Bird on a Wire stringed instruments are the baby of South Dakota, USA based Luthier Tom Molstad. Committed to taking an artistic approach to instrument design; Tom set's to work building colourful and inspiring Ukuleles that test the conventional aesthetic approaches and expectations of the instrument. Each Ukulele has a name because each Ukulele has it's own voice, style, mojo, flare and substance. When you hold one, you can see it's journey and inject your music into the instruments story.
Tom began his Ukulele journey three years ago and the rapid progression of his instruments both in appearance and sound is incredibly rare. We are proud to boast here at SUS that we are the first store in the world to have commissioned a collection of Bird on a wire Ukuleles. Across the three instruments; Tom has drawn influences from nature, wildlife, architecture, historical events & the world of artistic photography to produce three completely dazzling works of art.
Tom uses an incredibly light shellac finish which means the instruments are just the tiniest bit rugged and roughly finished much like a Marshall Stapleton or some of the Sumi Ukuleles. This is not a knock on the quality of an instrument but rather a benefit as it brings these instruments to life acoustically but also into more affordable territory. A single person working by hand can't acheive the same high-tech UV gloss engineered finish of a factory brand like Kanile'a or Kamaka but they can offer a viable alternative. The rough shellac finish and small dings in the wood are testament to the 60+ hours that went into manufacturing the instrument. There is something just so romantic about a truly hand made instrument without many of the modern manufacturing tools that speed up and sometimes harmogonise certain instruments.
Something new is always around the corner... sometimes it’s good to challenge your conventions and invest a part of yourself in a builder with a real hunger to do something unique that is not only a great Ukulele but also a fantastic piece of useable art. After talking with Tom, his enthusiasm and bright ideas for new instruments convinced me that this was a builder we should be involved with. Tom listed half a dozen names of craftsmen that influenced his designs that I had never even heard of and each one had me hooked - luthiers like Michael Thames, Pablo Requena, Ben Crow, Tomy Hovington and Ad van Kuijk. So Bird on a Wire might be a young brand but as our collection shows, we are right at the ground level of something refreshing and exciting.
Crosshouse Concert (Serial Number #21)
Tom created the Crosshouse as a loose tribute to our own Southern England heritage. The Crosshouse is named after a shelter located in the now long lost Itchen Ferry Village about an hour away from SUS. Working from an image of the Crosshouse, Tom loosely recreated the shape in his design on the top of this Ukulele. The top takes its queue from the straight lines of the crosshouse and nature creating that graduated crossing and switching in colour on the inlay. The back and sides are Plum which has a fantastic colour palette of its own - depending on the light and angle, the plum on this Ukulele covers every imaginable shade of brown, orange and yellow as you follow the grain patterns around the Uke.
You don't see much Plum used in instrument building on larger instruments due to the trees small girth but the Concert is the perfect size to utilise this tonewood and the Cedar top is an inspired choice because the resulting Ukulele has an almost flamenco attack and release to it. This is a Concert that can fill a room.
Solid Cedar Top
Solid Plum back and sides Cedar neck Ebony Fingerboard and Bridge 36mm Nut Width Serial Number #21 (made Jan-Apr 2019) Gotoh Gold/Black Planetary Tuners SUS Pod Case included with Bird on a Wire cover Special label for this model designed by Tom's friends and family
5 year warranty with Bird on a Wire (1st year Manufacturers warranty with SUS)