Participating Makers

Makers are the heartbeat of the festival, providing advice and sharing their enthusiasm for their craft.

There is no substitute for the combination of experience and sheer hard work. The luthiers appearing at the festival are some of the best, and attendees will have a chance to talk to them about their techniques and methods.

Liam Kirby

Liam Kirby has been building ukuleles and guitars for 4 years in Bristol under his 'Wunderkammer Musical Instrument Co.' moniker.
He was first inspired to build ukes by an unbelievably loud 1930s Martin Soprano, and his work takes further inspiration from the music and instrument builders of the early 20 th Century, particularly Chris Knutsen and the Larsen Brothers.

Visit Liam's Website

Kevin Mulcock

Kevin Mulcock is a hobby builder creating KM-Ukuleles in his spare time. He started making ukuleles on a whim, in an attempt to quell his UAS (Ukulele acquisition syndrome!). Highly inspired, motivated and taught a number of skills by Pete Howlett, he has only been making ukuleles for the past 2 years, whilst still employed full time in the NHS and studying for an MSc.
Kevin is now avidly developing the KM-Ukulele brand whilst still experimenting with his ukulele design, style, methods and processes.

Visit Kevin's Website

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor has an international reputation in the research, design, making and performance of early stringed instruments.
Early in his career as a performer on classical guitar and lute he began to study the creation of representations of early instruments. His research, spanning a period from 6 th to 21 st century, has been broadcast on television and radio.
For more than half a century Zachary has lectured on the subject of lutherie at many venues including the universities of Vigo, London, East Anglia, and colleges in Boston, Oxford, West Dean and Missenden Abbey.
Recently he has returned to his first love, the ukulele, bringing to it his conviction that acoustic engineering and physical analysis are important ingredients in the recipe for great instruments.
Included in his authorship of fourteen books are ‘Make and Play a Lute’ and ‘Making Early Stringed Instruments’, currently being reprinted.

Visit Zachary's Website

Tom Ziegenspeck

Having started out as a youngster intending to become a classical guitarist, Tom took his guitar to be repaired one day and became fascinated with the processes in the repair workshop.
Having gained experience working there he went on to study luthiery for 4 years at the University of Applied Science in Markneukirchen, Germany. On the course he learnt to build a variety of instruments including classical and steel-strung guitars and Irish bouzouki's. In his 3rd year he specialized in making high quality ukuleles and then served an internship at Pete Howlett Ukulele in North Wales.
After graduating, he worked for 2 years at Pete Howlett Ukulele as Pete’s assistant before setting up his own workshop: Ziegenspeck Ukuleles in Rudolstadt, Germany.

Visit Tom's Website

Lawrie Reekie

Lawrie Reekie is very much a hobby builder. Having been introduced to ukulele playing on a holiday 6 years ago he soon found a new passion for seeking the perfect tone and playability. This developed into the continual acquisition of new ukuleles until deciding to try to build his own. After an interesting but not too successful start he invested in a Pete Howlett course to make a tenor which as you can expect resulted in an excellent ukulele. However the quest and experimentation continues in an attempt to produce a self designed ukulele which even comes close to those Howlett machines.
Now in semi retirement he hopes that his engineering background might help him to accomplish that dream and to produce instruments good enough to be used by young and new players. The brand Ecosselele has been created in anticipation of being successful.

John Pearson

Based in northern Cumbria in the UK, John has been refurbishing, designing and hand-building solid-body electric bass ukuleles (and guitars) for over 10 years and has been a player for over 35 years. He employs well-established craft manufacturing techniques and processes, using hand-tools and small workshop machines to work with quality tonewoods and components. His instruments are traditionally finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. His first electric bass ukulele with standard bass tuning (EADG) was built in 2012 to accompany a ukulele band and he now builds individual mini-basses mainly to order.

Visit John's Website

Volker Grass

Volker started making ukuleles as a hobby builder 9 years ago when he built the first ukuleles under the Bugle brand. After playing guitar for nearly 30 years he was fascinated by this tiny, little 'thing' and wanted to play his own ukuleles.
His technical background, as a design engineer for special purpose machines, helped him to design and manufacture those first instruments. He tried out lots of different shapes, scales, bracing patterns and wood combinations to find the ukulele sound and style he was looking for.
In 2015-2016 Volker took a sabbatical from his job and then joined Pete Howlett Ukulele for a four week internship in June 2016. After this experience and his return to Germany he decided to enlarge his workshop and became the first professional ukulele builder in his hometown: Solingen.

Visit Volker's Website
Visit Volker's Facebook Page

Rick Thorpe

Rick Thorpe makes ukuleles from recycled oil cans. He grew up in South Africa and the inspiration came from the home-made "blik" (tin) guitars played by street musicians there. The idea was born when he started playing (and of course fell in love with) the ukulele. So the first RICkulele was made in 2012.
Rick has had a stand at WOMAD Festival ever since, where the electro-accoustic instruments often appeal to performance musicians.
For every RICkulele sold, a donation is made to the charity ‘Instruments for Africa’ which sends reconditioned musical instruments to schools in southern Africa.

Visit Rick's Website
Visit Rick's Facebook Page
See Rick on YouTube

Sven Nyström

Sven Nyström is a dad and an architect from Stockholm, Sweden. He built his first ukulele in 2008 when he fancied owning a tenor but couldn't find one in the shops. From the very beginning he got help and inspiration from other builders sharing their knowledge online, one being Pete Howlett.
Building in his apartment he had no choice but to build with hand tools in a very limited space. Despite this he has built more than a hundred instruments so far and has gained recognition for his short scale piccolos and soprano resonators.
His blog is an honest diary showing his working processes, his achievements and setbacks in detail. Find it at (Argapa means angry monkey in Swedish.)

Read Sven's Blog

Aaron Tucker

Aaron Tucker is an artist creating cartoons in his spare time. He started drawing cartoons for the Pete Howlett Ukulele Club back in April 2016, with a significant number of the cartoons featuring ukuleles or the process of making them, based on Pete’s daily broadcasts.
Initially the cartoons were only for fun, but after encouragement from Pete and friends, Aaron started EChOtoons (the first part of the name a combination of his children’s initials). His first commission was the thank-you card that Pete and Helen used on their Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travels and he has being drawing and sharing pictures ever since.
As well as being an artist, Aaron plays guitar and ukulele and is the proud owner of a Howlett Boat paddle. He enjoys building and making and plans to build his own ukulele in the future.

Visit Aaron's Facebook page

Richard Cross

Richard made his first few guitars in the 1950’s whilst still in school. After that he studied pharmacy at Cardiff and had his own business in Caerphilly in the late 1960’s. However the urge to make bigger and better things was strong and he started an engineering and electronics firm in 1972 which continued for the next 25 years.
During this time, significant stays in faraway places re-ignited the idea of creating a small guitar and in 1997 early models under the name of ‘Shapelywood’ emerged. These instruments evolved over a few hundred pieces, into some highly desirable items mostly made to special order.
Eventually, ukuleles took over and they have remained the focus of work up to the present. Be aware, these instruments are a little ‘left field’ sometimes.

Visit Richard's Website

Coming Soon ...

More Makers may still be added - check back soon to see who they are!

If you're a maker of ukulele and would like to have the chance to exhibit for free, please use the contact form to let Helen know.