ask Bradford to build me a new instrument, but my reasoning is NOT due to being unhappy with this Uke. This Uke is exceptional in every single way, shape, and form. I will ask him to build another one someday because of how unbelievably perfect this instrument is!!!

In summary, Bradford Donaldson is an exceptional luthier. I highly reccomend that anyone considering a custom Uke contact this gentleman. I cannot imagine a rational and intelligent person feeling unsatisfied with any step of this process. In addition, his prices are unbelievable. Please check out the blog about Bradford on Ukeeku.com (cannot find the link, but it would be great if someone would post it as a response to this thread).

Bradford- Thank you for an increddible instrument- and an intellectually and musically stimulating experience. You are an asset to this board, and to the musical community. I cannot express how thrilled I am as a customer. Thank you.

I feel as if this purchase had cured UAS. I cannot imagine choosing to play any other instrument while this one sits in a case....

mm stan
05-12-2011, 10:23 AM
Aloha Mendel,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Brad and your ukulele....and I am so happy to hear you are a satisfied customer of your wonderful instrument...Happy Strummings, MM Stan

05-12-2011, 10:25 AM
Hey Mendel -- where's the photos? You gotta put up photos. Or have I missed them?

05-12-2011, 10:28 AM
This is an incredible review! Thank you.. It is nice to see that someone can have such a personalized and incredible experience purchasing..
Can't wait to hear YOUR sound sample!

05-12-2011, 11:00 AM
Hey Mendel -- where's the photos? You gotta put up photos. Or have I missed them?

Sukie - click on the link in Mendel's review -

Oh, heck. Just click HERE (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?44592-Reprising-the-Fun-Build-for-mendel) and you'll find lots of pictures!

05-13-2011, 04:11 PM
Thank you very much mendel. I am reminded of the old adage that says,"Do something you love, and you will never work a day in your life." Not only did I really enjoy building your uke, but now I have a friend in Florida, it does not get any better than that.