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Dan Uke
07-11-2014, 08:22 PM
For those in the market for a custom uke, does the luthier's interaction on UU one of the main factors in choosing that person?

Just curious.

Steveperrywriter
07-11-2014, 09:21 PM
For those in the market for a custom uke, does the luthier's interaction on UU make you want to buy a uke from them?

There are lots of luthiers out there so I was wondering if the luthier's interaction one of the main factors for choosing that person.

Just curious.

Yes. Absolutely.

Luthiers who post and offer intelligent, cogent, and knowlegeable remarks in public forums, along with a philosophy of how they view building? I find that a big point in their favor. I have commissioned two ukes from builders because something they said here sparked my interest. (One was from a luthier who had made me a guitar.) I did my due diligence, then contacted them and was able to arrange builds. I like to think they came to realize that even though I was a newbie and not a good player, I did have the wherewithal to appreciate their art and craft enough to give their musical children a good home. Might not play them well, but certainly with enthusiasm and heart.

I have been immensely lucky in this: I have three ukuleles that are superb, and a fourth in the works that I can already see will also be outstanding in every way.

Can't beat that with a stick ...

Jim Hanks
07-12-2014, 02:22 AM
For those in the market for a custom uke, does the luthier's interaction on UU one of the main factors in choosing that person?
For me, I have to say it was not a main factor in the choice, but it certainly affects my confidence in the build. I have commissioned 3 ukes (only one of which is complete) and 2 of them are from non-UU luthiers. I regard(ed) those builds as somewhat of a gamble. The third is active on UU and well respected - I have total confidence in that one.

bunnyf
07-12-2014, 02:47 AM
I have one from a local non-UU luthier but he is well-known, often mentioned on this forum and I had seen his work in person. Another was an unknown luthier so it was a crap-shoot but I had seen pix of his work and knew of his musical background and took a gamble, but wasn't willing to pay as much for his uke as I was for a better known luthier. This one is pretty, unique and plays very well(a bari), but the build is not nearly as perfect as the first uke I mention. I also have a non-custom from the same (first) luthier and while it is a relatively plain jane model, it too is a very well constructed and finished uke that plays very well and sounds lovely. For my next uke, I will very likely use a UU luthier when I get a new bari. I'll make the one I have my new beater. I feel confidence and a connection with several of the luthiers who post here. I appreciate all the insight they give to the UU community.

bborzell
07-12-2014, 03:50 AM
Nope. If active participation on an instrument interest forum was a yes/no filter on choosing a luthier, then a large majority of builders would not be in the running. While I tend to appreciate seeing builders contribute to interest group forums, I certainly would not refuse to consider an instrument from one who does not participate in discussions.

BlueLatitude
07-12-2014, 04:37 AM
Yes, definitely for me. Not so much "are they participating" as much as the fact that you can tell a lot about a person how they post over time (not sales related) and how they respond to others. So some luthiers make me think "I would feel comfortable working with that person" or "Not with a ten-foot pole."

And having chosen that way, I can say I am having a total blast with my current build.:smileybounce:

janeray1940
07-12-2014, 05:03 AM
When I was deciding on a builder, participation here *could* have been a factor but ultimately it became irrelevant.

I considered four different builders; of those four, three I would not have even been aware of had it not been for seeing their names on UU. Of those three - one posts frequently but did not answer my PMs or emails or respond to my threads about what I was considering; the other two post less frequently but were both lightning-fast in answering my inquiries both via the forums and email. In the end I went with someone who I've rarely seen post here, but that was because that builder seemed the best choice for the particular build I was seeking.

Laouik
07-12-2014, 06:00 AM
Not for me. It's more about being able to build a personal relationship with the luthier one-on-one. Contributing to an internet forum doesn't factor in.

Manalishi
07-12-2014, 07:12 AM
I own three hand made ukuleles,and I know all three of the luthiers
personally. I also know them on various ukulele forums,but would not have
had them make a ukulele for me,unless I had played a few of their making to
check them out first. And of course, all three of them are truly gentlemen
and scholars!

wickedwahine11
07-12-2014, 07:21 AM
It is a factor, but not a deciding one for me. I would choose a luthier mainly based upon the sound, playability and aesthetics of their ukes. But it is nice to see some custom luthiers on UU, as you get to learn a little about them personally and their build process.

coolkayaker1
07-12-2014, 07:21 AM
For those in the market for a custom uke, does the luthier's interaction on UU one of the main factors in choosing that person?


Dude, I wouldn't even have heard of these guys were it not for UU. lol

It's also funny how custom uke builders popularity on UU comes in waves...can almost document the Glyph wave, the King wave, the Donaldson wave, the Wixsom wave, and on and on.

Daniel knows I think of resale (he does, too): that's why Kamakas sell everywhere, and some outstanding custom builders sometimes do not re-sell well, aside from UU.

Interesting question, D.

Teek
07-12-2014, 08:15 AM
I want someone who is willing to communicate clearly, who is well grounded in luthiery, and who has a good attitude. I want to see a presence somewhere, if just on Facebook or a website, or via word of mouth, which I am only likely to find discussed on uke forums even if the luthier isn't a member. So I suppose that's yes and no.

If they have a crummy attitude I don't want that energy in something in which I hope to find pleasure, but that is just me. My Donaldson is my only custom but I feel the love and the skill in it every time I pick it up. Brad has talent and a great all around attitude about life, and a lot of wisdom. I love having both a uke and a flute he created with joy.

dkcrown
07-12-2014, 09:08 AM
I have had four true customs built for me to my specifications. To my knowledge, two of the builders have never posted on the UU, one posts only occasionally, and one contributes regularly. But I heard about all of them through the UU. Without the exposure, and especially the feedback and reviews of the members here, I probably would never have had a custom built.

And there are a few builders that I would never commission, let alone buy any of their spec ukes, new or used, because of their attitudes on the forum.

Doc_J
07-12-2014, 09:39 AM
:agree:

Well put Dana.

janeray1940
07-12-2014, 09:42 AM
And there are a few builders that I would never commission, let alone buy any of their spec ukes, new or used, because of their attitudes on the forum.

I've had that same thought. Thanks for putting it out there in pixels - I wasn't brave enough to mention it myself.

Rick Turner
07-12-2014, 09:52 AM
We've build Compass Roses for a number of folks on the forum, and I've had several forumites take my "Build a Uke in Four Days" classes as well. It's great to get to know the people who will play the instruments.

Freeda
07-12-2014, 11:14 AM
I try not to do business with jerks.

Icelander53
07-12-2014, 11:20 AM
I want someone who is willing to communicate clearly, who is well grounded in luthiery, and who has a good attitude. I want to see a presence somewhere, if just on Facebook or a website, or via word of mouth, which I am only likely to find discussed on uke forums even if the luthier isn't a member. So I suppose that's yes and no.

If they have a crummy attitude I don't want that energy in something in which I hope to find pleasure, but that is just me. My Donaldson is my only custom but I feel the love and the skill in it every time I pick it up. Brad has talent and a great all around attitude about life, and a lot of wisdom. I love having both a uke and a flute he created with joy.

I agree. I've not purchased from many a business and lost the "good deal" because I didn't like the way I was treated. For me a big part of the pleasure of having an instrument made for me is to have a positive interaction with the builder. And I hope they find me someone they want to know for a short time rather than just a sum of cash.

bborzell
07-12-2014, 01:19 PM
Maybe I've been asleep at the wheel. I have not read anything from any builder that I found to be offensive. Is there a "Jerk Luthiers" sub forum that I don't know about?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-12-2014, 01:24 PM
It works both ways. If someone from from the forum contacts me to build them an uke it's a big advantage to me if I already know something about them from their participation here. Makes my job easier.

Freeda
07-12-2014, 01:24 PM
Maybe I've been asleep at the wheel. I have not read anything from any builder that I found to be offensive. Is there a "Jerk Luthiers" sub forum that I don't know about?

You've only been around about a year? It used to be a lot more contentious in the LL.

Freeda
07-12-2014, 01:26 PM
It works both ways. If someone from from the forum contacts me to build them an uke it's a big advantage to me if I already know something about them from their participation here. Makes my job easier.

I imagine it would. There are some people who can find fault in anything. "Complainypants" types. I could see being too busy to take on folks like that.

Macmuse
07-12-2014, 01:35 PM
Their partication is an added bonus, but not the deciding factor. For me it was more seeing what other UUers were getting and becoming aware of range of builders (on and off the forum). More to choose from to suit my tastes. It came down to who had time in their build schedule, did the type of instrument I wanted (in woods I wanted), and just happened to be a participant from time-to-time on UU.

Stevelele
07-12-2014, 02:45 PM
For me, it is extremely important. I feel like each custom instrument has a personality, the small little features, the differences in looks and sound, all of the little things come from a person with ideals, standards, aspirations, and artistry. I think about the luthier who made my uke whenever I play it and if it was made by someone I feel like I've come to know and admire, it makes the experience of playing feel more personal. Of course this doesn't require UU participation, but it can definitely help

Dan Uke
07-12-2014, 02:56 PM
Dude, I wouldn't even have heard of these guys were it not for UU. lol

It's also funny how custom uke builders popularity on UU comes in waves...can almost document the Glyph wave, the King wave, the Donaldson wave, the Wixsom wave, and on and on.

Daniel knows I think of resale (he does, too): that's why Kamakas sell everywhere, and some outstanding custom builders sometimes do not re-sell well, aside from UU.

Interesting question, D.

Yeah, there are some flavors of the month and definitely a few rain makers on UU, who hype up brands, me included. We all have to use our judgment and figure out which instruments will stand the test of time like Kamaka.


It works both ways. If someone from from the forum contacts me to build them an uke it's a big advantage to me if I already know something about them from their participation here. Makes my job easier.

Sometimes you get it wrong...I heard you sold two ukes to an iffy guy. :p

dkcrown
07-12-2014, 05:07 PM
I think about the luthier who made my uke whenever I play it and if it was made by someone I feel like I've come to know and admire, it makes the experience of playing feel more personal. Of course this doesn't require UU participation, but it can definitely help

Bingo Steve! You hit the nail on the head. It is so true. Every time I pick up one of my customs, I instantly think about the luthier that built it and the experience that I had in having it built. The entire process is great. The give and take of ideas, the banter back and forth, and ultimately the lasting relationship that I have developed with them has truly enriched my life. But I have been very lucky. They have all been wonderfully positive. It pays to do your homework ahead of time.

Icelander53
07-12-2014, 05:08 PM
I imagine it would. There are some people who can find fault in anything. "Complainypants" types. I could see being too busy to take on folks like that.

I heard a luthier talking once and he said it's often harder to satisfy a beginner than a pro. The reason being not just that a beginner can be picky about impossible things but that they have a more difficult time playing the instrument and so need one that plays particularly easy.

I'm guessing that's true after hearing my luthier play my instruments. He makes them shine easily and I struggle constantly. He's very encouraging thankfully.

hawaii 50
07-12-2014, 09:57 PM
It works both ways. If someone from from the forum contacts me to build them an uke it's a big advantage to me if I already know something about them from their participation here. Makes my job easier.

haha Chuck...I know what you mean....

that is why best to be on "good behavior" as much as possible, you never know who reading your post......:) IMO

Dan Uke
07-13-2014, 08:01 AM
haha Chuck...I know what you mean....

that is why best to be on "good behavior" as much as possible, you never know who reading your post......:) IMO

Just be yourself!!

Steveperrywriter
07-13-2014, 08:33 AM
One of my heuristics (rules of thumb) is: Never say anything about somebody you wouldn't be willing to say to them.

That keeps me out of a lot of trouble.

I've been here less than a year-and-a-half, so I must have missed some back-and-forth; so far, however, I can't say I've been offended by anything any of the luthiers have had to say. You'd hardly expect everybody to agree on everything, and strong-minded folks tend to have strong opinions. That's what makes a horse-race, isn't it? Hey, my nag is faster than yours! Oh, yeah? Show me!

Akin to, but slightly off-topic: I can't speak for the luthiers, but from my own experience, and I would much rather have somebody who likes and enjoys stuff I make get it than somebody who doesn't. I might be paid the same either way, but money isn't the only satisfaction in one's work.

Once upon a time, I wrote a novel for a video game company, 'twas going to be used in their next release of a popular online game. Between the time I wrote it and it would have come out, the company was gobbled up by a larger computer game company, and they decided not to go forward with the project. I got paid, and a goodly amount, but the book never saw the light of day. They own it, so that was their right; however, it still bothers me a little. One wants to see one's work doing what it was designed to do.

I know some screenwriters who have written half a dozen or more scripts, gotten really well paid for them, but none of which will ever get made into movies. That has to be terribly frustrating. I dunno how instrument makers feel about pure collectors, those who buy 'em and them stick them behind glass, never to be played, but I think that would bug me, were I in their shoes.

So I can see that the client/luthier relationship sword cuts both ways. And while words on a screen are not the best means of communication, they are sometimes better than no communication. The luthiers with whom I have dealt are outstanding at what they do and I like them, but a visit to their shops would involve a lot of time and travel, since none of them are within a thousand miles of where I live. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can with what you got ...

Rick Turner
07-13-2014, 01:20 PM
Luthiers also have their pet peeves among customers; that's the other side of the coin. Perhaps most luthiers on the UU would hesitate to make any complaints public for fear of backlash, but I'll lay a few things out...as nicely as I can...but this is reality from a professional luthier's point of view.

Some of the biggest issues are unrealistic expectations (UES...Unrealistic Expectations Syndrome)...often based on the client's wanting a new instrument to make them into a better player than they really are. Sometimes a better instrument actually "amplifies" mistakes, bad fingering, etc. This is especially true in the high end guitar world where you see a lot of very expensive instruments going up for sale a year or two after the client gets it. But I also think it's here in the uke world...a new instrument may not sound Hawaiian enough, or it's not loud enough, or the sound doesn't project, or the sound isn't right for the player, though it may be fine for an audience.

Another part of UES is having a preconceived notion of tone and then not being willing to wait even a year for an instrument to break in. And they do, no matter what so many players think. Part of that can be an expectation of getting a really loud uke; yes, some are louder than others, and we can build for volume...but somewhat at the expense of longevity.

At least we don't constantly hear "I want the action as low as possible without buzzing" that is so prevalent in the guitar world. Ukesters are much more tolerant of a range of action than guitar players.

Yet another is players' desire for a mirror perfect, yet super thin finish that is tonally perfect and as protective as chrome plating...and then the players are too afraid of scratching the instrument do get down to really playing it. That's FoUS...Fear of Uke Syndrome. We get that in the guitar world, too, and the complaint here in my shop...when we get an instrument back for customizing or maintenance and we see not a scratch on a five or six year old instrument, the cry from my luthiers is "why can't we build these things for real musicians?"

One other issue...clients who sign off on a proposed instrument with the specs detailed down to the plating on the screws...and then, after we've started work on the instrument...decide to change a specification, sometimes drastically so. The worst of this for me was a client in LA for whom I was to build an acoustic 12 string guitar. She came to my shop, played instruments, looked carefully at the designs, and I wrote up a work order in excruciating detail for a 12 string guitar to be completely abalone trimmed including my "signature" "A-line peghead". A couple of months later she came to the shop to see the progress, and I showed her the completed neck "in the white", and she said, "Can you make it look more like a Martin?" I said, "Yes" and wrote her out a check for the amount of her deposit, and then said, "Go to Westwood Music, talk to Fred, and buy a Martin." I finished off the guitar; it came out great, and I got a grand more for it as a "spec-built" instrument.

A couple of questions for those interested in this topic: Do you think your uke luthier should be a decent player of the instrument? Is he or she an active participant in the "uke culture" in your area...or any other area? You can probably guess where I'm coming from with those questions...

And then in closing, I'd say that one of the biggest issues for custom ukulele luthiers is the price issue. We simply cannot compete with anything coming out of Asia, and we really get tired of being challenged to justify our very existence as craftspeople and artists. Frankly, it's much easier over in the boutique guitar, mandolin, and banjo worlds where there just are not tens of thousands of sub-$500.00 instruments that we are expected to compete with. If I were starting off in lutherie as a real profession right now, I'd stay away from building ukes. I'm lucky to have a nice workshop, a lot of great wood, and fifty years-plus of repairing and building instruments, so I can build pretty efficiently and not lose money making ukes. I build them because I play them and really like them.

Steveperrywriter
07-13-2014, 02:26 PM
I think that luthiers being players should be an advantage -- they are apt to notice things a non-player would not. One more tool in the box. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, to steal a phrase ...

Jim Hanks
07-13-2014, 03:35 PM
I'll lay a few things out...as nicely as I can...but this is reality from a professional luthier's point of view.
Rick, thanks for that perspective. I have to admit to being guilty of several of the sins you mention, but I'm trying to get better, especially with UES. I'm still in the "low as possible without buzzing" camp but at least I've found out that there is such a thing as "too low". Hope for me yet I guess. :p

Ukulele Eddie
07-13-2014, 03:48 PM
Picking up on Rick Turner's question, I don't really know that I care how well a luthier plays so long as s/he can communicate effectively with me and has built enough ukes to provide constructive input.

I also agree on the dangers of buying a custom uke too quickly. I am almost guilty of that myself. I thought I'd never play anything but tenor. Fortunately, I rotated through a bunch of ukes these past 11 months and have discovered tenor would be fine if I only strummed. But I really enjoy finger style/melody lines and realized that concert and soprano sizes are much better fits for me.

Nickie
07-13-2014, 04:15 PM
Nice shot of Trigger, Eugene.
It saddens me that custom uke buyers can be huge PsITA. Shame on us. I don't know if I'll ever take another stab at a custom, I doubt it. But if I did, it would be from Rick or Brad or Chuck, or soemone closeby that I can watch like Donna. And I don''t expect one for the price of an Asian....geez....
I"d expect to pay two or three times as much, at least....as a high end Asian....

Rick Turner
07-13-2014, 04:15 PM
I made that bridge that you see on Willie's guitar when I was working at Westwood Music in LA in 1990. You wouldn't believe the signatures on that thing...

There is a picture of him playing that instrument when he had short hair...and the guitar was brand new. Hard to say which looks "harder rode and put away wet"...Willie or Trigger...but they get the job done.

Gillian
07-13-2014, 04:43 PM
It seems obvious to me that luthiers who can play their instruments have an advantage in assessing their instruments over those that don't. The only situation where that might not be valid is if a luthier had someone like Jake or James or Sarah or Brittni at their beck and call to "test drive" each instrument and tell them what needed improving.


...and she said, "Can you make it look more like a Martin?" I said, "Yes" and wrote her out a check for the amount of her deposit, and then said, "Go to Westwood Music, talk to Fred, and buy a Martin."

Ha! Love it.

Leigh Coates
07-13-2014, 04:43 PM
I have a wonderful Donaldson soprano, and I feel exactly that way about it!


I want someone who is willing to communicate clearly, who is well grounded in luthiery, and who has a good attitude. I want to see a presence somewhere, if just on Facebook or a website, or via word of mouth, which I am only likely to find discussed on uke forums even if the luthier isn't a member. So I suppose that's yes and no.

If they have a crummy attitude I don't want that energy in something in which I hope to find pleasure, but that is just me. My Donaldson is my only custom but I feel the love and the skill in it every time I pick it up. Brad has talent and a great all around attitude about life, and a lot of wisdom. I love having both a uke and a flute he created with joy.

Rick Turner
07-13-2014, 07:14 PM
Most of my uke customers have been absolutely wonderful; there are a couple over the twelve years I've been making them who were a problem, but it's some of my guitar customers who are worse! And I don't mean this to be a bitch-fest at all, but I seem to be one of the only luthiers to post here, and there is a balance to be struck. It's hard not to feel a bit defensive for myself and my craft when there are so many posts essentially putting down any ukes, uke players, and uke builders who charge more than a grand to make an instrument...that being a low end instrument for custom builders and one person shops. Someone has to stick up for my profession and tell a bit of our side of the story. I guess that falls to me here...obviously putting me at risk of being considered the Simon Cowell of lutherie...as I'm termed on my WikiPedia page...

And it's hard not to be cynical seeing a lot of what passes for expertise re. lutherie on the Internet with some of it spilling over here to the UU. There are a lot of really nice idiots out there spewing really bad advice. Call 'em on it and you get shut down and considered an a..hole, a snob, or worse.

The truth does not always set you free. You ought to see some of the stuff over on the Banjo Hangout if you want to see the gloves coming off!

hawaii 50
07-13-2014, 07:43 PM
I made that bridge that you see on Willie's guitar when I was working at Westwood Music in LA in 1990. You wouldn't believe the signatures on that thing...

There is a picture of him playing that instrument when he had short hair...and the guitar was brand new. Hard to say which looks "harder rode and put away wet"...Willie or Trigger...but they get the job done.


This is why in the Ukulele World should be happy that Rick is just like us Ukulele Lovers....
he built the bridge for one of the most famous guitars in the world...wow....:)

I met Rick and he is one of the nicest guys I met....he got a bad rap here on the UU....but spend some time with him and you will see....he is honest and he has so much knowledge.....

my 2 cents...

DownUpDave
07-14-2014, 01:14 AM
Most of my uke customers have been absolutely wonderful; there are a couple over the twelve years I've been making them who were a problem, but it's some of my guitar customers who are worse! And I don't mean this to be a bitch-fest at all, but I seem to be one of the only luthiers to post here, and there is a balance to be struck. It's hard not to feel a bit defensive for myself and my craft when there are so many posts essentially putting down any ukes, uke players, and uke builders who charge more than a grand to make an instrument...that being a low end instrument for custom builders and one person shops. Someone has to stick up for my profession and tell a bit of our side of the story. I guess that falls to me here...obviously putting me at risk of being considered the Simon Cowell of lutherie...as I'm termed on my WikiPedia page...

And it's hard not to be cynical seeing a lot of what passes for expertise re. lutherie on the Internet with some of it spilling over here to the UU. There are a lot of really nice idiots out there spewing really bad advice. Call 'em on it and you get shut down and considered an a..hole, a snob, or worse.

The truth does not always set you free. You ought to see some of the stuff over on the Banjo Hangout if you want to see the gloves coming off!

I for one truly appreciate you adding to the conversation. I always look forward to reading whatever you have to say, it is honest, sincere and helpful. Can't ask for more than that. In another life time I was a woodworker and had my own business. You quickly learn there are some customers you just don't want. Just cause you got money and are paying for it don't make you right.

Icelander53
07-14-2014, 03:57 AM
Rick, thanks for that perspective. I have to admit to being guilty of several of the sins you mention, but I'm trying to get better, especially with UES. I'm still in the "low as possible without buzzing" camp but at least I've found out that there is such a thing as "too low". Hope for me yet I guess. :p

I think I'm discovering many of my errors of ignorance too. I think I have a couple of ukes that I pushed the luthier into an action they did not recommend for me only later to decide they were correct with more experience. Part of this is the learning curve for a beginner. Especially when you get the UAS bug and have some spare cash and can just buy several mid to upper range ukuleles well before you really understand the intricacies of the instrument or play them well. Guilty as charged.

But I'm fast on the uptake and this thread has been excellent for giving me more perspective from both sides of the issue. I'm grateful to hear some of the builders/luthiers speaking their minds here. I want to know how I'm coming off and what I know and don't know, because when I buy my first custom uke and that day is coming I want it to be a great experience for everyone concerned. And I want to know who's building them here and get an idea of where to turn when the time comes.

coolkayaker1
07-14-2014, 04:13 AM
Four years ago I wanted a ukulele with a pinball machine theme: flippers for a bridge, sound hole like a ball trap, fret inlays like lanes and channels, a headstock like a scoring panel. I asked a luthier known for creative ukuleles, and he sort of laughed it off as unlikely to turn out right, not recommended. At the time I thought: "Okay. I was willing to pay for it, but if you can't do it, okay then."

Well, as I have learned more about ukuleles, I see that my idea was foolish. He did right by me to not build my outlandish idea. I thank him for it now.

I have curbed my "wants" and limited my desire back now to a lowly pachinko machine.

Rick Turner
07-14-2014, 05:36 AM
You want that with real flashing lights? No problem. Inlaid LEDs. What color? Been there, done that... Sort of...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-14-2014, 07:48 AM
An important part of my job as a luthier is being an educator. While I may have built hundreds of ukuleles the customer has only boughten a few and their experience with me may be the first time they’ve ordered a custom instrument. My job is to inform them as to what can and cannot be done to build the uke that is best suited for them while at the same time making it a fun and easy process. I understand that the options and decisions a customer needs to made when ordering an instrument can seem overwhelming and that my guidance is crucial. After all, I am building the instrument for both of us, we are both benefitting by the experience. That’s why I don’t offer a Chinese take-out menu of “build it your way” options. It is my intention and hope that the customer will trust my intuition in weeding through these options and combinations or wood and materials in order to build the best uke for them based on my years of experience.

Over the years I have read a lot of myths and misconceptions one this forum regarding a wide variety of subjects. In the earlier days of the forum there weren’t too many participating luthiers and I used to frequently weigh in on my understanding of these subjects. It got to be very time confusing and often frustrating. As my work load increases, these days I usually hold back and let my peers take up the baton before I might add anything that I think has been missed. One of the disadvantages of having a computer in the shop is that I can easily let it eat up a lot of my time.

As important as it is for me to inform, at the same time I get an education from the members here in finding out what the current trends are and what people like and dislike about their ukes. That’s what I mean about this discussion working both ways.

mds725
07-14-2014, 12:24 PM
I've now own a few ukuleles built by luthiers who do custom work (some of these ukes were built for me, some I got second hand, and some were built on spec and purchased by me from retailers). What I've learned is to shop for the luthier and then try to stay out of his or her way. I have two custom built Compass Roses -- an octave-lower GCEA and a steel string baritone uke tuned DGBE -- and for both of them, I told Rick what kind of sound I wanted, how I felt about playability, etc., and then got out of his way so he could build the ukes he though would best achieve those objectives. I know luthiers like challenges -- I have a Bruce Sexauer steel string tenor ukulele tuned GCEA because he wanted to build steel string tenor ukuleles, and the CR baritone bodies were a new design for Rick -- so I'm not going to say that one should necessarily seek out a luthier for only what he or she does best, but I think it helps to be aware of what a luthier's strengths are and what characteristics are common to his or her instruments, and to be sure you want what that luthier is enthusiastic about building.

Pueo
07-14-2014, 01:18 PM
You want that with real flashing lights? No problem. Inlaid LEDs. What color? Been there, done that... Sort of...
Well I know you did not build THIS one, but others of his, right? :D
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/images/deadhead-DavidAtlas20.jpg

Nickie
07-14-2014, 01:20 PM
Acouple of years ago, a rising young luthier north of here said he didn't like building concert ukes. So I didn't ask him for a uke. Now, I see he has built a few of them....I think my wait paid off, now if I decide to go to him, I'll be able to get what I wnat....just by being patient....

Icelander53
07-14-2014, 01:30 PM
ah, a person of virtue. I'm soooo envious. :) I'm always chomping at the bit and it's backfired plenty of times. But I can't help myself. We can blame it on the educational system and poor parenting. It's certainly not my fault.

Rick Turner
07-14-2014, 01:33 PM
No, I didn't build that particular Lesh bass, but look for pictures of him with the Wall of Sound...that's a bass I built. The amazing thing is that the LED's in the first instrument I did with them still work...a 12 string for David Crosby (Gibson Crest body, neck by Mario Martello, finished off by myself including pickups, preamps by Ron Wickersham) which I assembled in 1970. Yeah, 44 years of "lights on" with that sucker. Did it when I was five...

Pueo
07-14-2014, 01:47 PM
No, I didn't build that particular Lesh bass, but look for pictures of him with the Wall of Sound...that's a bass I built. The amazing thing is that the LED's in the first instrument I did with them still work...a 12 string for David Crosby (Gibson Crest body, neck by Mario Martello, finished off by myself including pickups, preamps by Ron Wickersham) which I assembled in 1970. Yeah, 44 years of "lights on" with that sucker. Did it when I was five...
Yes Rick, I know your history well, and I hope to meet you in person some day and if the stars align even order an ukulele from you... Really cool that the 12 string's lights still work.
I know you did not build the Ritter bass, but it was the first picture of one that at least was from a former customer of yours that lit up I could find hahahaha.

Glad you are here posting on the forum. We all benefit from you sharing with us.