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Neck Carving: An Artisan Course with Pete Howlett


Product Description

Pete Howlett builds top quality ukulele that are appreciated by musi­cians the world over. Using the finest quality materials and with over 35 years of experience, his instruments really sing - allowing you to translate the sounds in your head to the music you play.

Pete’s international reputation is as a builder and also a teacher. At the International Ukulele Building School he has trained hundreds of students over the years in his traditional, and often innovative techniques and processes.


In this detailed teaching DVD, Pete Howlett shows how to carve Gibson style and Classic style ukulele necks.

Pete teaches a wide range of traditional hand tool techniques. before sharing his innovative templating and machine techniques, which ensure high degrees of accuracy and repeatability.

This course is a valuable resource for established luthiers looking to develop their skills, and equally for those looking to make their first instruments.





Total Running Time: 2hr 29min

NTSC | English | Stereo | Color | Widescreen | Shot and mastered in HD |  Copyright © 2015 Artisan Media Ltd. 

This DVD is region coded as “0” meaning it will play in all countries.

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Product Reviews

  1. Very worthwhile for new amateur luthier.

    Posted by Richard Hill on 1st Mar 2016

    There are several detailed reviews by experienced luthiers above. Read them. I'm a beginner. I've watched a number of Pete's short YouTube videos and learned much from this Master and experienced teacher. This 2 hour plus video seemed a bit pricey, and I hesitated buying it. I reflected on the quality of the free videos and bought it. Glad I did. There are many subtle details that can't be included in the short videos. Pete showed and explained details that generated many "ah Ha" moments for me. I wish I could afford to cross the pond and take his hands on course. This is second best, I'm sure, but well worth my expense. Thank you, Pete!

  2. Mastery of these tools

    Posted by Robbie O'Brien. O'Brien Guitars, on 1st Dec 2015

    Pete Howlett is no stranger to hand tools. His DVD on ukulele neck carving demonstrates his mastery of these tools as he guides the viewer through each step of the neck carving process. Novice and experienced luthiers alike will find Pete's detailed instructions useful as they carve their own ukulele necks. Happy Building!

  3. Master Ukulele Builder Pete Howlett and Artisan Media have teamed up to produce a very high quality and in-depth unveiling of this process.

    Posted by Les Stansell - Ukulele builder based in Oregon. on 27th Nov 2015

    The Neck . . . the most enigmatic, complex, critical, time consuming and difficult component in Lutherie. The Neck interfaces with all major components including and especially the player.

    Every Builder has a different approach and methodology, but the ultimate goal is always the same . . . to blend form and function to not only inspire, but allow the artist/musician to reach their full potential.

    Master Ukulele Builder Pete Howlett and Artisan Media have teamed up to produce a very high quality and in-depth unveiling of this process.

  4. Pete Howlett Neck carving DVD Review. 

    Posted by K Mulcock on 9th Nov 2015

    Having spent a week with Pete Howlett, I was keen to have a permanent reminder of the things I had been shown, and had learnt. And here it is; Pete Howlett’s neck carving masterclass expertly put together in collaboration with Artisan Media.

    This DVD presents itself as a 2 1/2 hour one-to-one teaching session with the UK’s premier ukulele builder. This in itself provides great value for money for the viewer. (it’s yours to keep and view as often as you like!) Watching this certainly felt like Pete was teaching ‘me’ personally, just as he had done in his workshop previously.

    The quality of the production is superb. The super sharp footage, along with great dialogue go hand in hand to provide clear and concise instruction and guidance, as well as useful explanation and reasoning for each procedure. The continuous demonstration as Pete works through the carve processes show the audience a kind of ‘honesty’ in what he is doing. The fact that it appears filmed ‘real time’ (i.e. not stop/start) makes it feel ‘real’ to the viewer, showing continuous step by step sequences visually to enhance the viewers understanding of what is being achieved.

    I certainly like how each procedure was broken down, with discussion about the tools he uses, and how and why these are chosen. I was sat with notepad and pen, jotting the odd thing down, and sorting my shopping list. I’m sure many people will do the same. It is nice to see however, that the shopping list does not need to be long or expensive. Pete demonstrates the use of simple hand and machine tools, both to great effect.

    In essence,this is a series of mini lessons on a DVD which shows how one expert (Pete Howlett) does things from beginning to end. I certainly think it helps demonstrate what is achievable (albeit with practice) when starting out with a piece of wood and the intention of carving that ‘perfect neck’. It can be used as a ready reference tool or a reminder of what you learnt the last time you viewed it.

    This DVD will appeal to the amateur builder looking to achieve a ‘neck carve’ with a consistency and understanding of what they are doing. I have currently only built three ukuleles and my previous neck carving has left a lot to be desired. I have struggled significantly with the heal and neck volute with a lack of symmetry and design focus. This DVD will make such a difference due to the clear guidance and explanations. I will start utilising the Gibson heal first. I’ll get ‘that’ right (well as right as I can!) before I advance on to the classic heal. I guess there is a place for both in my builds at some future point. I can honestly say, I am ‘excited’ about doing my next neck carve.

  5. Highly recommended

    Posted by Rufus - London UK. on 9th Nov 2015

    Having just watched Pete Howlett’s new DVD on Ukulele Neck Carving from Artisan Media, I am mightily impressed.

    There are two standard problems with many ‘how to’ films: either they seek to illustrate complex processes with inadequate explanation, assuming you will attain expertise merely by osmosis, or they gloss over the actual nitty gritty of the processes involved with a triumphant ‘here’s one we made earlier’ approach. Neither of these problems occurs in an exemplary film which draws us into Howlett’s admirably methodical thought processes, ably assisted by excellent camerawork. While you might not necessarily sit through the entire two and a half hours in one sitting (though I did), you will learn the entire process of crafting a finished neck from a prepared billet in logical steps (including the preparation of the billet).

    Each stage of the process is explained and then recapped at the end of the section, from the selection of required tools (as well as most effective way of using them) all the way to final sanding. And this from someone who really knows what he’s talking about – with over forty years dedicated to ukulele production, there can be no better tutor than Pete Howlett.

    But being an expert in your craft is no guarantee that you will be able to communicate well. Rest assured that here, Howlett is an excellent guide. A continuous commentary allows the viewer to hear what I imagine is the interior monologue he would be hearing in his head. What emerges is not merely the practical and methodical approach he has to problem solving, but the occasional wry observation, revealing something of his character. At several points, he mentions love for his craft (an essential part of his luthiery); the sculptural nature of the work; artistry meeting engineering precision.

    There is little point in going through the entire scope of the film; you need to see the processes occur in real time. Suffice it to say, we see how to mark up, prepare and carve necks in two distinct styles (traditional heel and Gibson style heel) in two different woods (alder and mahogany). One thing that strikes the viewer is Howlett’s insistence on the need for aiming at perfection at every stage, communicated with humility, though tempered with the confidence that he is an extremely talented luthier

    So who is this DVD for? Perhaps not the beginner (though any beginner would have a clear understanding of how to carve ukulele necks after this intensive course). Certainly for the competent amateur, with a reasonably well-equipped workshop and the ambition to improve. And also for the professional, offering as it does an insight into the working methods of an internationally respected ukulele builder.

    After my first complete viewing of the DVD, I found myself in a very calm state having been coaxed through the creative process by a master craftsman – and you can’t say that about many instructional films. I wouldn’t say he makes it look easy (forty years in the saddle have clearly make it easier for him than for most); but he clearly explains the entire process of creating this complex and essential part of the instrument. Highly recommended.

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