I am the very proud owner of a new hand-built ukulele, and it's gorgeous.
This was not a commission, but an off-the-shelf purchase that just happened to be exactly what I was looking for - a concert uke in solid mahogany with 14 frets to the body, fret markers to the fingerboard and the side, a nice rosette, good geared tuners... the builder's name is Dave Morgan, (DJ Morgan Ukuleles) and is based in Dudley, a town not far from me in the English West Midlands. We chatted on the phone and he offered to bring the uke round for me to see. All arranged for yesterday morning. I waited with bated breath - would this uke be heavy? Over-built? Dead? Thick sound-board? I needn't have worried, it's beautiful, beautifully made and sounds just great. I'm thrilled to bits with it.
Dave Morgan is a cabinet-maker and guitarist of thirty years turned ukulele enthusiast and luthier. He just loves building ukuleles! The workmanship was always going to be spot-on. He says "All of my ukuleles are completely handmade, all timber components are individually crafted by myself even the kerfing strips. The only finished components I buy are the strings, fret wire and the tuners. As all my ukuleles are individually made they will all be unique in appearance depending on the materials I choose."
The intonation is perfect, with a saddle angled to aid this. And there are some inspired touches - the fret markers (5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 15th) are made of green abalone, which looks gorgeous. Also tiny ones to the side of the neck - I like those. The rosette is white with black edges, and is perfectly placed around the sound hole. And see that headstock? The three stripes? So subtle that I didn't notice them until Dave had gone home. Beautiful! Noticing that was like an extra surprise.
Grover tuners, nut and saddle hand-made from corian, rosewood finger board and bridge. And it is a joy to play. I'm going to do a video review - watch out for that!
And you know what else? He really is such a lovely fella, a great craftsman and I wish him well.
Like I said, watch that name - Dave Morgan, DJ Morgan Ukuleles - from the Black Country.
He's on facebook and sells on Etsy and ebay. As I write, he has another mahogany concert like mine and some gorgeous sopranos with Sitka spruce tops.... you really should look!