Custom Aaron Oya ‘Hanalei’ Tenor Ukulele


Custom ukuleles by Aaron Oya. Beautiful and elusive Aaron Oya 4-String Tenor Ukulele handcrafted by luthier and inlay artist Aaron Oya of  Kapolei, HI. Aaron handcrafts beautiful ukuleles and is also highly regarded for his inlay art and has been subcontracted for special inlay projects commissioned by Kamaka, KoAloha, and Koʻolau ukuleles in years past.

The theme of this wonderful ukulele is the gorgeous Hanalei Mountain range on the Garden Isle of Kauai, HI. It boasts nine separate pieces of hand cut ‘paua’ or abalone shell with hand engraved black lines which bring life and depth to the ridges and valleys of this historic mountain range. The scenic waterfalls have been individually hand cut and inlaid of white mother-of-pearl symbolizing ‘Wai‘ or ‘water’ as it provides sustenance to the vegetation and people below. At the 12th fret is the historical Hanalei pier hand cut from black mother-of-pearl that overlooks this picturesque scene on the North Shore of Kauai. Please note Aaron’s use of color contrast between the various shell combinations which adds ‘depth’ and ‘shadowing’ to his inlay work. As a result, there is an appearance of some darker valleys than others and a pier that seems to have just fallen under a slight overcast from the clouds above – a common occurrence for classic Hanalei.

Built with comfort, tone, and balance in mind, the uke employs a hybrid design which incorporates Aaron’s own building philosophies with a blend between the traditional shape of the classic vintage T-1 tenor ukulele of C.F. Martin & Co. and the contemporary luthiery techniques of a custom Kamaka ukulele handcrafted by Casey Kamaka. The top, back and sides of the instrument are made of gorgeous curly Hawaiian Koa wood, handpicked on the Island of Hawai`i. The neck has been carved from Spanish Cedar to reduce the weight and add for a brighter tone while incorporating a carbon fiber truss rod insert under the fretboard and into the neck for added structural integrity and sustain. The fretboard and bridge has been handcrafted of musicians-grade ebony wood and the top and back binding are East-Indian Rosewood. Gorgeous top, back, and side wood accent lines for a simple yet elegant appeal. The headstock veneer is also of curly Hawaiian Koa and compliments the body of the instrument perfectly. There is a beautiful abalone rosette which compliments the intricate ‘Hanalei’ themed inlay work on the headstock and fretboard. Tusq nut and saddle and professional Grover gold mini-Rotomatics geared tuners for precise tuning.

Aaron’s instruments have perfectly set intonation, with a compensated saddle and bridge and a 7 degree break-angle at the saddle as the string extends to the bridge. This increased angle maximizes the downforce at the point of contact of the string at the saddle; increasing clarity and sustain. The uke offers precise tones with the Hawaiian Koa face, back and sides providing a nice warm and balanced tone while still allowing a nice balanced mid-rage and crispy high notes all the way up the neck as well. This is also due to the use of a Spanish Cedar neck and techniques such as reverse kerfing that Aaron incorporates in to his builds to stiffen up the sides and allow for free transference of sound waves to the soundboard and the back plate of the ukulele.

Aaron’s ukuleles are handcrafted with all the warmth of true ‘Aloha’, and his pieces come highly recommended by those who have had the privilege of owning one. He believes firmly in the philosophy of luthiery with a clear mind and good ‘mana’ or spirit and chooses only to build 4-6 instruments per year. A tremendously difficult instrument to locate, even if you lived here in Hawaii and highly recommended.

Price: SOLD

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