Custom Kawika Baritone Ukulele


(Circa 1996.) Preowned. Custom ukuleles by Kawika Ukuleles. This beautiful Kawika Baritone Ukulele, affectionally known as the “Pueo” or “Hawaiian Owl” because of its Owl like silhouette which appears on the back book match set of Hawaiian Koa wood, was previously owned by a highly respected local musician who frequently performed at some of Hawaii’s most historical hotels such as the Halekulani Hotel and the Moana Surfrider Hotel. This instrument was loved and played for many, many years and was a one-owner instrument and was considered a work horse instrument that was frequently taken to performances throughout the islands and the world. This Kawika Baritone ukulele may just be the first baritone ever made by Kawika and bears an elegant resemblance to a elongated body design of an Antonio de Torres classical guitar. Handwritten on the inside is 1996 B-#1. Kawika ukuleles are tremendously rare and with David Hurd having long retired from making custom ukuleles Kawika Ukuleles they are amongst the most desired ukuleles by local musicians in Hawaii for their simplicity and wonderful sound. Handcrafted on the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii.

Kawika makes incredible ukuleles. We’ve owned a number of his pieces thus far and each one (redwood, koa, cedar, or douglas fir tops) has its own aesthetic appeal and tonal quality. This piece was a work horse and has a number of knicks, dings, and fretboard wear but it just sounds fantastic, having been played and enjoyed for all these years. There are also two cleats on the inside back plates that Kawika had originally placed over the wood knots when he first constructed the instrument. These were placed on the inside over the wood knots of the eyes of the Pueo for added stability. They do not have appeared to move for over 34 years. See photos for more details.

But there are certainly consistent character traits in David’s building in terms of sound that really carries through on each piece. This beautiful ukulele is a truly stunning build in simplicity but with a focus on sound. David Hurd, or ‘Kawika’ is now a retired scientist / professor that fell in love with the ukulele and specifically how to scientifically build an ukulele to sound its absolute best. He authored a book called, “Left-Brain Lutherie” and in it he describes the optimal range of tone and how he scientifically approaches the build to achieve a consistently great sounding ukulele. It’s definitely a scholarly read to ukulele lutherie but many of today’s finest ukulele luthiers have benefitted from his approach and willingness to write down his findings. In addition, there are many musicians in Hawaii and in Japan, in particular, who treasure his instruments.

This beautiful custom Kawika baritone ukulele was handcrafted of gorgeous Hawaiian Koa wood back & sides and a Redwood soundboard. 18-fret ebony wood fingerboard with abalone dot inlays, ebony wood bridge, and a faux tortoise celluloid top binding. Built with tone in mind, this instrument follows the tradition of a classical guitar with a 12-fret joint neck to the body. It also has a solid curly Hawaiian Koa wood neck with a graphite rod insert in the neck for added stability and increased sustain, and a gorgeous lacquer finish. A very rich and full sounding instrument with a classic mellow sound that is absolutely wonderful. Great clarity all the way up the neck with exceptional volume and remarkable sustain. A highly recommended musicians grade ukulele that rarely becomes available on the open market. Original geared barrel tuners. Several nicks, dings, and play wear through the instrument but an absolute gem to play. ID#:200019

Price: SOLD

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