Kanile'a 2021 Platinum Master Grade Curly Koa Tenor Ukulele w/Offset Soundhole and Body Taper #32
The Kanile'a Platinum line is the thing that sets Kanile'a apart from the high end Hawaiian based builders. Joe Souza introduced the concept initially back in 2015 as a means to innovate and develop the possibilities of the ukulele and the model for each subsequent year has done just that, pushing the boundaries more and more each time. Over the years, I would say the platinum line has become increasingly crucial in establishing new design concepts in the mainstream, both for Kanile'a and for the wider ukulele world.
There is a small book of examples of this I could use but the one in most recent memory is the 2020 platinum super tenor which introduced a new bracing system and offset D shaped soundhole. Come 2021 - the D-series was launched bringing this design into the main Kanile'a catalogue. So what is new for 2021 that we will see rolling through future generations of ukulele manufacturing?
Firstly, Joe developed this years model in collaboration with his youngest son Kahiau Souza. Kahiau has been at the forefront of the Kanile'a custom shop in recent years and many of the one off showpiece instruments Kanile'a are producing came from his mind and hands. The 2021 Platinum however seeks to go even further by offering the first ever 'TRU-relief body'.
Kanile'a have given us an instrument with a tenor body that is minutely thicker in the 3 corners than a normal tenor ukulele. It has a pronounced leaning taper at the lower bass bout which points your arm into the sweet spot as you play. Think of it like a bevelled armrest but the armrest gradually fades towards the bridge itself. The edge of the instrument under your arm melts away and the instrument fits right into your arms.
The next point of innovation is the offset soundholes and matching side ports which is a continuation from last years platinum model. The idea behind it is to free up more of the top tonewood itself to vibrate and create a more resonant instrument.
Having the unconventional sound holes allows for the soundboard to vibrate and give off the most wonderful tones. But also provides challenges in accessing the interior of the body for things like pickup installations or bracing repair. Joe and Kahiau thought long and hard about how to alleviate this and have designed the first-ever magnetic back access panel to be seen on a premium quality instrument.
The access panel is hardly visible and that is thanks to the careful engineering to ensure that the radius of the back is followed with a bracing piece as part of the access panel. And what we have to mention that you don't see is the brand new TRU-R V3 bracing system. Redesigned AGAIN, there are new supports in key areas to balance the weight to stability ratio, as well as a new mass reduction system which we etched away certain areas of the interior of the soundboard to let the koa do its thing.
Hours of engineering went into designing the new TRU-relief body, TRU-R V3 bracing, mass reduction system, and the access panel. So not only is this ukulele aesthetically pleasing, it has the science, technology, engineering, and math to back up the structural aspect too. The 2021 Platinum has been in prototyping since March of 2020 and we are extremely excited to present it to you now.
Alex recently spoke to Joe Souza from Kanile'a about the 2021 Platinum and other recently released models and the reasoning behind the design.
Kanile'a original, TRU-relief tenor body
Master grade koa front, back, and sides
TRU bracing V3
Mass reduction interior
Magnetic back access panel
Ebony radiused fingerboard, ebony bridge, and ebony head-plate
Platinum crown slotted headstock
Gotoh stealth gold tuners with Kanile'a knobs
Ebony bridge pins
NuBone nut and saddle
Gloss body, silk neck finish
Ebony side position markers
Curly koa headplate inlay
Curly koa leaf position markers inlay on fingerboard in koa
Curly koa leaf inlay on the bridge
Koa leaf sound hole with curly maple trim
Koa leaf side sound port with maple trim
Curly maple front and back binding
Curly maple fretboard binding
Curly maple head-stock binding
Curly maple back strip
Curly maple tail strip
Curly maple bevel
Curly maple heel cap
38mm nut width
29mm string spacing G to A
17'' Scale length
Deluxe Kanile'a gigbag included
For more information, we highly recommend watching Kanile'a's own in depth launch video for this model.