Circa 2017. Preowned. Beautifully handcrafted full custom hybrid baritone ukulele handcrafted by master luthier, Michael Keller. In 1975, Michael Keller began building musical instruments under famed luthier Jeffrey Elliott in Portland, Oregon and after having learned his craft he moved to Rochester, Minnesota. He has made mostly acoustic guitars for the majority of his career but has since discovered a profound interest in the ukulele and handcrafts a limited number of pieces each year. His instruments are known for their wonderful craftsmanship and sound geared towards both the professional musician and amateur players alike.
This wonderful custom hybrid baritone ukulele was handcrafted from gorgeous Hawaiian Milo wood back and sides with a musicians grade Western Cedar soundboard. Gabon ebony wood fretboard and bridge. The top head-plate was also done with a Gabon ebony wood veneer in keeping with the theme of this beautiful instrument. Stylish black-white-black purfling lines on top, back, sides, fingerboard, and more, giving the contours of the instrument greater definition while attesting to the skill-level of the luthier, Michael Keller. The neck was carved from Mahogany wood, providing the instrument with a little more rigidity and allowing greater transference of the vibrations back toward the sound box of the instrument. Beautiful Rosewood top and back binding with an abalone or ‘paua’ shell rosette. 15 frets to the body and 20 overall frets to the sound hole and a 12″ radiused fretboard for ease of play in higher positions on the neck. The fingerboard inlay on positions 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 for quick reference. Side sound port for monitor-like experience. White bone nut and saddle and professional geared tuners for smooth and precise tuning and a hand-rubbed french-polished shellac finish are a few more amenities to this beautiful instrument.
This beautiful custom Michael Keller ‘hybrid’ baritone ukulele has a scale of 19 inches and can be tuned in traditional D G B E baritone tuning but it is also very sweet in the Bb tuning of F Bb D G, which is one full step below the standard tenor tuning of gCEA. The wonderful thing about the F Bb D G tuning is that you have the benefit of a nice mellow sound traditionally offered by a baritone ukulele without the floppiness of the strings, which is common on a D G B E set up. The result, a hybrid baritone that is easy to play, defined in its tonal character, and can be played just as you play your tenor as well. Excellent sustain and projection and a true joy to play.
The instrument is in overall good condition and bears some playwear. There is also some minor cosmetic gassing on the side of the fretboard. See photos. Wonderful mellow tone from the Hawaiian Milo wood and Western Cedar combination with remarkable warmth and low end and a nice full midrange and exceptional clarity. A wonderful piece for professional musicians, weekend giggers, and the uke-lover at heart! ID#200067