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View Full Version : Blackbird owners- could use your input!



etudes
02-04-2017, 02:28 PM
I'm planning to sell off one or two of my small collection and perhaps get a Blackbird. The more I've heard them discussed on UU and hearing the sound samples, I'm intrigued! Clara vs Farallon?

I travel for work and this would be the one I could take and not have to worry so much about a traditional wood instrument. At first I was convinced the Clara made sense being a smaller and easier to deal with when flying. But does 2-3" in length really make that big of a difference dealing with the airlines? I prefer the sound of a tenor but so many have commented the Clara sounds and responds much like a tenor. So any input would be appreciated.

Tim

lfoo6952
02-04-2017, 03:49 PM
Hi Tim:

I own a Farallon and I have compared the sound against the Clara. Both sound similar. I chose the Farallon because I find the tenor more comfortable to hold. Yes, the Clara will be easier when flying (small enough to tuck under the seat in front of you) but the 2-3" difference in length will make no difference to the airlines. You will be allowed to carry on board either one.

Luke

Ukelelelolo
02-04-2017, 03:52 PM
Tim, I have both the Farallon and the Clara. If you prefer the larger sound of a tenor you will really enjoy the Farallon. It is a wonderful instrument. Clara is quite dynamic and a bit more compact for travel. The shape is comfortable and unusual. If I had to choose one it would be the Farallon. My preference is fingerpicking in low G. Hope this helps!

Ukulele Eddie
02-04-2017, 03:53 PM
Prior Clara owner and have also played a Farallon. Both are wonderful. I'd say choose based on your normal scale preference.

besley
02-04-2017, 04:12 PM
I've played both, and own a Farallon. The Clara does indeed sound quite full and mellow for a concert. But for me the scale length is also part of my preference for the tenor size. I also prefer the traditional shape of the Farallon, as it's easy to hold on your lap without needing a strap. And here's a thought.....what about a hard case? I wouldn't travel with a $1500 instrument in a gig bag on an airline - it's just not worth the risk. The sides and backs of these composite ukes are incredibly strong, but the responsive tops are a fairly thin sandwich that CAN get damaged. Can you find a hard case that fits the shape of the Clara? Interestingly, if you view the Crossrock 1000 hard case next to the original gig bag, the hard case looks quite a bit smaller (mostly because the gig bag is 2" thicker) - which could help you get it aboard the plane as carry on.

The Crossrock 1000 case for my Farallon is just over 30" in length, while the concert version (if that would fit the Clara) is only about 1.4" shorter. So I wouldn't choose the Clara just because it's a bit smaller. But hey, they're both great. Get the one you want to play, and don't worry about carrying it around.

Ukelelelolo
02-04-2017, 04:22 PM
And here's a thought.....what about a hard case? I wouldn't travel with a $1500 instrument in a gig bag on an airline - it's just not worth the risk. The sides and backs of these composite ukes are incredibly strong, but the responsive tops are a fairly thin sandwich that CAN get damaged. Can you find a hard case that fits the shape of the Clara? Interestingly, if you view the Crossrock 1000 hard case next to the original gig bag, the hard case looks quite a bit smaller (mostly because the gig bag is 2" thicker) - which could help you get it aboard the plane as carry on.

The Crossrock 1000 case for my Farallon is just over 30" in length, while the concert version (if that would fit the Clara) is only about 1.4" shorter. So I wouldn't choose the Clara just because it's a bit smaller. But hey, they're both great. Get the one you want to play, and don't worry about carrying it around.

What hard case are folks using for their Clara? It won't fit in a standard concert case.

besley
02-04-2017, 04:43 PM
What hard case are folks using for their Clara? It won't fit in a standard concert case.

I don't know of one.....and the only mention I can find about "Claras" and "hard cases" is that lots of people think it should come with one standard.

PereBourik
02-04-2017, 04:50 PM
My Clara was sold with the Access paeede and reinforced gig bag. It fits well and is sturdy enough for carry-on travel. Never had a concern with it. I got Clara for ease and peace of mind while traveling.

SailingUke
02-04-2017, 05:20 PM
Both sound great. My Clara does have the sound of a tenor and I like that it is different.
I prefer a tenor scale, but have not bought a Farralon. If I needed to replace Clara it would be a tough decision.

etudes
02-04-2017, 07:43 PM
Thanks everyone! You guys helped me clarify the issues. I like the unique shape of the Clara but I suppose being a tall guy I'd probably find the Farallon more comfortable as well. Besley I found the Crossrock case you mentioned on The Ukulele Site where I'd buy the Uke from. Hopefully they would 'upgrade' the included gig bag to the Crossrock.

good_uke_boy
02-05-2017, 02:09 PM
Sounds like you've settled on your Clara vs. Farallon decision. For what it's worth, I did a side-by-side sound comparison here:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?120234-NUD-Blackbird-Farallon
Hope that helps!

etudes
02-05-2017, 04:57 PM
Sounds like you've settled on your Clara vs. Farallon decision. For what it's worth, I did a side-by-side sound comparison here:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?120234-NUD-Blackbird-Farallon
Hope that helps!

Thanks- I enjoyed hearing that! Yes I'm throwing my hat in the Farallon ring.

etudes
02-06-2017, 09:40 AM
Last night I gave this more thought and re-listened to sound samples by Corey and good_uke_boy. Also listened to the podcast 3 of Andrew and the guys from the Uke site with more samples from Corey. I like what I'm hearing from the Clara and dig the idea of my traveling Uke being a concert. I'll be more likely to bring it along on the more complicated, extended trips i.e. planes, trains, and automobiles.. So that's my decision.. subject to change.

I have been on the fence about having a pickup installed in the Blackbird. Any Clara owners want to weigh in on how it sounds plugged in. I have a MiSi in the Pono tenor and it sounds great and should be adequate for the few times a year I play in public.. but still pondering it.

PTOEguy
02-06-2017, 10:56 AM
I've got a Clara and after a year or so I had a pickup installed in it. For me it came down to having the pickup in my most versatile uke. On the other hand, I supposed I'm a little more concerned about getting it wet now...

DownUpDave
02-06-2017, 11:00 AM
I've got a Clara and after a year or so I had a pickup installed in it. For me it came down to having the pickup in my most versatile uke. On the other hand, I supposed I'm a little more concerned about getting it wet now...

Yup......can't be paddling any canoes with it now. I have a Farallon on order, I am a tenor guy through and through. I decided no pick up, I have other ukes with pick ups and want the Farallon to be worry free. Still......if you really love the sound having a pick up would be handy.

SailingUke
02-06-2017, 11:38 AM
Get the pickup installed by Blackbird. Fitting a pickup in the Clara is a difficult task with the sound hole placement.
The Farallon would not present the same challenges. The MISI works well and the up charge for the pickup is reasonable.

good_uke_boy
02-06-2017, 11:49 AM
Get the pickup installed by Blackbird. Fitting a pickup in the Clara is a difficult task with the sound hole placement.
The Farallon would not present the same challenges. The MISI works well and the up charge for the pickup is reasonable.

I agree with everything above. The new iRig acoustic stage option is the only thing that would make me think twice about a Blackbird-installed MiSi/Fishman.

Ukelelelolo
02-06-2017, 12:24 PM
Misi sounds great. Very balanced. Recently put Worth Brown high g's on the Clara and they are a nice pairing. Better than the stock Oasis warms imo.

besley
02-06-2017, 02:03 PM
When I bought my Farallon I had the opportunity to purchase one here in town with the installed Misi pickup for the same price as the base model, but I decided against it and ordered one without the PU. Like DownUpDave I wanted it to be worry free, though I don't expect to be canoeing with it anytime soon. But what really decided it for me was that I play with a strap, and I HATE endpin jacks. You can't ever be sure your strap will stay on with those things. If the jack had been separate from the endpin I would have gone for the installed PU. On my acoustic guitars I install a separate Schaller locking endpin next to the endpin jack, but on a Uke I just didn't think there was enough room.

good_uke_boy
02-06-2017, 05:15 PM
When I bought my Farallon I had the opportunity to purchase one here in town with the installed Misi pickup for the same price as the base model, but I decided against it and ordered one without the PU. Like DownUpDave I wanted it to be worry free, though I don't expect to be canoeing with it anytime soon. But what really decided it for me was that I play with a strap, and I HATE endpin jacks. You can't ever be sure your strap will stay on with those things. If the jack had been separate from the endpin I would have gone for the installed PU. On my acoustic guitars I install a separate Schaller locking endpin next to the endpin jack, but on a Uke I just didn't think there was enough room.

I had issues attaching a strap to the pickup on my Farallon and other ukes. But those issues have been 100% solved by purchasing and installing a Tapastring strap keeper.
https://www.elderly.com/strap-keeper-strap-lock-for-instruments-with-large-endpin-jacks.htm

These devices have been discussed on UU. For example:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?73241-Strap-keeps-slipping-off-electric-pick-up-jack
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97672-Keep-a-strap-secure-on-an-end-pin-jack/page2

Works great...

etudes
02-06-2017, 06:03 PM
My only real concern in having the MiSi in the Clara is the possibility of it affecting the acoustic tone. Any thoughts?

DownUpDave
02-07-2017, 12:47 AM
My only real concern in having the MiSi in the Clara is the possibility of it affecting the acoustic tone. Any thoughts?

I have had LR Baggs pick ups installed in a Mya Moe and a Webber 3-4 months after initial purchase and it did not affect the acoustic tone. The Misi and Baggs share the same under saddle piezo strip so it is an apples to apples comparison.

etudes
02-07-2017, 05:04 PM
Thanks DownUpDave- that's encouraging. Corey Fujimoto (love his playing) from HMS also responded in an email and said his experience with the Clara was that the pickup made no difference to the acoustic sound.

etudes
02-08-2017, 05:28 PM
After waffling for a few days- pulled the trigger on a Farallon with the MiSi. Still somewhat smitten with the Clara but I do feel most at home playing tenor. We'll see how it works out! Thanks again for your help.

imperialbari
02-16-2017, 06:17 PM
Canít disagree with your decision, as I also chose the Farallon.

From the sound samples I heard, I found the Clara having the more charming sound, but the longer Farallon neck would suit my large hands better. And then the Farallon has 14 frets to the body, where the Clara only has 12,

If you can afford it, buy the one with the preinstalled pick-up. Even if you only would use a small amplifier, your selection of sounds would be much wider. No batteries, just charge through the jack connector for 1 minute when you have played amplified for 8 hours.

Klaus

etudes
02-16-2017, 07:23 PM
Can’t disagree with your decision, as I also chose the Farallon.

From the sound samples I heard, I found the Clara having the more charming sound, but the longer Farallon neck would suit my large hands better. And then the Farallon has 14 frets to the body, where the Clara only has 12,

If you can afford it, buy the one with the preinstalled pick-up. Even if you only would use a small amplifier, your selection of sounds would be much wider. No batteries, just charge through the jack connector for 1 minute when you have played amplified for 8 hours.

Klaus

Cool- did you buy your Farallon direct from Blackbird? I expect mine will ship within the week. I did order it with the MiSi so I agree that will be interesting to explore. I'm not lacking for acoustic amps- most recently acquired a LR Baggs Acoustic Reference which I use with my Taylor 812C. Thanks for the encouraging words.

imperialbari
02-17-2017, 12:04 AM
I communicated with Joseph Luttwak via the Blackbird Guitars site a couple of times, but as I am in Denmark, I bought the Farallon from Southern Ukulele Store in the UK to avoid doing too much red tape work and to avoid paying the handling fees here in DK.

In the US the Farallon comes with fluorocarbon strings of a brand that I cannot get here in Europe. I had some sets of Aquila tenor strings, but in my ears they didnít bring out the best of the Farallon, sŚ my current choice of strings is the Martin tenor set with the high G, as I mostly strum major 7th and 9th, minor 7th and 11th, plus dominnt 9th and 15th chords (not that I am good, as I am mostly a brass and recorder player, but it is fun to build complex chords in all keys - the shift from Dbm7 to Gb9 really causes me problems - but the practicing is good for aged brain and hands).

Klaus