For my work, you may notice that I don’t really use the word “custom.” To me, custom means that the customer is closely involved with many design ideas and specifications, up to and including body shape, scale length as well as decorative details. What I do is more of like a small tasting menu at a Chef centered restaurant. You show up because you are excited about this Chef’s food, you make a few basic decisions and let the Chef decide the rest. This means that I turn away a lot of customers who want more than I am willing to do. But, every once in a while a customer has a few suggestions that I am happy to work on, as they align with my ideas or what I want to work on and improve.
In this case, Jeremy already had a few ukes I worked on at Mya-Moe and had real stage experience that led him to make a few simple suggestions. Jeremy lives in Mississippi and his ukes get quite a bit more exposure to humid air and sweat. The Tru-Oil finish that we used to use wasn’t holding up for him. I have many reasons that I don’t want to use a spray booth and associated finishes, so I had to find another wipe on finish that would hold up. From the recommendation of banjo builder Brooks Masten, I switched to a poly/oil mix and I like it a lot. I will wait to see if Jeremy thinks it wears better. Also, he was a good candidate for a thin, clear, plastic pick guard to be added to the top, further protecting it. The nice thing about these is that they can be removed easily in the future if need be.
The top for this uke is some old growth Sitka spruce that I inherited from a dulcimer builder. It is one long, thin piece cut and half and joined together. I love how it breaks the more common book matched look and highlights the shimmering grain from different directions. I also worked hard to line up the sap wood on the fretboard and headplate, which I am pleased with. The neck is made of salvaged Douglas Fir floorboards, complete with old nail holes. The Pistachio is harvested from California Orchards.
He gets a uke that fits his needs, I get to explore ideas to make all of my instruments better.