21st c. luthiers from Mainland USA click for more

In being on the look out for nice Ukuleles I see the work of a number of full and part time luthiers. The instruments they make look very nice and worthy of note.

Joseph Todaro - Akulele & Sweetheart

From Landsdown, Pennsylvania, he uses a lot of South American techniques when making Ukuleles so they are a little bit differently constructed. To start with the back and sides are carved from a single piece of wood, Cak, style, (though he compares it to a non Armadillo Charango), and this often results in a bowl back design. They come in Sopranino, Soprano and Concert Scales plus he does Lili'u and Taropatch models in the Soprano and Concert scale, (he does a 6 string with a doubled E string instead of a doubled A string as well as a standard Lili'u). Sweetheart Ukuleles also come as Sopranino, Soprano and Concert but they are differentiated by always having some kind of love heart motif as the central sound hole. As well as the Ukuleles and continuing on the vaguly South American theme, he makes a Venezuelan Cuatro that can be tuned and played as a Baritone.

Ken Otto - Raven Ukulele

Based in Northern Colorado where he worked as a cabinet maker, he has been making Ukuleles since 2010. Largely self taught he has received some distance help from Hana Lima 'Ia in order to perfect some of the harder aspects. He makes Soprano, Tenor and Baritone scales from largely reclaimed woods and is fond of a bit of inlay work, especially on the headstocks. he also likes to put other individual flourishes on the instruments but he does have a black bird, (raven?), motif that certainly appears to be a mark for the sound holes

Phil Morris and Dan Fobert - Spanky Banjos

From Texas, both were working luthiers building Guitars and the like before starting up as makers of Banjoleles in 2007. Though they started making open back models, (and still do sometimes), they now usually add a resonator to the Banjoleles that has been beautifully inlaid by Dan Fobert. They also like to use a wide variety of woods on their instruments to add to the individuality. All of the Banjoleles are Concert scale and a rose is their favorite resonator inlay.

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