Let me tell you a story about the creation of this stunning Kanile'a tenor ukulele... About six months ago at GNUF, I started a conversation with Kaimana at
Kanile'a about custom models. We both got very excited and over the next few months we traded messages back and forth about different wood combinations and why they work and what makes them work.
We talked about wood grains and my experiences as a gigging musician informed Kaimana in the same way that his knowledge of woods and ukulele production enlightened me. The first three ukuleles to come from this back and forth:
1) Aged spruce/Oregon myrtle
2) Spruce and koa 3) A super ostentatious mango deluxe
These were all very popular and will definitely be put back into production in the future because they absolutely deserve a place at the table of best ukes we've ever seen. However, their was a fourth ukulele in the works that proved a little bit harder for them to source... spoiler alert! It was definitely worth the wait!
Redwood is a bit of a secret weapon. So many people love cedar which is a very similar wood normally seen with tight long straight grain, and redwood also has that whilst having a bit more cosmetic flair. Redwood has many of the same tonal characteristics as cedar - it is dynamic, producing lots of volume but has a soft attack meaning that the single notes are not shouty or overbearing.
If you like to fingerpick or play with expression, redwood ukuleles have the unique ability to retain lots of definition on bass notes without sounding boomy. The lower notes don't dance around inside the body of the uke, but get caramelised with a smoky warmth as you let them ring out.
The tenor size is a beautiful partner for this wood too because the range of the ukulele hits a real sweet spot with redwood and all those tiny nuances of your playing really get to find their voice as a result.
The back and sides are claro walnut which we chose because for many years the team here at SUS viewed the 2017 Kanile'a platinum ukulele as being the best instrument we had ever heard. When I mentioned this, the team at Kanile'a couldn't speak enough about how much they loved using this wood in ukulele production.
Redwood is stiff and responsive like rosewood and ebony but also has a three dimensional texture to the grain when you look at it. The wood has hues of autumnal browns and yellows as well as hints of purple and red. It's stunning, with a completely unique colour palette that looks traditional at first glance and very modern on closer inspection.
We decided not to go too wild with the cosmetic features on this one because the wood really does speak for itself. The redwood ukulele has cream ivoroid binding with a 3-ply rosette and pearl inlays. It does have a crowd pleasing crown slotted headstock with the Gotoh stealth tuners which works very well with the balance of this uke. It is one of the lightest
tenor ukuleles I have ever held.
Kanile'a custom tenor ukulele 20711
Solid curly redwood top Solid claro walnut back and sides with sapwood centre strip by request 3 ply plastic rosette Ivoroid cream front binding Kanile'a crown sotted headstock Gotoh stealth tuners Ebony fingerboard and bridge Pearl dots and headstock inlay UV high gloss body with satin neck 38mm nut width Kanile'a deluxe padded gigbag