Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A New Ukulele Hero - Roger - Roger Williams, Luthier

"Luthier" isn't a word that comes normally into conversation. It wasn't even in my vocabulary until very recently - but I now know that a luthier is a person who builds and repairs stringed instruments.

Roger Williams does NOT build ukuleles; he builds guitars, beautiful ones, commissioned and played by professional artists in their field; classical, flamenco, acoustic and baroque... and he tends and repairs them, as well as supplying and fitting pick-up systems to acoustic guitars. And he does refretting and fret-dressing.

Little banjo-ukuleles are not his usual bread-and butter. But the wonderful man has fixed mine up.

My little bird's eye maple, 90 year-old beauty made by Slingerland needed a bit of professional attention. When she arrived, she looked pretty darned good for an instrument built in the 1920's - but I couldn't tune her up because of a slipping friction tuner. I fixed it - but the action was too high, and the frets were chewing up one of the strings. Johnny Foodstamp suggested that it was time for some professional intervention, and the search was on. I found Roger. He agreed that my little darlin' was indeed a beauty, looking so good that she could have passed for five years old, and agreed to level and reshape the frets. He filed down the slots in the nut to lower the action, and perfected the bridge. He put the head on the neck perfectly straight and tightened up the bolts on the tension hooks. And now I can play her.

What a hero - when you see him at work in his workshop, building a beautiful guitar, you will know how privileged I feel that he did this for me and my little banjo-ukulele. Thank you Roger!

Please watch the video of Roger at work, building one of his wonderful guitars.

Note - this was originally posted two days ago, but in editing the post today to embed the video, rather than linking it, I've managed to muck up the order and it has come out as another new post.

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HI! I hope you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear your comments! But I know you'll forgive me if I read them over before I click the "publish" button! Thanks!