How long will you wait?

How long would you expect to wait for a custom built ukulele?

  • 3 months

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • 6 months

    Votes: 8 19.0%
  • 12 months

    Votes: 17 40.5%
  • 18 months

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • other/specify

    Votes: 9 21.4%

  • Total voters
    42

Nickie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Messages
11,235
Reaction score
3,669
Location
Tampa Bay, FL
How long will you wait for a custom built ukulele?
 
I was interested in a National with my choice of options until they said 12-14 months.
 
I have my custom ukes made by Bruce Wei Arts in Vietnam. It usually takes about 2 months to arrive. This last one for $875 shipped express is all solid spalted maple thinline tenor cutaway that came out great. I had him thin down the top a little and it projects very well.

BWA Spalted thinline done.jpg
 
I put 6 months, but it really depends on the builder, the complexity of the build, and maybe some luck.

I would hope to not have to wait more than 6 months but would accept up to a year if there was a luthier I really wanted to do a build for me.

Some of the builders who had longer wait times a while ago have shorter times currently, and some have longer waits now. Lots of variation. That’s where some of the luck factor comes in.
 
I agree, I think it depends on the builder, and their schedule. Some builders are set up for production-like productivity, others not so much. Some have a pretty long wait list, others not so much. If they had nothing else to do, and no one else in the queue, then I'd say probably 3-6 months (again, depending on what their life is like otherwise). But from what I understand of a lot of one-person, custom order shops, that would be a really quick turnaround from order to delivery.
 
I have been waiting for my baritone since july of 2021. That's cool because it gave me time to save up the money. The last time I spoke to the luthier he estimated having it done around New Year's. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to contact him at the end October but I forgot. I better get on top of that this week.
 
I believe I waited about eight months for my first Barron River... six months to start with a two month build time.

One thing true of some builders is that it costs nothing to get in the queue. No deposit is required until they are ready to order the wood or specify the build. This makes getting in line easy.
 
Some luthiers require a payment to retain a place in the que for their build. I don't begrudge this one bit. It demonstrates to the luthier that you are serious about having an instrument designed and built by them. When your turn comes up, you then have to provide a percentage of the final price to allow the luthier to buy the materials and get final design details finalized.

They may or may not allow you to sell your position in line if your circumstances change and you can't go ahead with the build. But you have to give notice and it has to happen within a time frame that had been set. Usually the place holder money is not refundable nor is the position transferable.

Others, you make arrangements when you talk to the luthier and your instrument is made as the luthier can get to it.

Since the holidays are fast approaching, I imagine that the wait times will be increasing for a while.
 
I waited 13 months for my Donaldson Custom Concert.

Worth every minute..
 
I waited about 18 months in total for my Wunderkammer build, it was definitely worth it for me. I did have to pay a small deposit, can’t actually remember whether it was when I first put my name on the list or nearer the time when my build slot came up, but I was very sure at that point that I wanted Liam to build my uke so I was comfortable doing that.

(Edit: I ticked “other” in the poll, because I think it really depends on the builder.)
 
Last edited:
I have been waiting for my baritone since july of 2021. That's cool because it gave me time to save up the money. The last time I spoke to the luthier he estimated having it done around New Year's. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to contact him at the end October but I forgot. I better get on top of that this week.
Geezus! Fell through the cracks?
 
I wait until I'm in the mood to make one...so far that's been 5 months, as last week I started on a new concert build.
 
Not at all. The wait was average according to others to whom I have spoken. The luthier is just in high demand. But that's why I am making this my last uke. I just wanted to see how the other half lives.
Kudos to you for your patience. I hope we get to see it soon!
 
I read an article the other day that said it takes a full week to make one high quality fiddle bow!
 
Well if I don't have to put money down to get put on a list I might do that. I'll wait until my name comes up, that is if the maker and I are still alive and the money is in the bank as well.

I'd rather not wait these days. Life is too short. I'm not in the have to have it yesterday or it's too late category either. I'm in a place of satisfaction when it comes to many of my accumulated goods and while I cannot make unlimited choices, I am able to make choices that satisfy. I'm pretty sure a custom uke would not take me to the next level.

I visited with a violin bow maker a few years back, picking up my sister in law's bow that was in for some service. Wonderful conversation with the maker. If you think a custom ukulele is too expensive for you try a top end violin bow.................
 
Yep, $10 to $11,000 for a really nice fiddle bow.

The two things I can't get from an off the shelf ukulele, that are a must: radiused fretboard and chamfered armrest. They do improve my playing, and how long I can play. I'm onstage for an hour or more each show, so....comfort is a big issue.
 
I see you have point there. I do like my radiused neck on my Godin. I have looked at buying a Blackbird due to the ability to get a radiused neck. But the cost and wait has held me back. They do come up for sale at The Ukulele Site from time to time.

I suppose a long time searching or waiting for a custom? Seems about the same to me.
 
Top Bottom