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View Full Version : I think I gotta swoop up a Blackbird...



Kibes37
02-12-2019, 04:43 PM
I just got a nice Uke that I don’t need to improve upon in anyway. Totally happy and content... except I baby it. Which I tend to do with all my nice things. Anyway, my Kanile’a ain’t leaving the house anytime soon. I’ve been well aware of the rave reviews on the Clara. I almost went that route right off the bat. However, I decided I wanted Koa beauty and tradition first. Like I said, no regrets. I do now have a super hard time playing my Kala. Which is supposed to be my beater take anywhere, but I just miss my Kanile’a. Plus I like to record on the go. Not really trying to catch cool spontaneous recordings on my Kala. I really like Kala as a brand, probably the best value, but my model is too entry level for my champagne tone taste I’ve acquired. I know, what a Uke d$&k, but that’s how it is now.

Obviously, this all makes the Clara a superb choice for me. Being durable,
professional tone on the go. I don’t know if I’ve heard a single bad review.

Few questions:
Is the low G handled well? Or can it get too boomy?

Should I get a pickup installed? Kinda feel like the point is to not worry about it much. Will this make it a lot more delicate?

How is the basic finish on new models?

Should I spring for arched fretboard?

And any other Clara model info is much appreciated.

As always thanks for the input.

rainbow21
02-12-2019, 05:29 PM
Blackbird is in San Francisco, near 101. You can make an appointment to visit them. I did so a few months ago. At that time, they had a sunburst Clara with a radiused fretboard and a standard model without. They come low G unless requested. At my visit, they changed one to high G so I could compare the two and see if I liked it as I am currently only a high G player. I now have a standard with radiused fb on order. And they are wonderful people.

Kibes37
02-12-2019, 05:56 PM
Blackbird is in San Francisco, near 101. You can make an appointment to visit them. I did so a few months ago. At that time, they had a sunburst Clara with a radiused fretboard and a standard model without. They come low G unless requested. At my visit, they changed one to high G so I could compare the two and see if I liked it as I am currently only a high G player. I now have a standard with radiused fb on order. And they are wonderful people.

Great idea. Thx!

PereBourik
02-12-2019, 07:09 PM
I just got a nice Uke that I don’t need to improve upon in anyway. Totally happy and content... except I baby it. Which I tend to do with all my nice things. Anyway, my Kanile’a ain’t leaving the house anytime soon. I’ve been well aware of the rave reviews on the Clara. I almost went that route right off the bat. However, I decided I wanted Koa beauty and tradition first. Like I said, no regrets. I do now have a super hard time playing my Kala. Which is supposed to be my beater take anywhere, but I just miss my Kanile’a. Plus I like to record on the go. Not really trying to catch cool spontaneous recordings on my Kala. I really like Kala as a brand, probably the best value, but my model is too entry level for my champagne tone taste I’ve acquired. I know, what a Uke d$&k, but that’s how it is now.

Obviously, this all makes the Clara a superb choice for me. Being durable,
professional tone on the go. I don’t know if I’ve heard a single bad review.

Few questions:
Is the low G handled well? Or can it get too boomy?

Should I get a pickup installed? Kinda feel like the point is to not worry about it much. Will this make it a lot more delicate?

How is the basic finish on new models?

Should I spring for arched fretboard?

And any other Clara model info is much appreciated.

As always thanks for the input.

I keep my Clara strung high g. Low g won't be too boomy if you make a good string choice.

Skip the pickup. Clara is loud and you don't need the complication. If you want a pickup put it in your Kanile'a.

Radiused fretboard is a matter of preference. I don't care for them.

Mine is an early one. The new finish is supposed to be durable.

Love my Clara, but . . . it is loud and bright. I look for strings to take some of the brightness off it because I get tired playing it.

Absolutely a fine instrument.

ghostrdr
02-12-2019, 07:09 PM
Great idea. Thx!

I visited them in January. You can check out that thread here. https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?137301-Blackbird-Factory-Visit&highlight=Blackbird+visit

Not that Iím trying to discourage you, but if youíre buying a Clara, I think you might still baby it. True it is pretty darn humidity proof and sounds amazing. The back and sides are pretty hard and tough but I think you can scratch up the finish pretty good both in the back and sides and soundboard if you donít exercise a little care. I bet the sunburst probably shows more scratches than the non-sunburst. You can ask them when you visit.

Now if you just want to buy it just to have it, well hey...thatís a different story.:cool:

PereBourik
02-12-2019, 07:09 PM
Blackbird is in San Francisco, near 101. You can make an appointment to visit them. I did so a few months ago. At that time, they had a sunburst Clara with a radiused fretboard and a standard model without. They come low G unless requested. At my visit, they changed one to high G so I could compare the two and see if I liked it as I am currently only a high G player. I now have a standard with radiused fb on order. And they are wonderful people.


+1. It's a treat to meet Joe and get the tour.

Ukulele Eddie
02-12-2019, 07:18 PM
I own a Farallon with radius that I love and I have had two Clara's, one with radius and one without. Couldn't tell any difference. Sounds great re-entrant or linear. MiSi is awesome and shouldn't affect durability unless you expect to play in rain or underwater. ;-)

Kibes37
02-12-2019, 07:32 PM
I keep my Clara strung high g. Low g won't be too boomy if you make a good string choice.

Skip the pickup. Clara is loud and you don't need the complication. If you want a pickup put it in your Kanile'a.

Radiused fretboard is a matter of preference. I don't care for them.

Mine is an early one. The new finish is supposed to be durable.

Love my Clara, but . . . it is loud and bright. I look for strings to take some of the brightness off it because I get tired playing it.

Absolutely a fine instrument.

Fantastic info thank you! Good call on the pickup.

Kibes37
02-12-2019, 07:36 PM
I visited them in January. You can check out that thread here. https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?137301-Blackbird-Factory-Visit&highlight=Blackbird+visit

Not that I’m trying to discourage you, but if you’re buying a Clara, I think you might still baby it. True it is pretty darn humidity proof and sounds amazing. The back and sides are pretty hard and tough but I think you can scratch up the finish pretty good both in the back and sides and soundboard if you don’t exercise a little care. I bet the sunburst probably shows more scratches than the non-sunburst. You can ask them when you visit.

Now if you just want to buy it just to have it, well hey...that’s a different story.:cool:

Ha, you are probably right. I wouldn’t be tossing it in my backseat or leaving it in my trunk. I would still take great care of it, but it would be nice to not care about the weather. I would imagine with it not being particularly pretty to me, a slight scratch here or there would be tolerable. Dings out of the question :D

Kibes37
02-12-2019, 07:38 PM
I own a Farallon with radius that I love and I have had two Clara's, one with radius and one without. Couldn't tell any difference. Sounds great re-entrant or linear. MiSi is awesome and shouldn't affect durability unless you expect to play in rain or underwater. ;-)

Ha, thank you for your take on the fretboard.

rainbow21
02-12-2019, 08:11 PM
On the pickup: I recall that Blackbird can put the pickup in at a later date without disadvantage. Check on this when you visit and see if you can take it there to have it done if you order from them directly.

Kibes37
02-12-2019, 09:47 PM
Not sure I can wait for a visit. Gonna sleep on it and most likely order in the am:drool:. Thanks.

PereBourik
02-13-2019, 04:40 AM
Ha, you are probably right. I wouldnít be tossing it in my backseat or leaving it in my trunk. I would still take great care of it, but it would be nice to not care about the weather. I would imagine with it not being particularly pretty to me, a slight scratch here or there would be tolerable. Dings out of the question :D

If you want a leave-it-in-the-car uke get a Flea. Mine has been to 3 continents andlives in my car. It has been below zero (parked outside in Kansas winters) to 115į plus whatever the heat gain is in the closed car (Kansas and Arizona summers). I haven't re-strung it in more than 3 years. It holds tune and sounds decent with Martin M600 strings.

Kibes37
02-13-2019, 05:29 AM
Pulled the trigger. Kept it basic with a low G. Can’t effin’ wait! Hopefully my Uke fever will subside for a while now :cool:

Thanks again for all input.

PhilUSAFRet
02-13-2019, 11:27 AM
I love the tobacco burst on the clara, but $400 for a finish is a bit much

Kibes37
02-13-2019, 11:53 AM
I just went all basic. If I started adding bells and whistles I would be defeating my purpose. The sunburst is awesome, but that just makes scratches more painful. Thanks for the reply

dayslikethis
02-20-2019, 05:43 AM
I just went all basic. If I started adding bells and whistles I would be defeating my purpose. The sunburst is awesome, but that just makes scratches more painful. Thanks for the reply

It would be great to hear your thoughts once you get delivery and have lived with it for a while. I purchased a Clara a few months ago. It came with a Low G set up. I experimented with various strings High G etc but have gone back to the original Low G set up. I also had a pick-up installed - not used it but guessed that if I ever move it on it would all easier. Now for my thoughts, I had played an entry level Kanile'a islander before this with aquila strings $350. The Clara is a world away from that and I have to say that whilst I could fly around the frets of the Kanilea I found that I had to be a little more careful on the Clara as its less forgiving for my skill level. All that said, I absolutely love it, the sound, the tone the clarity especially when fingerpicked. I can't imagine ever parting with it. It's comfortable and well balanced to hold and can be played quietly or booming if required. A great choice of Uke! As for the finish, mine is my preferred tobacco finish.

Kibes37
02-20-2019, 12:14 PM
It would be great to hear your thoughts once you get delivery and have lived with it for a while. I purchased a Clara a few months ago. It came with a Low G set up. I experimented with various strings High G etc but have gone back to the original Low G set up. I also had a pick-up installed - not used it but guessed that if I ever move it on it would all easier. Now for my thoughts, I had played an entry level Kanile'a islander before this with aquila strings $350. The Clara is a world away from that and I have to say that whilst I could fly around the frets of the Kanilea I found that I had to be a little more careful on the Clara as its less forgiving for my skill level. All that said, I absolutely love it, the sound, the tone the clarity especially when fingerpicked. I can't imagine ever parting with it. It's comfortable and well balanced to hold and can be played quietly or booming if required. A great choice of Uke! As for the finish, mine is my preferred tobacco finish.

That’s interesting about the forgiveness on the kanile’a neck. Probably because it’s wider. Less chance of pushing strings over the edge and such. I find l like the the width of the Kanile’a and I don’t. It Can get in the way, due to the fact it has no strap. So for my novice level, holding the Uke while finger picking can be a chore with certain chord changes. I look at it like it’s an obstacle I have to learn to get around. I know the Clara will be thinner like my Kala and I like that as well.

As far as the strings go, I may change the brands but I’m keeping low G. The kanile’a will stay high G like a traditional Uke. I want the guitar similarity out the Clara low G sound ideally.

I will definitely give a review on my thoughts after I’ve had it for a bit.

Thanks for sharing your experience.