Experiences with customs

sukie

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You will almost never find your holy grail ukulele that is perfect for you.. many have tried, getting the tone and looks they like...and the lucky ones who do cherish them for life..
this is why there are so many used ukes for sale no matter how custom they are or not... don't give up the search, some have gotten real lucky, there are even gems in cheap ukes for tone,
but they are real rare....this is what I call the learning curb of what to find and what you like and can get , it can be an expensive endeavor ... good luck :)
My ukulele will have to be pried out of my cold, dead hands. It's that special to me.
 

Jim Hanks

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Okay Nickie...how can you drop this on us "It has one feature that no other Cocobolo uke has, maybe no other uke of any kind."....and not tell!!! :)
Maybe she did in other posts about this Uke but I don't recall. It definitely bears repeating here though. CMON! WE GOTTA KNOW! :D

The experiences people have with the same builder can also be different. I had a rather poor experience with a builder that someone else has already praised earlier in this post.
So true. I had a very positive experience with a builder that someone else in the thread had a quite negative experience
 

KohanMike

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I am stunned by the pricing (saw what is on eBay) and am now thinking about one of these. Can you put up some recordings or recommend? I would love that tenor cutout in the gloss black like you have for that Mandolin. Does he do radius finger boards?

I don't have any recordings, it's been a while since I played the uke regularly so I don't think I would do it justice, I've been focussed on bass uke for about a year and half, only playing my ukes once in a while. You can contact Bruce directly from any of his eBay listing, there is a link for doing customs. My black mandolele is very full sounding, the gypsy jazz is mellow and smooth, and I actually won one of his ready mades from eBay a few months ago only because I liked the look, a brown sunburst tenor cutaway for $100 and it actually plays and sounds good.
 

Nickie

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Okay Nickie...how can you drop this on us "It has one feature that no other Cocobolo uke has, maybe no other uke of any kind."....and not tell!!! :)

Okay, I'll give it up, but only here....
It has a gently sloped top, at the lower bought, just where my arm rests. It's not beveled, per se, like some customs, but a rounded off edge so that I don't get a crease in my arm, I can wear short sleeves, and it doesn't get tired for along time. I'd put up a pic, but it's so subtle it's not photogenic. It is the most comfortable uke I've ever played.
 

Recstar24

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Okay, I'll give it up, but only here....
It has a gently sloped top, at the lower bought, just where my arm rests. It's not beveled, per se, like some customs, but a rounded off edge so that I don't get a crease in my arm, I can wear short sleeves, and it doesn't get tired for along time. I'd put up a pic, but it's so subtle it's not photogenic. It is the most comfortable uke I've ever played.

Same feature on koaloha's!
 

hollisdwyer

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This has been such an interesting thread. It seems all those that have customs, whether commissioned or purchased 2nd hand, have all experienced angst at some level.
When I examine my own experience over the past 2 years (the period when I have either purchased or commissioned a custom build) I can say I have never been disappointed with any of the instruments I have owned or still own.
It is interesting to me to see that at this point the only two instruments I own are the ones I've commissioned. Not to take away from the fact that they are wonderful instruments and that they have met all my expectations, upon examination, I guess that when you commission a build you have a hell of a lot more 'skin in the game' than just money.
 
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SoloRule

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You will almost never find your holy grail ukulele that is perfect for you.. many have tried, getting the tone and looks they like...and the lucky ones who do cherish them for life..
this is why there are so many used ukes for sale no matter how custom they are or not... don't give up the search, some have gotten real lucky, there are even gems in cheap ukes for tone,
but they are real rare....this is what I call the learning curb of what to find and what you like and can get , it can be an expensive endeavor ... good luck :)

Get a lfdm your search is over!
 

cml

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Okay, I'll give it up, but only here....
It has a gently sloped top, at the lower bought, just where my arm rests. It's not beveled, per se, like some customs, but a rounded off edge so that I don't get a crease in my arm, I can wear short sleeves, and it doesn't get tired for along time. I'd put up a pic, but it's so subtle it's not photogenic. It is the most comfortable uke I've ever played.
As recstar pointed out, that feature is on all KoAlohas, but it DOES make a huge difference doesnt it? So much nicer for the arm...:D
Actually, my Ken Timms also has a slightly beveled edge, though not as much as the KoAloha. My Kala and Korala dont though.
 

70sSanO

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I don't own a production ukulele. Everything ukulele I play was made by an independent luthier that builds for the pleasure of it. I have only had one issue with an independent and that was with a 5K style Concert that was a real dud, sunken soundboard, poor finish, hardly playable, etc. and I sent it back. I was only out the shipping.

I have 2 Keith Ogata tenors that were not custom made for me, but Keith made them the way he wanted to make them and they are wonderful ukes. I have ordered a couple of Fred Shields ukuleles that were less than $300, all solid wood, hand made in USA. Standard shapes, but I picked the wood. Technically not really a custom, especially in the vein of how a "custom" is perceived. Nice ukuleles and worth what I paid... especially the one he suggested.

And then I have a John Fitzgerald custom tenor that he built for the 2015 Orange County Fair. That one is really a custom with all of the bells and whistles... bevels, side port, inlay, binding, pufling, etc. It was John's first ukulele after making guitars for years. But... it was John's custom. He put it together with the woods he felt best accentuated to sound and the look he was trying to accomplish. I just happened to find it after the fact and bought it. It is easily the best playing and sounding ukulele I have.

Over the years I have wondered if I am much better off not having had any say into the design and wood and just let the luthier build it based on what he/she knows will work best. When I ordered one of the Fred Shields ukes, Fred made a suggestion on what he thought was the best shape but I had my own ideas and while it is a nice ukulele, the next one I just told him to pick what he thought would give me the sound I was trying to get, and that one hit the mark better than what I thought.

John

EDIT: I just remembered that I have an old Harmony baritone, so I have a production uke after all.
 
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hollisdwyer

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I would certainly hope that any builder that I was working with to produce a custom would be forthcoming if they thought any of my requests were inadvisable.
 

sam13

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haha Stan has one...

And so do you, in fact it was getting to know you through this thread which lead me to pick up the phone and speak with Luis who lived in the same town as me ... 10 minutes away ...

I took DownUpDave with me, because I knew he would want a LFdM as well.

I have had a great experience working with Luis Feu de Mesquita ... from Pickering, ON Canada.

From the beginning he has been thoughtful and generous with his time taking great care to discuss each detail, if needed, of the Ukulele and the final instrument.

I would have no qualms about recommending him to anyone who is looking for a quality sounding instrument.

My advice and there has been a lot of great advice is to consider what you are looking to use the custom instrument for ... before looking for a luthier.

Bella (my Uke) is a sweet ride for jazz, and whether plugged in or acoustic it leaves me wanting more.

image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg
 

stevejfc

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That's a stunner Sam. If only we could convince Luis to build a concert size:drool:
 

whmeltonjr

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That is one gorgeous uke! I'm pretty sure that would cure any cases of UAS. Enjoy her.
 

SailingUke

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I have a Mike Pereira and a Mike DaSilva, both are great ukuleles.
 

mm stan

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DSC02001.jpg

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bottom ukes are Steve Grimes,
 

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