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View Full Version : NUD: Cocobolo Cedar/Cocobolo Concert



Snargle
03-19-2019, 01:23 PM
Many of you may be familiar with Kevin Keith's "Cocobolo Ukulele" workshop in Nicaragua, where they craft a variety of excellent ukuleles made from local cocobolo wood. Demand for these instruments is high and production is limited, so he has had to resort to a Facebook lottery system to select those eligible to purchase one. I've been entering his lotteries for the last year or two, but without success until last week when I received a note from Kevin that the winner of the previous lottery was not able to complete the purchase and I was the runner-up. I gave my bank account a hard look and decided that yes, I could do this! I placed the order, transferred the funds, and yesterday morning, DHL showed up at my door with this!

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It's a concert size with a Western Red Cedar top, Cocobolo back and sides, side sound port, Mahogany neck, Cocobolo radiused fretboard, Cocobolo bridge, Cocobolo Headstock plate (front and back), Grover geared tuners, and Worth Brown strings (High G). A case was also included.

The strings are still settling in but so far it sounds lovely, feels great, and looks fabulous!

Once I get a little more familiar with it, I'll try to post a sound sample.

The only thing I found to complain about was there were too many string windings around one of the tuning posts. A quick unwinding and trimming off the extra 4-5 inches took care of that.

Jim Hanks
03-19-2019, 01:51 PM
Congrats! I wonder how different the sound is from that cedar top vs the coco tops. I guess we'll see.

BTW, they're in Nicaragua, not Honduras.

Snargle
03-19-2019, 02:12 PM
Congrats! I wonder how different the sound is from that cedar top vs the coco tops. I guess we'll see.

BTW, they're in Nicaragua, not Honduras.

Oops! Corrected.

I don't have any experience with the cocobolo tops but when comparing it with my KoAloha koa concert, it's a little more smooth and mellow. Of course, compared to a KoAloha, an air raid siren is mellow!

stevejfc
03-19-2019, 02:57 PM
That's one good looking ukulele! I'm interested to hear it...……….cedar/cocobolo: an interesting combo.

RafterGirl
03-19-2019, 04:17 PM
Wow, that’s one sweet looking uke. Congrats.

MopMan
03-19-2019, 08:24 PM
It's a beauty. Love the colorful marbling on the cocobolo accents. Enjoy!

Lapyang
03-20-2019, 01:55 AM
Congratulations. This is a beautiful uke.

Jerryc41
03-20-2019, 02:53 AM
Beautiful! I keep entering and losing. :(

aremick
03-20-2019, 04:33 AM
It looks a little like a big brother to my Tommy Rodriguez soprano: https://fanguitarandukulele.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/tommy-rodriguez-soprano-ukulele/

Snargle
03-20-2019, 05:27 AM
Beautiful! I keep entering and losing. :(

I've been entering regularly since he started the lottery system. Hang in there...it'll come eventually. Also, keep your eye on sales of used instruments. They do show up occasionally. I just saw a post from a member here who mentioned he's considering selling his.

Joyful Uke
03-20-2019, 06:13 AM
Congratulations! Good things are worth waiting for. :-)
It looks lovely. Looking forward to hearing a sound sample.
Enjoy your new ukulele!

Jerryc41
03-20-2019, 06:16 AM
Hang in there...it'll come eventually.

Thanks for that.

Kenn2018
03-20-2019, 04:15 PM
I love the Cocobolo fretboard on your instrument. Just gorgeous.

Kevin is a great guy if you have any questions. But be aware that his father had a heart attack. So he and his wife have been back to the States a couple of times to be with him.

Snargle
03-20-2019, 04:24 PM
I love the Cocobolo fretboard on your instrument. Just gorgeous.

Kevin is a great guy if you have any questions. But be aware that his father had a heart attack. So he and his wife have been back to the States a couple of times to be with him.

I find myself just staring at the fretboard...it's fascinating!

Kevin's Dad is home, doing much better, and on the road to recovery. Kevin has returned to Nicaragua and the Cocobolo Ukulele operation is operating as normal.

Snargle
03-20-2019, 04:26 PM
Fretboard detail. The grain is magical!
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DownUpDave
03-21-2019, 09:44 AM
Fretboard detail. The grain is magical!
116230

First off congratulations on a beautiful instrument. Secondly that fretborad is mesmerizing, one could get acid flash backs from that sucker. That is 70s humor for all you young ones that are wondering what I am talking about.

Enjoy it, I imagine the aroma of cedar and cocobolo together is intoxicating.

Snargle
03-24-2019, 10:30 AM
I finally got around to recording a little sample. It's really settling in nicely.

Caution: the ukulele is much prettier than my playing!


https://youtu.be/UBg1M1qtriI

Jim Hanks
03-24-2019, 10:45 AM
Nice! Do you happen to have tab for the song you're playing? It might be interesting if I could play it on my all coco and see if we could hear the difference. Wouldn't be apples-to-apples anyway as mine is 16" scale with Southcoast strings, but still.

UkingViking
03-24-2019, 10:52 AM
That extra string mentioned in the OP explains why the Worth Browns are so expensive at Cocobolo.

They are usually sold in double length, that gives two sets for a normal 15" concert. With not much extra length for holding when stringing compared to other concert strings. I think it would be difficult to get two string sets for 16“ scale from them, and with several inches extra length on it, they obviously didnt try.
So there is used two sets Worth of strings for it.

Kenn2018
03-24-2019, 11:00 AM
Sounded very nice. I liked the projection a little better than the all-Cocobolo ones I have heard. Your playing is also very good. Thanks for posting the video.

Is the neck teak? I think I read they switched from Cocobolo to using teak with a sandwiched Cocobolo center piece to add strength.

Jerryc41
03-24-2019, 11:13 AM
Nice! Do you happen to have tab for the song you're playing?

I was thinking the same thing, but I'll probably do what I usually do and watch it several dozen times and record the fingering on paper.

Snargle
03-24-2019, 11:24 AM
The song I played was "La Vie en Rose", written by Edith Piaf, and the ukulele arrangement is by Ukulenny.

Here's a link to the tablature:
https://ukulenny.com/files/charts/LaVieEnRose.pdf

The neck is three-piece mahogany, with a Cocobolo strengthing rod, NOT walnut as I erroneously mentioned in the video.

Snargle
03-24-2019, 12:18 PM
Not sure if you're referring to my original post, 'cuz I didn't say anything about an extra string. The Cocobolos now come standard with Worth Brown strings at no extra cost.


That extra string mentioned in the OP explains why the Worth Browns are so expensive at Cocobolo.

They are usually sold in double length, that gives two sets for a normal 15" concert. With not much extra length for holding when stringing compared to other concert strings. I think it would be difficult to get two string sets for 16 scale from them, and with several inches extra length on it, they obviously didnt try.
So there is used two sets Worth of strings for it.

UkingViking
03-24-2019, 12:25 PM
Not sure if you're referring to my original post, 'cuz I didn't say anything about an extra string. The Cocobolos now come standard with Worth Brown strings at no extra cost.

I refer the removal of 4-5 inches of string from a tuner.
When a Worth Browns package is used for two sets of strings as intended, there is no way there is 4-5 inches to spare, even with a normal concert scale.

I guess the Worth Browns have become standard since I checked the prices last time. Back then upgrade from Aquila to Worth was $20. I considered that weird, since the price difference is not that big on strings. It would be cheaper to get it with Aquila and change them yourselve. Unless you get only one set of strings from the double length.

Snargle
03-24-2019, 12:31 PM
I refer the removal of 4-5 inches of string from a tuner.
When a Worth Browns package is used for two sets of strings as intended, there is no way there is 4-5 inches to spare, even with a normal concert scale.

I guess the Worth Browns have become standard since I checked the prices last time. Back then upgrade from Aquila to Worth was $20. I considered that weird, since the price difference is not that big on strings. It would be cheaper to get it with Aquila and change them yourselve. Unless you get only one set of strings from the double length.

Ah, I got it now. I wonder if they can buy Worth strings in a bulk length, like a 100 feet at a time? That would make more sense than using a standard package and dumping the excess.

RafterGirl
03-25-2019, 04:49 AM
The song I played was "La Vie en Rose", written by Edith Piaf, and the ukulele arrangement is by Ukulenny.

Here's a link to the tablature:
https://ukulenny.com/files/charts/LaVieEnRose.pdf

The neck is three-piece mahogany, with a Cocobolo strengthing rod, NOT walnut as I erroneously mentioned in the video.
Thanks for posting the tabs. Love it.

strat4me
03-25-2019, 08:30 PM
This song was written in 1945 by/for Edith Piaf. Here is a link to her singing it live:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzeLynj1GYM

This Wiki will show the scores of movies it has been featured in and all of the countless singers who have tried to make it their own. It was a hit that went to number 1 five times in the early 50s in the U.S. Fascinating story.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Vie_en_rose#As_music_in_films

BTW - We have two of the Cocobolos (bought one used and on a whim entered the lottery and won the FIRST time - it CAN happen). Love them both. Much heavier woods than traditional and that adds to a buttery sound in Low G songs. Soundhole does make it easier for the player to hear. Lovely instruments we can recommend without hesitation. Just know that the pics on his site are much brighter than in real life. Thank God!

Snargle
03-26-2019, 03:33 AM
BTW - We have two of the Cocobolos (bought one used and on a whim entered the lottery and won the FIRST time - it CAN happen). Love them both. Much heavier woods than traditional and that adds to a buttery sound in Low G songs. Soundhole does make it easier for the player to hear. Lovely instruments we can recommend without hesitation. Just know that the pics on his site are much brighter than in real life. Thank God!
I've heard that Cocobolo wood darkens over time, so that may account for some of the muted brightness. I was fortunate to see two Cocobolo ukes in person before I got my Coco/Cedar concert, so I was prepared for a more subtle appearance than some of the oversaturated photos.

What do you think of your Teak Cocobolo tenor? I haven't heard much about Teak being used as a tonewood and wasn't sure if it was something I'd be interested in.

strat4me
03-26-2019, 09:49 AM
Looks like we have been down similar paths with uke choices. I had tears in my eyes when I HAD to sell my plain Jane, satin Kanilea. It was the quiet one in the bunch but the sound was just...sweeet. Anyway, in came the ANueNue. I love the Moon Bird. Definitely is in a different class but on mine I have one note I don't like and different strings haven't addressed it. It is a resonancy with the wood in this particular uke on one note only. C note on first string sounds like a steel drum. I hate that sound. Kind of a flat clangy sound. My wife doesn't notice it so may be a resonancy problem with me! Still, amazing uke that I will likely never part with.

The Teak is my wife's. I tried to A/B them this morning but they have different strings and the teak has a sound hole. The teak has the same vibration against your body that the Moon Bird does. Our Cocobolo is a concert so hard to compare there. It sounds full and warm - not quite the depth and roundness the MB has. Still very nice and 1/3 the price. If I only had one uke and it was the Teak I would be happy. But given a choice I would choose the MB. If I was looking at a Cocobolo wood tenor it might be a closer fight. But that is largely visual. We "won" the teak first time out. Personally, I would go with Cocobolo if given a choice.

Thank you for the song, BTW. We both learned it and love it. No wonder it has had such an illustrious life among so many artists.

Nickie
03-26-2019, 10:29 AM
Congratulations, Larry!
My Cocobolo is STILL my go to uke.