Tribal Turtle Super Tenor Ukulele

I guess I hit upon a favorable combination of woods because it seems that people can’t get enough of the ancient spruce and ambrosia maple combination.  This is the latest build using this combination of woods–the Tribal Turtle Super Tenor Ukulele.

tribal turtle super tenor ukulele

3000 year old Alaskan sitka spruce soundboard.


The Wood Story

The top is 3000 year old sitka spruce from Alaska Specialty woods.   This top wood is salvage from a melting glacier somewhere up there.  It is a rare find for sure.  Carbon dated at 2850 years old and certified.  How cool is that.  This is one of the prettiest sets of ancient that I have obtained to date with multiple colors including that brown strip down the center.

Turquoise recon stone stone rosette.

The back and sides are more from my stash of ambrosia maple.  This wood from the eastern US has been beetle damaged and the subsequent seepage of water into the wood creates the blue-grey and brown streaks in the wood.  Curly of course!

tribal turtle super tenor ukulele

Curly, eastern ambrosia back and sides.

The Tribal Turtle

It took awhile to come up with this one.  After more than a few possibilities were tossed around we decided a simple turtle design on the head stock would be the most desirable option.  This is a stock inlay from Luthiers Supply in Oregon.  It came with white mother-of-pearl and paua abalone but I replaced the white with turquoise recon stone to match the other accents of the ukulele.  I’ve always had difficulties photographing the pearl products and this was no exception.  The blues and greens colors just didn’t come up for me.

tribal turtle super tenor ukulele

Tribal turtle head stock inlay.

The Accents

Previously, all the instruments that I have made using this combination of woods have had turquoise accents.  This instrument is no exception:  rosette, lower bout heal graft, back strip, purfling and, of course, the tribal turtle.   It really pops for sure.  For accent woods I am using more ambrosia maple but from a different billet with different colors and curl.

Ambrosia maple back strap. Gotoh UPT tuners.

The Sound

With Pepe Romer’s wound low G set, this instrument equals that of the best of the super tenors that I have made to date.  Yes, it has big volume but the sound is pretty darn sweet.   This is not an instrument that has to be pushed to be played.  People always ask about the sound of the ancient sitka–so far I think it is the equal of any of the various tonewoods that I have tried.

Go turtle–go Tribal Turtle Super Tenor Ukulele!