Tasmanian Blackwood Ukulele with Humpback Whale Inlay
Just put strings on! This custom tenor ukulele is constructed from solid Tasmanian Blackwood. Common to Southern Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania this acacia (acacia melanoxylon) has been called Koa Wood’s Cousin from the southern hemisphere.
I’m sure that this wood has been substituted for Koa on occasion but I can’t tell a lie. I also trust my supplier as to the origin–Tasmania. The sets that I presently have are all similar and over 20 years old. Tasmanian Blackwood should not be confused with “pacific acacia”, a substitute wood for Koa which is presently being used in many mass produced ukuleles.
I’ve made a few other ukulele from this wood and found them to be very responsive and a bit brighter than Koa. I think this may be due, in part, because this wood is just a bit more dense than most of the Koas I’ve used. Taylor Guitar gives a very nice review of this wood and guitars from their custom shop. This wood is a pretty straight grained and my sets have modest very fine and even curl throughout. It absolutely glows gold when the light hits it just right.
I’ve also added a new Humpback Whale Inlay in this instrument. I keep these inlays simple since, for me, it’s more about the wood than the embellishments. The inlay is black and white mother-of-pearl. I usually try to confine this type of inlay to the upper bout of the instrument where it can be readily seen but will not affect the overall sound of the instrument. This area of the soundboard is also more stable with the upper bout brace running directly underneath.
The binding is India Rosewood with Blue/Black purfling and a complimentary Blue/Black back strip as well. The neck is Honduran Mahogany, the accent wood is Koa from Kauai and the fret board and bridge are Amazon Rosewood. I’m stuck on Gotoh planetary, 4:1 tuners and presently all my instruments are strung with GHS custom shop flourocarbon strings, low “G”. As sweet as a Humpback Whale’s song.