DETAILS......sweating the small stuff (Click on any picture to enlarge)
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4 STRING TENOR CUTAWAY--"The Wave"
Mater Grade curly koa top, back & sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fretboard & bridge and headstock overlay. Ebony binding with paua abalone shell purfling on both sides of body, end-graft and head stock. Paua abalone and ebony rosette. Ebony bound soundhole. Paua abalone "wave" inlay and fret position markers. Fourteen frets to the body, eighteen total. Grover tuners and Hilo strings with a low "G" setup. Deluxe hard shell case included.
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Rockin' Hawaiian Style--The RICK VITO ukulele
Long time former lead guitarist and vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, Rick Vito has performed with some of the most influential musicians of our life time including Bonnie Raitt,Jackson Browne, Bob Seger, John Mayall and contless others. Recently Rick has reunited with Mick Fleetwood again, this time in Hawaii, in the form of the Island Rumours Band, also featuring Willie K and Eric Gilliam. So when Rick contacted me for a new ukulele that better reflected his love for Hawaii than his old baritone Papoose I was more than happy to oblige. Although he gave me complete freedom with the build, it was a joyful collaboration that involved dozens of emails and phone calls to each other. One of the outstanding features of the uke is the tiki headstock inlay that Rick himself designed composed of Tahitian black pearl, and gold and white MOP. The cocobolo neck, headstock veneer, and bridge really compliment the master grade curly koa nicely. The Fishman Matrix pick up with the controls just inside the sound hole allows Rick to make easy adjustments while performing on stage.
Rick performing with the Island Rumours Band at the Grand Wailea Beach Resort in Maui.
Let this be a lesson that mai tais and a steady camera hand are not compatible!
Tenor 4 string built for Bob Kevonian of the nationally syndicated radio "Bob & Tom Show". Bob was a joy to work with on this ukulele as we shared he same love of nostalgic Hawaii. The "Pin-up Hula Girl" inlay is scrimshawed in fossil mastadon ivory and is reminiscent of a World War II bomber painting. The hibiscus flowers are inlayed with composition stone.
When four strings aren't enough, or even eight, you'll have your hands full with this double neck tenor ukulele fitted with both a 4 string and 8 string neck. The woods I used for this unusual instrument are spalted curly koa for the body, carbon reinforced Spanish cedar necks, and ebony for the fret board, head stock veneer and bindings. The bamboo inlays are of gold mother of pearl and cocobolo. I chose to use "Peghed" planetary geared tuners for their light weight and their classic, unobtrusive appearance. The dual side sound ports give the player immediate feedback and gives improved tonal balance and overall projection.
Double Neck Tenor Ukulele
Built for a customer who wanted a ukulele that had an "earthy" attitude to it, this ukulele features a tree of life inlay with celestial heavens above. The theme is also carried out in the ebony and cocobolo bound fret board that is firmly "rooted" around the sound hole.
The snake around the trunk of the tree is reminiscent of the medical symbol that represents the customers field of work.
Rope Bound Soprano--Style 0
4 String tenor ukulele "Japanese White Eye"
AAAAA curly koa with ebony bindings, fret board, head stock veneer and bridge. Paua abalone purflings. Inlays of abalone shell, pink mussel & koa. Bound fret board and sound hole. Bone saddle.
"TIKI ISLAND" Ukulele with AAAAA fiddleback koa.
AAAAA Master grade curly koa with ebony fret board, binding bridge and headstock overlay. Paua abalone shell purfling, rosette and fret markers. "Moorish Idols" inlay is made up from black, gold, white and abalone shell and composite stone. Side sound port gives the player additional feedback while adding forward projection as well giving the ukulele a more "open" sound. This little uke has surprisingly BIG voice and is a delight to play. Micarta nut and bone saddle, Grover tuners, and Aquila strings.
The TAKEO Ukulele
Inspired by gyotaku artist, Laron Kageyama, this stunning tenor features elements that are meaningful to him including koi, bamboo and a family crest. The slotted headstock, side soundport, red purfling and bridge detail make this a truly one of a kind ukulele.
To see Laron's own unique fish printing art, visit his website:
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This remarkable tenor is redefining the boundaries of art and acoustics in modern ukuleles. The AAAAA Master Grade solid koa body features a scalloped lower bout and side sound port in a cutaway design. The body, fret board, head stock, and both sound holes are bound in cocobolo and accented with black and white purfling strips. The custom tri-color rope purfling adorns the front and back of the body as well as the headstock. The fret board, head stock and bridge are ebony and the carbon reinforced neck is Spanish cedar. Over 160 individual pieces of pearl, wood and stone make up the inlay of the scholl of koi happily swimming down the ukulele. The elegant inlay of koi and aquatic plants on this instrument took 40 hours to accomplish.
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I really had fun with this ukulele. It like the little brother to the double neck uke I built last fall. Super curly blonde koa with darker curly koa bindings. The fret board, headstock veener and bridge are solid ebony. The inlays are cocobolo and gold Mother of pearl. The neck is Spanish cedar with composite rienforcement rod installed under the fret board. The tuners are Peghed planetary geared tuners for an unobtrusive look and are supur light weight (they're aluminum). I love side sound ports on any of the ukes I build. They give the player a bit more feedback and have the tendency to increase overall volume.
Bone saddle and Hilo Strings.
The tone of this particular uke is sweet, with excellent separation and clarity. It is loud without being "noisy" and has a full, sweet voicing.
Gorgeous AAAA master grade is just one of the outstanding features of this remarkable ukulele. It also features a double soundhole configuration which allows a greater are of the sound board to resonate. It is trimmed with ebony binding and paua abalone purfling. The fret board, headstock veneer, bridge and tuner buttons are also ebony. As with all my ukuleles, even the sound holes are bound. With a fourteen fret neck connection, the cutaway body allows the player to easily access all twenty frets. This uke also debuts my new fenderesque style headstock design with grover in line tuners. The pearl and composite waterfall inlay depict a scene reminiscent of the palis found in Wailau, on the back side of my former home on Moloka'i. Aquila strings in a low G setup and bone saddle. Hard shell case include.
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Lots of flamingos getting a leg up on this exceptional concert ukulele. Gorgeous 5A red hued curly koa compliments the pink accents of this uke. Tenor sized neck for easier playing and more versatility. The use of Peghed tuners are staggered on the head stock so as to not interfere with the inaly.
Simply a stunning ukulele and a fun challenge to build.
I have about 60 hours of inlay work on this left handed tenor cutaway. The curves of the lower bout and around the side sound port presented challenges of their own. Inlay materials include reconstituted chrysacola stone, gold MOP, and paua abalone shell. Peghed tuners work perfectly on an uke like this.
The sound board on this gecko themed tenor is made from Sitka spruce while the rest of the body is milo wood, a wood that at one time was only used by the Hawaiian royalty and is rarer today than koa. It is an excelent tonewood and exhibits beatiful subtle coloring in the grain. The combination of these two woods along with dual side sound ports and the gecko sound board holes really make this a loud, vibrant, responsive ukulele.
Please note: If you have never been to an art museum before or if you are offended by the occasional representation of (gasp) the female breast, you are advised to view these pages while wearing welding goggles.
Tenor Ukulele in the Key of Ki
The kanji symbol for "ki" represents the life energy, the breath of God in all living things. The inlay was made of mastodon ivory and ebony and patterned after a calligraphic painting done by the customer. The bamboo design on the fret board was made from variegated red composition stone.
An ukulele doesn't have to have a lot of inlays to be striking as this uke proves. Macassar ebony, Adirondack (red) spruce and curly koa go so well together as well as giving the uke a dynamic sound with great volume. The aspen leaves were cut from dyed maple burl and look stunning against the black ebony.