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View Full Version : Does anyone have a Sonny D?



Landon
02-01-2008, 06:56 PM
Story time!


So the other day i went outside to grab a flat head screw driver to tune one of my ukuleles, some of the older kamakas have a screw on the peg to keep it from going out of tune, which i hardly do. The tool shed is in the garage where my dad and his friend were talking story. so i tune my uke and start playing Hawaiian Suppa Man, Troy Fernandez style, which is kinda like a warm up for me that i do. but anyways my dads friend, or Uncle Ray as i know him, looked shocked lol so i guess he didnt know i could play. When i stood up to leave he said sit and play a couple more songs. so i ended up playing for quite a while my dad even went and grabed another uke and we started jamming some songs for him.

So eventually he told me he had a uke the same size as mine (Tenor) that he dosn't play. He said he bought it 2 years ago and didnt find the time to take lessons. i asked him if he knew the brand name and it was a Sonny D.

Before i said anything he told me i can have it!

I've only played on 1 Sonny D before, it was a six string, Low G and was really nice. For whatever reason though i don't know what to expect from it. He said he was going to bring it over sometime next week!

Which brings me to ask...Does anyone have a Sonny D? How do you like it?

tripl3thr33
02-01-2008, 07:28 PM
i personally dont have one but someone in my uke class has one, i believe it was a soprano. it sounds awesome. my teacher also approves of it and says a lot of good things about sonny d's.

NukeDOC
02-01-2008, 07:28 PM
ive never played one. but the ones ive seen on ebay were nice looking. if you dont want it, can i have it? hahaha.

Landon
02-01-2008, 07:40 PM
ive never played one. but the ones ive seen on ebay were nice looking. if you dont want it, can i have it? hahaha.

haha you would have first dibs for sure. but its suppose to be one of the top brands. Up there with Kamaka's. i swear i played one but never thought much of it i guess since i dont even remember how it looked other then it being 6 string.

grappler
02-01-2008, 08:11 PM
Yeah i heard they are pretty cool aswell.

rayan
02-01-2008, 10:01 PM
I've only really had my hands one one Sonny D and to be honest, it was one of the ugliest ukes I've ever seen, the book-matching was off by almost an entire centimeter, frets weren't evenly spaced, I could go on and on with what was wrong with the thing. Then when I played it, I was completely blown away by how good it sounded.

That is very cool that you're getting one.

JTY
02-02-2008, 05:29 PM
Troy Fernandez plays Sonny D ukes.

http://www.leohawaii.com/sub5.htm

Landon
02-02-2008, 05:38 PM
Troy Fernandez plays Sonny D ukes.

http://www.leohawaii.com/sub5.htm

haha yeah i know. i want to see it already!

studentaccount1
02-02-2008, 10:49 PM
I have a Sonny D concert that I have played since I was a teenager. It was my first real uke. I like it.

UkuLeLesReggAe
02-02-2008, 11:05 PM
never heard or even seen it before :S looks sweet though

puremarkska
02-02-2008, 11:58 PM
Back in the day, Sonny D was one of the top uke makers ... if you get your hands on an older one that's still in good shape, it's hard to beat. But I heard that the guy who made them never trained anyone to carry on his craft, and because he's getting older, his work isn't as spot on as it used to be. Very few music shops carry his stuff anymore. But if you can find a decent one, definitely hang on to it. It will be worth a lot someday (might be already!)

deach
09-09-2008, 07:06 AM
I'm glad I used the search feature. I was about to buy one of these.

Fid
03-19-2009, 08:10 PM
Hi folks,

I have a Sonny D Tenor uke that I've had since about 96. I used to hang out at Sonny's shop in Waipahu when I could during that time. He builds his ukes by hand, with the help of his son-in-law. The one I have sounds out of this world - for my taste. It's bright, with nice strong lows. He put a Shadow pickup in it, which sounds surprisingly natural. I've used my uke many times to record, and for live shows and it always shines through. The one I have is my third Sonny D. The first one was a Concert size, which turned out to be too small for me. I bought a Tenor, which I loved, but it got stolen after a gig out in Nanakuli. When I told Sonny about the uke getting stolen, and told him I wanted to buy another one, he said, "Gimme couple weeks, I make one fo' you". So, two weeks later, I went back to his shop, he took me to where he had some Tenors hanging in the back. He took the one on the very end down and handed it to me, saying, "Hea, try dis one". As soon as I strummed the first chord, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. He pulled a fast one on me about the price - in MY favor :D . That's how Sonny is, special kinda guy, big heart, and super pride in his work. His wife is one super wahine also.

I watched Sonny, when he was working, one of the things I noticed is that he would tap on the wood, sand, tap again, and when he was satisfied, he would move on to the next piece.

I moved from Hawaii in 2000, haven't been back since, I heard Sonny retired. I hope life is treating him well. And Sonny, if you're reading this, mahalo, and your ukulele are the best!

ka0tikguy
03-19-2009, 08:43 PM
Back in the day, Sonny D was one of the top uke makers ... if you get your hands on an older one that's still in good shape, it's hard to beat. But I heard that the guy who made them never trained anyone to carry on his craft, and because he's getting older, his work isn't as spot on as it used to be. Very few music shops carry his stuff anymore. But if you can find a decent one, definitely hang on to it. It will be worth a lot someday (might be already!)

I agree with pure. He used to make really good ukes back in the day. I took lessons at his shop and he is an awesome ukulele maker. but not the maker that he was back in the day. I own a custom-concert koa, high gloss. There's a lot of flaws that you'd notice, but it does sound awesome.

PeformanceUke
10-04-2009, 02:18 PM
Back in the day, Sonny D was one of the top uke makers ... if you get your hands on an older one that's still in good shape, it's hard to beat. But I heard that the guy who made them never trained anyone to carry on his craft, and because he's getting older, his work isn't as spot on as it used to be. Very few music shops carry his stuff anymore. But if you can find a decent one, definitely hang on to it. It will be worth a lot someday (might be already!)


Were did you heard this information from?


Sonny D still makes ukuleles and his son Dwayne has been building ukuleles beside him his whole life. There the best ukulele builders in my opinion and the sound cannot be compared.

Sonny d is getting older but his work is still top notch and i haven't notice anything unordinary.I have a recent custom ukulele made by him and his work is far best craftsmanship i ever seen. Sonny d is more low key he is out there to make a good performance instruments not to cash in and mass produce ukuleles. All his ukuleles are made with heart and aloha and that's how a ukulele should be made.

I only have good words to say about sonny D he is very humble.


Sonny d's contact is 808-6710627

PeformanceUke
10-04-2009, 02:23 PM
i dont think Sonny builds anymore, which is a shame. supposedly his son didnt want to take on the craft.

when i bought my wai'olu, i was talking to Kimo Bajet, the brother of Mark Bajet who owns Wai'olu. he said Sonny D asked him to build out of his shop, making Sonny D's and Wai'olu's. Mark gracefully declined and now they build on their own, in fact i hear they will have their own booth at this years 'ukulele festival.

Hello, Kaneohe till the end.

Let me tell something about sonny d.

Sonny d is a humble man i wouldn't believe this story. Sonny d has his shop in waipahu and it has been there close to 40 years. Why would he want to build out of some unknown shop our builder when he and his son are so skilled legendary at making ukuleles?

I personally know there family . Also Sonny D's & son Dwayne is well into the crafts of ukulele building and he is one of the best out there cause he grew up with the best . I never heard of this brand wai'olu. And your statement doesn't make sense.

Can you please tell kimo bajet to call sonny d about this matter cause I told him about this post and he has never heard of waiolu our bajet. 808-671-0627

Kaneohe til the end
10-04-2009, 04:56 PM
Hello, Kaneohe till the end.

Let me tell something about sonny d.

Sonny d is a humble man i wouldn't believe this story. Sonny d has his shop in waipahu and it has been there close to 40 years. Why would he want to build out of some unknown shop our builder when he and his son are so skilled legendary at making ukuleles?

I personally know there family . Also Sonny D's son is well into the crafts of ukulele building and he is one of the best out there cause he grew up with the best. I never heard of this brand wai'olu. And it doesn't make sense.

Can you please tell kimo bajet to call sonny d about this matter cause I told him about this post and he has never heard of waiolu our bajet. 808-671-0627

the story i heard was that Sonny D asked Kimo to build out of Sonny's shop, and in fact reading over my last post, i thought that came out(if not, my bad). true or not, i dont know, just saying what i heard. i lost contact after i bought that uke anyway.

Howie1947
04-04-2010, 03:12 AM
I had the chance to go out to Sonny D's uke shop last July. What an experience. He is a "one man" do it all. He has no employees to my knowledge. His shop looks like a disaster area, but he turns out some sweet sounding and for the most part nice looking ukes. I think he makes them more as a hobby than for a profit. He is a colorful gentleman with many storys to tell. I could have spent the entire day listening to him I dont own a Sonny D but if I had the opportunity to come by one for my collection, I certainly would get one !

fumanshu
04-04-2010, 05:04 AM
Howie1947, does he have ukes in stock and ready to be sold at his shop or he's only taking commision work and then start building them?

Howie1947
04-04-2010, 07:16 AM
Fumanshu..................I can't be certain, but I think most of his ukes are made to order. He may have some 2nds around the shop. I'm not sure. I went there with a friend who was thinking about having one custom made. He was the nicest guy, real down to earth. No high pressure.

countrybumpkin
04-04-2010, 09:42 AM
I stopped by his shop over the last 2 months or so. Also ran into him at Ukulele Legends in Concert where we both went up to talk to Eddie Kamae. I haven't talked to him about a custom, but he produces his instrument in batches. Best to call to see what he's working on or has available in the shop.

Kanaka916
04-04-2010, 11:01 AM
Why not give him a call . . . contact info can be found on the 808 Builders List (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16211-808-Builders).

pithaya9
04-04-2010, 11:05 AM
I've seen some of Sonny's work and the are excellent looking.

toerebangin
04-12-2010, 09:13 AM
i have a custom 6 string tenor, it is beautiful i couldnt ask for anything better

generic808
05-06-2010, 11:10 AM
I've been jammin' on my Sonny D tenor 6 string since 1995 and absolutely love it! I'm looking for a new concert size 4 string and spoke with aunty at the Waipahu shop today trying to set up something. I'm thinking about having one shipped out here to Oregon where I now reside. I used to live 10 minutes from Sonny's shop in Waipahu. Sonny makes top notch ukes!!

Wally Choi
09-21-2012, 10:57 AM
I have a Sonny D 6 string Ukulele. I bought at Pop's pawn shop in Waipahu, HI about 10 years ago. It plays and sounds great, especially when you want to pick and play flamenco music, etc.

I have 5 Ukulele's and only can play one at a time. I will sell my Sonny D 6 string Ukulele, if the price is right. It's made out of Koa wood, etc.

soneedee
10-16-2012, 07:32 AM
I have a Sonny D concert and love it. Is the tenor for sale/

gitarzan
10-16-2012, 10:40 AM
I had a Sunny D this morning. meh.