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Archives for: October 2007

Tenor #006 Sound Sample

I just recorded a quick sample of tenor #006. Just like the sample of #005 this is just a dry sample with no enhancements. Studio Projects B1 into Sonar 3. A little strumming excerpt from one of Jake's tunes and then a little picking from Troy Fernandez's TNC.

This is without question my best sounding tenor. It's like it has a little motor inside revving it up and the only other tenors I've played that I've felt that motor are my Glyph and Gerald Ross' Talsma. My #003 spruce top had the makings of that motor but now I realize it wasn't hitting on all cylinders.

TENOR #006 Sound Sample

#006 Tenor in AAAA Curly Koa

Tonight I strung up Kirby Keough’s Koa tenor #006 which will be headed for the UGH in just less than two weeks. Number 005 keeps sounding better each day but #006 sounds even better in my opinion. It has a warmer voice with sweet overtones right out of the gate. The strings continue to stretch and I still need to do the final intonation setup so no sound file as of yet. One difference you will notice right away is that #006 has Gotoh mini tuners that stick out the sides as opposed to the peg heads. I discussed this with Kirby and he felt more comfortable going with a tuner he was more familiar with. Personally, I think the instrument would be more attractive with tuners coming out the back. I hope Kirby falls in love with it but if not this is one uke I might have to hang on to for a while.

Here are a few specs:
17” scale length tenor
AAAA Koa top, back and sides
Rosewood binding – top and back
Width at nut – 1 7/16”
Mahogany neck
Ebony finger board – 14 frets clear – 19 frets total
Ebony peg head overlay with Paua abalone logo
Paua abalone marker dots at 5th, 7th, 10th, and 15th with double at 12th
Paua abalone side markers at 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th
Paua abalone Rosette
Ebony Tie Bridge
Gotoh mini geared tuners
Tru-Oil finish
Worth CT clear tenor strings
Mi Si Acoustic Trio batter free pickup system

Number 005 Tenor in Koa

EDIT: I put together a quick recording of the #005 tenor this evening. It's an abbreviated version of Blue Roses Falling. The Studio Projects condenser mic into Sonar 3 dry with no processing. It's really starting to respond better and better each day.


I strung up my 5th tenor ukulele yesterday. It’s one of two tenors I’m completing for our upcoming trip to Hawaii. I hope to complete number 006 by the end of this coming week to have some time to play them both in a bit before the trip. I'm planning to exhibit number 006 at the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii Exhibition in Hawaii.

This is the first ukulele I’ve built from koa. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect from a tone standpoint. In my mind I was expecting it to sound similar to the last two I made which were from walnut with a spruce top and an all mahogany one. I strung it with Worth CT strings that I picked up from MGM while in Cerritos at the Southern CA Ukulele Festival. I have to admit that my first impressions were not what I had hoped they would be. The sound seemed a little hollow and a bit on the thin side. The tone itself isn’t necessarily bad though. It has a sweet bright tone that seems to work well for finger picking. It seems to have more of a bark to it rather than a warm mellow tone.

After compensating the saddle and stringing it back to pitch I noticed a buzzing on the C string that would come and go. I installed a Mi Si Acoustic Trio battery free pickup system in it and thought something might be rubbing up against a brace or something but after looking around inside things looked just fine in that regard.

I took the instrument with me to the West Coast Ukulele Noir and had both Mike DaSilva and Peter Hurney of Pohaku Ukuleles look it over. The strings had only been on for about 6 hours at that point and they both recommended just playing the ukulele as much as possible over the next few days to a week before making any kind of real judgment on the tone. So today I’ve been playing the heck out of it and I’ve already noticed a change in tone. I isolated the buzz and found it to be a nut slot that was a tad too wide. I slipped a small piece of paper in the slot and the buzz was gone and this allowed the current tone to come through much better. This made a huge difference regarding how the instrument sounds as a hole. I believe that with some time it will open up and develop an even better voice. More than likely this instrument will be for sale at the upcoming UGH Exhibition in November.

Here are a few specs:
17” scale length tenor
Koa top, back and sides
Curly maple binding – top and back
Width at nut – 1 3/8”
Mahogany neck
Ebony finger board – 14 frets clear – 18 frets total
MOP marker dots at 5th, 7th, 10th, and 15th with double at 12th
MOP side markers at 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th
MOP Rosette
Ebony Tie Bridge
Peghead geared ¾ size tuners
Tru-Oil finish
Worth CT clear tenor strings
Mi Si Acoustic Trio batter free pickup system

6th Annual Southern California Ukulele Festival

Last weekend I flew into Burbank and headed to Cerritos for the 6th Annual Southern California Ukulele Festival held at the Cerritos Park East Community Center. What a wonderful festival this is. Susan McCormick and her staff do a wonderful job and everything went off like clockwork. The only complaint I can think of is that the festival should be longer than one day. There’s just too much to cram into one day with all the workshops, performance, vendors and finding time to relax and do a little jamming and socializing with friends new and old.

I had a wonderful time and spent a fair amount of time visiting with Bruddah Mark, Jeff and the Uddah Bruddah Mark at the Island Style booth. Bruddah Mark plugged me into his little Vox amplifier and turned me loose for a while on my own and then later in the day we jammed on some Jake tunes together. At first thought it doesn’t seem to feasible for two people to play Jake tunes together however, with Bruddah Mark it just works. He puts his twist on them as do I and it just seems to work together. At least we think so. We’ve yet to see any videos or hear any audio so we might be in for a rude awakening (LOL). But it doesn’t really matter because we were having the time of our lives. I do know one thing for sure...that my Glyph "Wahine Po`o" tenor was sounding killer through the amp. It had been a while since I'd plugged her in.

It was awesome to see the Island Style gang and I can’t wait to get together with them again. Here’s a pic of me with Bruddah Mark and another of me jamming at his booth.