|Mya-Moe Ukulele Shop Tour|
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Char & Gordon Mayer
18 Forbes Road
White Salmon, WA 98672
How did you come to choose luthierie as a career?
Gordon started making guitars as a hobby after he retired
from a hi-tech career. When one of his guitar owners asked him to
make an 'ukulele and he realized what a resurgence the instrument was
undergoing, he decided to change his focus. As
demand grew, the business quickly became a
Relate how you feel about working with your spouse. What is the secret?
We love working together! But, the secret is that we split up our jobs so that we have no overlap. Char is responsible for body construction, and Gordon does body bindings, fretboards, necks & finish. Those
two jobs are nearly equal, so we work at the same time in the shop.
Working together allows us to help each other, and to immediately
discuss any issues and opportunities. It is very collaborative.
Did you find it hard to get in with the Ukelele community being from the Northwest?
The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of
ukulele activity, so that actually helped us. People want and
respect builders from this area.
What have you done to make your instrument stand apart from all the others?
The ukulele is traditionally a
"campfire, folk" instrument where little attention was paid to things
like intonation, acoustics, playability and durability of construction.
So, we have focused on those things. Our fretboards are
radiused; the intonation is spot on; every instrument is
hand-voiced; and the neck is dovetailed to the body (many ukes
have the neck simply epoxied on).
What is your favorite part of the process?
For both of us, it is when I
(gordon) string an instrument for the first time. The way we work,
we have set up our shop as a little production line. We start and
instrument every day, and we finish one every day--the one we started
14 work days earlier. So, every day we get to hear that sweet
sound of a ukulele in tune.
We tell people that the instruments
are like children. They have the genes of the parents (in this
case, our design and building), but they have their own unique
personalities (brought on by the unique set of wood).
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