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Thread: Build Thread: Custom Tenor Ukulele by Marshall Stapleton

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Kent "The Garden of England"
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    247

    Default Build Thread: Custom Tenor Ukulele by Marshall Stapleton

    Well,

    I have bit the bullet and paid the deposit for a custom ukulele.

    I was very taken with the Pono Macassar Ebony series but they are very difficult to get in the UK so decided to look at pursuing the bespoke route.

    This is going to be a 65th birthday present from my wife, (will probably include Christmas too ).

    I contacted a few luthiers, both well known, and not so well known, with my original specification and after a fair amount of emails going back and forth decided to go with Marshall Stapleton.

    Marshall is well known, down to earth, and very honest when discussing the specification, also his enthusiasm just came across in his emails.

    Some of you may have heard of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Marshall has both played for, (along with George Hinchliffe and a few others, the embryonic Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was started), and supplied ukuleles to the UOGB.

    http://marshallstapleton.wix.com/guitars#!

    My original specification was

    Macassar ebony back and sides
    Cedar top
    Slotted headstock
    Ebony fretboard and bridge
    Fretboard bound with maple
    Ebony faceplate on the headstock
    Maple binding


    After a few emails with Marshall it's currently standing at

    Macassar ebony back and sides
    Torrefied spruce top
    Additional sound hole on upper bout
    Slotted headstock
    Conical fretboard
    Ebony fretboard and bridge
    Fretboard bound with maple
    Ebony faceplate on the headstock
    Maple binding

    Other details such nut width, bridge type, rosette design etc., (I really like his rosette designs, and it will be difficult to choose), will be discussed as and when required.

    I asked Marshall about the pros and cons of a radiused fretboard, and he says he prefers a conical fretboard, so that's that decided.

    I originally wanted a cedar top but then, after a lot of Google searches about tonewoods, read about torrefied spruce. Marshall was interested in using this top, so I've decided to go for it as it's something different, and it is a custom build after all.

    Marshall has kindly agreed to let me post images of the build here, so hopefully I'll be able to share what will be, for me, an exciting next few months.

    He is currently quite busy so don't I do not expect anything soon, but couldn't wait to share
    Pono MCD

    KoAloha KTM-00

    Headcorn Ukulele Group http://www.headcornukulelegroup.org/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    Default

    Congratulations, it seems a well thought out collaboration. I had to research "conical fretboard" to find out it is a compound radius, Kinnard does those. If you like a radius you will like the conical/compound, I've owned two Kinnards and liked the playability. Good choice on the torrified spruce. What is this second soundhole on the upper bout??? Are you referring to a side sound port or will this have two sound holes on the top?? I will look forward to the pictures
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  3. #3
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    Jan 2013
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    Honolulu/Hawaii
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    Default

    good choice with a torrified spruce top. Would have gone with Redwood.
    also try a string thru bridge design and 1.5 inch wide nut.
    try add a Arm Bevel and Scopp cutaway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Kent "The Garden of England"
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Congratulations, it seems a well thought out collaboration. I had to research "conical fretboard" to find out it is a compound radius, Kinnard does those. If you like a radius you will like the conical/compound, I've owned two Kinnards and liked the playability. Good choice on the torrified spruce. What is this second soundhole on the upper bout??? Are you referring to a side sound port or will this have two sound holes on the top?? I will look forward to the pictures
    A side sound port.
    Pono MCD

    KoAloha KTM-00

    Headcorn Ukulele Group http://www.headcornukulelegroup.org/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Cool. Following!
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Kent "The Garden of England"
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tangimango View Post
    good choice with a torrified spruce top. Would have gone with Redwood.
    also try a string thru bridge design and 1.5 inch wide nut.
    try add a Arm Bevel and Scopp cutaway.
    I'll probably go with 40mm nut width and 10mm between string, as per my KoAloha.

    I thought about Redwood, so many choices.....

    Also thought about an arm bevel/comfort edge but having not built one before, he didn't want the first one to be a custom made ukulele.

    I think the scoop cutaway would fit into the same bracket.
    Last edited by Steve in Kent; 06-06-2018 at 02:44 AM.
    Pono MCD

    KoAloha KTM-00

    Headcorn Ukulele Group http://www.headcornukulelegroup.org/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    Posts
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    Default

    It looks as if you will have something really special. Looking forward to updates on progress.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
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    Congratulations, Steve. Exciting times!

    John Colter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Kent "The Garden of England"
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    Default

    Well, after planing down the set these "spalting" spots appeared.

    They are not soft and will not affect the strength at all, but it's up to me whether I want a different set or not.

    Torn between having a standard pretty Macassar back and a really interesting totally one off back....

    Back 01.jpg
    Back 02.jpg
    Sides 1.jpg
    Pono MCD

    KoAloha KTM-00

    Headcorn Ukulele Group http://www.headcornukulelegroup.org/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    3,769

    Default

    When it's a choice between standard and unique, I am rarely "torn", but that's just me.
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

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