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


Concert Ukulele Finished December 2011

Here’s a new ukulele that I finished in December 2011.  It’s a concert size featuring all curly koa body, with koa bindings, mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, bridge, and head stock, Grover open-back tuners, and bone nut and saddle.  The inlay is  maile leaves in paua abalone and vine in gold mother of pearl.   It is very easy to play, and sounds great.  Here are some pictures:

Concert Ukulele, Detail

Concert Ukulele, Full


Concert Ukulele, Front View

Concert Ukulele, Back View

Just Finished: Tenor Ukulele

Just finished a new tenor ukulele.  It is a commission and the buyer is picking it up today.  It sounds and plays as great as it looks.  It’s an all koa body (moderately figured) with maple body binding, mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, bridge, and head plate, bone saddle and nut, and Grover, black buttoned tuners.  Not much decoration on this one (the buyer wanted simple), but I did include black/white/black purfling on the top and back, a paua abalone sound hole ring, and a simple paua abalone letter “G” (the buyer’s initial) on the head stock.

2011-tenor-front-side  2011-tenor-back  2011-tenor-back-side2011-tenor-front