Lichty Ukuleles

North Carolina guitar and ukulele maker Jay Lichty was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself and his ukes. You can find out more on LichtyGuitars.com and friend him up on Facebook.

How long have you been building and how did you get started building ukuleles?

My first uke was the direct result of the crash in the housing market. Strange but true. I’ve been a home contractor for almost thirty years and when the economy turned south I found myself with lots of time on my hands and very little income.
After having a dream one night about playing a small-bodied guitar on stage I discovered ukuleles and built one just for fun. That has been just two years ago (2009) and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been full-time in my luthier’s shop since then building custom acoustic guitars and ukuleles.


What separates Lichty from the other ukuleles?

Time and again we hear from our customers that the custom design and build process is what sold them. I work closely with each customer in the design process. They have the opportunity to choose not only the type of wood (within the species we offer), but they can also choose the specific set of wood that speaks to them. We discuss each feature, from binding, to rosette detail, from inlay to neck wide to the electronics and tuners. It’s such a thrill for them to be a part of that design process. They end up with an instrument that is unlike any other and that fits them like a glove.

What do you think makes a great ukulele?

I’ve got two answers to that. The first: It starts with really great wood with tap tone that takes your breath away. Working with that foundation each facet is important: a solid design, just the right formula for bracing, great tuners, down to the quality and thickness of the finish. My second answer: a really great ukulele is one that you can’t put down and whose notes you love to hear (no matter the maker or price).

What type of player are you aimed at?

Because each of our ukuleles are custom handcrafted in a one-man-shop, our buyers are typically players who see a Lichty as their “dream ukulele” and are willing to pay for an heirloom quality instrument.

What’s next for Lichty?

While we are fortunate to have many internationally touring musicians playing our guitars, we are on the look out for stellar ukulele players to collaborate with. It’s always fun and exciting working with talented folks and it’s so rewarding hearing our instruments played by gifted musicians.

On Video

3 Comments

  1. Craig Turner March 13th, 2011 2:08 am

    That’s my tenor uke pictured at the top of the article. Lovely, eh? Sinker redwood top and pau ferro back and sides. The tone and sustain are wonderful and the instrument is very smooth playing. Excellent construction and attention to detail. I couldn’t be happier with my custom uke.
    Jay is an amazing luthier and an excellent guitarist/uke player. The uke world is lucky to have him on board.
    If you are looking around for a custom ukulele, I recommend you get in touch with him. He is terrific to work with and a super nice guy.

  2. Kipling Gillespie March 14th, 2011 12:33 am

    Jay built me an amazing custom ukulele I’ve named Jenny. She has a great full sound for an instrument many people consider a toy. He is a true craftsman whose passion for building great instruments shines through in his work. I also have a guitar built by Jay. Seriously awesome stuff.

  3. Charlie Hall March 14th, 2011 1:07 pm

    Can’t say enough good things about my Lichty ukulele. The sound is simply awesome. I too have a custom guitar that Jay built for me and it plays much better than I do. Thanks, Jay! Charlie Hall

Got something to say?