View Full Version : Anyone familiar with Jazz Box Uke (Toby Chennell)

we tigers
10-13-2012, 08:18 AM
I recently came across these stunning arch top ukuleles, but I can hardly find any information on these. Anyone here own one or ever played one?

we tigers
10-13-2012, 09:09 AM

10-13-2012, 10:17 AM
I have one and I love it. Extremely well made, great tone, and beautiful to look at.

Paul December
10-13-2012, 11:26 AM
Beautiful & Cool...
...but are the tops very thick? Is it quiet?

we tigers
10-13-2012, 11:37 AM
That's what I'm worried about as well. Do they sound good acoustically? Not overbuilt?

10-13-2012, 02:03 PM
The top is arched and very thin, as a good carved top should be. Toby is an experienced archtop guitar maker and understands the top carving process. More like a small archtop guitar sound than a uke sound, which is inevitable, but very full and rich. I think these are very special.

10-13-2012, 05:13 PM
I emailed them once and they never replied :(

10-13-2012, 07:07 PM
I think mine is the last one Toby made. I don't know if he is planning on making more or not.

Hippie Dribble
10-13-2012, 07:09 PM
I think mine is the last one Toby made. I don't know if he is planning on making more or not.

website says they're building more at the moment...

10-13-2012, 08:45 PM
I emailed them once and they never replied :(

Same here.

11-14-2012, 06:09 AM
I tried to phone today and got a carpenter in Birmingham.I,ve e mailed and waiting for a reply.
They look lovely ukes and a good price too

11-14-2012, 09:15 AM
I emailed them once and they never replied :(

I got an email from them the other day, kindly apologising for not replying before. Their email account had problems but now it seems things are back to normal. Good!

11-14-2012, 01:12 PM
Ya, he sent me a nice email too.He had email issues for a bit. We have at times too and it sucks. But seems like a great guy and said we would be top of his list for stores. woohoo! Of course if he keeps poppin up here he'll be too busy to ever get to us. If anyone gets one post your feedback.

Lardy Fatboy
11-14-2012, 01:24 PM
http://www.ukulelecorner.org.uk/home/in-the-corner/soprano-or-standard/jazzbox-archtop here is a link to the one that lives at Ukulele Corner and a sound clip is included there (if only I was any good at playing)

11-14-2012, 01:33 PM
The link to the website above didn't work for me, but this one did.
Is that the same luthier?

They look great!

11-17-2012, 07:37 AM
What are they like to play,Richm?It looks as if it would be different to other ukes.The strings look higher off the body as the bridge looks quite high and where the neck joins the body is higher.Does it feel different to play.I,ve never played an archtop guitar so would be interested to hear your thoughts.

we tigers
11-17-2012, 11:22 AM
The prices went up dramatically... I remember seeing them for 350,-

11-17-2012, 11:51 PM
They still seem great value for a hand made instrument.

02-14-2013, 07:40 AM
I just picked up a magnificent baritone arch-top ukulele made by Toby Chennell in England. It is simply magnificent. I wanted a baritone with lots of volume and sustain as well as a decent pick-up. I got all of those things and much more. This is a solid-body instrument with mahogoni sides and back and a spruce top. Ergonomically, I find it, well... perfect! It is beautifully designed and finished (keeping in mind that each instrument is hand-crafted!) This is not a mass-produced instrument and it is amazingly inexpensive. So there are teeny, tiny flawlets that a picky person could complain about, but on mine they are all absolutely insignificant -- particularly given the magnificent projection, tremendous sustain and perfect intonation all the way up the fingerboard. The instrument virtually begs to be picked up and played. The sound quality through the pickup is also superb, even without a pre-amp! Toby is a great person to deal with and he stands behind his products. If you don't get an answer instantly to your email, it's probably because Toby is busy making another superb uke! I wouldn't give mine back for anything!

02-14-2013, 07:48 AM
I was worried about that too, until I received my Capone baritone from Toby the other day. I took to the keyboard instantly. My fingers don't seem to notice and certainly don't mind the curvature of the fingerboard. Toby adjusted the action for me in advance and it is comfortable and very low, just the way I like it. The action may LOOK higher than it is because of the radiused fingerboard. With the curved front and back, the instrument is actually easier to hold than a normal flat-bodied uke. The loud, clear, yet warm sound is what I would expect of a far more expensive uke. It puts off-the-shelf mass-produced stuff in this price range to shame.

02-21-2013, 08:58 AM
Dear We Tiger
my Jazzbox Uke, made by Toby Chennell, arrived today and I can't tell you enough, how pleased I am.
It is a Zeb Concert, made from zebra wood with a cedar top, the neck is zebra too.
I think the fingerboard is ebony and the frets are gold, it has a pick up (which I haven't used yet)
This ukulele is fab, I love the look of it, the feel of it and the sound of it.
It is quirky, imaginative, retro, curvy and swervy and it smells lovely too.
I called Toby Chennell up on his mobile and bought it straight away, he was a pleasure to deal with.
You call him up.
The ukulele came in a real nice, solid, retro looking case.
I'm so pleased that I've added this peachy ukulele to my collection, it is probably the most beautiful one I have.
This guy knows how to carve wood.
I think I'll get him to make me a tenor.
If you're thinking of buying one, I can't think of a reason not to.

08-10-2013, 11:02 PM
This guy is a genius!!

Fortunately he lives locally to me so I was able to visit his workshop and choose from the 3 that were for sale on his website. I bought a Chennell tenor called Quirk and am deliriously happy with it. Red cedar top, mahogany neck, back and sides. It sounds phenomenal and looks like a work of art. Mine also has a pick-up but I haven't had chance to try it out yet - can't wait to experiment with some fx.

The biggest problem I have is that I can't put it down!! Got it two days ago and I've barely slept since!

To be honest, I've not been one for posting on forums in the past but I have felt compelled to tell the world about my new uke and the incredible gift that Toby has for crafting instruments. Also can't believe that I paid less than 700 for a hand carved uke - it's worth five times that amount!!
He has another tenor that's is still for sale on his website (www.jazzboxukes.com) called "Zeb Dart" that is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen but was slightly out of my price-range.

As soon as I can afford it I'll be ordering a concert to replace my now very dull sounding koa flat top.

08-11-2013, 11:33 AM
Congratulations on your jazzbox purchase :) ... I'm the happy owner of the Blanco tenor and I am totally in love with this instrument.

we tigers
08-11-2013, 11:38 AM
Congrats! That's a stunner!

08-11-2013, 08:30 PM
Congratulations on your jazzbox purchase ... I'm the happy owner of the Blanco tenor and I am totally in love with this instrument.
Thanks Pawel. I've just watched the vids on your you tube channel. Sir, you are one hell of a player!
"Georgia on my mind" is incredible and very beautiful. And your Blanco uke looks and sounds gorgeous.

Can I ask what strings do you use?

08-11-2013, 08:41 PM
Congrats! That's a stunner!

Thanks we tigers.

Loving your Ween cover on you tube - genius!

I see you are from Breda. My wife and I had a road trip 2 years ago through the Netherlands and Breda was one of our favourite places. What a beautiful city. The organ in the cathedral took my breath away.

Did you buy a Chennell/Jazz box Uke in the end? I can see that you were asking about them at the start of this thread.
I can only say good things about mine.
I'm thinking of starting a "Jazz box ukes appreciation society"!!!

08-11-2013, 08:54 PM
I use Savarez strings. They give very nice full and warm sound. I highly recommend them.
I am using a custom set - not the one that Savarez sells as dedicated to the ukulele.

Ukulele Eddie
12-06-2013, 06:50 PM
Same here.

I recently have been in contact with Toby Chennell and he has been very responsive. You might want to try again if you're serious. He is working in April deliveries as of now.

03-30-2014, 06:45 PM
I recently picked up Toby Chennell's # 16 Jazz Box Uke from a fellow UU member in California. This Uke is called the 'Simcik', named after the commissioner of the build. Completed in summer 2012. This one has a MiSi pick up, X braced spruce top, mahogany back, neck and ribs, and rosewood appointments. Superb instrument. Beautiful tenor Uke - the pictures on Toby's website just don't do it justice. Excellent craftsmanship and playability. Wife is complaining, "That is as loud as the banjo". This was while unplugged.... Toby's archtops Ukes will cure your UAS.