New. Beautiful John Kinnard ‘Thin-line’ Tenor Ukulele handcrafted in Fallbrook, California with the utmost attention to detail and tone.
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 jewelry 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…
This beautiful Series 3 – Custom Kinnard “Thin-line” Tenor Ukulele was handcrafted with a slightly thinner body profile that tapers from 2 3/16 inches depth at the upper bout to 2 3/8 inches at the waist and then slightly back down to a 2 5/16 inches depth at the lower bout, providing ergonomic benefits while maintaining the rich, complex tone that Kinnard ukuleles are known for. The design showcases John’s skills and vision of what playable art can truly be. For this project John focused on the woods themselves to create an instrument with visual balance in color, shape and detail. It’s the sum of all these parts that produce an instrument that is visually stunning as a whole yet draws your eyes to the smallest detail- details that showcase John’s nearly 50 years of building experience.
The body of this gorgeous custom Kinnard ukulele was handcrafted of a master grade set of Santo Mahogany wood on the back and sides with a coveted Western Red cedar soundboard. Found in Central and South America, Santo Mahogany grows to a range of 65-100 feet in height and is frequently characterized with a fair degree of color variation ranging from lighter golden brown to darker purplish red or burgundy. This particular set is darker in color and also boasts a striped or ribbon patterning consistent with the highest grade of quartersawn wood. Western Red cedar is highly regarded for its unparalleled projection, sustain, and harmonic complexity. It is relatively light in weight but remarkably stiff, making for an excellent soundboard. The instrument also boasts an ebony wood fingerboard, bridge, headstock plate, and heel cap in keeping with the finest musician grade materials available. The fretboard has a constant radius for ease of play and is an exclusive attribute of John’s best work. The radius on the fretboard provides added comfort on the wrist angle, especially at higher positions up on the neck. The darkness of the Santo Mahogany contrasts the lighter shades of the Western Red cedar soundboard, adding an elegant feel that beautifully draws the eye to the different parts of the instrument. Beautiful Hawaiian Koa wood top and back binding with mitered purfling lines on the top, back, sides, attesting to the level of detail and skill of the luthier.
The rosette is a combination of abalone shell inlay on the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions with a Hawaiian Koa wood interval inlay between the abalone shell – identifying this instrument as Series 3 model. Famous Z-Stock headstock that has become an iconic design for Kinnard ukuleles with professional Gotoh UPT tuners on a center diagonal along with a “see through” design provide a unique yet proportional design that works really well with the body style. 13 fret joint to the body allows the bridge to remain in the “sweet spot” of the lower bout – giving this instrument a full and remarkable sound.
Custom Kinnard Thin-Line Tenor Ukulele
Total length: 26 1/2 inches
Body length: 12 inches
Scale length: 17 inches
Upper bout width: 6 7/8 inches
Lower bout width: 8 15/16 inches
Upper bout depth: 2 3/16 inches
Waist depth: 2 3/8 inches
Lower bout depth: 2 5/16 inches
Nut width: 1 7/16 inches
The tone of this wonderful instruments is absolutely magnificent. It has a warm, deep, rich tone in spite of the shallow body design. It is also very easy to cradle against your body with the thinner profile. The ukulele also has great clarity and sustain with a projection that not only fires forward but also causes the back and sides to resonate considerably, adding even more to the resonance. A beautifully handcrafted custom ukulele with great ease of play, comfort, and tone. A wonderful instrument handcrafted by a skilled luthier who finds excellent balance between aesthetics, tone, and exceptional art. – John Kinnard. ID#210055