How long will you wait?

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

  • 3 months

    Votes: 2 6.1%
  • 6 months

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • 12 months

    Votes: 14 42.4%
  • 18 months

    Votes: 4 12.1%
  • other/specify

    Votes: 7 21.2%

  • Total voters
I waited about 6 months for a Ko'alou and it was worth every second of the wait. Of course I was 6 years younger then.😀
Business is people selling to other people. What constitutes an acceptable waiting period should be between you and the luthier, not what other people on a forum tell you.

I've just got on with other things when people were building instruments for me. I'm not going to stop playing my other instruments because I'm waiting for one that may or may not be better at some point in the future.

It goes two ways, incidentally - I remember telling a (really well-regarded) luthier that I didn't think the instrument he wanted to make for me (which wasn't quite what I'd asked him to make me, because I apparently didn't want the thing I asked him to make) was worth the time he'd expect me to wait, based on the other instruments of his I'd played. He was really surprised, and even offered to bump me up his list! I don't own one of his instruments, perhaps unsurprisingly.
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I based my choice of 12 months based on "who" is the builder. Their profile: She/he owns a one or two person shop and -with the exception of tuners and strings and cases- designs and builds the complete ukulele. It's likely they only build 3-5 per month. They likely have a choice of 3-4 models in a range of sizes, with some customization add-ons. I need to be able to specify the neck profile, nut width, and string 'spread'. I want a string thru or pegged bridge. I don't care if they use a CNC to rough shape the neck/headstock to their design.
Over the years I have commissioned a number of luthier built instruments, and found generally the ones that have a good process for ordering have a good process for finishing on time. The quickest was probably a few months from start to finish and on average I would say 6-8 months is normal in my experience. My favorite ordering experience is The Beansprout which has a solid process and having bought a few from them always deliver on time. They tell you up front the month of your build slot, they only seem to sell a limited number per month so it doesn't overload the schedule, and are in constant communication throughout.

On the other side of the coin, I am currently on month 27 waiting for a custom instrument, which is a bit longer than I had wanted to wait (and 9 months longer than my quote). Understanding that life happens and while I have already bought and paid for this instrument, my world won't end if it doesn't get here today, this luthier is also poor at communicating, which makes it all the more painful to be so late. And just like the above compliments for the Beansprout process, this luthier has a poor one and thus has a poor output on the other end.
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.
All the ones I’ve commissioned have a radiused fretboard and a side sound port. Those were the most important when I started buying customs 6-7 years ago. I requested a few personal details (pyramid bridge only one fretboard marker at the 12th and an Art Nouveau inlay on the headstock) from Beau Hannam when he built my tenor. When I ordered he was quite busy so had to wait for about 18 months. My instrument was built in the same batch as the one he built for the Luthiers for a Cause project.
I'm having a custom electric guitar built. I was originally prepared to wait 24 months for my build slot to come up, which I didn't mind because I figured it was more time for the luthier to refine skills and the instrument I'd get two years from now would be better than the one someone else would get tomorrow. Ended up being just over a 12 month wait for the start of the build, which I was also fine with since the luthier offered a payment plan to pay a small amount every month, and now when the instrument is ready the only cost will be shipping fees.

I don't mind the waiting as much for something like this; for the right luthier it's worth it.
A long long time as I haven't ordered one yet... though I do think about it on occasion. But I am really happy with my KoAloha tenors and I don't know what else I could want really. Fun to think about though. If I had unlimited funds I'd maybe have a black label or red label made for me.

I wouldn't mind having some inlay work on a fretboard if tasteful and not too overboard and maybe some different choices of woods than what I already have.
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I responded 12 months in the poll.
I've had custom dulcimers made, which took 6-12 months, so I'd wait up to a year for a custom uke too. Waiting longer would still be understandable, given how busy some of these luthiers have become.
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