21st c. luthiers from Mainland USA click for more

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Mark Vinsel Guitalele and Tenor ukulele
Mark Vinsel Guitalele and Tenor
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.

Mark Vinsel

Based in Juneau, Alaska, he is an artist by trade and I think makes fishing flies too? On the Ukulele front he makes either a solid electric Tenor or a solid electric Guitalele, predominantly from local woods, (though he does offer a rosewood or ebony fretboard). He says he will undertake custom work too, (though he doesn't say how custom? different scales? acoustic?). He includes a Danelectro amp with each purcase

Stanley Slonina - Ke'Ano

Based in Georgetown, Kentucky, he was a forensic scientist for 35 years but retired from that a few years ago and became a full time luthier. He started building Ukuleles in 2005(ish) after completing classes in lutherie and sound dynamics, and now he is a member of the Guild of American Luthiers where he has done some advanced training. He only makes Tenor scale Ukuleles but as well as the figure 8 ones that he does in a variety of woods, he also makes an electric skeleton cross travel uke with a small sound box (modeled on his logo), he calls the Ke'Ano Breeze and he has applied for a patent for this design. He uses an interesting offset design for his fret markers and is also quite fond of slot heads.

Terry Mead (Banjos)

Based in Santa Margarita, California, He has been a luthier since 1975 starting with Guitars and in 1991 he started his own instrument making company specialising in Banjos with wooden heads. In 1997 he added Ukuleles to his catalogue and now concentrates mainly on them. He only makes Concert and Tenor round body Ukuleles as stock instruments and he calls these "Banjo" Ukuleles because they feature a floating bridge and a tailpiece. He does also make standard figure 8 Concert and Tenor Ukuleles as a commission, (and would probably make other scales if asked), and he has taken his son on as an apprentice.

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