New Koa Tenor Ukulele - Custom Build-Sold

I know, you haven’t seen an all koa ukulele from me in a long time, so here’s a New Koa Tenor Ukulele.  This is this years standard build with a classic, standard shape.

New Koa Tenor Ukulele

All koa.

It’s All About the Wood

Body:  All Koa.  This is an interesting look because it has a little curl, a little blister and a little marble figuring all together.  This was picked from my available stash by the client for this build.

New Koa Tenor Ukulele

Masur Birch backstrip.

Accent Wood:  Again picked by the client.  I am using Masur Birch for all.  Just having a bit of fun with that back strip design.  The edge laminated sound hole rosette is my new standard and with tIhis contrasting wood it really shows up well.

New Koa Tenor Ukulele

Blue/black purfling accents with masur birch binding and rosette.

NeckHonduran Mahogany my material of choice with internal carbon fiber truss rod.  Sanded finish.

Fret Board and Bridge:  a little Brazilian Rosewood goes really well with the Koa.  Radiused to 16″.

Bracing:  a combination of Adirondack and Sitka Spruces.

The Rest of the Build

TunersGotoh UPT.

New Koa Tenor Ukulele

Gotoh UPT tuners are my standard for tenors.

StringsPepe Romero with wound low “G”.

Purfling Accents:  a combination of blue/black fiber.

New Koa Tenor Ukulele

Headstock matches back strip.

Nut and Saddlebone stained brown.

Fret Board Markers:  White MOP.

CaseCrossrock ABS.


As I said, I haven’t made an all koa instrument in some time so my ear is a bit biased towards traditional tops.  Additionally I’ve been using  Adirondack Spruce for the larger top braces which might be a touch over-kill.  My opnion is that this instrument may not have as deep a low end as usual even with the wound low “G”.  Of course, this is being a bit picky, and without a comparable instrument I wouldn’t be able to really tell.

Building is a learning process and no matter how many instruments one makes there are always going to be little differences that will make you go hmmm!  The bottom line is it sounds pretty good to me and like with most hard wood tops can be pushed a bit more than with soft wood tops.  Time and playing make a big difference as most of these instruments really open up in the first year.  The client actually lives in Hawaii and builds ukulele as well.  His initial response is “I like it”.  Guess that’s all that’s necessary for a New Koa Tenor Ukulele!