Willie Wixom custom ukes from Northern California

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Hippie Dribble

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I supplied a Willard Wixom one of my kits about a year ago... same guy? I dunno but that body shape looks mighty familiar. Anyway, he isn't doing the luthier community any favors charging those prices!
aaarrrgghhh! Someone take that wet blanket off me!!!!!!

Supply and demand will win out I'm sure. I imagine his prices will rise once the customers start knocking the door down. Healthy competition is a good thing I would have thought as luthiers strive to be better at their craft? In any case, as with anything in life, we all need to start the journey somewhere. Give the guy a break. Good on him I say!!! Each builder has their corner of the market...yours is just a higher end market surely, and in a different continent, no?
 

mm stan

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Since he mentioned luthier community, What about the ukulele community..shouldn't it be about unity amongst
us...give us a break, besides you are so far away on another continent...reminds me of the gasoline and airlines
conspiring to raise a monopoly price..I have no problem with you or you charging your prices, but don't try to
control and raise the market prices by saying stuff like that.....
 
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Drew Bear

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Supply and demand will win out I'm sure. I imagine his prices will rise once the customers start knocking the door down. Healthy competition is a good thing I would have thought as luthiers strive to be better at their craft? In any case, as with anything in life, we all need to start the journey somewhere. Give the guy a break. Good on him I say!!! Each builder has their corner of the market...yours is just a higher end market surely, and in a different continent, no?
Well said! It seems to me the custom uke market is expanding very quickly. Will one luthier building 40-50 very competitively priced ukes this year really impact the pricing dynamic in any significant manner?

Pete, if Willie did learn with the help of one of your kits, then kudos to you for helping launch another post-retirement career in ukulele building. If you don't mind clarifying, do you explicitly say that portions of your kits may not be used for production of ukes to be sold? Or is this an unwritten rule among luthiers? More broadly speaking, are modern "body shapes" protected by some IP law (trademark, patent, etc.)?
 

808boy

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Aloha All,
I for one support Willie in his passion for building ukes in his retirement stage of his life. As he told me, he's not looking for a new career, just a marginal profit to support his HOBBY. He's a genuinely nice person who loves woodworking. He works out of his garage and works alone. I played all he had there(even #106) and they all sounded, and felt good. Kanaka916 was there also and I'm sure he will do a post with pix(thanks Danny, I forgot my camera).
I ordered a Tenor to my specs and put down my deposit. Not in a real rush to get it but I am excited. GREAT price for a spec'ed out uke....Thank you Mr. Wixom, keep up the good work...................BO....................
 

Dan Uke

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It's all good!! He's catering to a certain niche as well as every other luthier. Let's all enjoy the popularity of ukes.
 

rasputinsghost

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I applaud him and Mike Perriera ukes, Black Bear ukes, Brad Donaldson for making their ukes accessable for us ukers who cannot afford the high prices of some makers..no hard feelings..just saying..

Preach man!
 

Kanaka916

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808Boy and I met with Willie this afternoon, well I arrived a little later. We spent some time talking about his instruments and how much of an impact UU has made. Over the past day he has taken several orders and sold most of his inventory to UU members.

Willie is a retired teacher and cabinet maker who got interested in uke building about 3 years ago. It's a small one man operation and Willie works out of his garage. We made small talk about uke players, uke festivals, slotted headstocks, strings, pick ups, 6 and 8 string ukes.

On to the ukes (this is just a general assessment on my part) . . . IMO, great projection and sustain. The strings (Aquila) provided a warm sound instead of the brightness we're used to hearing even with the different tops. I did not see or feel unevenness on any parts (upper and lower bouts, book matched top/back/sides) of the instrument and the instrument just felt solid. I like the neck thickness and forming chords up and down was not a problem. Willie will shape the neck to your liking. 12th fret harmonics sounded on the spot. Maple and herringbone bindings along with the soundhole rosettes and the inlaid MOP logo on the headstock give it a nice touch. The instruments were polished with tung oil and will do satin or gloss finish if requested. Grover opened gear tuners, rosewood FB and tie bridge, optional pin bridge, bone or corian nut and saddle. MOP position dots and markers. Please check the website for options to determine the final cost.

I did take a few pictures and unfortunately a few of them came out blurry, so I posted the ones that didn't. Sorry folks . . . Oh one more thing, Willie mentioned this is a hobby and not a full time gig, just letting you know. If you have any questions, visit his website for contact info.

IMG_0015.jpg


IMG_0014.jpg


IMG_0017.jpg
 

rasputinsghost

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Looks great, Kanaka, thanks for putting the photos up! Having listened to the sound samples, wow, the High-G uke sounds great...
 

mm stan

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Wow Mahalo 808boy and Danny,
For the 411 on Willie..he sounds like a really nice guy and his ukes look top notch..I am touched with his
generosity for offering his great crafted ukuleles at prices that support the ukulele community and ukulele
movement..Way to Go Willie, Mahalo Plenty MM Stan
 
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Hippie Dribble

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WOW!!! Just love the look of that little soprano and those tenors just outstanding. Beautiful!!!! Especially that zebrawood and...is it a cedar top..amazing. Awesome, awesome work Willie!!!!!!! :cool:
 

Bill Mc

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I applaud him and Mike Perriera ukes, Black Bear ukes, Brad Donaldson for making their ukes accessable for us ukers who cannot afford the high prices of some makers..no hard feelings..just saying..

I would add Brueko ukuleles to the list. Absolutely love my solid mahogany Breuko soprano and its impeccable craftsmanship and unique sound for a pittance.
 

808boy

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Aloha,
Can't say enough about the man, I'm now a Wixom fan along with my Meles.
@Eugene, that's an unstained Mahogany top with the Zebrawood back and sides. That uke had unreal clarity and sustain. All his ukes were very nicely built with sweet voices. Will have to order a concert next....................BO...............
 

foxfair

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I guess Mr. Wixom has 10+ orders coming in just one week. :)
 
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Hippie Dribble

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Aloha,
Can't say enough about the man, I'm now a Wixom fan along with my Meles.
@Eugene, that's an unstained Mahogany top with the Zebrawood back and sides. That uke had unreal clarity and sustain. All his ukes were very nicely built with sweet voices. Will have to order a concert next....................BO...............
Bo, guess what, I ordered that exact model (with a few variations) today...had a feeling that one was a winner...will be done by end of April at a very good price
 

808boy

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@Eugene,
Wow Bruddah, congrats. Dodie's cousin wants that Zebra with a pick-up installed. Happy that UUers KNOW a good deal when it comes along. Hell, even those that can afford a higher end one are buying Willie's ukes too.....how cool is that.....................................BO.................................
 

GX9901

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A question for you guys who have been to Willie's shop. It sounds like he builds the ukes out of his garage. Is he able to control the humidity of his shop? His ukes certainly look interesting, but I'm wondering how they would do in dry climates.

Thanks!
 

garyg

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If he's in the central valley of Cal. then the humidity is low year-round and the temperatures range from very rarely freezing to 100+. I think that someone said he lives in Carmichael which is a suburb of Sacramento. The work looks beautiful and you can't beat those prices. Nice when the K's are pricing themselves out of a market that there are still luthiers around who are charging very reasonable prices for quality instruments like Black Bear. cheers, g2
 

hammer40

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Poor guy, he just wanted to retire, take it easy and enjoy his passion of woodworking. Now he has orders out the ying yang, he may have to raise his prices just to slow it all down a bit. Can't blame everybody though, they do look beautiful.
 

mm stan

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Poor guy, he just wanted to retire, take it easy and enjoy his passion of woodworking. Now he has orders out the ying yang, he may have to raise his prices just to slow it all down a bit. Can't blame everybody though, they do look beautiful.

You got a good and valid point there...I hope everyone will understand and not overload him with orders...maybe buy what he has already made first instead of piling him with custom orders...
I know many people who lose the fun and happiness in their hobbies when it becomes a drudging job and work..
 
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