View Full Version : MAKAPILI Hinoki Top Tenor

09-29-2009, 09:24 AM

The ukulele was hand made by Thomas Macomson - Makapili ukuleles.
Thomas lives in Italy at the moment.

It was made in June 2009 and it is 4th instrument Thomas made.

It is a tenor ukulele with standard shape body.
It has 17 frets, 14 to the body
The top is made from solid Hinoki wood with quilting and curl in the same board (Hinoki wood is a close relative of Port Oxford Cedar), and the back, sides headstock veneer and bridge are from Acacia Confusa all solid wood.
The neck is made from Cedera Odorata (Brazilian or Spanish Cedar).
Fretboard is ebony.
The tuners are Gotoh closed, geared tuners.
The instrument has also a side sound port which Thomas makes in all of his instruments.

It is finished with a hand rubbed oil.

The instrument was very well packed by Thomas. It arrived without any problems.

I bought it as a second, it has very minor scratches on the top. But you can only see them in direct light, and they do not affect the quality of the instrument.
I made some new minor scratches on my own during those two months of using this uke :)


I never realized you can get so much sound from ukulele. This particular uke is louder then my
custom classical guitar. It blows away all my other instruments.
The sound is very rich and deep and also very powerfull. This instrument has also a very
long sustain and awesome projection of the volume all across the place where you play.

All my friend who hear me playing were amazed how deep and powerfull sound this instrument produce.
And when comparing to Kala Acacia or Pono PKT-1E, Makapili wins in all the cathegories.
You can compare Kala Acacia sound and Makapili sound on my youtube videos.

When strumming&chunking you can get a very nice percussion effect. You can check that out on my Me&Shirley T. video.
Links are included at the bottom of this review.

The side soundport gives some more extra pleasure to the player.


I corrected the action a little by sanding down the saddle. But only a little.
It was very nice for strumming, but I had to make it a little more comfortable for other stuff I play.
It doesn't produce any buzz or any other strange sound
The intonation is perfectly in spot.

The frets are very well dressed and polished.

You can check the beautifull grain of hinoki top, and Acacia sides and back on my videos.

It is quite ascetic. No fancy bindings etc. But I don't like to much od that stuff on my instruments.
So I like that kind of finish.
Some people doesn't like the shape of the headstock on Thomas's ukes, but I must tell you they look
a lot better in real then on the photos - and I like this headstock shape.


I don't see any possible problems. Everything looks good and I think it will last long
(at least I hope so).
I keep all my instruments in cases and humidify them if needed so I expect no problems
also with this instrument.


Thomas is a really nice and friendly person. He answered all my questions before buying, and
also was very curious if I am satisfied with his instrument etc.
I still keep in touch with him here on UU, and I hope it will stay that way :)
I hope to order some more instruments from him sometime in the future.


Makapili Hinoki Top Tenor is the ukulele I play the most. I spend a lot of time playing it, and everyday I find it to sound better and better.
I can't imagine a better sounding instrument.
I'm very happy that I decided to buy this instrument - it opened a whole new world of sound possibilities for me.
I plan to buy another makapili ukulele in the future.

Here are the links to videos where I play my Makapili Hinoki Top tenor:

Me&Shirley T. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIlSWiya5FQ

Something - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cALzL6LtuzE

I will propably add some more in the future.

I hope you will find this review helpfull.

09-29-2009, 08:58 PM
Hey Paw123los,

Thanks for the great review. I watch your videos quite often, especially when I feel the need for some extra motivation.

Take care,

09-29-2009, 10:06 PM
Thanks Thomas :).

I'm very happy that you like those videos. It's really nice to hear that.
I will try to do a video of Gently Weeps this weekend.
I will let you know when it will be done.

You can of course use those videos for advertising your instruments
in any way you want.

09-30-2009, 12:17 AM

Great videos and great playing!
Aren't Thomas' ukes sweet?

What do you use for making videos (hardware and software)?

I'm a Mac user and I tried to edit my videos using I-movie, but the application always quits after a few seconds. I found out this is a common problem, but, being very clumsy computer-wise, I'm unable to fix it.

Anyway, again great playing man!


09-30-2009, 01:43 AM

Great videos and great playing!
Aren't Thomas' ukes sweet?

Yes they are.

What do you use for making videos (hardware and software)?

I used to use a Minolta A1 camera for revording, but now I have a JVC Video Camera. I'm thinking about buying myself a mic, but not decided if this will be a microphone plugged into the camera or something like the snowball mic (it is quite expensive).
I use Windows Movie Maker. W have to experiment with some other software, but WMM has all the basics to prepare a video.