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Ukulele Eddie
06-12-2017, 02:20 PM
Previously I owned and loved a Blackbird Clara, which was made with Pegheds per my request (the first they did) as I found the then stock side tuners quite unattractive. I re-homed the uke as I was rotating through ukes faster than kids eat pizza, but intended to get another one someday as I loved its tone and playability.

I rate ukes across four dimensions: (1) tone, (2) playability, (3) aesthetics and (4) build execution. Maybe if I was a real player, I'd only care about 1 & 2. But I care quite a lot about 3 and 4. Second order to 1 and 2, but important nonetheless to my enjoyment. YMMV.

I loved both the Clara and Farallon for 1, 2 and 4. But both left me lacking on #3. So, at NAMM I discussed with CEO Joe Luttwak some changes that I thought might make the Farallon more aesthetically pleasing. My wish list included:

- Unigrain eKoa top like their eKoa guitars
- Fancy rosette
- Side soundport
- Matt-finish fretboard with parellogram fretmarkers
- Sunburst finish

Joe took on the challenge and sent me a progress pic today. I'm really excited. It's probably 4-6 weeks away from completion, but here is a progress picture:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4260/35273275645_b394aaca74.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/VJYKWV)

Many of you may have seen the sunburst finish on the Farallon that HMS sold recently. It lasted about six hours on the site. I do think it compressed the sound a bit vs. the non-gloss finish, but it still sounded fantastic to my ears.

Of course, when this baby arrives, I will do a full review and sound sample. Don't worry, it will include Time in a Bottle. LOL.

BBaird
06-12-2017, 02:34 PM
Looks great- really like your recommendations and the fact that Joe took you up on the challenge! Can't wait to see the finished product! I've been wanting one for awhile, might have to wait longer now...

ukuleleden
06-12-2017, 03:07 PM
Very nice, and hats off to Blackbird for going outside of their regular builds. Maybe this will lead to more variations in trim designs? Can't wait to see your completed Custom Blackbird!

DownUpDave
06-12-2017, 04:52 PM
I like the grain orientation , sound port is a must so another great choice. That one on HMS.......well lets just say I got a bad case of "sunburst envy" as mine will be just plan. Yours should be a beauty

Nickie
06-12-2017, 05:49 PM
Wow, that really looks neat. Great ideas!

sam13
06-12-2017, 05:52 PM
I like the grain on the top Eddie. Looks great.

Doc_J
06-13-2017, 02:31 AM
Very nice Eddie! You have great eye for beautiful instrument compositions. Hope Joe continues with more custom builds similar to yours.

That sunburst finished Farallon @ HMS was gorgeous. But, won't the lacquer finish make it more susceptible to the outdoor elements, or is the type of lacquer more water/UV resistant than nitro?

stevejfc
06-13-2017, 02:45 AM
Looks beautiful Eddie.................and I'll bet the volume will crank up considerably.

Mezcalero
06-13-2017, 04:02 AM
Based on my experience with the Farallon, this one should hit #'s 1-4 for you Eddie. Look forward to seeing the final product. Also, since you have played multiple versions, I will be curious to hear your perception of tonal comparison between the different tops.

Tof
06-13-2017, 06:11 AM
A nice looking Farallon for sure!! The side sound port makes a real difference sound wise.
If aesthetics is important for you I suggest you also ask for a string-through bridge, it will look cleaner (just my biased opinion of course as my Farallon has this feature :p)

Rakelele
06-13-2017, 08:41 AM
Congratulations, Eddie! Some great ideas for improvement there, and I'm glad to hear people like Joe of Blackbird are working together with their customers in order to improve or adapt their products. Looking forward for more Infos and pics on this build.

besley
06-13-2017, 02:55 PM
As a Farallon owner I certainly do like the looks of the unigrain eKoa. People already pick up my Farallon and think it's made of wood, with that unigrain it would be hard to convince them that it's not. Not sure about the rosette though, as I think I prefer the understated simplicity of the plain top. I definitely to have side port envy though, and may have to send mine back some day soon for some surgery.

Ukulele Eddie
06-14-2017, 03:03 AM
Yes, I'm really excited that Blackbird was open to these ideas for more personalization/customization. The Farallon is a fantastic sounding instrument with great playability, even compared to instruments costing twice the price. Add in its durability and lower maintenance with a chance to further personalize its aesthetics for those interested, and it's hard-to-beat. Everybody should have one in their quiver. ;-)

@Doc_J: I checked with Joe regarding the gloss finish and any potential impact on weather durability. He says it will not affect weather durability. Of course, it will be more susceptible to scratches like any gloss finish and for this reason I really agonized over whether to do gloss or not. I'm pretty gentle with my instruments so opted for the bling! For those wanting a Farallon they can knock around without worry, they may want to stick with the non-gloss finish (but can still do things like the rosette, fretmarkers, etc.).

@tof: Agree on string-through bridge (my preferred bridge type) and am planning on that customization as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

@besley: Yes, agree the rosette is a highly personal choice and it's awesome that Blackbird is open to offering options. Like Burger King, "Have it your way!". LOL.

mmfitzsimons
06-14-2017, 07:26 AM
Wow, that is going to be super special, first of its kind!! I don't know how you can possibly decide which of your ukes to play, Eddie. If I can help in any way by relieving you of one of the others, please don't hesitate to let me know. ;)

(I'm glad it's not a sin to covet thy neighbor's uke, cuz I get a tingly feeling every time I see a pic of the one Jake built for you!)

Ukulele Eddie
07-20-2017, 02:03 PM
She's back from getting the sunburst done:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35920506571_27939b30d0.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WJaZ9P)

Not sure if I'll have more photos to share before it ships, but hope to. I should have it inside the next two weeks.

SoloRule
07-20-2017, 02:35 PM
She's back from getting the sunburst done:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35920506571_27939b30d0.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WJaZ9P)

Not sure if I'll have more photos to share before it ships, but hope to. I should have it inside the next two weeks.


Eddie. This is one stunning looking uke ! Did not know blackbird make this model.

counsel1
07-20-2017, 03:00 PM
Really, really nice!!
Have you thought about" sunbursting" the headstock to match?

DownUpDave
07-20-2017, 03:15 PM
My gosh Eddie that is a work of art!!!!!

lfoo6952
07-20-2017, 03:43 PM
Very nice Eddie. I'm jealous.

keod
07-21-2017, 12:44 AM
Sunburst really turned out fantastic Eddie- very unique. Fret markers are special too- I had to do a double take on which frets they were on. Never even one on the first fret, then on 9 instead of 10. Looking forward to the NUD.

UkeInTW
07-21-2017, 01:31 AM
Wow, that is nice. I like the Blackbird sound and with that sunburst finish, it is starting up my UAS. Looking forward to seeing and hearing the final product.

Doc_J
07-21-2017, 03:04 AM
Sunburst really turned out fantastic Eddie- very unique. Fret markers are special too- I had to do a double take on which frets they were on. Never even one on the first fret, then on 9 instead of 10. Looking forward to the NUD.

Its beautiful. Well done!

Are the side markers on the same frets? Have a uke with a side fret marker on 9 instead of 10 can throw you off, or at least that has for me.

Mezcalero
07-21-2017, 03:38 AM
That is stunning Eddie! I have a feeling some of your design ideas will be seen on future Blackbird offerings. Looks like it shouldn't be too long before you have her in hand!

Ukulele Eddie
07-21-2017, 04:05 AM
Thanks, everyone.

Hodge, yes, side markers "sync" with front markers. That would drive me nuts, too.

Regarding 9th vs. 10th mark, I think guitars are more commonly marked at 9th and since Blackbird started with guitars maybe that's what they usually do. I can't recall where my Clara was marked.

good_uke_boy
07-21-2017, 04:31 AM
Wow -- beautiful. I recently got my Farallon back from Blackbird after they added the side sound port, which really amps up the sound it generates. The port also improves the tones I hear -- more sustain and overtones. Congrats!

besley
07-21-2017, 04:38 AM
That does indeed look stunning. By comparison my stock Farallon almost looks plain! The eKoa Joe uses already looks quite a bit like wood, and with that treatment no one would ever guess it is a composite instrument. Interesting that you have the fret marker at the 9th (guitar style) instead of the 10th fret (uke style). I think I would prefer that to mine (at the 10th) but it sure would get confusing if you have ukes that are marked differently.

Booli
07-21-2017, 05:40 PM
WOW Eddie!

While I am late to this thread, I am not disappointed in the least!

You are quite a trend-setter here, as I am sure more orders will follow that are based upon your customizations, which look totally drool-worthy to me. Good choice on the grain and the sunburst, and the fret markers sort of harken back to a classic Les Paul, especially in conjunction with the sunburst...

I can't wait to HEAR it! :music:

sam13
07-22-2017, 02:04 PM
EDDIE!!!!

A feast for the eyes.

Congrats.

Rakelele
07-22-2017, 07:53 PM
Eddie, that looks gorgeous, so many great ideas were incorporated in this build. Will the faceplate remain in Ekoa color?

DanY
07-24-2017, 05:03 PM
Wow awesome, I hope some of these unique features become standard options. Looking forward to the next picture update!

Ukulele Eddie
08-30-2017, 10:51 AM
Well, the highly personalized Farallon is done at last and went into the Fed Ex box today. If all goes well, I'll have it Friday and post a further update next week after a few days of testing it out.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4399/36784467501_078929330c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Y3w1CV)

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4438/36527905040_c3f27eba3d.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XDR4yd)

Mezcalero
08-30-2017, 10:54 AM
Man that is a stunning look Eddie. I am a little surprised you didn't put gold dots on the bridge pins to match the inlay :)

Congrats! Looking forward to hearing sound sample. . .

Ukulele Eddie
08-30-2017, 10:56 AM
Man that is a stunning look Eddie. I am a little surprised you didn't put gold dots on the bridge pins to match the inlay :)

Congrats! Looking forward to hearing sound sample. . .

They only had black pins. I was thinking of looking for some with shell dots to match the fretmarkers. ;-)

DownUpDave
08-30-2017, 10:57 AM
Man that is a stunning look Eddie. I am a little surprised you didn't put gold dots on the bridge pins to match the inlay :)

Congrats! Looking forward to hearing sound sample. . .

Way to put an idea in his head Kevin.........I fully expect gold dots in the next pictures:rolleyes:

Looks stunning Eddie, it really came together well

Booli
08-30-2017, 12:40 PM
Eddie - that is just sick!

(in a good way)

I mean, once I can pick my jaw up off the floor, I'll have to see about mopping up all the drool...:drool:

I am eagerly anticipating your hands-on report. :)

slackkey007
08-30-2017, 01:06 PM
YOWZA! YYYOOOWWWZZZAAA!! YYYYOOOOOOWWWWZZZZAAAA!!!:drool:


Eddie - that is just sick!

(in a good way)

I mean, once I can pick my jaw up off the floor, I'll have to see about mopping up all the drool... :drool:


Exactly what bruddah Booli said!!!:agree:

saltytri
08-30-2017, 01:31 PM
Very sweet, Eddie!

How about MOP with the Parisian eye:

http://www.lmii.com/products/mostly-wood/bridges-pins/bridge-pins-wood-and-plastic

Ukulele Eddie
08-30-2017, 01:50 PM
Very sweet, Eddie!

How about MOP with the Parisian eye:

http://www.lmii.com/products/mostly-wood/bridges-pins/bridge-pins-wood-and-plastic

That is PURRfect!!!! ;-)

OhioBelle
08-30-2017, 02:24 PM
oh my goodness! that is stunningly beautiful! I love the color, gloss, and celtic knot sound hole. Soon you will have it in your hands!

SoloRule
08-30-2017, 02:49 PM
Eddie, wow and more wow. I like what I see! Talk about making a statement. In your case, a grand entrance! You made mine looks dull and conservative.
A beautiful uke without maintenance ! How cool is that?
Looking forward to sound sample !

saltytri
08-30-2017, 03:25 PM
That is PURRfect!!!! ;-)

I think the ring is brass but you might want to ask.

sam13
08-30-2017, 03:55 PM
Wow. That is a special Uke. Congrats. So Unique.

besley
08-30-2017, 04:19 PM
My stock Farallon is jealous!

DanY
08-30-2017, 05:04 PM
Wow! Very cool!

Tof
09-01-2017, 07:31 AM
Really nice instrument, congrats!
I see that the fretboard is different... marker back to 10th fret ;)

I'm looking forward to getting your feedback on the "unidirectional" top compared to the standard one.

PJoya
09-02-2017, 05:35 PM
Eddie, that's a beauty. I'm curious: how was the rosette done for this model?

Ukulele Eddie
09-06-2017, 09:01 PM
Eddie, that's a beauty. I'm curious: how was the rosette done for this model?

When I first discussed this project at NAMM in January, I told them what features I would would and one was a nice rosette. They now have a variety of rosettes they can offer and I simply picked one that appealed to me.

Ukulele Eddie
09-06-2017, 09:05 PM
Thanks for all the comments. I am really very happy with how it turned out. Below is a sound sample (apologies, it's long at 6 minutes) and includes some simple scales to show range of open string up to the 9th fret (Harmonized F Scale), then two fingerstyle songs and finally a bit of 12-bar blues.

This is tuned Linear B (not Bb) using Carbonblacks. The sample is completely "dry" using an Apogee mic and Garageband.

https://soundcloud.com/ukulele-eddie/farallon-linear-b-carbonblacks

I'd love to hear people's candid thoughts (don't be shy about saying what you really think, but it would be helpful to hear your adjectives whether they are positive or negative).

DownUpDave
09-07-2017, 12:00 AM
Eddie the biggest compliment I can give you is I listened to the WHOLE recording, that doesn't happen often. Great playing by the way, I really enjoyed the complete sample. I think the Farallon and those Carbonblack strings support the B tuning very well. It gives it a deep bluesy kinda tone, bordering on baritone. But I am always striving for a warmish sound so this is personal preference. Maybe a little too warm in some passgaes, lacked a little sparkle. I could hear the C string becoming a bit thuddy sometimes. But I think the instrument sounds wonderful

One thing I have found with my Farallon tuned to C is it's tendency to be bright and metallic sounding in the upper registers. I have gone to Dogal extra soft classical guitar strings for my E and A strings (wound G and C string from South Coast). Your Farallon sounds as nice as it looks.........are you happy with it????

Ukulele Eddie
09-07-2017, 06:59 PM
@DownUpDave, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wouldn't mind a little more in the upper registers but even if I don't achieve that with other strings, I am quite happy with the tone particularly for fingerstyle. In person, I don't find the 3rd string boomy. I'm still new to the recording stuff and I think my recording level may have been set too high. I wonder if that could be a contributing factor?

quiltingshirley
09-08-2017, 06:29 AM
Nice Eddie. Looks and sounds good. When do you want us to come over and take it home for a long visit? I know you'll soon need more space. It does have some "bling" to it.

Doc_J
09-09-2017, 06:50 AM
Thanks for all the comments. I am really very happy with how it turned out. Below is a sound sample (apologies, it's long at 6 minutes) and includes some simple scales to show range of open string up to the 9th fret (Harmonized F Scale), then two fingerstyle songs and finally a bit of 12-bar blues.

This is tuned Linear B (not Bb) using Carbonblacks. The sample is completely "dry" using an Apogee mic and Garageband.

https://soundcloud.com/ukulele-eddie/farallon-linear-b-carbonblacks

I'd love to hear people's candid thoughts (don't be shy about saying what you really think, but it would be helpful to hear your adjectives whether they are positive or negative).

Eddie, love that full, rich, and clear tone in B tuning. Sounds pretty balanced to me. Great playing. Two more songs and you're halfway to full album.

M3Ukulele
09-09-2017, 08:17 AM
Nice demo Eddie. I hear very clear acoustic ukulele. Love it. Good range of sounds by the demo. Beautiful custom version. Notes are clear, crisp and ring out. Nice playing. The scale samples were cool also.

Ukulele Eddie
09-12-2017, 10:41 AM
@M3Ukulele and @Doc_J, thank you. To my ears, there is a "crispness" and an "airiness" to its tone and as I play it more I'm appreciating it even more.

@Quiltingshirley, are you coming to LA Uke Festival? I'll be there at the Luthiers for a Cause booth, so stop by. I'll likely have it with me since I don't have to worry about the heat! ;-)

I'll do a full review in a couple of weeks.

quiltingshirley
09-12-2017, 11:57 AM
See you there, Eddie

Ukulele Eddie
09-19-2017, 08:49 AM
A number of people have asked me about the unigrain top. I'm tickled pink with how it turned out, both aesthetically and tonally. And I've now had enough other people listen and/or play it who've given it a big thumbs up on tone. Joe was pleased with the feedback. While he is not yet ready to offer this personalization feature on the web site, he is willing to produce more. The unigrain top on a uke will continue to require a gloss finish for the time being, so the total for this feature is $600 ($400 for the gloss, sunburst and $200 for the unigrain top). You can contact Joe through the Blackbird web site or feel free to contact me and I'll put you in touch.

hollisdwyer
09-19-2017, 02:43 PM
She's back from getting the sunburst done:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4310/35920506571_27939b30d0.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/WJaZ9P)

Not sure if I'll have more photos to share before it ships, but hope to. I should have it inside the next two weeks.

That's a very nice burst!

Otterishly
10-13-2017, 03:06 PM
Wow. I have a plain-jane Farrallon that I absolutely love and adore the sound of--but yours *looks* as good as it sounds! I enjoyed the sound sample you posted, and wonder whether you could tell me where to find the tab (or music) to the finger-style pieces (particularly the second one). Thanks!

Ukulele Eddie
10-13-2017, 03:39 PM
Wow. I have a plain-jane Farrallon that I absolutely love and adore the sound of--but yours *looks* as good as it sounds! I enjoyed the sound sample you posted, and wonder whether you could tell me where to find the tab (or music) to the finger-style pieces (particularly the second one). Thanks!

Thanks, @Otterishly. The first fingerstyle was a tab Seeso shared of Time in a Bottle which I found here on UU. If can't find it, PM me and I can provide it. The second song is Corey's version of Chet Atkins' Still Can't Say Goodbye. The tab can be found on The Ukulele Review, here:

http://www.theukulelereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/transcribed_corey_goodbye.pdf

Best, Eddie

Ga'ukulele
10-13-2017, 04:45 PM
Gorgeous looking- and sounding ukulele, congrats ! :drool: