2017 Ko'olau hand carved archtop ukulele
From the Ko'olau custom shop comes this master built, hand carved, archtop acoustic tenor ukulele. It has a unique tone in the most incredible way. The notes just jump out with great projection and articulation everywhere on the neck and with wonderful balance for a such a joyful and musical experience.
Our sound samples are completely dry so use quality speakers or headphones for the most accurate listening.
This gorgeous creation comes to us courtesy of Ryan Condon, 2nd half of Ko’olau’s custom shop led by Noa Bonk. Ryan has built some arch top guitars and a few years ago started hand carving Ko’olau tenors. He makes a few each year, all of which are seemingly flawless in build quality and quite the treat to look at. However, the most noteworthy aspect is an extremely unique dynamic attack and throw. I say extremely unique because this is a very different sound from any flat top ukulele. Ryan uses arching height calculations, tap tuning, and other traditional luthier techniques to carve these two big blocks of wood into their maximum musical potential. This oval hole sunburst tenor one can be heard from across the room with a bell like clarity. Up and down the neck it’s like no other ukulele you will find.
If you’ve been around acoustic stringed instruments, you likely know that a hand carved arch top instrument is much more expensive than it’s flat top counter part. This is especially true with the top notch custom makers. The fanciest Collings ukulele comes in around 4 grand while the mandolins top off well over 10 grand. Why is this? The time and expertise involved.
First of all, Ryan starts with a block of European spruce and master grade koa thick enough to make 4 regular flat top tenors.
I just like the process of carving, taking a block of wood and removing everything except what is supposed to be there
He book-matches the set at about 18mm and at finish it is between 2-3mm, carving away all but the beautiful curving woods that you see. Not only do you need 4 times the top and back wood but the process takes about 3 times as long as a flat top.
Comes w/ Koolau hard case made to fit perfectly and Oasis Humidifier.