Master Built Ukuleles from Luis Feu de Mesquita

Luis Mesquita is a talented luthier from Canada and we’ve been huge fans of his ukes for years now. There’s some background info on him and his unique design at this featured page HERE. So we just got in this new batch from him and, wow! Every uke Luis has made for us has been great but these are next level! How so?

We did a podcast a while back featuring LFDM ukes that you can find HERE. Talking about how great they are but I remember mentioning something like, the only difference in these and the customs 2,000 dollars more is that Luis finish wasn’t as nice. Luis had been trying different water based finishes (for his health and the environment) but it’s just really hard to get water based perfect in my experience. I had to go back to glorious nitro because, well, maybe it doesn’t kill brain cells… I just liked the look. But the finish on these is glassy gorgeous so I just sent Luis an email,
“The finish is so nice. Did you outsource that? What type of lacquer?”
Turns out he is doing it himself, but with a new finish he discovered, a more expensive but better finish, and it is a water based finish. Less toxic and great looking!

For the record I’m mostly picky about this stuff for my customers. What I personally care most about is the feel and tone. But I appreciate precise craftsmanship and we send ukes around the world hoping people appreciate them (almost all do), but I’m genuinely excited to share these ukes and confident people will love them. The woods, design, features, feel..speaking of feel though, a few of these have almost too low of action. I had to measure the spruce koa tenor it looked so low, 1.9 and 1.8 mm at the 12th. That’s really close to the frets. Corey had to limit his dynamics trying not to buzz in the sound sample but the fact that we can even do sound samples with such low action and still have great tone is a testament to the acoustic quality of the instrument. But really Joel works on all the custom ukes before shipping. That’s his specialty and he’s been doing it for years. You’d be amazed at how thorough and talented he is with final setup.

The main idea I wanted to relay in this review is that these are very special instruments. The best LFDM’s without a doubt and some of the very best ukes ever made. Of course this is my opinion, obviously. There are no scientific utensils to measure the greatness of a uke because it’s a personal experience but I am truly impressed with these new LFDMs.

I wanted to document these here ’cause they’re so dang nice but I’ll likely be posting them at the website in the next few days (https://theukulelesite.com).

Big mahalo to Mr. Mesquita for making such fantastic ukuleles for the uke community [We love you!] and congrats to whoever gets to call one of these their own. Share your thoughts or questions in the comments. Aloha!

Sinker Redwood Top Hormigo Baritone

This is a baritone, slightly larger than average and Luis has an Ameritage case made for it. First thing you notice is the amazing piece of sinker redwood for the soundboard! One of the coolest I’ve ever seen. Sides and back are Hormigo. This is from the Tonewood Data Source website,
“The Hormigo is a tree that grows in humid forest zones. It is used commonly to make musical instruments, such as the keys of the marimba. Its wood is reddish with clear pigmentation, it is strong and compacted, durable and beautiful sounding when struck. It grows in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. You may be amazed with the beauty of this wood. It is sometimes called “the wood that sings”. Used by Collings Guitars.The knife handle business nearly made it extinct. It’s appearance is similar to Cuban mahogany, but its density, stiffness, and its tone is more like Brazilian.”

top – sinker red wood
back and sides – Hormigo
rosette and binding as well as arm rest – tiger wood (Australian lace wood)
fret board and bridge – Brazilian ebony

Classic round sound hole is different for LFDM Tenors. Looks good!:D

Canadian Sinker Western Red Cedar Top Bocote Tenor

This top wood is very rare and cool. Sinker cedar is western red cedar that sank in the river on the way to the mill. After sitting under water for many years the mineral deposits leach into the wood resulting in a streaking “multi-color” top that yields a wonderful tonal quality.

Complimenting that is a striking Bocote back and sides. Bocote has a rosewood-like taptone and is often likened to ziricote. Custom guitar builders have been embracing it and this uke sounds fantastic!

top – Canadian sinker western red cedar
back and sides – Bocote
spalted maple trim and curly Maple bindings
bridge – padauk
cutaway, side sound port, and arm rest

Engelmann Spruce Top Cocobolo Tenor

Wow! What a beauty. Engelmann with it’s creamy whiteness and one of the most dramatic and gorgeous pieces of cocobolo I’ve seen. This one has a double side sound port and their is a cover that you can put on one side. I didn’t realize it was in the case when I was taking pictures. Very cool features on this true beauty.

top – Engelmann Spruce
back and sides – Cocobolo
faceplate & rosette – Canadian sumac
bridge, bindings, fretboard – ebony
double side sound port and arm rest

Bearclaw Sitka Spruce Top Koa Tenor

Top notch bearclaw and Hawaiian koa for a classy look and stellar sound on this custom cutaway tenor.

top – Spruce
back and sides – Koa
faceplate – Cocobolo
bridge, bindings, fretboard – Brazilian ebony
cutaway, side sound port, and arm rest

Comments 2

  1. Great review Andrew. As you know I am a friend and neighbor of Luis and own a tenor and baritone of his. He is a perfectionist and has really anguished over trying to improve his finish. I had the privilege of seeing these before they were shipped and I was really blown away. Whoever buys one of these will be very happy. The tone on your sound samples speak for themselves, they sing like few others can.

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *