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Thread: B&D Special Spec's and Review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default B&D Special Spec's and Review

    Aloha UU Ohana,
    As I promised to do a review when I returned to Maui from Honolulu, I'm back and here it is.
    Rewind to Feb.2012; I decided to have Willie Wixom build me a custom tenor but is it a custom to just spec out the woods and adornments? I thought of it a different way. Why not have one built like the one I had in my head for a long time. Talked it over with Willie and he agreed to take on the task of my design ideas. As we talked, he grew more excited. I told him I wanted something different and it had to have a "Wow Factor".
    Now on with it..... the HEAD STOCK:
    I took one of his head stock design, printed it and then drew my B&D design on it and emailed it to Willie. At first he didn't get it until I pointed it out....exactly what I wanted....subtlety.
    Next the FRET BOARD: My Mom bought me a new uke from a local drug store in 1958. It had a blondish sound board (must have been Spruce) and a dark back and sides(Probably Rosewood as I remember the wood grain in it). It had the most beautiful end of fret board design, a Scalloped Staircase. I absolutely loved it. I drew it out on paper and sent it to Willie.
    SOUND HOLE: Again to be different; I designed a "D" Hole, cut it out of cardboard, laid it on my KPK tenor, took a pix of it and emailed it to Willie. Then I mailed MY template to him. That's when I asked for a soundport on the upper bout.
    BRIDGE:Willie emailed me a drawing of the bridge He designed and ask for my permission to use it on my uke, I was excited and said YES. Also, I spec'd out through the bridge stringing.
    WOODS: Wanted to have the look of my 1958 uke but didn't want the brightness of Spruce so I chose unstained Mahagony. The back and sides I chose Rosewood to acheive the color contrast. Chose Snakewood for the head stock verneer, fret board, and bridge.
    BINDINGS: Flamed Maple with Blk/Wht/Blk purfling. Same for the fret board also. Flamed Maple for End Graft and Skunk Stripe at the back.
    OTHER DESIGN FEATURES SPEC'D OUT: "808" between the slots of the head stock, Fret Markers all on the lower side of the fret board, markers on the side of the neck.
    NECK PROFILE: Spec'd out 1 3/8" width, Thickness: 5/8" at the 2nd fret, 11/16" at the 7th fret and profiled to the body.
    Spec'd out a "Hooked" neck and a high heel profile.
    As far as looks, I'm totally blown away by the end product.
    Now on to the performance end of it:
    The playability is good, the voice is better than expected. It is warm and sweet but is different than my Mele and that's what I was looking for. The sustain is long, and well balanced between strings (using Southcoast G-650 flatwound low g)
    There are however minor flaws in the finishing which I will discuss with Willie.
    Don't know what else to say except " Mahalo to Willie Wixom for making my Dream Uke a reality".
    Next up a Concert....Ready for it Willie?
    Regards,..............................BO.......... ...........
    Last edited by 808boy; 06-19-2012 at 08:25 AM.
    Uku Itch: Live It, Love It, Share It
    Mele: My Song, My Joy, My uke....
    Proud Designer and Owner of the "B&D Special" and the "Maui Kai" by Willie Wixom

  2. #2


    Will we get video or pictures?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Southern California


    Thanks for this info. I like how you brought design meaning from your past to the new uke. And overlaid it with romance with the B&D on it. A timeless piece. Can you provide more photos than the few you posted in the first minutes you had it?

    With the low sound hole, does it sound loud to the person sitting opposite you?

    Do you prefer the mahogany sound of this to the many koa ukes you and Stan play for each other?

    I'm happy that it worked out so well for you.

    Leave every place better than you found it.

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