Having been flat out getting The Guitar Workshop up and running, it’s taken me a while to get photos of this little tenor uke uploaded, but I hope it’s been worth the wait.
This was such an enjoyable build. It was commissioned by Rick Delia, a great guy and uke lover, who’s from New York, and he pulled out all the stops in terms of custom features, exotic wood and cool design tweaks.
I’m really pleased with this tenor uke and I’m pretty confident Rick is happy too – he went and got an exact to-scale replica of the ukulele tattooed onto his upper arm! I can safely say it’s the biggest compliment I’ve ever received.
Deconstructing this uke for you, after the offset rosette was installed in the upper treble bout, I began bracing the soundboard with Kasha bracing, which is not a bracing pattern I usually use so it was fun to do something different and I was already looking forward to hearing the outcome once the instrument was strung-up.
Once the body was complete, with curly koa binding, the next step was to work on the sound port – again something I was really keen to hear in action when the time came. I then carved the neck and a started work on a feature I really enjoyed making – the slotted headstock. The ebony fingerboard was bound with curly koa to unify the look of neck and body.
The bridge design is a typical bridge for the Kasha bracing pattern, and of course compliments the offset soundhole.
Rick asked for a an undersaddle pickup, in particular a Mi-Si pickup, which I was more than happy to install.
And once again, the hand-finishing by Dave Wilson brought the tonewood to life – the vibrancy of the sapwood running down the centre of the blackwood is something I’ll dream about for a long time.
The uke sounded absolutely fantastic once strung up, with excellent response and sustain, and great note separation and clarity. The sound port and bracing pattern leant itself really well to the tenor shape. This, in combination with the tonally superior choice of tonewoods, have created a really lovely sounding little instrument.
Ricky Claffey builds custom guitars and ukuleles in Glasgow, Scotland.
I'm not currently taking on any new builds. Please check back in future for updates.