Author Archive

September 4th, 2017 – Alegria

 
The flow of ukuleles leaving my workshop seem to have no indication of slowing down.
 
Here we have Alegria, a tenor Ukaferri-style ukulele that I crafted using Bearclaw Sitka for the top, Amazon Rosewood for the sides and back, Macassar Ebony for the bindings, Spanish Cedar neck and an Ebony fretboard. You’ll also notice a pickup input hack, this client opted for the LR Baggs Five-O model.
 
It will soon be on its way clear across Canada, from Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia where Brian and Rosemary will put it to the test and, hopefully, record a song or two so I can see how Alegria is coming along!
 

August 20, 2017 – Clara Almost Complete

Even though I have not completed numerous tenor ukuleles, each is different somehow. You can now see how the Curly Koa and Port Orford Cedar look with the finishing touches applied. Also, I continuously look to improve. For some time now I’ve stopped using common lacquer products which have been established as carcinogenic. The world is already polluted enough, thinking about the state of the planet when my grandson grows up, and given that my clients tend to spend hours holding my instruments on a daily basis, I continuously look to provide the best instrument finish with the least negative impact.
 
On a different note, one of the things that truly excites me about this ukulele is the attention it will receive. Just one look at Diane’s website and I know that the integrated pickup (an LR Baggs FIve-O) will get some good use!
 
Enjoy the pictures for now, more updates coming soon.
 

July 18th, 2017 – Introducing Clarita

Here is another wonderful ukulele I will complete soon. Named CLARITA, from the Latin claro meaning pure in sound and distinct in expression, this tenor ukulele is crafted from Macassar Ebony for the fretboard and bindings, Curly Koa for back and sides and a Port Orford Cedar top. The Venetian cutaway isn’t a common application for me on a ukulele, and adds some sharpness to the instrument.

 
This instrument will soon be on its way to a very musical family here in Ontario, and will be in a household full of professional jazz.

July 4th, 2017 – Grande Amigo Sings Again

You’ll likely remember the update of the six-string baritone ukulele crafted for Tony Horlor, a skilled musician and LFdM enthusiast who is kind enough to share sound clips and videos of him enjoying his ukulele. Here you’ll hear him on the ukulele and lead vocals. He’s added some good details on the video information also.

 

June 28th, 2017 – Diablita

I’ve been quite busy in the workshop and I’ve been neglecting to update you on my projects! This is the first of three posts coming up.
 
Here we have Diablita, a “Nouveau Flamenca” styled guitar in the stype of Francisco Siplicio’s work. He made many highly-sought guitars in the 1920s. This example features the famous split sound hole. The top of Port Orford Cedar, known for its straight grain. The sides and back are a wonderful flamed maple. The guitar features Waverly tuners and is being crafted for a wonderful and skilled musician. Adrian is a composer, arranger and conductor focusing on Jazz.
 
Stay tuned for more images and details of this lovely guitar.
 

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.