Park's Curly Maple
When I decided to start building musical instruments in 1973 I needed to find some wood. There were no internet vendors then but some far away supply houses where you couldn't see what you were getting.
So I started looking locally for wood. I was lucky enough to find a place in downtown Santa Barbara called Park's Hardwoods. For me it was a kind of magical warehouse of wood varieties and smells. Park was very friendly and knowledgeable. He had some great stories and some mahogany and spruce that I used for my first guitar. But he also had some beautiful hard curly maple. I'm a sucker for the broken curl of this riff sawn maple. It makes me smile.
I didn't have a good way to resaw the board I purchased so the maple travelled with me for quite awhile. Turns out the rosette, back and sides of this tenor ukulele have waited 49 years to be a part of this musical instrument.
I wanted to show off the beauty of Park's maple by making a ukulele almost entirely of maple but I didn't have enough of his so I decided to use some newer curly maple (only 10 years old) to compliment it. It's lighter colored which I think enhances the beauty of Park's wood. To accent the maple I've used cherry purfling throughout.
This tenor has curly maple for the bindings, headplate, backplate, fingerboard and bridge. Some might question its use for a fingerboard but Fender has been using hard rock maple for years. Theirs has a protective finish as does mine. It's the same penetrating oil semigloss used on the rest of the ukulele. Because of the fingerboard's beauty, I decided to leave position markers off of the face and only used aluminum dots on the side.
I was also able to make tuner buttons with the curly maple for the Gotoh SGi510 16:1 ukulele tuners.
The neck is a different hard maple with an occasional birdseye. It's attached with two bolts, one of which also anchors a strap button.
The top is some very tight grained Engelmann spruce. I don't often use tight grained spruce for ukuleles because its stiffness can hinder the bass response but this wood is very light weight with a deep tap tone.
At first there was no sound port but after playing it a bit I decided to add one. I wanted more of the sound to come the player's way. It also really opened up the tone which is still very articulate up and down the fingerboard. But there's a perceptible increase in volume and sustain. The overtones are sweet and engaging. They match beauty of the woods.
The strings are PHDs with an Oasis smoothwound .031" low G. It comes with a Gator hardcase. Look for Park's Curly Maple at The Ukulele Site soon.