India Rosewood and Redwood Baritone

With this post, I’m actually caught up on posting my backlog of completed instruments.  This is an India Rosewood and Redwood Baritone ukulele now in the hands of Canadian Alan.

India rosewood and redwood baritone

India rosewood and redwood baritone ukulele.

Wood Story

Late last year and continuing into this year there has been a growing trend for ukuleles built with traditional acoustic instrument woods.  This, I think, is a good example:  old growth India rosewood, and old growth California redwood.  I purchased this redwood in Oregon over 12 years ago.  The vendor had three pieces of 2×10 S4S redwood cut into instrument billets.   This redwood is clear, very tight grained, blemish free and perfectly quarter sawn.  Initially I thought this wood was from some old construction, but now, I’m guessing it was acquired from someone’s shop where it was hidden and forgotten, stashed for some project that never occurred.  I don’t often see this quality of redwood and definitely not with such tight grain.  I wonder how old this wood might really be? I tried to obtain the last two pieces but they had been quickly acquired by another luthier.  Because of the demand for all koa instruments, this wood then remained in my shop, unused, until this last year.  The old growth rosewood is supplied by Allied Lutherie.    The tap tone of both of these woods is crisp, clean and bell-like.

india rosewood and redwood baritone ukulele

Classic, old growth India rosewood back and sides.

String Story

To date, all the instruments using this combination of woods exhibit special qualities–mainly clear and bright tonal response.  Alan plays superb and writes his own music.  Hearing him play this instrument for the first time was a treat.   During the build we discussed a longer scale instrument but finally settled on standard 20″ scale.  For strings, I initially used Romero/flourocarbon tenor strings instead of the soprano/concert low “G” that I has been using.  Alan wanted more tension with a standard scale.  Unfortunately the flourocaron “C” didn’t preform well so I immediately changed out for a Tomastik cf 27.  Alan has now changed out the brass wound low “G” for a Tomastik cf30 and has tuned the instrument up 1/2 step for additional string tension to suit his fancy.  I’ll bet it sounds great!

Asian black palm backstrap.

Alan didn’t want anything too fancy so I kept it simple and dark.  The neck color matches the color of the redwood and will darken with time.  The accent wood is Asian black palm wood.  The sound hole rosette is India rosewood to match.

india rosewood and redwood baritone

Tight grain old growth California redwood.

This India Rosewood and Redwood Baritone won’t be the last I’m sure–a classic look with a classic sound.  Oh give me more!