I'm always interested in trees I see around the streets of Ukiah. One day on the way to our ukulele group meeting I saw a liquidambar tree that was being cut down. They hadn't gotten very far so I stopped to see if any of it was for sale. The answer was yes so I had a local tree trimmer help me cut some of it into quarters that would fit in my van.
When I sawed some of it up at the shop I was a little disappointed at the lack of personality so I figured that I would use it for linings and such. Lifetime supply. It wasn't dry so I bagged it up to prevent cracking and promptly forgot about it.
Six months later I opened the bag and saw the transformation. It had spalted in some very interesting patterns. Maybe a worm or two got to it as well but I was intrigued to find out what a liquidambar ukulele would be like.
This is what I made. It's a 15 inch scaled 14 fret concert with liquidambar back and sides. I had to fill some worm holes. The top is Port Orford cedar. Fretboard and 12 hole bridge are ebony. Frets are Evo Gold. Fret markers are 6062 aluminum. Tuners are Gotoh UPTs. Linings are solid laminated poplar hand carved in place. (Turns out the liquidambar wasn't so great for linings.) The neck is cherry. Finish is satin oil varnish. There's a clear satin pickguard.
Sweet Gum is on the warm friendly side for a concert. Nice open feel.
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Here's Alex de Grassi with a short piece he composed for Sweet Gum he calls Jukin' 4.
All compositions and arrangements by Alex de Grassi, published by Tropo Music (BMI)
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