This uke is a preview of some of the builds that I am looking forward to in this coming year. This is the Purple Rain Super Tenor Ukulele. This instrument is to be delivered to Hale Ukulele in San Diego Tuesday, December 3rd, and is Hale Holiday Fare #3.
Purple and black on quilted big leaf maple.
What’s it made out of?
The body of this instrument is made from Quilted Big Leaf Maple. I don’t like to stain wood and quilted maple is pretty trick all by itself but sometimes a little color doesn’t hurt. Ric at Hale and others have been begging me to do a purple for well over 2 years.
Asian satin wood burl accents left natural.
A purple maple top would have looked good, but maple is not a traditional material for sound boards and might not have provided my sound. Instead, I opted for an Alaskan Bearclaw Spruce. This spruce goes well with the purple and is a known entity for sound. I kept the binding black because of the problems with staining but added fuchsia purfling to the top and some abalone inlay with the fuchsia for the sound hole rosette.
Alaskan bearclaw spruce soundboard with fuchsia purfling.
This is my first attempt at this technique. There’s a lot of room for creative experimentation, for sure, and a lot of room for failure. I made various tests on maple samples with reds and blues and purple before attempting this instrument. The first color application is solid black–go figure! The black is to accent the figure of the wood. That color is sanded back to partially clear wood and then the color coat(s) are applied until a desired appearance is achieved. This is where it gets dicey–it is hard to tell exactly what the final appearance will be. Various lighting changes also affect appearance and hue. Sometimes this one looks a little blue and sometimes a little pinkish. Hmmm!
Can you see the face(s)?
The neck is curly maple with a black to purple fade.
The head stock matches.
I really can’t wait to try this technique again. I am collecting more quilted maple stock specifically for this purpose. Now, I need to make me one of these Purple Rain Super Tenor Ukulele.