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Thread: Anyone own an archtop ukelele ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Oklahoma and Arizona
    Posts
    87

    Default Anyone own an archtop ukelele ?

    Here I am waiting for the delivery of my Pono baritone, and I am already lusting over another uke ! I have had GAS for 55 years so now I am getting UAS ! Anyway, here is one I am looking at for the future,,,any other models you guys and gals own or recommend would be appreciated. (Coming from a "jazzy" guitar background, I have owned a lot of archtop guitars over the years, Gibson, Epiphone, Eastman, Ibanez, with my best being a Benedetto Bambino). Anyway, thanks in advance for any other suggestions. This one, to me, is a beauty !!

    https://www.archtopukuleles.com/serena-details.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kekaha, Kauai
    Posts
    263

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    It sounds like you have the arch top bug. I have made several archtop ukulele and have two that my wife wouldn’t let me sell. After building approximately 150 mandolins and a dozen archtop guitars, I have a pretty good idea of what makes them work and the properties of a good archtop ukulele are similar to those of a guitar, loud but with less sustain than a flattop. I was prodded into building my first archtop ukulele shortly after Kala came out with their jazz uke. There was a thread on UU on whether nylon strings would work on a proper archtop uke, with most thinking it would not work. I pointed out that Steve Grimes and Bob Benedetto had built successful nylon string archtop guitars. So to show that it could be done, I built my first archtop ukulele and promptly sold it to an owner of a music store. They are both labor and material intensive, and thus expensive to make. My experience has been that the market is pretty limited. I am currently making an eight string archtop tenor ukulele that is waiting for me to get back to Cannon Beach and finish.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,935

    Default

    Here is nice looking instrument

    http://decava.com/uke_jazz.htm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blaine, Washington
    Posts
    2,421

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    Here's a Ubass and Baritone archtops I had Toby Chennell of Jazz Box Ukes build. The floating bridge allows for either steel or nylon on the bari. by changing out the nut.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 08-02-2020 at 11:54 AM.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kekaha, Kauai
    Posts
    263

    Default

    Here are some pics of some of mine

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/BUQw1KnEurJMvK5C9

    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  7. #7

    Default

    Brad that's gorgeous!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    2,384

    Default

    I bought an Arch Top Jazz Ukulele from Aiersi (on Amazon now)...they gave me a partial refund for two reasons. First, I am going to review it but the electronics didn't work right. I bought a different pickup and put it in, and that helped (It was a $10 pickup from MGB) but it still isn't great. It has metal strings, which is just crazy to me, but I might switch it to ukulele strings as the body seems quite resonant and the electrics aren't that great anyway.

    It's going to be a tough one to review, as metal string instruments are not my area of experience, and second, it's tough to work through what to say when the electronics didn't work. (For example, there weren't any spring spacers in the pickup at all).

    I suppose I could bring it to a guitar shop and have them replace the electronics altogether...but that's quite a bit in what was originally a $99 listing on Amazon.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    5,141

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    Bruce Wei Arts in Vietnam shows a beautiful carved archtop tenor uke on his eBay store for about $600, others have F holes. I asked if he could make me a 22.8" scale bass uke, he said yes, it's in the works now for $850 including express shipping. He's made me a few ukes and a bass uke in the last 7 years.



    My bass uke mockup.



    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

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

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