When I decided to begin making ukuleles for sale,
I promised myself that I would always remember a lesson that I
learned from my father: Simplicity is Elegance. The most
successful designs are those that make the most of the least.
Why increase the weight of an instrument and dampen its ability
to resonate naturally in the name of making it...fancier?
That's why I make my finishes thin and keep my decoration to a
minimum. Like the vintage Martin and Kamaka instruments that I
admire so much, SpruceHouse Ukuleles are very light and a little
plain. But there is nothing plain about the sound.
Being a one-man operation has its blessings and its
curses. I have the freedom to work at my own pace, and to devote
my full attention to creating the best instrument possible for
each customer - whether it be a stock model or custom. I know
that each instrument will be my responsibility alone and that
I will be the sole recipient of any praise or blame. There is
a certain freedom and satisfaction in that autonomy. There is
also the ultimate consumer benefit of my low overhead costs resulting
in lower-priced instruments. I make more money per instrument
and you pay less. That's a pretty good arrangement. The downside
is that I cannot churn out a lot of instruments at a time and
that means that I make less money and receive less notoriety.
I can't spend much time traveling to trade shows and ukulele festivals,
writing books, making videos, or snatching up celebrity endorsments.
- all things that would enhance my public presence and increase
my business. I must content myself with being a "boutique"
builder and leaving The Big Time to others. Frankly, I consider
all of my customers as celebrities. Hopefully, there will always
be those ukulele enthusiasts who embrace the small builder and
see value in an instrument that embodies the philosophy and spirit
of the solitary luthier, doing his best.
I believe that my instruments speak for themselves.
Perhaps they'll speak to you.
Please note: Over the last several
years, a number of people have asked to come by for a shop tour.
SpruceHouse is a small, one-man operation and my shop is in my
home. I regret to say that I am not set up for tours. Most of
the time, I have few, if any instruments to show because most
are sold before they are built. It's a wonderful problem to have,
but it is disappointing to have to tell people that the cupboard
is bare. That is also why I attend very few festivals and industry
shows. I rarely have anything to show! Hopefully. in time, I will
be able to expand and have a larger, more customer-friendly shop
and showroom. Until then, please accept my apologies.