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View Full Version : Brad Donaldson: First pics of Tenor on UU!!!



Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 07:35 AM
Brad is best known for his Vintage Soprano but he is a luthier so can make a uke to your specs. He said my tenor was the 4th one he has made and has several tenors on the wait list. After the pics, I'm sure the demand of tenors will go up up up!!

SPECS:
All Honduran Mahogany Tenor connected at 12th fret and 16 frets total
Ebony bridge, fretboard, headstock veneer
Turquoise strip on bridge,
Peghed Tuners
Strap button on neck
Tru-oil Glossy Finish

Upgrades:
Cutaway
Maple Binding w/ endgraft
K&K Twinspot
Sunburst
Carbon Fiber Rod
Radius Fretboard
Side soundport

First of all, I would like to say Brad is a delight to work with! Since it was a custom, I didn’t want it to look like a production uke and I am very happy with the final product. There were two things I really wanted: (1) Blue (Favorite Color and UCLA alum) somewhere on the uke and (2) Sunburst. I wanted Blue sunburst but Brad talked me out of it as he thought it would be way out there. He did a tasteful job of my request and the sunburst is very time consuming since it’s applied by hand. Throughout the process, he was very sincere and was very enthused about making MY uke. I'm sure you'll have the same experience.

We chose Honduran Mahogany because I like the sound of Hog in general and Honduran is becoming harder to find. What’s even better is that the top and back are both one piece so there won’t be any issues of seam separation. I went with the upper bout sound hole so that more surface area to vibrate.

I wanted 15 frets to the body but he advised against it as he would have to move the bridge or extend the scale so we agreed on the cutaway. He had a proven winner in the 17” design and if he extends the scale, he would have to consider different bracing so I didn’t want mess with it. Since it connects at the 12th fret, the bridge is lower than my other ukes.

His tenor is ever so slightly smaller than my Koaloha and thinner as well. For reference, I put it in a tweed tenor case, which tends to run a tad small but the Donaldson fit in snuggly. I'm glad it fit cuz I had an extra case until now :)

My uke is #208 (he labels them chronologically), which is very important to me as I wanted someone who has experience as a luthier. I know more and more people are making handmade instruments but I believe there is an art and takes practice in making musical instruments sound good. For reference, I asked in a thread in Dec how many stringed instruments built and here are some people with at least 200 builds: Chuck Moore 450, Pete Howlett 530, Jake Macclay 275, Jake Calkin 275, Aaron Keim 220.

I will include a video to compare it to my other three tenors. I will make a comment about the sound at that time.

HOPE YOU LIKE THE PICS!!!
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Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 07:37 AM
More Pics

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VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EtLFPz734Y&list=HL1333292301&feature=mh_lolz

whit
03-31-2012, 07:53 AM
Simply stunning! Looking forward to the sound samples.

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
03-31-2012, 08:08 AM
Wow, congrats on getting your uke. I am on the build list for this year for a tenor so I'm glad he's getting practice.....;)

fitncrafty
03-31-2012, 08:10 AM
Congrats! That is one gorgeous ukulele!! Have fun!!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-31-2012, 08:40 AM
Can't wait to hear that beauty sing. Congratulations!

AKuker
03-31-2012, 08:52 AM
Beautiful! Now a lifetime of enjoyment

Scott S.
03-31-2012, 08:52 AM
Beautiful! Love the single soundhole and the soundport. I too am on Brad's list for a tenor, and had recently decided on essentially the same design. What are your initial impressions of the soundport and the radiused fretboard? These are both features I'm considering on mine. Its great to see some pics of a Donaldson tenor!

Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 10:04 AM
Beautiful! Love the single soundhole and the soundport. I too am on Brad's list for a tenor, and had recently decided on essentially the same design. What are your initial impressions of the soundport and the radiused fretboard? These are both features I'm considering on mine. Its great to see some pics of a Donaldson tenor!

I like the fact that I can hear what I play but I am not sure if it's the soundport or the fact that the soundhole is on the upper bout but either way, I like it closer to me. The radius fretboard makes it a little easier to play the bar chords but as I play it more and then switch right away to my other uke, there isn't that much difference to me. At the same time, I am glad to have tried it and all Mya Moes have it.

Teek
03-31-2012, 10:33 AM
Sound sample please! :D

Congrats on your new custom, you made excellent choices. Love the overall shape and the turquoise dots are brilliant. :cool:

kaizersoza
03-31-2012, 10:39 AM
that is one beautiful uke nongdam, i am also on the list for a tenor from Brad, you have fed my impatience for now........

Kayak Jim
03-31-2012, 10:44 AM
Very nice! From a design standpoint I really like the way the offset sound hole is mirrored by the cutout.

Scott S.
03-31-2012, 11:14 AM
I like the fact that I can hear what I play but I am not sure if it's the soundport or the fact that the soundhole is on the upper bout but either way, I like it closer to me. The radius fretboard makes it a little easier to play the bar chords but as I play it more and then switch right away to my other uke, there isn't that much difference to me. At the same time, I am glad to have tried it and all Mya Moes have it.

Thanks for the information! I really like the idea of the soundhole in the upper bout to increase the contiguous portion of the soundboard. And I definately think I'm going to go with a soundport as well. You definately have a unique and gorgeous instrument!

uke4life
03-31-2012, 12:16 PM
HUGE CONGRATS!!! Can't wait for the sounds clips...

Hippie Dribble
03-31-2012, 01:24 PM
beautiful D, congrats mate. You made some great choices here with Brad and it makes for a stunning and unique instrument. aaah, gotta love that vintage sunburst :cool:

Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 06:12 PM
beautiful D, congrats mate. You made some great choices here with Brad and it makes for a stunning and unique instrument. aaah, gotta love that vintage sunburst :cool:

Thanks Jon...You and I like sunburst!!

GX9901
03-31-2012, 06:30 PM
That uke looks great! I love sunbursts too.

Did the soundhole location limit the fret count to 16? I guess I don't see a way to get more frets on this uke unless the soundhole got smaller. Or was 16 fret what you wanted all along?

BeardedGent
03-31-2012, 06:44 PM
Gorgeous uke, I'm sure she sings as beautifully as she looks.

Lanark
03-31-2012, 06:59 PM
Congratulations. It looks wonderful and I'm looking forward to seeing the video demonstration. (and then completely putting it out of my head so I won't go nuts until my turn comes in Brad's queue.)

mm stan
03-31-2012, 07:05 PM
Congrats D,
Lovely Looking Uke...wow...How does the lower bout port sound??? Happy Strummings..

Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 07:23 PM
That uke looks great! I love sunbursts too.

Did the soundhole location limit the fret count to 16? I guess I don't see a way to get more frets on this uke unless the soundhole got smaller. Or was 16 fret what you wanted all along?

I didn't tell him how many frets but I didn't want frets too much further than the headblock so that more surface can vibrate. He could have made a few more frets as most people don't play the 3rd and 4th strings as you go up higher on the fretboard but he wanted it to be similar to the top headstock.

Stan, it's hard to tell if I hear more sound from the top soundhole or the side soundport but definitely I hear what I play more vs. having the hole in the middle. I really like to hear what I play so I highly recommend having a soundport. I'm sure Brad or a luthier can chime in what is the main difference of having it on the upper or lower bout.

laundromatt
03-31-2012, 08:34 PM
I'm also on the queue for a tenor. Thanks for the review, esp the part about the frets. I definitely want 14 frets to the body. Is that something that's not doable without a lot of hassle?

Dan Uke
03-31-2012, 09:05 PM
1) Brad Donaldson Honduras Mahogany Tenor w/ K&K Twinspot Pickup w/ Martin Fluorocarbon (Strung today)
2) Koaloha Koa Tenor w/ new bridge design and smoked chrome tuners w/ D'addario T2s (Need to change, don't like sound)
3) Kanilea Koa Super Tenor Premium w/ D'addario Pro Arte Low G (Strung today)
4) I'iwi Spruce Top / Koa B&S Tenor w/ Fishman Prefix Pro Pickup w/ Worth Brown Low G (I like)

They are listed by retail price and with Brad, you get most bang for the buck. I should have waited a few days before making a sound sample but I really like the Donaldson. I don't have an amp but I would like to hear how the different pickup systems sound.

As you can see I have too many tenors so I'm definitely open to trade for a superconcert but the Donaldson is a keeper!!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EtLFPz734Y&list=HL1333263887&feature=mh_lolz

soupking
03-31-2012, 09:39 PM
Wow this was a really informative sound sample. That Donaldson sounds nice and crisp. All of the ukes in the video sound good in their own way, though. It's pretty amazing, in terms of cost, what you get out of the Donaldson, however. I'd say anyone who is currently on the list for one certainly has something to be excited about.

kaizersoza
04-01-2012, 12:57 AM
yep your Donaldson really sounds beautiful, you have given me some more ideas for my build as well, thanx for a really informative vid nongdam

coolkayaker1
04-01-2012, 01:04 AM
Nice to watch a comparison video and hear some Eddie Vedder with my morning hot tea. Thank you.

connor013
04-01-2012, 01:37 AM
Nice comparisons, great uke, you're even wearing the right shirt!

Well done, and thanks.

Dan Uke
04-01-2012, 04:50 AM
Nice comparisons, great uke, you're even wearing the right shirt!

Well done, and thanks.

Haha...It's dark so you probably can't see my Celtics hat...it was a toss up between the Celtics or Red Sox hat

uke552
04-01-2012, 05:51 AM
Congrats on an amazine uke! Love that burst!

Lanark
04-01-2012, 08:09 AM
Haha...It's dark so you probably can't see my Celtics hat...it was a toss up between the Celtics or Red Sox hat

I'd always go with the Sox cap, myself.
(Going to see them beat the Twins on the 25th.)

dkcrown
04-01-2012, 03:39 PM
Very nice Daniel.(and Brad) Count me amoung the sunburst fans. And nice job on the sound sample

Dan Uke
04-01-2012, 07:07 PM
Dana

Thanks...You need to add a sunburst to your collection as well. Does MBU do sunburst?? You would have to come up with a new clever name for four!!

Skitzic
04-02-2012, 04:35 AM
That sunburst is stunning. Stunning I tell ya! :)

Conga rats!

uke4life
04-02-2012, 09:23 AM
Simply beautiful!!! Need one :-)

GinnyT11
04-02-2012, 09:28 AM
Brad is a very versatile luthier, and he seems to enjoy the challenge of making each uke individual.

Very special instrument you've got there. You'll enjoy it more as you play it more. I certainly do with mine. Congratulations!

Dan Uke
04-08-2012, 01:50 PM
Here's another video after the strings settled for a week. This is a better indicator of what the uke sounds like and still shot from a Canon G11 camera. Does it sound different? You be the judge


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzYDopr8jOM&feature=youtu.be

Scott S.
04-08-2012, 02:56 PM
That sounds really good! Even for a new instrument, it has a fullness that I really like. I would be interested in hearing it after about 3 months of hard playing, just to see how its voice matures. How is the playability, and would you recommend the radiused fretboard?

rpfrogner
04-08-2012, 03:17 PM
Here's another video after the strings settled for a week. This is a better indicator of what the uke sounds like and still shot from a Canon G11 camera. Does it sound different? You be the judge


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzYDopr8jOM&feature=youtu.be

This has got to be one of the best sounding ukulele's I have ever heard!

ksiegel
04-08-2012, 05:23 PM
Here's another video after the strings settled for a week. This is a better indicator of what the uke sounds like and still shot from a Canon G11 camera. Does it sound different? You be the judge


So, how do the strings attach? String through, traditional with knot at end, classical tie? I can't tell.


It is a lovely instrument, regardless of how the strings connect.



-Kurt

dkcrown
04-09-2012, 02:44 AM
Nice job again on the sound sample Daniel. It sounds lovely.

Dan Uke
04-09-2012, 11:10 AM
Nice job again on the sound sample Daniel. It sounds lovely.


Thanks Dana

You had a great thread about singing or fingerpicking and I'm slowly leading up to both. I always make videos with one take so I can improve my confidence and eventually I want to add singing. If I can't play by myself in front of a camera, how am I going to play in front of people? Even at that, I get soo nervous when the green light turns on. For example, my mind went blank and have no idea what I was playing in the last chord progression. I just ended the song in C, the goto chord. HAHA

Scott, I can't really tell the difference in radius fretboard but if I have a choice, I would pay for it and get it. I like to believe it helps. You won't know until you try it.

Kurt, it's a string through. Since it has a side soundport, it's pretty easy to grab the string. I've had all diff't types and I think my favorite is the string through for looks but classical string type might be the "safest" as if there is too much string pressure, the bridge will pop off.

Dan Uke
04-19-2012, 12:59 PM
UPDATE:

Brad is making tenors with 14 frets now.

brianxshin
04-19-2012, 01:08 PM
nice bro very nice and the sound is awesome

whit
04-19-2012, 02:31 PM
UPDATE:

Brad is making tenors with 14 frets now.

Pictures or it didn't happen. ;)