Ziricote Baritone Ukulele

This Baritone Uke features some stunning Ziricote for the back and sides, a torrefied Sitka Spruce top, Macassar Ebony fingerboard, bridge, and head plate, Curly Koa Bindings and Sound Hole ring, and a slotted headstock and Rubner tuners.

Torrefied Sitka Spruce Top
Ziricote Back
Ziricote Back and Sides with Curly Koa Bindings
Sound Hole Ring in Curly Koa
Slotted Headstock with Rubner Tuners
Side Soundport

Melange of 2018 Ukulele Builds

Long-Neck Soprano with Cardinal Inlay

Recently completed in early 2017, here’s a Long-Neck Soprano Ukulele (soprano body with a concert neck and scale) made of Claro Walnut (back and sides), Lutz Spruce (top), Mahogany (neck), Koa (binding and sound hole ring), and Indian Rosewood (fingerboard and bridge) with Grover Gold open-back tuners.  The instrument features a special inlay of a male Cardinal perched on a branch that extends down onto the fingerboard and ends with an Apple blossom.  The longer string length (14.7″) makes the instrument easier to play, enhances the tonal qualities of the soprano body, and helps to make this ukulele sing sweetly.

LN Soprano

Full frontal view

Inlay detail

Side and front view

Art Deco Tenor Ukulele

This is a recently completed (early 2014) tenor ukulele where the client wanted special inlays using an Art Deco theme.  The headstock is based on a frieze above the entrance to Rockefeller Center by early 20th-century architectural sculpterLee Lawrie depicting “Knowledge” (or Zeus if you like).  The fingerboard inlay is based on the sculpture of Atlas (also by Lawrie) that is located in Rockefeller Plaza.  The inlay uses gold and white MOP with various types of reconstituted stone.  The instrument is made of Cocobolo Rosewood with a Lutz Spruce top and Curly Koa body and fingerboard binding.

End Strip Head Stock Inlay Sound Port Shoulder Front Center Lower Side and Top with Bridge

Baritone Guitar with Wave Inlay, May 2013

I recently finished a baritone guitar with a new inlay design.  The guitar features  curly Claro Walnut back and sides, Lutz Spruce top, Walnut neck and bindings, and Ebony head plate, finger board, and bridge.  It has a 28.04 inch scale and is tune to “B”, a fourth below normal guitar tuning.  The sustain and richness of the sound is amazing.  There’s an earlier post below that has construction shots.

My inlay is a kind of deconstruction of the famous Japanese print called “The Great Wave at Kanagawa”  by the early nineteenth-century artist Katsushika Hokusai, and other similar Japanese prints.  The inlay materials are white, black, and gold mother of pearl, laminated Agoya shell, and blue lapis reconstituted stone.

Baritone Baritone Walnut Back Wave Inlay Fretboard Wave Inlay Head Stock Wave Inlay Full Fretboard Baritone Bridge

New Concert and Tenor Ukuleles

Here’s a pair of ukuleles (concert and tenor) that I just finished and delivered to a customer who lives in Cleveland.  The bodies, body binding, and head plates are curly koa, with mahogany necks, and ebony fingerboard and bridge.   Both sound as good as they look.

Tenor Uke BridgeTenor Full Body

Tenor Body and NeckConcert Body and Neck

Tiger Ukulele Finished

The tenor ukulele with the inlay of a tiger is finally done.  I began working on this last March with a client in New York City who wanted a special inlay.  We finally settled on this image of a tiger standing on a cliff overlooking a large body of water with hills and mountains in the background above which are high-flying geese, and above it all on the head stock, the moon reflecting light on clouds trailing across the night sky.  The inlay material include six varieties of reconstituted stone, white, black and gold mother of pearl, paua abalone, and a bit of bone (the tiger’s teeth).

The body of the instrument (including the bindings) is all figured koa with no small amount of curl.  The neck is mahogany and the bridge, fingerboard (what little you can see), and head plate are ebony.

Fingerboard Inlay

Full Front

Headstock Inlay

Side Sound Port

Milwaukee Ukulele Festival 2012

Mason Guitars and Ukuleles was at the Milwaukee Ukulele Festival on October 20, 2012.  We had a great time showing and talking ukuleles with the attendees.  Here are some photos:

Chatting Display TableGuitar-and-ukeJon Prown PlaysLife-is-GoodSound-PortTiger-Uke

Grit Laskin Inlay Design Class

I spent six days this summer (July 2012) at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Greenwood, Indiana with 11 other guitar builders in a class that focused on designing guitar inlays taught by Grit Laskin. His inlays are works of art and tell stories rather than just being decorative. Although we spent some time practicing our inlay and engraving skills, the focus of the class was on design. As a group we came up with a common story or theme, the story of the class itself, the flow of inlay knowledge from Grit’s head through the hands of the students into a guitar. We also came up with a set of common images to use in telling the story. Then each student went to his bench and designed a fingerboard and head stock inlay to tell the story in their own way with the mages. It may be hard to see, but you might be able to see enough in these pictures.

Discussion of the class designs:



Class member’s designs laid out on a table.  The design on the left is mine:



Grit Laskin on the right:



Various inlay materials displayed on the blackboard tray:


New Build: Baritone Guitar Under Construction

I’m taking a break from ukuleles and building a guitar–a baritone guitar.  It will have a 28″ scale (3″ longer than most normal guitars), and while the body is a standard size Grand Auditorium, the neck is longer and the interior top bracing needs to be shifted and slightly beefed up.  It will be tuned in “b”–a fourth below normal guitar tuning.  The body is curly claro walnut with mahogany back bracing, center reinforcement, side reinforcement, and linings.  The top is lutz spruce and is decorated with a walnut burl and gold MOP sound hole ring.  The back is attached to the sides, but top is not since I am still working on the bracing.

Top Bracing

Sound Hole Ring

Back and Sides

Back Interior