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View Full Version : NUD: David Hanson 5 string tenor: "Caramelele"



Jim Hanks
06-15-2019, 09:12 AM
A lot has already been written about this uke in the build thread:
https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?138664-Build-Thread-Cripple-Creek-5-String-Tenor

To summarize, the goal was a 5-string tenor with equal string spacing with tuning clearly "uke plus one" instead of "guitar minus one".

David Hanson, aka Cripple Creek Mandolins (https://cripplecreekmandolins.com) was up for the challenge.

Specs:
17" tenor ukulele scale
"Mandolele" body shape
Overall length: 28"
Width: 12"
Depth: 3"
Gotoh UPTL planetary geared tuners
Radiused fingerboard, 12" radius
8.5mm string spacing, 40mm (1-9/16") nut
String through bridge
Living Water fluorocarbon strings, dGCEA (0.70/0.91/0.74/0.66/0.57)

Here is the final rundown on the ten (!) woods used:
top - western red cedar
back/sides - maple, lightly curled
bindings/headplate - curly koa
neck - Spanish cedar w/ walnut stringer
rosette - cherry/maple
fingerboard/bridge - rosewood
braces - spruce
glue linings - basswood
back brace - mahogany

With all the visible woods being (mostly light) brown tones, David dubbed it the "Caramelele". I'm not usually one to name my ukes, but I'm willing to make an exception for this one.

Intonation is spot on. Setup is perfect. Very comfortable playing surface with the string spacing and radiused fretboard.

I'd say the tone is just what you hope for from a cedar top - warm lows and "sparkly" but not harsh highs. Lots of sustain.

Speaking of the top, I have to add that David expressed some disappointment with how the top turned out, showing more scratches and finish irregularities than he hoped for. He even offered to give a significant discount, but I declined. His price was already extremely reasonable for a one-of-a-kind build of this quality. Worth every penny and more - probably much more. Anybody that can't live with a few blemishes on a cedar top, shouldn't get a cedar top. (And they're not nearly as bad to my eye as they are to his.) I am not bothered in the slightest.

I couldn't be happier with the process and the product. David was absolutely great to work with, and I have no hesitation recommending him.

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite. I'll have a "first look" video with sound sample in the next day or two - as soon as I can get it edited down.

Album on imgur: https://imgur.com/a/cTR2Lba

https://i.imgur.com/XSss6Lul.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/4tw6Oojl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/tYOygEZl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/OqGVDs5l.jpg

Jim Hanks
06-15-2019, 09:15 AM
https://i.imgur.com/xrLKTf8m.jpghttps://i.imgur.com/s27gDKBm.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/FlpALdkl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/e46Bcryl.jpg

Jim Hanks
06-15-2019, 09:15 AM
https://i.imgur.com/P9oNmgsl.jpg

DownUpDave
06-15-2019, 09:34 AM
Congraulations Jim that turned out exceptionally well. All the colors tones and hues go well together and the whole package is very pleasing to the eye. If "Caramelele" sounds as tasty (see what I did there) as it looks you will be wanting second and third helpings.

bratsche
06-15-2019, 09:38 AM
Congratulations! Very nice. Can't wait to hear it!

bratsche

Kenn2018
06-15-2019, 09:46 AM
Looks-wise, Caramelele is quite a beauty. With it's unique design she is sure to turn a lot of heads.

Can't wait to hear how she sounds.

Really enjoyed following her build and your decisions along the way. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

Congrats!

kvehe
06-15-2019, 09:55 AM
I can hardly wait to hear it!

Nickie
06-15-2019, 03:23 PM
Congratulations Jim, that is an unusual looking uke!

keenonuke
06-15-2019, 04:10 PM
Congratulations! Very nice. Can't wait to hear it!

bratsche

I totally agree with everyone's comments about it's beauty and I am definitely looking forward to hearing/seeing it played. It is just so much WOW. :-)

Jim Hanks
06-16-2019, 03:27 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOjjUWmi15M

keenonuke
06-16-2019, 04:50 AM
Wow it's sounds even better than I had imagined. And it's really beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the process with us. Congrats again :-)

Kenn2018
06-16-2019, 09:40 AM
Wow! Fabulous, lush sound and sustain that goes on forever. Really nice. Enjoy exploring it's capabilities.

Loved the video. Very funny as well as informative.

bratsche
06-16-2019, 10:25 AM
Nice tone, but a bit weird (to me) tuning. Love the sustain, though! How is it for fingerpicking? How far apart are the strings at the bridge end?

bratsche

Osprey
06-16-2019, 10:46 AM
Amazing, Jim, I really like how you thought out the tuning to get such rich chords. Congratulations!

gochugogi
06-16-2019, 10:56 AM
Beautiful! Even the plain open strings sound great. It's sorta a machete de raj„o with extra booty!

cFloor
06-16-2019, 11:00 AM
Wow, what a beauty. I love the sound! Congrats

prb035
06-16-2019, 12:08 PM
Wow, that sounds absolutely amazing! :D Congratulations on a wonderful new instrument Jim :D

Jim Hanks
06-16-2019, 01:04 PM
Thanks everyone. :shaka:


Nice tone, but a bit weird (to me) tuning. Love the sustain, though! How is it for fingerpicking? How far apart are the strings at the bridge end?
Well, you do 5ths tuning on a uke, so you're one to talk about weird. :rofl:

String spacing at the bridge seems to be 11mm, 44mm total. We didn't talk about that during the build, but seems very comfortable to me.

I'll post a fingerpicking sample when I get a chance.


It's sorta a machete de raj„o with extra booty!
Somebody else made that observation in the build thread, so yeah, if a rajao had "nylon" strings and a low G. :p

bratsche
06-16-2019, 07:59 PM
Well, you do 5ths tuning on a uke, so you're one to talk about weird. :rofl:
Yeah, I knew you'd say that, especially considering the deep-voiced big brother to yours that I'm planning to get next! :biglaugh:

bratsche

Jim Hanks
06-17-2019, 01:32 AM
Yeah, I knew you'd say that, especially considering the deep-voiced big brother to yours that I'm planning to get next! :biglaugh:

Whoa, whoa, what?!? Spill the beans! :rulez:

Jerryc41
06-17-2019, 04:41 AM
That's a beauty - all over!

Jim Hanks
06-17-2019, 06:05 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGqke4bzRjI

FiL
06-18-2019, 02:37 AM
Very cool!

- FiL

Osprey
06-18-2019, 04:23 AM
Sounds nice, Jim. I like the roundness of the lower notes, they sounded rich and warm.

Sharpshin
06-18-2019, 04:28 AM
JIm, I like everything about this new uke. Looking forward to hearing your explorations of the tuning, which I think is rad!

AQUATOPAZ
06-18-2019, 04:40 AM
Hauntingly beautiful and moody.

bratsche
06-18-2019, 09:06 AM
Very ethereal sounding, and relaxing to listen to. I think you've got a winner there!

bratsche

13down
06-18-2019, 10:39 AM
Good videos, Jim. Your explanations of what you're doing are compelling and I did not once do the common habit of fast forwarding to the music parts. :)

MopMan
06-18-2019, 02:57 PM
Very cool looking and sounding instrument. So happy this turned out well for you! Thanks for sharing with us.

keenonuke
06-18-2019, 04:23 PM
Sounds nice, Jim. I like the roundness of the lower notes, they sounded rich and warm.

I agree the experiment is definitely a success. Sounds great

Doc_J
06-22-2019, 03:13 AM
Congratulations Jim! Thank you for sharing the build and the resulting outstanding instrument. It’s got a wonderful sound, and I like how you’re exploring and revealing the Caramelele.

Jim Hanks
06-22-2019, 05:15 AM
Thanks everyone. I have at least two full productions in-progress with this guy. Hopefully they will come to fruition before too terribly long.

Mezcalero
06-22-2019, 11:30 AM
Congrats on a fine design and finished product Jim.

I really enjoyed the videos, especially the sound samples and explanations of the different voicings. I can envision some frailing/clawhammer technique acquisition in your future :)

Kenn2018
06-22-2019, 01:44 PM
Thanks everyone. I have at least two full productions in-progress with this guy. Hopefully they will come to fruition before too terribly long.

Are the new projects as unusual as this one or more mainstream?

Jim Hanks
06-22-2019, 04:36 PM
Are the new projects as unusual as this one or more mainstream?

Sorry. I can see how that statement was misunderstood. I meant to say that I have two songs that I am working on that will feature this uke.

I shall neither confirm nor deny that I have any other instruments being commissioned at this time. :p

Jim Hanks
06-22-2019, 04:38 PM
I can envision some frailing/clawhammer technique acquisition in your future :)
Haha. Frailing? Is that a word? :rofl: Flailing? Failing? Probably "all of the above" :rofl:

yahalele
06-22-2019, 05:23 PM
Hi, Jim! Nice uke!

I know this instrument has magic power. Enjoy!

https://i.ibb.co/Xz6tnrS/4.png (https://ibb.co/mHd4nV6)