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Thread: Things to consider ordering a custom made uke ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Things to consider ordering a custom made uke ?

    I want to have a solid body baritone electric uke made by the monkeywrench guy (Jim Hellar). I'm ready to talk about specs and I'm looking for input. I don't expect to get the same dimensions as my Koloa acoustic bari but want to get dimensions in the same general neighborhood. So I have scale measurement, width at the nut, string spacing at the nut, and string spacing at the bridge.

    I'm planning to finger pick the electric the same as I do the acoustic.

    Is there anything else I should consider before I discuss specifics with him? I'm going to have to send him half payment up front. He seems to have a good reputation.

    Thanks for any input.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Perhaps Nuprin can chime in on this. I know that he had a custom Monkey wrench made. Chris?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Very happy with my Monkey Wrench fact, I was playing it for awhile yesterday. My build was quite easy...I told him I wanted a tenor strung re-entrant (he normally does low G) with fret markers on the 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 (he usually doesn't do the 15). I told him I really liked the look of the spalted maple ukes he had. Otherwise, everything else was part of his base model. Looks like he has changed his custom order policy...he previously didn't take a deposit. This is the email he sent me when I originally expressed interest:

    Chris ,
    I can string them any way you like. I just sent one to Japan that was High G tuning. The base price is $600.00 with a padded gig bag. Check this page. It details what the base Electric Tenor includes

    As far as options there are not many limitations. This is how I do custom orders; I will try to build the ukuele within the parameters of what you want. If you like it, you get first chance to purchase it. You are under no obligation. It takes approximately one month from when I receive your request until it is finished.( I do have several custom orders in production, so it may take a bit longer). I reserve the right for artistic license. While I take your suggestions and requests for specifics, the final product will be a reflection of my personal and professional judgement. I will send you pictures during the process. If you want something really exotic; for example an expensive pickup or other features that would hinder me from selling it, I will require a deposit. Most requests do not require a deposit. Feel free to ask me any questions. Most all of my ukuleles are one of a kind and they are all hand made. I like to use figured woods that are unique and have a special character.

    You can also find Monkey Wrench Music on Face Book

    Jim Hellar
    Monkey Wrench Music
    Mine was a pretty easy build but I thought Jim was amazing to work with and he was great about sending pictures through the building process. I would shoot him an email with the dimensions you want and see what he has to say.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    The deposit may be because I want to have a P90 pickup on it. I'm hoping to get a sound in the neighborhood of T-Bone Walker's. I've about decided on a Lindy Fralin hum canceling P90 which probably will involve having the pickup shipped from Richmond VA to Washington state. So his comment about a special request pickup makes sense here.

    I'm just trying to do due dilligence before spending my money.


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