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 achieve 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... 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.
Flock (Serial Number #20) When talking with Tom about our first three instruments, he mentioned a plan he had been working on for an instrument for quite some time that sounded perfect. The main design of this Tenor uke centred around a desire to create a non traditional inlaid rosette that connects the end of the body and the soundhole in a flowing motion. The outer edges of the design slowly walk towards meeting the middle and Tom's favourite part is managing to incorporate some really nice Hawaiian Koa into a Ukulele without relying on using it as a tonewood.
The Olive as a back and sides wood is an inspired choice. Not many people use Olive as a tonewood in Ukuleles because it can be a bit stubborn to bend and mould but this hasn't stopped Tom who found just the most lush set of wood for the back and sides on this Uke. We did find that the Flock has a couple of cosmetic points that we need to mention that can't be captured in a photo or the video - the neck and body join is not completely flush leaving a little bit of a gap either side where the neck joins the body, also, there are some marks in the wood on the top that shine in some lights. I urge any potential owner to not let cosmetic defects put you off as this instrument is absolutely top notch and the shellac finish does leave the instrument prone to small imperfections.
When discussing this Ukulele - Tom mentioned that olive wood has a lovely smell that's present as long as you are working on it. When you smell inside this Ukulele - the best scenario is that you can gain a little bit of insight into the workshop was like or worst case scenario, you might get a bit hungry!
Solid Spruce Top
Solid Olive Back and Sides Mahogany Neck Ebony Fingerboard Mahogany Bridge Rosette stips - Koa, Walnut, Mahogany and Maple Serial Number #20 (made Jan-Apr 2019) Tenor Scale 36mm Nut width Gotoh Planetary Tuners SUS Pod Case included with Bird on a Wire cover Special label for this model designed by Tom's friends and family
Extended 5 year warranty offered by Bird on a Wire (1st year standard manufacturing warranty with SUS)