New. Ukulele Guild of Hawaii (UGH) luthier, Jungtae Kim, established his business of handcrafted ukuleles under the tutelage of world renowned UGH ukulele and guitar luthier, Takahashi Shinji of Japan’s famed T’s Ukuleles and custom line, Seilen Ukulele. Jungtae, together with his wife Seoyoon Na and his younger brother Hyuntae, design and handcraft some of the finest custom ukuleles out of South Korea under his brand ‘Oulcraft’ where his instruments continue to be enjoyed by professional musicians as well as recreational players throughout the world. Oulcraft ukuleles rarely surface in the US due to the limited number of instruments he is able to handcraft each year and his popularity in South Korea and Japan.
This beautiful custom Oulcraft baritone ukulele was meticulously handcrafted with remarkable attention to detail. A master grade set of Macassar Ebony wood from JuneTae’s reserve of premium woods was used for the back and sides. The wood grain is absolutely stunning with a classic dark ebony appeal and lighter brown vertical streaking throughout. The soundboard was cut from a set of highly figured sinker Redwood, which pay homage to the natural beauty and earthy feel of this ukulele. Dark Hawaiian curly Koa wood top and back binding with matching bound Hawaiian Koa wood side sound port for a monitor-like effect. The instrument also boasts a three-piece neck with Spanish Cedar and Macassar Ebony wood center stringer, which allows for increased structural integrity at a fraction of the weight of Mahogany, Sapele, or Hawaiian Koa wood. An elegant thin-line red wood purfling was used on the top, sides, and back of the body in addition to the top and sides of the fretboard and headstock, giving it a sophisticated appeal while drawing your eye subtly to the contrasts across woods. Macassar Ebony wood and Redwood Nouveau style rosette. Matching set of musician’s grade Macassar Ebony wood on the fingerboard and bridge in keeping with the theme of the instrument. Macassar Ebony wood headstock plate with gorgeous Oulcraft abalone shell inlay. Smooth-to-the-touch satin finish on neck for an easy glide in the palm of your hand with a urethane high gloss finish on the body.
This instrument is light in weight, which is likely due in part to its unique bracing. The sides have a thin veneer of spruce wood lining the inside of the Macassar ebony. This stiffens up the sides and drives the vibrations back into the soundboard of the ukulele. The technique of lining the sides with a very thin spruce is an approach that is growing in popularity among top guitar luthiers and has made its way into custom ukulele luthiery. It is only used by a handful of ukulele luthiers and is a testament to JungTae’s pursuit in the balance between sound and integrity of his instruments. Likewise, and unlike most ukuleles, this beautiful Oulcraft was X-braced rather than fan braced. This forces the soundboard to vibrate in an alternate way from a traditional fan braced system. It also allows JungTae to reduce the thickness of the soundboard while minimizing impacts to the structural integrity of the top – all the while accentuating the sound by channeling the energy moving across the soundboard in a specific way, shaping the tone. This adds to the responsiveness, clarity and overall quality of the sound. The workmanship is impeccable and the instrument is easy to cradle and hold when being played in addition to being center balanced.
This custom Oulcraft ukulele is wonderful for both fingerpicking and strumming and has a wonderful mellow baritone sound with great clarity, sustain, and projection while offering wonderful separation from one note to the next. A highly recommended custom ukulele from one of UGH’s youngest members, Jungtae Kim. ID#:210059