Scott Wise the Margaret River Luthier

Margaret River Luthier Out There…

Ukes in Hawaii

Scott Wise, 20 year Margaret River resident has spent most of July and August overseas engaged in various activities around his chosen professions, music and stringed instrument making (lutherie).

Scott is a respected maker of guitars, mandolins ukuleles and violins. He has been in the craft for 33 years after a decade as a full time touring musician. On this most recent trip he has brought all his skills to bear at various times.

The journey started, as it often does, in Hawaii. Scott’s ukuleles are well known in both Australia and the U.S.A. and as a member of the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii, Scott attended the annual Hawaiian ukulele festival and showed his instruments there as well as visiting his regular client Douglas Tolentino, who has two of Scott’s instruments. ”It was a very quick visit” said Scott.” I had a day at the uke festival and then the following day some filming with Doug, one of his shows and then off to the airport. I did manage to squeeze in a nice little surf though.”

The Hawaiian visit was followed by a couple of days in Santa Barbara, California where he delivered a ukulele and was able to go surfing with family at

the Hollister Ranch. This was on the way to one of his major destinations, the Puget Sound area in Washington State where he attended the Guild of American Luthiers Convention in Tacoma. “The G.A.L. is a great organisation” Said Scott. “It keeps me in touch with my peers around the world. We all share the real progress in research, development and guitar trends long before they hit the mass produced markets.” Following the convention, Scott spent a week teaching in Port Orchard out of nearby Seattle at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, which has students and teachers from all over the U.S.A. Here he was a specialist blues harmonica and blues mandolin teacher. Scott is a member of the veteran Ten Cent Shooters blues band who often play at Settlers Tavern, so the country blues repertoire is very familiar to him. He is invited to teach at this well loved guitar camp regularly. Scott and his wife Louisa have attended the camp several times over the past 12 years and he is very fond of the place. “It is a great community of musicians, both teachers and students and a wonderful experience as well as giving me a pay packet in the middle of my trip.”

Gigging in Seattle

After Seattle the trip had a whole different purpose. As well as delivering ukuleles to his outlet store in Boston, Scott attended Instrument museums in Phoenix, Boston and London. Here he was studying historic Spanish guitars and Portugese precursor instruments to the ukulele. “ To see historic instruments as they were built in the 1800s and early 20th century is extremely valuable for a hand maker like me” said Scott. “Modern factory techniques lose touch with the old skills and designs which made most of the finest stringed instruments.”

Arriving home via more business visits in Singapore Scott has some new knowledge and several instrument orders to work on. Asked for an overview of the trip, Scott said “Margaret River is a fabulous place and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but it is a long way from anywhere and is a very small market for an instrument maker. It is very important for me to take my instruments to the world to prove how well they compare and to keep expanding my knowledge. At the Hawaiian uke festival I could have sold all of the instruments to one Thai businessman but needed them for the rest of the trip, where they were all in great demand. People are really starting to take notice”

To find out more visit Scotts website

About Benji

I am married and live on a farm near Margaret River with my wife, daughter and son. I set up The Margaret River Guide to assist people coming to Margaret River Western Australia to easily find what they are looking for. I also wanted to allow people to find activities they did not know about and to be able to openly comment on/ review businesses.

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