Lake Tahoe’s Tyde Music brings life to local wood by creating unique instruments
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Have you ever seen something you wanted so badly, but maybe couldn’t afford, so you created it yourself?
Two Tahoe friends and music lovers, Tyler Joersz and Devin Price, used their piqued interest in pricey ukuleles spotted on a trip to Hawaii to fuel their drive in becoming self-taught luthiers.
The two created Tyde Music in Kings Beach, specializing in handcrafted stringed and drum instruments on top of an array of other wood designs they make to this day right here at North Lake Tahoe.
“Devin picked up this ukulele in Hawaii and got so stoked on playing it,” Joersz said. “It was beautiful, expensive though … we started thinking that the scraps from roundwood would work to make one.”
Joersz and Price did seasonal work on various area home-builds, working with and apprenticing under Andy Cline, master woodworker and founder of Roundwood Furniture in Kings Beach.
Cline provided the beautiful scrap wood remnants the two needed to embark on a project, and one year later, in 2010, their first ukulele was finished.
By 2012, the pair launched their company and brought on Julian Sander, a master CNC (computer numerical control) machine expert. The trio has grown to become a go-to CNC design and woodworking studio, creating pieces for local businesses such as Coffeebar and Arcade Belt Co.
Arguably the coolest part of what the company does is re-purpose reclaimed wood, making use of pieces of history from piers and local home remnants, in addition to making custom, exotic-wood instrument and accessory orders.
All milling, routering, assembly and general “shop noise” is conducted in their workshop and showroom and, as much as possible, they reclaim wood from local boathouses, landfills and materials from contractors looking to reduce waste from remodels.
“There’s so much material,” Joersz said. “Using reclaimed materials gives it a story; it’s not trash until you throw it away.”
The musical, artistically inclined luthiers (a term for a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars) welcome locals and visitors to their shop to expand on their musical-network, and they can be seen at regional music festivals — including the upcoming Reno Ukulele Festival next weekend.
Tyde Music makes ukuleles, guileless, cajon drums, didgeridoos, stomp boxes and other custom sound accessories in around 60 to 120 hours. More of their “production-line” items, including learner ukuleles, take around 10 to 15 hours to make.
One advanced ukulele piece currently in the works, Joersz said, will be complete once 1,780 pieces of inlay work is laid into place, ultimately giving the instrument a snakeskin texture and appearance.
“It’s been pretty sweet,” Joersz said of the business, which allows them to do what they love each day. “It just kind of continually grows and we’re just riding the wave.”
“Building an instrument is rewarding in itself,” Price added. “And having people pick one up and love it is really cool. It becomes their travel companion, some people love these instruments more than their home.”
Tyde Music is run on passion for music, art and showcasing beautiful pieces of wood. Their trademark special touch often features naturally growing moss placed in inlaid, clear resin — these instruments look like they’re part of nature and their sound is even sweeter.
“Ukulele is easier to learn to play,” Price said. “So if more people learn it, it contributes to the earth’s positive vibration.”
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.
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