News/Info

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 returned to my workshop, work on it, then return it in  to 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.

 

October 22, 2016 – El Rio Progresses

It seems that there is a notable Maccaferri revival! Here is another example, this time it is a tenor. Not a tenor ukulele like the Amigo, but a tenor guitar.

Selmer, the company who made these instruments decades ago, only assembled a couple dozen. It came to be after Eddie Freeman, an English jazz and flamenco musician. He originally played the tenor banjo and when the guitar gained popularity he requested this instrument as a bridge between the two worlds.

In this case this is a precise duplicate with two exceptions, the scale length is 23 inches (58.4cm) and I have applied my own “X” bracing.

This guitar features a Bear Claw Sitka Spruce top, Ziricote back and sides, a Mahogany neck and Swiss Schertler tuners. I have tested the acoustics in the “white” and these tests all point to an instrument with exceptional tonal qualities.

I should be able to complete it in the next three weeks, stay tuned for final images!

 

September 25 2016 – Listening to Prayer

As promised, here are pictures of Prayer, the innovative electro-acoustic custom guitar in its home in Japan. The musician, Toshi, is heavily involved in composition, concerts and music education and his passion for music shines through everything he has shared with me. I’m also grateful for this video he shared, which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did. Here we see Toshi playing with a Japanese Bossa Nova guitarist Mr. Hokazono. The tune is a Japanese song, “The Memories”


September 14, 2016 – Introducing “El Rio”

2015 was all about ukuleles, and 2016 is proving to be a healthy mix of guitars and ukuleles.

Here we have images of the build of a commissioned tenor Maccaferri-style guitar. Though most know the version Django Reinhardt played, this tenor is a rarer specimen. Selmer only made about two dozen of this tenor guitar. Eddie Freeman, an English jazz and flamenco musician, played the tenor banjo and when the guitar gained popularity requested this instrument as a bridge between the two worlds. This instrument, featuring Ziricote back and sides, a Bear Claw Sitka Spruce top, Mahogany neck and the Maccaferri “Grande Bouche” sound hole, is as close a bench copy of the original instrument as possible.

The musician who requested this guitar has named it “El Rio”. Stay tuned for more details of this instrument as the build completed!

August 28, 2016 – Prayer Completed

The build pictures for this instrument revealed mechanisms that might have made the instrument appear complex and perhaps even confusing. So it is important to me to share these final images, so that it can be seen in its final, elegant form.
The birds-eye maple and sinker redwood top creates an eclectic but complimentary combination that helps hint at the uniqueness of this instrument.
Toshi, the musician, composer and teacher who commissioned this instrument was kind enough to share his thoughts after receiving it in Japan:
“It successfully arrived just yesterday, July 27th in my hometown and I have been surprised at seeing and playing Prayer!

Every one of the parts and specs are perfect for me. Prayer is the most incredible guitar, and you are so wonderful. The neck is thick and tight from lower position to higher. The body is beautifully made with many great engineering ideas. And the color is so beautiful which my wife loves so much. Wow, you made my dream perfectly come true.”

Enjoy these pictures, and there’s a chance there will be a recording in the coming months!

August 11, 2016 – Toe-Tapping Baritone Ukulele Music

Though I enjoy sharing images of the build process for instruments, hearing their owners make them sing is a more profound thing for me. Being able to deliver an instrument that a musician then spends hundreds of hours playing, using it to express themselves and channel their creativity is powerful to me. Here we have a lovely recording of the baritone ukulele, the Grand Amigo, in all its glory.

It features Tony Horlor on vocals, baritone ukulele and bass, Terry Lawson on violin, Stan Muirhead on drums as well as Frank Burgess and Scott Jefferies on guitar.

I hope your toes will tap as much as mine did as you listen to this lovely tune!

 

Update: Following some requests, if anyone would like this song on CD, or in a higher quality format, simply e-mail the musician Tony Horlor.