Author Archive

May 15th, 2017 – A Detailed Ukulele Review

Corey at Hawaii Music Supply has a notable reputation in the ukulele community, especially for his playing. So to watch him perform an 8-minute review of an Amigo tenor ukulele is wonderful.

Just one note, the woods that I used for this instrument were Alaskan Yellow Cedar  for the top and Curly Bubinga for the back and sides.

Enjoy!

 

LFDM 0417 Amigo LVI from Hawaii Music Supply on Vimeo.

May 2nd, 2017 – Double Sound Port

If anyone was worried that my pace had slowed down, rest assured it has not!

Below is a wonderful video from the Hawaii Music Supply store discussing the most recent arrival, a tenor ukulele featuring two sound ports that can be closed, or opened, as desired. 

The woods include Alaskan Yellow Cedar for the top and the body Curly Bubinga. The rest is explained in the video!

 

LFDM 0417 Amigo LVI from Hawaii Music Supply on Vimeo.

April 24th, 2017 – Tenor and Baritone in Hawaii

My relationship with the Hawaii Music Supply family continues to grow. As many of you now know, they have handled all of my international orders for some time now. Once in a while, you will find one or two of my instruments on their websites. The only complaint so far is that they tend to sell before they physically arrive there!

One of the many wonderful things about the Hawaii Music Supply shop is that they make detailed videos and sound samples of the instruments, showing great respect and appreciation for them. This just hints at their level of customer service.

Here I’m happy to share two instruments that recently arrived there. The first is a tenor ukulele featuring bearclaw sitka and zericote, finished with snake wood appointments.

 

 The baritone ukulele features a 20″ scale and boasts a bearclaw sitka spruce top and quilted maple sides and back. The appointments are of rosewood. Though some like their baritones to tune them with essentially the the lower four strings of a guitar, DGBE, this one stays closer to its ukulele roots and was tuned with GCEA strings.

Enjoy the videos and sound samples!

March 4th, 2017 – Nylon and Steel

Please press play to enjoy hearing the instrument as you read!

 

The majority of my updates in the last four years have revolved around ukuleles. When I built the first one for a dear friend, I would never have imagined that, when glancing at my build schedule, I would see it filled with five variants of the instrument! There have also been some wonderful guitars, but the common theme has been that these have all been nylon string instruments.

Nylon string instruments have been a long-standing passion of mine, partly due to the challenges related to the relative subtlety of sound and tone as well as the interplay of the woods with that subtlety. Today I’m very happy to reveal a finished steel string instrument. As many of you have likely seen on bulletin boards or articles, you can’t simply take a nylon string guitar and place steel strings on it, at

least not without it becoming a spring-loaded catapult. The entire instrument needs to be designed and built to accommodate the much higher tension of the strings.

Typically, the tenor ukulele’s strings impose 30 to 40lbs of tension on the instrument. A nylon string guitar is about 80 to 90lbs, but typically the larger size of the instrument, and its components, means that the design can scale without significant changes. For steel string guitars, however, we’re talking about 180lbs to 190lbs. This tension means a different requirement for design, materials and different dynamics and goals. For example, as you can see from the images, the top and bracing design differ from the lattice design seen in most of my nylon string instruments. Here I have adopted the efficient Martin “X” bracing concept and interpreted it for tonal quality. This means that the braces act as structural members, more so than in a nylon string instrument.

As some of you who have known me for many years know, I am not a novice to the world of steel string instruments. This was a wonderful challenge and opportunity to again approach the complexities specific to the steel string. The instrument is named after the musician’s wife, Megan. It is an OM with Ziricote back and sides and a Sitka Bearclaw top. It also features an armrest for hours of comfortable playing.

Enjoy the music, including this second song, and the pictures, this is a guitar I very much enjoyed building.

February 8th, 2017 – A Very Special Ukulele

I’m proud to share information on this tenor ukulele called “Little Nadia” that I recently completed for a dear friend, Ted. Its name is in recognition of his beloved wife of 31 years who always supported his love for the guitar. This tenor ukulele is similar to the classic guitar I built for him in 2013, almost four years ago. It’s another example of the “classic” style of ukulele.  

January 12th, 2017 – LFdM Customer Service

A Happy New Year to all the music lovers around the globe! I hope that 2017 will be a kinder year to all.

I thought I’d start the year by sharing a story with you. As I trust you can imagine, I aim to build the best instruments that I can. Whether it’s a core feature or an aspect of the final finish, my satisfaction comes from creating something that will exceed expectations every time. Yes, this sometimes means it might take a little longer than anticipated, but I believe through good and regular communication it leads to a good destination.

Sometimes, though, things do go awry. Recently I had a bit of a heartbreak when an instrument built for a client who lives in Ottawa, Ontario (about 330 kilometres from my workshop and home) had a concern with his new tenor ukulele. I was left with a dilemma. As those who have acquired one of my instruments know, I offer a “builder’s lifetime” warranty. So as long as I’m physically able to perform the work, I will warrant a repair no matter how old it is (I was asked to add a little legal note here, as long as it is because of a manufacturing or materials defect!). The challenge is getting the instrument to my workshop, which can carry costs for the client.

In this case, I made the decision to have the instrument┬áreturned to my workshop, work on it, then return it in ┬áto the client. Why? I was able to and it made the most sense, it’s the treatment I would have hoped to receive.

I thought I’d share some of the comments form the customer after the fact. Things do go wrong. What matters is how they’re handled afterwards:

“I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done. Your trip to see me yesterday, along with your quick response to the problem and just everything about how you conduct yourself and rectified my concerns was so great. “Over the top” is the term I would like to use for you. Your work, your conduct, and the pride you take in what you do has left me without concerns. I feel like I got the king treatment yesterday. I’m a really happy guy right now. I stayed up and played with VAL most of the night.”

I wish I could confidently say that I will never need to perform another warranty repair in the future, but no matter how many precautions I take these things are impossible to predict. Thank you for reading this little story, making someone happy like this is why I do this. And that I was able to do this off the back of a disappointment makes it even better.

 

December 4th, 2016 – A Ukulele Appreciation Video

Well it seems that I tend to share music on Sundays, so this is quite fitting.

I recently completed this ukulele, named Mercedes by the lovely person who commissioned it, Brenda. I could list its features, as I often do, but she has done a wonderful job outlining them in this video. On top of it, you can hear the instrument itself!

Be sure to stay warm out there.

 

November 28th, 2016 – Three Ukuleles for Ontario

A number of months ago I received a number of local orders. This is always nice because there is a greater chance for me to meet the musicians, both during the commissioning process and once the instrument is built.

 

Here are three ukuleles that were built for local Ontario customers. I know that many of you like seeing the final products as they give ideas of various combinations, I hope you enjoy these.

November 27th, 2016 – More Music from Toshi

As the days get shorter and a little colder, I hope everyone is keeping warm and enjoying good company. Toshi, the musician, composer and teacher who commissioned the customer guitar named Prayer, sent me another one of his recordings “Anohi”. I couldn’t think of something better to share on a Sunday with you all. I hope you enjoy.

 

November 11th, 2016 – El Rio Completed

I wanted to provide you all with an update of this wonderful tenor guitar!

It is now completed, these were pictures taken as I was applying the finishing touches. I have to admit that I found this instrument especially enjoyable to make and I am considering building a few if there is interest! One of the reasons for my enjoyment is that this tenor guitar provides a subtly unique sound, finding a “sweet spot” that I’m very surprised is not more popular.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on this guitar.