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itsscottwilder
01-27-2012, 04:50 AM
Just contacted Brad yesterday and put my name on his production schedule.

Very excited.

It will be my first ever custom built instrument of any kind.

Lori
01-27-2012, 05:41 AM
Just contacted Brad yesterday and put my name on his production schedule.

Very excited.

It will be my first ever custom built instrument of any kind.

Congratulations! What is he going to make for you? Details!

–Lori

MisterRios
01-27-2012, 05:50 AM
Oooooh. I've also been thinking about a custom, but have just started saving, and I also have no idea what it would look like. Bradford is at the top of my list, though, so I would also be interested in details...

itsscottwilder
01-27-2012, 05:53 AM
A tenor for sure. High G 4th string

Still thinking through it.

I know I want it to have a very clear sound.

Many acoustic string instruments have a tubbiness in the 400 to 600 Hz frequencies. So I'll be interested to hear Brad's thoughts on what woods to use.

I was thinking Bamboo would bo nice because of its eco-friendliness. But I don't think it will give me the bight, clear sound I'm looking for.

(I don't think I hear what everyone else hears when they use the word bright).

Wold welcome any and all ideas and suggestions.

ukebuilder
01-27-2012, 08:28 AM
Congrats on the order, His ukes are great. I think of Ceder for the top when I want bright.

Lori
01-27-2012, 09:10 AM
Brad will help you with your choice. He is very good at artfully choosing wood grains, and combining them on his ukes. You might consider myrtle wood, and possibly maple, as well as the cedar/ spruce tops.

–Lori

Hippie Dribble
01-27-2012, 09:35 AM
A tenor for sure. High G 4th string

Still thinking through it.

I know I want it to have a very clear sound.

Many acoustic string instruments have a tubbiness in the 400 to 600 Hz frequencies. So I'll be interested to hear Brad's thoughts on what woods to use.

I was thinking Bamboo would bo nice because of its eco-friendliness. But I don't think it will give me the bight, clear sound I'm looking for.

(I don't think I hear what everyone else hears when they use the word bright).

Wold welcome any and all ideas and suggestions.

ooooh, don't use bamboo Scott...ouch mate. Eco friendly maybe but a thin, dead sound and poor volume and sustain. Might give you brightness but for brightness read brittle...stay away!!!!!! Aaaarrggghhh...don't get me wrong, most ukes I own are built from brighter tonewoods - sycamore, walnut...I've also owned a couple of solid maple ukes and loved them but there's a fine line

Don't want to tear you away from Brad, but if you want something different, and a bright clear sounding tenor, get the Mya Moe folks to build you one from Sycamore or Walnut...gorgeous tones, it'll ring like a bell.

Anyway congrats on the order Scott, keep us posted mate :)

itsscottwilder
01-27-2012, 09:42 AM
ooooh, don't use bamboo Scott...ouch mate. Eco friendly maybe but a thin, dead sound and poor volume and sustain. Might give you brightness but for brightness read brittle...stay away!!!!!! Aaaarrggghhh...don't get me wrong, most ukes I own are built from brighter tonewoods - sycamore, walnut...I've also owned a couple of solid maple ukes and loved them but there's a fine line

Don't want to tear you away from Brad, but if you want something different, and a bright clear sounding tenor, get the Mya Moe folks to build you one from Sycamore or Walnut...gorgeous tones, it'll ring like a bell.

Anyway congrats on the order Scott, keep us posted mate :)

Thanks for the input. I've heard enough reservations about bamboo that I'm crossing it off the list.

Brad also waived me away from bamboo.

And I don't want a thin or brittle tone. I just want to dial back the lower mids ever so slightly.

I'll definitely keep this thread updated as decisions are made and the build progresses.

cletus
01-27-2012, 10:03 AM
I'm on the schedule for a vintage style long neck soprano from Brad... leaning towards a cedar top at the moment.

Gmoneys new Donaldson uke was the one that sent me over the edge, a real classy looking instrument.:drool:


:old:

GinnyT11
01-27-2012, 11:24 AM
I got on Brad's build list for a soprano uke last July and we got to choosing wood in December. What with the holidays and his being generous and kind to other luthiers, Brad's still working on my uke. I am being very patient because I love, love, love what's being developed! To commemorate a happy 10 years Mr. T and I spent in the Pacific NW, I asked for a Washington Sitka bearclaw spruce soundboard, with Oregon myrtle back and sides, and not much bling so that the wood would stand out. The binding and rosette are plain walnut.

The woods Brad picked are terrific. The uke body is more beautiful than I had imagined (I can't take my eyes off the spruce!), and his use of the myrtle striping is stunning. I am absolutely thrilled about how it's going.

I can't decide now about the finish. I usually like semi-gloss, but I think this would look great with a gloss finish...I'm still thinking about it.


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GX9901
01-27-2012, 11:56 AM
Just out of curiosity, how long is Brad Donaldson's wait list?

Drew Bear
01-27-2012, 12:09 PM
Two weeks ago it was 9 months.

GX9901
01-27-2012, 12:17 PM
Two weeks ago it was 9 months.

Thanks. That's a pretty good wait. The OP will have ample time to figure out his specs (it can change drastically between order date and build date, depending on the length of the time in between).

To the OP: Did you really start playing the ukulele a month ago? That's very impressive that you not only have a uke podcast but also have a custom uke on order already!

itsscottwilder
01-27-2012, 01:40 PM
Thanks. That's a pretty good wait. The OP will have ample time to figure out his specs (it can change drastically between order date and build date, depending on the length of the time in between).

To the OP: Did you really start playing the ukulele a month ago? That's very impressive that you not only have a uke podcast but also have a custom uke on order already!

Yes. I have a guitar background so the chording is no biggie (except to keep remembering that D on a guitar is G on Uke). The right hand on the other hand is kicking my butt. Still have days where strumming with my pointer finger doesn't feel natural.

As for the podcast, I was really disappointed that so many Uke podcasts had been abandoned. And I understand why. It's hard to keep coming up with ideas for new episodes. That's why Uke Weekly focuses on news and updates. Because there's always new news:)

I've never owned a custom instrument in my life. I'm simply not willing to part with 4 to 5 grand for a custom acoustic or electric guitar.

But to get a custom uke built expressly for me under $1000. Yeah I'm all about that. I know that I want to do two things. I've seen some turtle inlays on the web so I want to see if that's an option for the fretboard and headstock (and soundhole possibly). And then somewhere on the uke I want 'J.J.' to appear. It's my son's name. And this instrument will be alot like him. Small, bright, and a ton of fun to play with!!! :)

mm stan
01-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Aloha GT,
My experience with bearclaw spuce is that some are really bright...and I had one that sounded more like a guitar...that was a tenor though...not my favorite on a custom...

TheCraftedCow
01-27-2012, 08:53 PM
If you want to be eco-friendly, use some of the American woods. Myrtle can have every bit as nice of figure as any more exotic wood. Quilted maple can make any other wood look plain. Both Myrtle and Maple hold their own as far as production of sound. I have two identical instruments except for the top. The Adirondack Spruce top instrument has a far more mellow sound than the all mahogany. When Brad builds my concert sized pineapple, it will be myrtle top-back sides, and if the chunk of wood will lend itself to the application, so will be the neck. If not, the neck will be figured maple and the fretboard flame grain black walnut. Yep!! It'll have 743AF PEGHEDS for the tuners, and a tail button for the strap. Of the 16 colours I make from webbing, I'll have to see which one goes with it...or perhaps use some of the Oregon tanned leather to tool and braid a strap for it. We will also discuss a smaller hole in the front and a side port on the front upper side. It will also be strung through the body rather than tied to the tailpiece.

bluesuke
01-28-2012, 05:22 AM
My experience with sound boards is that you will get a warmer sound with Cedar and Redwood and brighter sound out of Spruce.
But thats just my:2cents: I use a lot of Myrtle and I don't think you can go wrong with it

Drew Bear
01-28-2012, 07:28 AM
I don't think anyone considering buying a handcrafted ukulele needs to worry about selecting "eco-friendly" woods. Forests are not being mowed down to build ukulele. This is likely to be an instrument that is lovingly passed from musician to musician; maybe even generations of musicians. I'm not sure there's a better way for a tree to spend its second life than as a musical instrument.

I think Brad and other luthiers are turning to indigenous woods simply because it's easier to find high quality, instrument-grade lumber at more reasonable prices. I'm sure they adjust their uke design to take advantage of the unique tonal properties of these woods.

coolkayaker1
02-04-2012, 05:33 AM
I hopped on, for the second time (I already own a Donaldson Vintage soprano--my best ukulele, with Fremont Blacklines and Peghead tuners and all koa including headstock, thin waist, big sound), yesterday.

I'm on Brad's list for an all solid koa Vintage style Tenor! Thank you, Brad! Steve

itsscottwilder
02-04-2012, 06:48 AM
There seems to be more and more guys who are retired who love making Ukes out of their love for woodworking.

I just want to buy a Uke from each and every one of them!

Scott S.
02-04-2012, 10:03 AM
I'm on Brad's list for a build in May or June, I think. I'm thinking of a tenor with a myrtle body and neck, and a redwood top. Having grown up in the Northwest, I like the idea of an instrument made primarily of local wood, and I appreciate everyone's opinion of myrtle as a tone wood. I spent a fair amount of time on this Breedlove site which describes various tonewoods: http://www.breedlove-guitars.de/tonhoelzer.html?&L=1&cHash=7675864ba055b564b38782f971f4321e

This resource appears to put myrtle between rosewood/mahogany and maple tone-wise. Brad has mentioned that is pretty easy to bend. And GT that bearclaw spruce top is beautiful! Great figure in that wood.

coolkayaker1
02-04-2012, 01:21 PM
....................................

GinnyT11
02-05-2012, 07:18 AM
I spent a fair amount of time on this Breedlove site which describes various tonewoods: http://www.breedlove-guitars.de/tonh...8782f971f4321e

Scott, this is an interesting site to read about woods. If you're a perfectionist, it makes it harder to choose what your uke should be.
Working with Brad, you get his good ideas about what goes together soundwise, plus he has a great visual aesthetic. I told him what wood I wanted, and he chose very cool examples, then he put it together more beautifully than I thought possible. My ear is not as discerning as some players' and a uke's visual aesthetic means a lot to me. Mine is a step closer now...

http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t462/GT3T11/BDwoods.jpg

http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t462/GT3T11/bodyback.jpg

itsscottwilder
02-05-2012, 07:46 AM
Scott, this is an interesting site to read about woods. If you're a perfectionist, it makes it harder to choose what your uke should be.
Working with Brad, you get his good ideas about what goes together soundwise, plus he has a great visual aesthetic. I told him what wood I wanted, and he chose very cool examples, then he put it together more beautifully than I thought possible. My ear is not as discerning as some players' and a uke's visual aesthetic means a lot to me. Mine is a step closer now...

Gonna be a beautiful Uke. Keep up updated with your progress!

itsscottwilder
02-05-2012, 07:47 AM
....................................

Mine is slated for September as well :)

jwieties
02-05-2012, 08:20 AM
That looks amazing. Never would have thought of myrtle for the neck, bit thats incredible.

I'm also in the build que. for me it is all about playability. I love the size of the tenor for how it feels when holding. However, I'm thinking about looking into a slightly shorter scale... maybe 16.5. I also love the look of the vintage. When I first got on the list I asked Brad about a vintage tenor. He said he hasn't done one yet, but no reason why he couldn't. I'm excited to see some of these unfold to get ideas. I'm looking at an Aug build so I've got a few months before I really start thinking about things to seriously.

Scott S.
02-05-2012, 08:47 AM
I appreciate the updates and photos as well. As someone patiently waiting my turn, its fun to follow the progress. Its helps me to envision things I want on my own. That myrtle back is beautiful. Great colors and I really like how the grain patterns converge along the center seam. And it looks like a myrtle neck as well? I've read several places that myrtle makes a great neck wood, and visually, I think a myrtle neck and body look great together. Especially with the wood binding that compliments and draws the look together.

GinnyT11
02-05-2012, 09:17 AM
Okay, here's another picture. The binding is walnut. Rosewood fretboard.

I let Brad decide about the neck; that was all his idea...but I LOVE it! The headstock will have a veneer with original art on it that's part of my commemoration of our decade living in the Pacific NW.


http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t462/GT3T11/bodyfront.jpg

Scott S.
02-05-2012, 10:03 AM
The symmetry of that bearclaw top is pretty amazing. Its almost like book matched bearclaw, which I haven't seen before. The walnut rosette is a nice touch.

Bradford
02-05-2012, 11:27 AM
The top and back are both book matched. The bear claw Sitka is from a wedge from a mandolin set.

Brad

Scott S.
02-05-2012, 01:35 PM
Pretty amazing wood Brad!

Dan Uke
02-05-2012, 04:50 PM
The top and back are both book matched. The bear claw Sitka is from a wedge from a mandolin set.

Brad

Not sure what a wedge is but that's some good looking wood!

cletus
02-05-2012, 05:09 PM
Okay, here's another picture.
http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t462/GT3T11/bodyfront.jpg

Beautiful>:drool:

itsscottwilder
02-22-2012, 08:21 AM
Brad has been an amazing resource! With Brad's guidance everything is coming together really nicely.

I couldn't be happier.

Brad communicates quickly and in my opinion has been very up front and candid about how I should set my expectations.

I also appreciate his artistic sense. Just because an idea sounds really cool doesn't mean that it's going to work in the final product.

I'll post the details once I get his feedback on my latest (and hopefully last) set of requests.

cletus
02-22-2012, 09:58 AM
My long neck soprano vintage style is due around August. Leaning towards myrtle and cedar with rope binding at the moment...


:drool:

coolkayaker1
02-22-2012, 11:24 AM
That looks amazing. Never would have thought of myrtle for the neck, bit thats incredible.

I'm also in the build que. for me it is all about playability. I love the size of the tenor for how it feels when holding. However, I'm thinking about looking into a slightly shorter scale... maybe 16.5. I also love the look of the vintage. When I first got on the list I asked Brad about a vintage tenor. He said he hasn't done one yet, but no reason why he couldn't. I'm excited to see some of these unfold to get ideas. I'm looking at an Aug build so I've got a few months before I really start thinking about things to seriously.

I have a vintage tenor scheduled for approx September. Good, so Brad can practice on yours before he gets to mine, jw. LOL

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
02-22-2012, 11:54 AM
I have a vintage tenor scheduled for approx September. Good, so Brad can practice on yours before he gets to mine, jw. LOL

Yea, I'm October so he'll be all warmed up!!!! LOL

kaizersoza
02-22-2012, 12:04 PM
i've ordered a curly koa tenor with Brad and it won't be ready until october time, i can't wait and judging by the pics he is a perfectionist, great pics GT

laundromatt
02-22-2012, 01:52 PM
What kind of finish are you getting on your Donaldson ukes?

mendel
02-22-2012, 01:59 PM
You, Sir, have picked a winner. Brad is an incredible artist/ craftsman.

kaizersoza
02-22-2012, 02:19 PM
gloss hopefully, but i am open to suggestions

laundromatt
02-22-2012, 02:58 PM
gloss hopefully, but i am open to suggestions

Are you getting nitro? or just polish?

kaizersoza
02-22-2012, 03:13 PM
l want something thats hardwearing but don't mute projection, so at the moment the jury is out on that one, i will certainly talk it through with Brad nearer the time Laundromatt

coolkayaker1
02-22-2012, 03:36 PM
kaizersoza, congrats for being on the Donaldson bandwagon, friend.

itsscottwilder
02-22-2012, 04:21 PM
I'm also on the fence about finish. Go with ultimate protection or being able to feel the wood?

connor013
02-22-2012, 05:07 PM
Coming to this party a bit late, but let me join in the Donaldson enthusiasm!

I have a vintage soprano coming this spring. Port orford top, myrtle back and sides, and after reading this thread, neck as well, I think -- that myrtle neck looks awesome!

I wasn't initially interested in binding, keep it pretty spartan -- let the wood provide the bling type of thing -- but that walnut really makes everything else pop.

Such good problems to have!

kaizersoza
02-23-2012, 01:05 AM
kaizersoza, congrats for being on the Donaldson bandwagon, friend.

thanx CK, i am really excited, it was your post a while back describing your Donaldson soprano that convinced me to look into Brads work, and fair play he makes some stunning ukes that sound fantastic. i am looking forward to the build and what he suggests for me, all i know at the moment is that i want a tenor size and i want it in the 4AAAA koa which is a bit extra, the rest is up to Brad, October cannot come quickly enough lol

UK Paulie
03-13-2012, 07:26 AM
I jumped on this pretty fast moving bandwagon yesterday and Brad is going to build a uke for me too!! As I told him when he confirmed me on his production schedule, I'm like a kid in a toy store whose mum just said "Ok you can have the best toy in here, you cant have it yet but you CAN have it" WOOOO!!!! I was going to ask for a tenor but the pineapple concerts look amazing! I could burst!! lol

kaizersoza
03-13-2012, 08:25 AM
congratulations Paulie m8 its a long wait but its worth it

coolkayaker1
03-13-2012, 08:47 AM
Hi UK Pauile. Thanks for your PMs, I have no time to write a review of the Pono because work has me frazzeled, but I will tell you, I love it! I love it! I plan on asking Brad, when my turn comes up, to do a slotted headstock for my Donaldson. And a few other tweaks. So, I guess in a sense I will be recreating the Pono. LOL But with Brad's twists. I really adore the Pono, though, UK Pauile. Thanks for asking about it. If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to reply. These Ponos are hard to find... and the few out there seem to be the maple spruce models (the slotted head ones, anyhow). Mine is rosewood and cedar which I adore.

UK Paulie
03-13-2012, 09:10 AM
Hi UK Pauile. Thanks for your PMs, I have no time to write a review of the Pono because work has me frazzeled, but I will tell you, I love it! I love it! I plan on asking Brad, when my turn comes up, to do a slotted headstock for my Donaldson. And a few other tweaks. So, I guess in a sense I will be recreating the Pono. LOL But with Brad's twists. I really adore the Pono, though, UK Pauile. Thanks for asking about it. If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to reply. These Ponos are hard to find... and the few out there seem to be the maple spruce models (the slotted head ones, anyhow). Mine is rosewood and cedar which I adore.

No worries mate, no now that Brads building me a uke I'm happily waiting for that. Until then I shall practice on my other ukes so my playing gets to a standard worthy of Brads instruments!

UK Paulie
03-13-2012, 09:14 AM
congratulations Paulie m8 its a long wait but its worth it


Thanks man you too! I dont mind waiting, they say the best things come to those who wait!! A concert pineapple methinks! I saw one brad did for someone and, well, amazing! He's a quality builder. I count myself very lucky as hes about to close the book I think, the wait is at 11 months right now.

Bradford
03-13-2012, 11:26 AM
As Paulie mentioned, when my wait time gets out to one year, I am going to stop accepting new orders for a while. I really do not want to get too far ahead in my planning. When the wait drops back to six months or less, I'll start taking limited orders again, but I plan on splitting my time between custom orders and instruments I want to build. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up, there are about five slots left.

Brad

Drew Bear
03-13-2012, 12:05 PM
...I plan on splitting my time between custom orders and instruments I want to build.
Brad, where do you list your "production" (non-custom) ukes up for sale?

Bradford
03-13-2012, 06:26 PM
Up to now, the only non-custom ukes I made were for ukulele festivals where I was a vendor. What did not sell at the festivals were normally taken to Dusty Strings in Seattle, where they sold quickly. I have yet to determine how I will market my spec ukuleles when I get a chance to build some, but I will let everyone know.

Brad

Nickie
03-13-2012, 07:01 PM
You guys are making me so jealous!

whit
03-13-2012, 08:34 PM
I have no time to write a review of the Pono because work has me frazzeled, but I will tell you, I love it! I love it! Mine is rosewood and cedar which I adore.

I loved my RTSH so much I ended up getting a second, although MT. I couldn't bear the thought of it not being while I waited for Low G strings to settle in.