(C.2017). Beautifully handcrafted full custom baritone ukulele handcrafted by master luthier, Kevin Mason, of Wheeling, IL . In 2002, Kevin Mason began building musical instruments after having played guitars, lutes, and other stringed instruments professionally for over 20 years. Since then, he has made mostly acoustic guitars, but also resonator, classical, and jazz guitars. In 2006, he built his first ukulele, and today he focuses on making high quality ukuleles for professional and amateur players alike.
As a small shop craft builder, Kevin believes in making instruments that are beautiful to the eye, using only the best quality solid woods. Because he was a player long before he was a builder, Kevin is sensitive to the touch and easy playability of his instruments, and to the tone and sustain of the instruments he makes. He does not settle for anything less than the best musical instrument possible and is work is gaining in popularity among professional musicians such as Kimo Hussey and recreational players alike. His instruments are known for their light weight, wonderful tone, and exceptional response.
This wonderful custom baritone ukulele was handcrafted from gorgeous flamed Ovangkol wood back and sides with a torrified Sitka spruce soundboard. A Tropical West African wood, Ovangkol bears an overall appearance similar to curly Koa wood to the untrained eye, with varying shades of yellow to reddish brown with darker brown, gray, or black stripes. It is a plentiful wood, visually similar in tone to rosewood and falls somewhere between Indian rosewood and koa, with the strength of rosewood and the sweetness of koa.
With the introduction of torrefied woods, professional builders are giving their guitars a head start on tone. The wood is heat-treated in an oxygen-free kiln, making it highly resonant and extremely stable as if the wood is pre-aged. This process is said to give the wood a look and sounds that is only typically achieved over years of aging and maturity. The torrified Sitka spruce on the soundboard of this instrument gives the ukulele a slightly seasoned sound and is an excellent pairing with the low end and midrange provided by the Ovangkol. Matching flamed Ovangkol top and back binding with a musicians grade Macassar Ebony wood fretboard and bridge. The top head-plate was also done with a Ovangkol veneer in keeping with the theme of the instrument. Stylish black-white-black purfling lines on top, back, sides, fingerboard, and more, giving the contours of the instrument greater definition while attesting to the skill-level of the luthier, Kevin Mason. The neck was carved from Spanish Cedar and reinforced with a graphite rod, reducing the overall weight from that of a Mahogany wood while adding a hint of warmth to the overall sound. 15 frets to the body and 20 overall frets to the soundhole with a Zero-fret at the nut and a 9.5″ radiused fretboard for ease of play in higher positions on the neck. Side sound port for monitor-like experience. Slotted headstock and pinless, string-through bridge. Black buffalo horn nut and saddle and professional slotted headstock Rubner geared tuners with Ebony wood buttons for precise tuning, and a hand-rubbed french -polished shellac finish are a few more amenities to this beautiful instrument.
The inlay…absolutely beautiful! The fingerboard inlay theme of this ukulele is a beautiful plumeria flower using gold mother of pearl and paua abalone shell. Matching Ovangkol flamed ring rosette inlay. A truly wonderful piece of art themed perfectly on a beautifully functioning and professional grade recording instrument.
Wonderful depth of tones from this wood combination with remarkable warmth and low end, sharing many of rosewood’s tonal properties with a slightly fuller midrange and top end. Excellent sustain and projection and a true joy to play. The instrument is also very well center balanced which makes for a very comfortable instrument as you cradle it up against your body. A wonderful piece for professional musicians, weekend giggers, and the uke-lover at heart!
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