Here you will find custom ukuleles built by Luthier Jerry Hoffmann. From 2005-2015 Hoffmann Lutherie operated under the name of Boat Paddle Ukulele Co. Boat Paddle instruments have evolved into new designs over the years, and will continue to evolve in a similar way under the new name. You will see older proven designs like the ML series, and new ones that build on past experience. Please look around the website to learn more, and to see what is currently available for sale.
Hoffmann ukuleles are custom designed for the best possible sound and appearance. All the parts that go into the instrument, and the instrument as a whole are made to achieve the best structural integrity where needed. Structures that resist string load are made stiff and those that translate sound are made responsive. This goes a long way in producing a rich sound and great playing experience. The appearance of Hoffmann ukuleles is a form-follows-function approach that creates new opportunities for design variations. Everything from the neck joint to the body size is taken into consideration for a style and sound all their own.
Jerry's shop is located in downtown New Haven MO, a small Missouri riverfront town about 50 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri. He began building instruments in 2005 while he was still publishing the Blacksmith’s Journal, a monthly publication that covered architectural ironwork and artist blacksmith techniques. By 2007 he was building instruments full-time. Before the Journal, he owned a blacksmith’s shop that produced hand forged architectural ironwork for the St. Louis Missouri area (see some of his work here). His education is in graphic arts and he worked for Typographic Sales, Inc. designing special fonts for photo typesetting machines until 1976 when he opted for self-employment first as a farrier, then blacksmith, then publisher, and finally as a luthier. He has made over 300 instruments, using many of his earlier experiences to refine his instrument building techniques.
Without a doubt, #MB2183 is one great looking / sounding instrument. The build quality is one of the best I've come across. Over the years, I've been fortunate to enjoy many fine instruments but, I don't believe I've ever had one in my hands that felt so alive. So, yes, I like it ... I like it a lot ... 2183 will be with me for a long time. She's found a permanent home. -Eric Baldwin