Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baritone Banjo Uke for Neil and Leighton

My friends Neil and Leighton have a folk music/performance art band called Safe Boating Is No Accident. I just finished a new neck for this old supertone pot for them. It has the scale of a baritone ukulele and is strung dgbe re-entrant tuning. The Supertone pot was made for Sears in the 1920s and is 10 inches across and built for a banjo mandolin. Check out the cool little Grover guitar tuners.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Emily Hurd's Ukulele

My friend Emily Hurd ( came over yesterday so I could install a pickup into a uke I built her last year. It is great to see her and her uke, because it has been a long time!

Her uke is made all from recycled and salvaged wood. Fir top, walnut back and sides, rosewood fingerboard, fir neck and sycamore headplate. I got the fir from some porch boards, so I often leave some of the old paint in the cracks for fun.

Also, I should note that she met Jake Shimabukuro and he signed the back without her asking him to do it. Rock stars...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brazilian Rosewood

Ah, Brazilian rosewood, the holy grail of tonewoods! I stumbled across this old batch of B.R. through a guitar maker from Boulder. All of it is too small for guitar, but plenty big for ukes!!!

I am splitting this batch with Gordon and Char from Myamoe ukuleles. They are getting the back and side sets and I get the fingerboards and scraps.

Monday, April 12, 2010

adding a headstock overlay

By the way, the little piece of wood on top of the peghead is a "headstock" not "headstalk." Ok, I am off my high horse now.

Anyway, here is how I am adding an inlaid overlay to the headstock of a banjo uke. This piece is ebony with a small pearl inlay with our logo on it.

Here is my new plexiglass template, which is far better than the wood template that is next to it.

After I trace and rough cut on the bandsaw it looks like this.

Next, I sand the end where the nut will go at an angle on the belt sander.

yup, its clamped. Wait 3 hours and I can trim it again to fit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hey banjo friends- Just finished a restoration on this mid grade supertone, it turned out pretty good. It is for singer songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov, who also plays a banjo I built for him. The three piece neck with dyed hardwood fingerboard is pretty warped, so the action can't be as low as I want, but it is right where Gregory wants it.

I put on some new Gotoh tuners, skin head, bridge, nut, pip and strings. And don't forget the K+K pickup.

New Tenor Ukulele

Its on Ebay at

Here is a tenor ukulele made by Aaron Keim of Beansprout. It features:
-Curly Koa top, back, sides and headplate
-Honduras Mahogany neck
-Ebony fingerboard with 17 frets/14 to the body. There are brass side dots but no front dots. 16 7/8 scale length
-Ebony Bridge with Bband undersaddle pickup. There is a 9v battery in a pouch connected to the heel block
-Bone nut and saddle
-Gotoh gold and black friction tuners, aquila strings

The uke is 25.5 inches long, the body is 11 inches long and 3 inches deep. It is loud, deep and "zingy" sounding tuned GCEA (high G) and also sounds great FBbDG. It has a medium high action for a loud acoustic tone, but is setup well and plays great all the way up the neck. Spot on intonation and even tone all around.

The neck is 1.5 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick at the nut, which is slightly larger than normal but would be perfect for someone coming from guitar. I am willing to slim this down on request. It is tuned re-entrant but I will re string to low g on request.

This is a handmade ukulele made in my home shop in Colorado. It sounds a looks wonderful but has a few very small cosmetic flaws that you can't see in the photographs: a couple of scratches around the bridge and a couple of rough spots in the finish. I will be happy to send any interested customers a video file of me playing the uke so you can hear it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tin Can Monster!

It is hard to say if this is a banjo, a uke or a guitar, but it sure sounds cool!

It has three steel strings tuned D A D, but you could change the tuning to whatever you want. The instrument is about 22 inches long with a 13 inch scale. It has a K+K pickup in it which sounds amazing plugged in. Sort of like a cross between a swampy delta slide guitar and a banjo.

This instrument would be great for bottle neck guitar, banjo, dulcimer or ukulele players or anyone wanting a unique sound. The action is very playable with precise fretwork and a professional attention to detail.

Neck- Honduras Mahogany
Fingerboard- Rosewood
Headplate- Spalted Sycamore
Bridge- Maple
Nut- Maple
Pickup- K+K Hotspot
Tuners- Gotoh friction tuners

On ebay

Banjo for Gregory Alan Isakov

I actually built this banjo about a year ago but Gregory just brought it back in for a checkup and to adjust some things. It is all walnut with 12 inch block rim and ebony fingerboard. Aquila minstrel strings and a high bridge for that old timey sound.

Gregory was one of the first people I met when I came to Colorado and he is a great musician and singer/songwriter. Check out his stuff.

I am also restoring an old banjo for him, which you will see soon.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Please Vote For Us

Our song "Give It Away" is nominated to be in Alt Root Mag's social change sampler cd. Please go to this link and click on our song on the right hand side to vote.