Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48

Thread: Custom Uke Owners

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    47

    Default Custom Uke Owners

    I would love to hear some experiences with owning custom Ukes. When I reach a certain playing ability I’m definitely going that route. Thanks for any replies.


    P.s. pics welcome.
    Kanile’a K-2 Premium Concert
    Kala KA-CEM


    If you Uke easy, life will be hard. If you Uke hard, life will be easy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Irvine and San Jose, CA
    Posts
    577

    Default

    Hi Kibes:

    There are many positives about the experience of commissioning a custom built instrument. It is like anticipating the birth of a child. The best part is working with the builder to design it together with your thoughts in mind and with the recommendations of the builder. Along the way ask the builder to send pictures of their progress. Then you eagerly await for the birth of the baby. The tension and excitement of waiting for the delivery of the baby is a nerve wracking but rewarding experience.

    There is one big negative that you should be cognizant of. Just because the builder has a good reputation alone is not enough. What if you don't like the sound quality? It doesn't mean the builder did a bad job. It just means that your opinion of sound quality does not match what the builder can make. Perception of sound quality is different for each individual. I recommend that you find an instrument that he or she had previously built, and see if it meets your standards for sound quality. Visit the builder if possible. You live in the Bay Area, which has many fine builders. Tony Graziano, Rick Turner, Mike DaSilva are close to you. Ask fellow forum members if they would be willing to show you their ukulele from the same builder.

    Sometimes you will get lucky and its a good match. I have 6 custom instruments (ukuleles and guitars). My first custom was a bit of a disappointment because I did not play prior to ordering. After that, a lesson was learned, and my other 5 instruments turned out to my liking. Good luck in your journey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lfoo6952 View Post
    Hi Kibes:

    There are many positives about the experience of commissioning a custom built instrument. It is like anticipating the birth of a child. The best part is working with the builder to design it together with your thoughts in mind and with the recommendations of the builder. Along the way ask the builder to send pictures of their progress. Then you eagerly await for the birth of the baby. The tension and excitement of waiting for the delivery of the baby is a nerve wracking but rewarding experience.

    There is one big negative that you should be cognizant of. Just because the builder has a good reputation alone is not enough. What if you don't like the sound quality? It doesn't mean the builder did a bad job. It just means that your opinion of sound quality does not match what the builder can make. Perception of sound quality is different for each individual. I recommend that you find an instrument that he or she had previously built, and see if it meets your standards for sound quality. Visit the builder if possible. You live in the Bay Area, which has many fine builders. Tony Graziano, Rick Turner, Mike DaSilva are close to you. Ask fellow forum members if they would be willing to show you their ukulele from the same builder.

    Sometimes you will get lucky and its a good match. I have 6 custom instruments (ukuleles and guitars). My first custom was a bit of a disappointment because I did not play prior to ordering. After that, a lesson was learned, and my other 5 instruments turned out to my liking. Good luck in your journey.

    Fantastic info. Thank you. I could only imagine the anticipation. I might be too high strung with my top possessions to even own one
    Kanile’a K-2 Premium Concert
    Kala KA-CEM


    If you Uke easy, life will be hard. If you Uke hard, life will be easy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,021

    Default

    I have custom ukes, I have the same advice, be sure you go over every little detail and aspect of the build. With my bass uke, I didn't specify the neck width or putting an access panel on the back to make the fat poly string changes easier. I also made the mistake of requesting fretless, which was difficult for me to get used to with my other bass ukes being fretted. After a couple of years of use, I retired it. But with the others ukes, I was very specific and they came out very well. I actually did my own drawings since I do graphic design and have the apps and experience.




    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 33)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video
    Last edited by kohanmike; 02-01-2019 at 09:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    CH
    Posts
    1,671

    Default

    My advise would be to educate yourself about what you like or dislike in an instrument, looking at three categories: looks, sound, playability. There are thousands of demo videos to be found on the internet. Better yet, of course, would be to visit stores or makers if you have the opportunity to do so. Find out how you feel about different tonewoods as well as additional features such as slotted headstocks, beveled armrests, side sound ports, radius fretboards, pickups, binding, inlay work, etc.

    Then start to think about which features you would like to include in your instrument, and who is the builder who will most likely be able to deliver what you are looking for. Most of them have a signature sound, so make sure to choose one whose sound - and builds - you like. Or choose a couple of builders to start discussing what you would like and then go with the one you feel better about.

    Then, just like lfoo mentioned, discuss your ideas with the builder, and listen to his ideas and recommendations. They know best what will work with their builds, and what they are comfortable with. One point you shouldn't forget to ask in advance is the approximate time until completion. Most of the well-respected builders have quite a backlog. Make sure you have a uke to play in the meantime (I see you have a Kanilea, so you're all settled for a long wait).
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    I have custom ukes, I have the same advice, be sure you go over every little detail and aspect of the build. With my bass uke, I didn't specify the neck width or putting an access panel on the back to make the fat poly string changes easier. I also made the mistake of requesting fretless, which was difficult for me to get used to with my other bass ukes being fretted. After a couple of years of use, I retired it. But with the others ukes, I was very specific and they came out very well. I actually did my own drawings since I do graphic design and have the apps and experience.




    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 33)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video

    Pretty cool to have that design background to apply. Amazing collection. Thanks for the reply.
    Kanile’a K-2 Premium Concert
    Kala KA-CEM


    If you Uke easy, life will be hard. If you Uke hard, life will be easy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    My advise would be to educate yourself about what you like or dislike in an instrument, looking at three categories: looks, sound, playability. There are thousands of demo videos to be found on the internet. Better yet, of course, would be to visit stores or makers if you have the opportunity to do so. Find out how you feel about different tonewoods as well as additional features such as slotted headstocks, beveled armrests, side sound ports, radius fretboards, pickups, binding, inlay work, etc.

    Then start to think about which features you would like to include in your instrument, and who is the builder who will most likely be able to deliver what you are looking for. Most of them have a signature sound, so make sure to choose one whose sound - and builds - you like. Or choose a couple of builders to start discussing what you would like and then go with the one you feel better about.

    Then, just like lfoo mentioned, discuss your ideas with the builder, and listen to his ideas and recommendations. They know best what will work with their builds, and what they are comfortable with. One point you shouldn't forget to ask in advance is the approximate time until completion. Most of the well-respected builders have quite a backlog. Make sure you have a uke to play in the meantime (I see you have a Kanilea, so you're all settled for a long wait).

    I am over the moon with my new ukulele. It is interesting to me that all the production K brands seem to possess one thing or another the other does not. It seems one just slightly edges out the other. And even though I’m sure everyone is happy with their final decision for the most part, they can’t help but be curious. I am. I considered buying one of all 3 K brands and then selling two once I knew. Ultimately I’m very happy with my decision, but figured a custom uke would be the closest to a unicorn uke. I’m not someone who will have a huge collection of ukuleles. I will have a beater a solid medium and my top dog.

    Also, I realize there are many great brands besides the K’s, they just don’t (unless we’re talking custom) interest me. I am just fantasizing here. I was fortunate enough to get such a nice Kanile’a due to the fact I caught the Uke flu and sold my prize possession Seagull guitar within a week of getting my Kala to see if I was into it. My wife will not allow custom Uke money to be distributed anytime soon... but I do have TWO kidneys still.
    Last edited by Kibes37; 02-01-2019 at 10:31 PM.
    Kanile’a K-2 Premium Concert
    Kala KA-CEM


    If you Uke easy, life will be hard. If you Uke hard, life will be easy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,227

    Default

    Since there were recommendations of makers in the bay area, don't forget http://www.pohakuukulele.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Toronto , Canada
    Posts
    1,921

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    My advise would be to educate yourself about what you like or dislike in an instrument, looking at three categories: looks, sound, playability. There are thousands of demo videos to be found on the internet. Better yet, of course, would be to visit stores or makers if you have the opportunity to do so. Find out how you feel about different tonewoods as well as additional features such as slotted headstocks, beveled armrests, side sound ports, radius fretboards, pickups, binding, inlay work, etc.

    Then start to think about which features you would like to include in your instrument, and who is the builder who will most likely be able to deliver what you are looking for. Most of them have a signature sound, so make sure to choose one whose sound - and builds - you like. Or choose a couple of builders to start discussing what you would like and then go with the one you feel better about.

    Then, just like lfoo mentioned, discuss your ideas with the builder, and listen to his ideas and recommendations. They know best what will work with their builds, and what they are comfortable with. One point you shouldn't forget to ask in advance is the approximate time until completion. Most of the well-respected builders have quite a backlog. Make sure you have a uke to play in the meantime (I see you have a Kanilea, so you're all settled for a long wait).
    I second what Rainer says here
    In my opinion it’s not about your playing ability
    It’s more to do with your knowledge of the wood and your like and dislike just as Rainer advised.
    If you don’t know what tone you like even a well known luthier can disappoint you. Look is just icing on the cake. To me the sound and strings respond are most important
    Last edited by SoloRule; 02-02-2019 at 02:34 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    3,964

    Default

    excellent advice so far. My only addition would be to realize that production instruments today are so good that you don't *need* a custom uke. It isn't going to make you a better player and it isn't going to sound like angels singing straight from your fingertips to your ears. It's still a uke. Now I say that as someone whose collection at this point consists mostly of commissioned instruments, so I'm not trying to dissuade you at all. Just keep the right perspective, enjoy the process, and you'll be much more likely to enjoy the end product.
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 02-02-2019 at 05:27 AM.
    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, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G
    Kala KA-GL-Koa, G EFS O Warm/Worth B

    Jim's Blog

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •