Ukulele Guild of Hawaii (UGH) luthier, Jungtae Kim, established his business of handcrafted ukuleles under the tutelage of world renowned UGH ukulele and guitar luthier, Takahashi Shinji of Japan’s famed T’s Ukuleles and custom line, Seilen Ukulele. Jungtae, together with his wife, Seoyoon Na, who oversees the aesthetics in design behind each build and his younger brother, Hyuntae, who manages the ideation process – the team handcrafts both base model ukuleles with a custom flair and fully handcrafted custom ukuleles out of Korea under the provenance of ‘Oulcraft’.
This progressive longneck African Mahogany wood concert ukulele (MOBIC) was meticulously handcrafted with a simple but elegant theme in mind. Wonderful attention to detail by luthier, Jungtae Kim, the lines of this instrument are very attractive. It boasts a Spanish Cedar neck, which allows for increased structural integrity at a fraction of the weight of its more commonly employed Mahogany or Koa wood necks, and a upgrade to a musician’s grade Macassar ebony wood fingerboard and bridge with a classy Owl or ‘Oul’ feather upgrade to a mother of pearl half-rosette.
Gorgeous Oulcraft logo at the headstock and a thin urethane finish that yields the natural characteristics of the Hawaiian Koa wood. Professional open geared Gotoh UK 700 tuners for smooth and precise tuning. Beautiful mother-of-pearl waxing and waning moons tastefully inlaid on position markers on 5,7,10,12, and 15. This ukulele also has a hybrid scale – meaning it has a 16 inch scale from nut to saddle. Many longneck concert ukuleles have a true tenor scale of (roughly) 17 inches from nut to saddle but this one finds its sweetest spot in tone, comfort, and playability to be right in between at 16 inches from nut to saddle. As a result you have a slightly longer scale than the typical concert, which is typically around 15 inches but not nearly as long as a full tenor scale at 17 inches. The result is a perfect balance for someone who wants a little more room on the fingerboard than a traditional concert scale of 15 inches, great playability and tone, and the light weight adds to the great projection and sustain of the instrument as well. In terms of a similar scale length of something currently on the market, this ukulele would be comparable to the scale length of a Kamaka Ohta-san bell shape ukulele.
This instrument is surprisingly light in weight and similar in projection, responsiveness, clarity and tone to a custom Kanile’a ukulele. The workmanship is impeccable and the instrument is easy to cradle and hold when being played. The instrument employs a lattice brace system on the underside of the soundboard with a small but refined bridge footprint, enabling for optimum ‘excitement’ of the soundboard as transference of energy from the strings to the bridge to the soundboard occurs when being played. This custom Oulcraft ukulele is wonderful for both fingerpicking and strumming and has excellent clarity, sustain, and projection while offering wonderful separation from one note to the next. A highly recommended custom ukulele from one of UGH’s newest members, Jungtae Kim.