It is with much delight that I introduce many of you to Barron River Ukuleles for the first time. Barron River is the product of Cairns, Australia based luthier Allen Mcfarlen. Allen has carved out a niche as one of the top custom instrument builders of the last five years producing countless world class Ukuleles (and on occasion guitars). If you search the web you will see that only a handful of specialist Ukulele retailers have ever had a Barron River in stock and when they are available, they don't last long...
So what do we have here?
This Barron River is part of a small series Allen has produced with Lutz Spruce on the top and some delicious Curly Blackwood back and sides. Lutz Spruce is a rare naturally occurring hybrid breed of white and sitka spruce. Closely related in make up and tone to Engelmann Spruce, Lutz Spruce is sought after by many Guitar and Violin makers for its robustness and slightly deeper tonal character. It does a great job of throwing out volume, and it can be driven harder than most woods with a natural strong attack.
The back and sides are made up of Australian Curly Blackwood. Blackwood itself is a wood very much on the rise. Popular by many Australian and African builders because it is available more regularly in its indigenous regions - Blackwood does a similar job to Acacia and Koa by producing a slightly sweeter release on single notes. A light fingerstyle will gently dance in harmony with this wood and that makes it the perfect companion for the more direct Lutz Spruce top.
The cosmetic detail on this Ukulele is an absolute feast for the eyes too. The slotted headstock with the subtle but confident Barron River Ukulele logo adorned on top looks great and the waverly tuners are fantastic (and should be used by more people). The little touches that must have been painstakingly crafted really make this instrument for us. The front and back are bound with 3 ply binding and small highly figured strips of Curly Blackwood. The fact that these strips offset so cutely against the matching Blackwood back and sides is just so artistic that they make us squeal with delight... The diamond-esque fretboard inlays are subtle but so delicately placed too. I don't know about you but I am in love!
North American Lutz Spruce top
Australian Curly Blackwood back and sides Slotted Headstock with Premium Waverly Tuners ABS Hardshell Case Ebony Fingerboard and Bridge Tomastik Low G and Wound C - Clear Fluorocarbon Trebles White shell Diamond shape fret inlays 36mm Nut width side dots Bone nut and saddle Curly blackwood Rosette Curly blackwood and 3 ply front and back bindings VIDEO