Sometimes, the instruments you never think you will have a chance to see again walk back in the door out of the blue.. This Sumi Kobo 5A Koa Tenor is just that Ukulele. One of the very top instruments we have ever had here at SUS and one of two currently ever built - This Ukulele has been cared for like a newborn baby by its original owner in the nine months they have had it. The Ukulele is 9.7/10 condition wise (nothing is ever 10/10 once it's been out of the workshop on its day of birth) and has even had some non-stick clear scratchplates added (they slide off) by the original owner to protect the delicate nitro-cellulose finish.
Take a look at our original listing for this Ukulele - we really did travel halfway across the world to meet it.
Sumi Kobo AAAAA Koa Tenor Ukulele
Last year I stumbled upon some Sumi Ukuleles that looked like Gibson Hummingbird guitars and I squawked with excitement at the prospect of bringing them home to the Southern Ukulele Store. I had no idea just how inspiring I would find the Sumi Kobo Ukes and both the custom Eucalyptus Concert I brought home last year and a Hummingbird Tenor that arrive in October sold before I could catch my breath after arriving at their temporary accomodation (the shop) here in the UK.
The Sumi Ukulele I chose this year is drop dead gorgeous - a AAAAA (5 A!) grade Koa Tenor Uke To describe it requires so much more than just the wood it's made out of; every detail is a deluxe appointment, perhaps too many details as it starts to sound a bit over the top listing them all in my head before putting them down to paper for you all.
The headstock features three tiers of maple with black and white purfling and this extends down the length of the fingerboard and is echoed in the outer binding of the Ukulele and in the maple on the bridge. The Soundhole rosette is Abalone to match the outher binding design of the Ukulele and it compliments the other aesthetic features wonderfully.
The fingerboard and bridge are made of Ebony and feature a unique Abalone custom 'falling petal' inlay that depicts an in bloom Japanese Anemone flower in the headstock. The petals that have fallen from the flower scatter in sequence down the length of the fingerboard before settling on a matching flower down at the twelfth fret with further petals scattering beyond. Much like the famous tree of life Guitar designs, this instrument tells a beautiful story before it plays a note.
Is that the kind of detail that warrants a musical instrument being treated like an art piece?
The sound of the Ukulele is sweet and has plenty of volume without the natural compression you often find with gloss Koa instruments. The Nitrocellulose gloss lends itself to a few very minor imperfections in the finish however, the way in which these light finishes allow the wood to breath and mature much quicker than modern polyester and UV finishes more than makes up for this.
Some may view this instrument as expensive but Sumi uses only traditional hand tools in the building process and the cosmetic detail alone is countless hours of work and decades of experience. When this instrument finally leaves our store for its forever home - I am 100% sure the owner of this Ukulele will admire and enjoy it every time they take it out of the case.
AAAAA Flamed Koa top, back and sides
Ebony fingerboard and bridge Unique Abalone inlays Gotoh UPT Planetary geared tuners Maple appointments Comes with black vintage style woodshell hard case Strung with Aquila Aldrine Guerrero strings
Made in Japan by Eiichi Sumi