More Ukulele Talk

May 28


Long week. Lots of fires to put out this week at work. But it’s over and am enjoying a lazy Saturday morning.

Following up on the recent ukulele post, I met Mr. Mesquita this past Wednesday right after work. Wonderful gentleman who took a lot of time out of his day to talk to me. He’s very open and pleasant and has a passion for his art that he’s unable to contain.

The ukulele is incredible; the pictures do not do it justice. Although I shouldn’t have been, I felt a little timid playing it in his workshop. The tone was great, though I didn’t test its volume, etc. It takes him about 120 hours to make one (or a month’s full-time work).

He started making ukuleles at the request of his wife who wanted to learn this lovely instrument. As making one required half the wood of a guitar, and his wood is purchased for guitars, he made a second one. When someone heard he had a ukulele for sale, it was sold before he knew what had happened. So he made more. Folkway music carries them, though reportedly they only have one left. I’m thankful that Mr. Mesquita also prefers the silver tuners, as that was the only thing that I didn’t like about the ones on Folkway’s website (they have gold tuners).


Bracing method employed (from

I opted for the standard, as opposed to the cutaway, model. The standard is more pleasing to my eye, and the only technical advantage of the cutaway is easier access to the higher frets. Since the neck meets the body at the 14th fret, and I’ve yet to approach anything that goes above the 14th fret, it was my clear choice.

The top is western red cedar, Madagascar rosewood is used for the sides and back, with blue and green purfling complete withcurly maple. It feels so solid when held and there are all these little details. From the impeccable slotted headstock with the blue/green purfling, to extra detailing on the sides of the neck to prevent the frets from ever being in the way should wood behaviour ever cause them to extrude a little. This is also where the fret markers are located. Although it’s an object, it had quite an effect on me. I didn’t want to put it down.

Luis Feu de Mesquita 'Amigo' tenor ukulele, western red cedar top


Madagascar rosewood back. Note curly maple detailing.



The fret board is indeed larger, and holding it made me realize that I’ll have to re-learn a good deal of the chord shapes, however slight the difference.

Not having all the money until next week (and ┬áreally, really shouldn’t be buying it now…) I left him with a deposit. Before leaving he took it from the wall stand and placed it in its case, reassuring me that he’ll perform a new setup on it by next Friday.

6 more days.

As for playing, I’ve been working on the intro to The Smiths’s “Charming Man” and Willie Nelson’s/Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”. All thanks to UkeHunt.



Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Music, Personal, Ukulele

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