Kamala

I'm always working to make a better ukulele. There are some elements of the design that I usually keep on every ukulele so that I have an idea of what any modifications have caused. Sometimes I'm looking for a stronger voice that will hold up under aggressive strumming. Sometimes I'm looking to see what any subtle changes to the bracing will create. Often I'm looking to see what combinations of tone woods will do to the voice of the ukulele. But it's hard for me to take a purely scientific approach to experimentation mostly because life's too short for me to try to control just one variable at a time. I don't think I could make two identical instruments if I wanted to anyway, which I don't. I'd like every ukulele I make to have its own personality.

So I'm stuck with wonder at times. This ukulele makes me wonder. With Macassar ebony back and sides it's a little heavier than many of my ukuleles but without the damping often associated with ebonies. It was almost harsh sounding when I first strung her up with Worth Brown strings which typically promote a warm response. Maybe the Engelmann spruce top which I had braced a little lighter in places was the reason. Or maybe a taller than usual saddle had that effect. There is certainly fine note to note separation and ample sustain. But something needed to change. So I tried to calm her down with some strings I hadn't tried before, Galli Bionylon. That was much better. Real presence to every note without the edge and it didn't fall apart strumming. Singer/songwriter Mike Simpson thought it was the best of seven ukuleles I took to the CCMC winter retreat this year.

Some other specs: obeche neck, ebony bindings, fingerboard and bridge, aluminum fret markers, Gotoh UPT 4:1 tuners with ebony buttons, side grained wood rosette, bone nut and saddle. $2200 + tax.