New. Custom ‘I’iwi “Palapalai” Tenor Ukulele. Handcrafted by master luthier Charlie Fukuba of Makakilo, Oahu, each I’iwi ukulele is meticulously crafted to yield the finest sound possible from each set of wood. Rest assured, a tremendous amount of thought and preparation goes into the selection of woods for each of his builds. Being a seasoned musician himself, Charlie incorporates his twenty-five plus years of experience in fine luthiery with the practical aspects and importance musicians look for in tone, comfort, and aesthetics. With I’iwi, sound is foremost and above all other aspects of the build – albeit his instruments are some of the best you will find handcrafted in Hawaii.
Handcrafted with the traditional sound hole design and figure eight body shape, this newer model yields a wonderful sound utilizing a hybrid bracing that yields a tone appealing to both professional musicians and recreational players. The body bears a slightly less rounded shape at the shoulders and a tighter waistline in contrast to the more dreadnought design of his traditional 3-hole tenor body. Gorgeous curly Hawaiian Koa wood face, back, and sides with a figure that is somewhere in between the wavy and thicker bands of curl typically found in a quilted curl and the uniformity of a tiger curl. In addition, this set of Hawaiian Koa also boasts an array of natural colors in the wood such as light and dark greens, oranges, and browns. This ukulele also boasts a musician’s grade bound West African Gabon ebony bridge with a royal blackwood headstock veneer and fretboard with a gorgeous headstock inlay of an I’iwi bird and Hawaiian lobelia, a plant in the bellflower family and endemic to Hawaii. Matching Hawaiian Palapalai fern inlay on the fretboard keeps with the “Old Hawaii” theme of the instrument. The inlay work is comprised of a mixture of materials and includes, Hawaiian mango, paduk, maple, palm tree as well as paua shell, green abalone heart, and Japanese awabi vine. Sustainable material rocklite top and back binding with a classy black-white top, back, and side profile purfling line for aesthetic appeal. The neck has been carved from Honduras mahogany wood and has a graphite composite rod insert for increased structural integrity and added sustain with a bolt-on neck that is accessed through the strap pin at the butt of the instrument. Bound royal blackwood fretboard for a smooth feel up and down the neck. Hawaiian koa wood bound side sound port with a monitor-like effect by which the sound fires upward the player, making it easy to hear each note as well as outward toward the audience.
Side-of-neck position marker inlay on positions 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 for quick reference. Hand-rubbed true oil finish for a smooth to the touch feel and professional Gotoh UPT geared tuners for smooth and precise tuning.
The aesthetics of this Custom I’iwi Tenor Ukulele brings you back to a time of simplicity in ancient Hawaii. A time when the feathers of ʻI’iwi birds were gently plucked for the ʻahuʻula (feather cloaks) and mahiole (feathered helmets) of the Hawaiian monarchs or ali`i. A theme inlay of the ‘I’iwi bird frolicking about the native Hawaiian lobelia and palapalai ferns pay homage to the beauty of Hawaii – all tied in with a gorgeous 26 piece Maile lei rosette handout in Japanese awabi vine and paua shell celebrating Hawaii, its culture and its natural resources.
Tonally, this piece is a true gem and a remarkable ukulele for recording musicians or ukulele enthusiasts. A wonderful instrument with a dark and warm tone and perfect intonation. Highly recommended tribute piece for the seasoned player, ukulele enthusiast, or collector. ID#220074