Circa 2015. Preowned. Beautiful John Kinnard “Kiku” otherwise known as a guitarlele / mini guitar handcrafted in Fallbrook, California with the utmost attention to detail and tone. This instrument has a remarkable sound and is perfect for both the recording artist or the recreational musician.
John Kinnard Biography
Nestled in the foothills of northern San Diego County just inland from the coast, sits the small village of Fallbrook, California. Known for its mild climate and laid back lifestyles, artisans of different genres cultivate their craft inspired by the beauty of the valleys and mountains that surround the town.
One such artist is John S. Kinnard, an “old school” luthier who has established himself as a master of his trade in a day when CNC machines cough out “cookie cutter” parts to be assembled like a child’s puzzle.
Working out of his one man shop, John arguably builds some of the finest stringed instruments in the world by hand. He does them one by one – molding and shaping the parts and assembling them to create instruments that not only look stunning when completed, but also possess something that the mass produced instruments lack – the soul of the luthier.
John has been building guitars, mandolins and ukuleles in a career that has spanned more than forty five years and is best known as the luthier behind the Dell’ Arte brand of gypsy style guitars played around the world. Like many artists, his creativity spills over into other mediums including oil and watercolor painting and also jewelery making – talents that have served him well in making him the luthier he is today.
From painting he developed an eye for proportion and style. From designing and making jewelry it trained him to look for the smallest flaws and build with an attention to detail that has become the hallmark of his work as a luthier. When people talk about the construction of his instruments the one word you hear more than any other is the word “clean”. Building with superior materials together with top shelf construction and attention to detail, you end up with a beautiful instrument. Add in the soul of the luthier and you end up with an instrument that is something organic and very special. That is what John strives for in every instrument he builds…
A wonderful instrument, this custom Kinnard ‘Kiku’ 6-string ukulele / mini guitar is extremely versatile and can be tuned from E to E (EADGBE) like a standard guitar or A to A (ADGCEA) like a guitar capoed on the 5th fret, giving it an ukulele low G tuning with an added 5th and 6th string. It can also be tuned G to G, which is the current tuning in the video below and is quite the versatile instrument. (Variant tunings will require specific string sets.) This Kiku body is the same size as their baritone sized ukulele and is a wonderful option for travelers, musicians, and recreational players alike who love to play guitar or ukulele. The back and sides were handcrafted from a master grade set of highly figured Maple wood with a perfectly quartersawn Sitka spruce soundboard. Gabon Ebony fretboard, bridge, and headstock veneer. The neck has also been carved from a figured Maple wood with a Cocobolo wood center stringer. The fretboard has a compound radius, 12” at the 1st fret and 20” at the 12th fret, for ease of play on the wrist angle of the player and the instrument also boasts a side sound port for a monitor like effect with the sound firing upwards the player in addition to outward toward the audience. Slotted headstock design with mother-of-pearl Kinnard logo inlay. Matching mother-of-pearl shell position markers on 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, and 17 with a 14 fret joint to the body and 20 overall frets. Cocobolo wood top and back binding with a Cocobolo and abalone shell three piece rosette for aesthetic appeal. Professional Stealth open-geared tuners to reduce weight at the headstock while giving the instrument smooth and precise tuning. High gloss finish. The instrument also has a strap button installed on the neck and a K&K pick up for quick plug and play.
This Kiku is fantastic and a joy to play. Perfect for a traveling musician or someone who just wants to tote a great instrument with them for a vacation or jam session with friends. A full and balanced sound with a nice low end, great clarity, and spot on intonation all the way up the neck. The Maple combined with the Sitka also helps get the projection John was looking for in the lower pitch as well so the instrument plays well both in ensemble as well as a solo instrument A wonderful piece for professional musicians, weekend giggers, and the uke or guitar-lover at heart! ID#210083