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jongm
07-25-2010, 08:03 PM
captain ukulele (http://captainukuleles.co.nz/home.html)'s backpacker uke (http://captainukuleles.co.nz/backpacker.html):

concert scale. pukatea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pukatea) top. multi-colored rewarewa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rewarewa) back, mangeao (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangeao) neck, kowhai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kowhai) headstock. puriri (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puriri) sides, fretboard and bridge. all woods indigenous to new zealand. aquila nyglut strings. with passive pickup. comes with a drum key and some beeswax. also with a simple cloth bag. NZ$200. more pics here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page7).

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs084.ash2/37536_419891468918_787968918_4629987_6676067_n.jpg

say you're backpacking and you're backpacking light: in a 20-litre pack will go 2 pairs of shorts, 4 shirts, a light jacket, some toiletries, some food (maybe granola bars, nuts, dried fruits), and a 1.5-litre water bladder. all good for 2-3 days of trekking or just travelling. in my experience, a soprano will have no space in the backpack. i just came back from 3 days out (travel to the foot of a mountain i climbed, a day just relaxing in a hot-spring resort after, then back to the city) and my backpacker ukulele made space for an extra small towel and more food!

also, say you bike to go work at a university and in your messenger bag goes 2-3 books, a netbook, a notebook, an assortment of pens, papers to read and grade, lunch... again in my experience, there isn't going to be any space for a soprano. but my backpacker uke fits right in.

extreme portability is why i got my backpacker uke and it delivers.

but of course it is a good thing that it plays well. the thin neck took some time for me to get used to. suddenly have more of my left hand than usual. tone is great. intonation is consistent. resonance is improved with half a step down tuning, as found out by mmstan. it is not as loud as your regular uke. but it does have a pickup so not a thing that an amplifier can't fix. you can see and hear whetu playing his backpacker unplugged here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page2). and amplified here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page10) (scroll to the bottom of the page). he does his uke more justice than i do mine. his uke sounds brighter, mine's more mellow.

built is great. the woods are beautiful. my uke came with a headstock, and on it is a copy of my igorot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igorot) tattoo. bevan, the luthier behind captain ukulele, calls it the "igorot uke." i did a few tweaks on mine: (1) the wood texture wasn't that smooth so i applied a few coats of the beeswax and left it on overnight, then i sanded it with 1000 cw grade silicon carbide abrasive paper. now it feels great. (2) the strings dug grooves into the bottom edge on the way to the tuners. it probably was restrung before i got it because there were extra grooves. i sanded the whole bottom edge into a curve that allows the strings to lie more flat on the uke top and at the same time removed the extra grooves. (3) while re-stringing, the drum key was slipping on the first peg as i tuned. i remove about 2-3 millimeters from the tip of the drum key with a hacksaw to expose the part that grips the tuner pegs when tuning. no more slipping. still, bevan is sending replacement pegs...

so, great customer service as well. i ordered through email exchange that was more friendly than the regular business exchange. bevan was very accommodating. he sent me pictures while the uke was being built and then sent me a video while i waited impatiently for it to get to me.

i can only pay attention to one uke at a time so i gave my other uke away. the backpacker doesn't make me want for other ukes. well, at least for now.

i named my backpacker uke waya. short for wayawaya. in my first language it means freedom...

Ahnko Honu
07-25-2010, 09:22 PM
Did he charge you extra for your special headstock? Is "wayawaya" Illoco?

jongm
07-25-2010, 10:30 PM
hello ahnko. no charge for the headstock as i was his first buyer from the philippines, he said. this was very fine by me. :) haha. yup, wayawaya's an ilocano word...

Ahnko Honu
07-26-2010, 05:45 AM
Congratulations, your new 'ukulele it's AWESOME. I really like that headstock design but me personally prefer tuners in the headstock and a standard bridge design to keep the bottom of body clean and flat, and also preventing contact of strings on top sound board. I think I'll write the Captain and ask if it's doable not that I can afford this right now. Plenty Ilocanos here in Hawai'i, and I have many Ilocano friends here. LOVE lechon, pinacbet, mungo beans, chicken paria, marungai (kalamungai) leaves in my soup, Filipino food in general. Maybe I should have married a pinay magandangdalaga. ;)

jongm
07-26-2010, 02:08 PM
konichiwa ahnko. i studied and then worked in japan for 3 years. i like lots of japanese food but especially ramen. also soba. green tea is part of my everyday. :) my trip to hawaii is still pending. i have lots of relatives there. maybe i should apply for a research grant that will be based in the university of hawaii...

bevan told me that he's been getting an order of backpacker daily for 2 weeks... he's also open to revisions in the design to address concerns. mmstan suggested a hardwood binding on the bottom part of the soundboard to prevent the strings digging in, for example...

Ahnko Honu
07-26-2010, 02:25 PM
Bevan just emailed me back and said he could do all that I requested (soprano with headstock and friction tuners, string attachment on bridge, no pickup) no problem at a very fair price. Now all I need to do is sell some more of my other 'ukuleles, or maybe a couple swords, fishing nets, outboard motor, better look around for expendable items. You gotta try Hawaiian food, you'd love it! ;)

jongm
07-27-2010, 05:09 AM
congratulations on your soon to be uke! :) i was going to advice you to ask bevan to make space for a possible future pickup because the bottom side can get crowded but then i remembered you want yours with friction tuners on the headstock... he is easy to talk to and his prices are reasonable. but he is considering increasing the price as a way to manage the number of orders he is getting. either that or the wait is going to be longer...

the idea of hawaiian food here is anything with pineapple. :) so hawaiian pizza is ham and sausage pizza with pineapple bits. caldereta can be hawaiian, i guess. hahaha. if i am going to go on a hunt for hawaiian food, what should i look for?

jongm
07-29-2010, 12:49 AM
video! well not really... just an mp3 with some pictures. :) if it doesn't sound good to you then it is my fault not the uke's:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grVqHEUqovg

edit: recorded with a netbook's built-in microphone - not the best hardware. kind of noisy too...

mm stan
07-29-2010, 01:49 AM
Aloha Ahnko Honu,
Congrats on locking in on your new purchase, now you've joined our backpacker club eh...COOL!!!
Jus why did you go for a soprano, they're so small already...when I received mine, I initally thought it was a soprano.
What is the time frame for yours now, since he has alot more orders now....Betcha jus can't wait..I wuz like dat!!
What I didn't think of when I ordered mine was to get it a couple more frets..hence a longer neck..A super...
Malama Pono and A Hui Ho!!! MM Stan...

mm stan
07-29-2010, 02:02 AM
Aloha JongM,
That was pretty cool, liked your fingerpicking very much...enjoyed it!! too bad the video didn't work out....
As for Hawaiian food, do they have any Authentic traditional hawaiian food there?? Like lau- lau, poi, haupia....kalua pork...squid luau..aku poki....
Those are my fav's...and the now accepted as traditional...Lomi Salmon and chicken long rice....
Take Care, MM Stan...

jongm
07-31-2010, 01:35 AM
haha, i am a poseur mmstan. that's all of my fingerpicking. thanks for the nice words though. and thanks for the list of hawaiian food. haven't found a place that makes and serves them but i am on the hunt....

edited the original post to link the woods to some information in wikipedia.

Ahnko Honu
07-31-2010, 08:14 AM
Aloha Ahnko Honu,
Congrats on locking in on your new purchase, now you've joined our backpacker club eh...COOL!!!
Jus why did you go for a soprano, they're so small already...when I received mine, I initally thought it was a soprano.
What is the time frame for yours now, since he has alot more orders now....Betcha jus can't wait..I wuz like dat!!
What I didn't think of when I ordered mine was to get it a couple more frets..hence a longer neck..A super...
Malama Pono and A Hui Ho!!! MM Stan...

I didn't order mine yet, don't have the finances ready, have to sell stuff first because my fixed income does not allow for extravagances. I don't expect him to honor his initial quote if gaining these finances takes too long. I have a preferance for the soprano sound but also the extra portability appeals to me. This would be my solitude 'ukulele to make up into the mountains alone and be one with nature, no need amp since I'm the only one listening, well only human anyways. ;)

jongm
08-01-2010, 12:39 AM
hello ahnko. took mine on a 1090 meter mountain (mt. makiling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Makiling)) solo climb. played it during my rest stops and at the peak. made the climb a lot easier and fun. there is also a kind of solemness to playing it in the forest even when i strummed it loud. i can attest to the backpacker's portability. and durability. i just shoved it in the outside mesh pocket of my pack. during the final kilometer ascent, the trail narrowed to almost nothing and my bag kept getting caught in vines and branches. also getting bumped into fallen trees as i wiggle my way in the obstacle course of a path. so did my uke as it was outside of the bag. after all these abuse, all it had to show was a dirty gig bag (actually it was just a sock for the uke made of cloth and no padding). really great to bring along... anywhere!

Lexxy
08-01-2010, 03:30 AM
Hey, seems like uke'n do everything with it! ;)

jongm
08-04-2010, 04:19 AM
hmm, i'm not really sure if uke'n do everything with it. haven't tried yet. everything's so many things and i don't know where to start. :) but it has been suggested that i can do laundry with it in the old traditional filipino way of hammering away the dirt and stain with a palu-palo http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3041/2609472242_59870d4da4.jpg
that, it is insisted, is what my uke really deep inside. it has also been suggested that i can start a fraternity and haze new members with my uke as paddle...

so far, "everything" has been all about hitting. i don't know why. my uke is all about peace, really. :P

jongm
08-06-2010, 12:53 AM
more photos of backpackers owned by uu members. different woods. tops especially. all in the same thread but on different pages. just scroll down if you don't see the photos immediately:

whetu's (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele)
mmstan's (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page8)
cocohonk's (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page12)
finchiekins the owl's (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31729-My-new-Backpacker-ukulele/page11)

i am curious about the sounds from the different tops...

new backpacker owner: suzukhammer (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?34424-Captain-s-(New-Zealand)-arrival-of-Soprano-and-Backpacker)

rasputinsghost
08-06-2010, 08:07 AM
great uke! maganda!

jongm
08-15-2010, 05:05 AM
salamat rasputinsghost...

some updates:

1. my uke's saddle slides down. the saddle sits on the pickup's piezo and it moves two or three millimeters down (to the side that is downwards) when playing. it makes a lot of difference to playability as the 1st string gets too close to the fretboard's edge and slips with the fingers when playing fast or hard. i can and do move it up again but then it goes down again... posted the problem on uke tech support. you can read the suggested solutions and my stop-gap measure here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?34263-my-uke-s-saddle-moves...).

2. the multi-colored rewarewa back develop minute/hairline cracks at the side close to the base. bevan said he used the same back on two other ukes (both sopranos, so no danger to current backpacker owners) and one also had cracks. no effects on sound. it still worried me though. consulted bevan and mmstan and both suggested stabilizing the cracks with glue (superglue or wood glue with sawdust). postponed the repair as the cracks disappeared after i applied vitamin e rich rice bran oil (actually natural massage oil, i thought if it is good for the skin then it is good for my uke). they reappear, i later realized, when left for a long time (whole day) in air conditioned room that is set too cold. and disappear after some time in normal humid manila air. and with a touch of rice bran oil. but then i finally decided to superglue the small cracks. i directly exposed the uke's back to air conditioned air until the crack reappeared. applied superglue using the tip a pin. waited for the glue to seep in and dry. sanded off the excess glue until back is leveled. applied rice bran oil and then beeswax. waited an hour and sanded again. verified if all these worked by exposing the uke's back to the cold again the next day. no more cracks! :)

3. a more happy update: been playing the uke a lot since it is my only ukulele. the sound is getting better and better. i think. :) i was able to borrow a cheap amplifier and the uke sounds cool with it. been practicing and will post an amplified sound sample soon...

cocohonk
08-15-2010, 06:22 AM
I'm glad you got the cracks fixed! Hope you get the saddle thing sorted out too, though I'm not sure I understand what exactly happened with the saddle. Would have a picture of the saddle sliding down?

(my) updates:
1. I've enjoyed playing with this uke. It's really very adorable and very charming. Maybe it's the size as well, but it pretty much compels one to pick it up and play it.

2. I picked thin martin fluorocarbon strings instead of aquilas (which I like, but not a huge fan of) or worths (which I would have picked, but wanted to try something I haven't before) on the uke. And so far, I'm really liking these Martins on this uke (and I'd probably try on other ukes too when it's time to change strings). It's always nice to find new strings you like.

3. Unfortunately, I finally tried amping the uke, but alas, the pickup on my backpacker wasn't working properly. At first I thought it was because I didn't have a preamp, but after consulting with Bevan, it turns out there might be a real issue with the pickup. Fortunately, all I have to do is mail it back to him (it does help that I am a bit closer to NZ than if I was in the US) and he'd fix it for me. Of course, it is definitely inconvenient (and if you have this backpacker, you'd understand - you don't want to part with it once you have it!), but I have only good things to say about the customer service at Captain Ukuleles so far - basically, once I discovered the wonky pickup, I just wrote to him what happened, he diagnosed the problem, apologized for it and quickly offered to fix it (and he'd even throw in something extra for the inconvenience. Actually, at first, he offered to make another uke, but other than the pickup, there's nothing wrong with this uke, so that seemed a tad dramatic as a solution, so I asked him to try fixing it first. Plus, I really like the spalted tawa). So, even though it is a bummer of a situation, so far, I'm very impressed with how everything was dealt with.

3. I'll update on the progress (I just mailed it back yesterday, so it will be a while.) Once I get the uke back, I'd get in some sound samples so you can compare how different woods/strings would sound on them.

jongm
08-15-2010, 06:56 AM
must be hard to part with your backpacker. bevan offered to replace mine as well if the cracks get bigger but i like the many colors of my uke's rewarewa back. sending it back is also out of the question as i can't part with it. so i told him i'll repair the uke myself... almost a week now, twice left in a cold room. the cracks seem to have stabilized. and i can't see them anymore... hope all goes well with your backpacker.

i find that i can't explain the sliding saddle well (the effect is the A string gets too close to the fretboard's edge and it sometimes slips over the edge when fretting it). but the small amount of superglue stopped the saddle sliding. and i am currently looking for TUSQ to replace the old one. or maybe i'll just shim the saddle's sides...

mkatz
08-15-2010, 05:06 PM
I am enjoying my concert backpacker as well. It is a twin to Whetu's. I am on my way home from a business trip and I love that it fits in my backpack and stays with me on the plane. It is perfect for noodling around in the hotel at night. It is set up with aquila's and a low g string but I am thinking about switching it to fluorocarbons. I am not crazy about the sound and feel of the aquila's and they are still going out of tune -which takes a little getting used to with the drum key.

Mitch

bornagainjeeper
08-23-2010, 08:03 PM
I'm really blown away how great that sounds considering the goofy geometry...it must be the fact that the top is longer rather than wider....Being a backpacker (and wilderness guide) myself i can appreciate that uke....Its shape reminds me somewhat of the martin backpacker guitars, (Which sound like doodoo in my opinion) so i was expecting it to have a similar shortcoming...but i was very pleasently suprised...seems to be a wonderful price. I have a kala travel uke for the same reason and it goes with me all the time

jongm
08-24-2010, 08:57 PM
@mitch: i will also be trying other strings on my backpacker. i am waiting for worth clears... the green top on whetu's looks great. and sounds great even with the aquilas. maybe its the top-string combination. the top on mine is pukatea, looks like mahogany. maybe with same tone qualities as well? the aquilas sound tiny when tuned GCEA, the strings are too tensioned and vibrate less. so i tuned it 2 steps down (do not have a tuner so this a guesstimate). the strings now vibrate and resonate more. and i can also sing along to the lower tuning. haha :)

@bornagainjeeper: had the chance to compare the backpacker sound to a kala soprano travel uke (in a recent UU meetup here in manila) and the kala is definitely louder (maybe twice or more). so you must really need portability to want a backpacker :). the kala is thinner but wider. and it doubles in thickness once it is inside its case. also the kala looks and feels more fragile with its thin soundboard/top. i've dropped the backpacker twice (it is inside its cloth bag) with no damage. maybe because it is too light...

cocohonk
09-03-2010, 07:00 PM
My backpacker got back to me on early this week, so I'll write a little more on my review of my backpacker (I'll try and get some videos done, hopefully by next week) that I've piggybacked onto this thread a while back:

- Bevan had fixed the pickup problem (though it was strange, because it had worked when he tried it, but there was no sound while I had it the first time around - and I tried multiple amps and cables - but anyway, he rewired/fixed it anyway, and it works now for me!) and the pickup works now! Basically, it's a louder version of the sound unplugged, and even without a preamp, it sounds pretty good and clear to me. Kudos to the quick repair and pleasant customer service. He also offered me a gift (a preamp of some sort) to be sent later for the inconvenience, which is very gracious of him since it wasn't much of an inconvenience to begin with (just a bit of time setback, really), but either way, I'm excited to see what it is.

- He's also polished up the little nicks that I found the first time around (I would have smoothed them out myself anyway, but it's nice that he addressed them while he was fixing the pickup), but basically nothing's changed on the uke. It still looks adorable, and plays very well, just like before. I still have no issues with the drum key and the tuning system - once the strings have stretched, they seem to hold the notes just fine, and I haven't had to keep tuning it. The drum key itself is a pro and a con. Con because you need the key to tune your uke, which can be inconvenient, but it's also a pro because since the pegs can't really be moved without the key, you can touch the pegs without having to worry about accidentally changing the tuning, so it all works out for the most part.

- I've chosen Martin fluorocarbon strings on this uke, so I'm not sure how it sounds with other strings, but I really do like the way it sounds now with the Martins, it seems to fit with the uke.

- I have it tuned in the regular GCEA - I didn't find the strings to be too tense in this setting and the volume is about the same as if I tuned it lower. The only difference with this tuning (compared to a lower tuning) is probably the sustain, which is a bit lacking in the GCEA tuning. But other than that, I like the way it sounds in this tuning. I don't know if it's because I've been playing with it all week, but I found the ukulele to be louder than I remember - strumming or picking. It seems louder and crisper, so perhaps the wood is opening up (or I'm just getting used to the shape and learning how to handle the uke better?)

- It fits easily in my handbag (and not a huge one, just a medium sized one), so I've been taking the uke with me everywhere. (It's really fun to just randomly pull the uke out and start playing. People are instantly intrigued by it.) It's very light and small, so definitely a most travel friendly uke, no matter where you're going. I think I might add in some kind of a foam/bubblesheet lining into the bag (or maybe make a new one altogether, with water resistant material as well as padding) to better protect the uke while I'm carrying it. The bag it came with is cute and pretty, but mostly just deter dust and little else. :D

mm stan
09-03-2010, 09:13 PM
Aloha Cocohonk,
I am glad to hear all you issues have been resolved as Bevan is pleasant to do bussiness with....and his customer service is second to none.
I understand you've choosen Martin fluorocarbon strings which has a warmer tone, have you tried my adjusted on tuning that I posted on
my earlier thread..it addresses you issue on more more resonation and substain which gives it a sweeter tone. I have'nt tried it with Martin
strings yet, I got mine with Aquilla's and it's allright for me....still the same issue with resonation and substain but easy cured by my dropped
tuning. And you're right, as the strings break in, it does become louder for me too..so you not the only one imagining it. I mentioned to others
that you could make a nice carry bag out of marine uphostery which is very thick and durable, you should check into that and have a tailor
design one for you..I was thinking of a bag strap that could be interchangeable as used for the ukulele strap too. And the cover secured with velcro.
Another thing I thought was nice is, I bought a Honey Tone portable amp and A/C adapter plus shipping for $34.oo and it sounds good and is so
portable...uses a (9Vbattery too)...You can get it on-line from Amazon or Musician's friend..Amazon gives free shipping, thought that might catch
you eye. Without the adapter it's $19.95....
Well I'm happy you've joined our UU Captain Ukulele Club...and you're satisfied with it....Happy Strumming!!!and Have Fun.....MM Stan...

whetu
09-04-2010, 05:44 PM
He also offered me a gift (a preamp of some sort) to be sent later for the inconvenience, which is very gracious of him since it wasn't much of an inconvenience to begin with (just a bit of time setback, really), but either way, I'm excited to see what it is.

This might perk your excitement up a bit :)

15817


I've chosen Martin fluorocarbon strings on this uke, so I'm not sure how it sounds with other strings, but I really do like the way it sounds now with the Martins, it seems to fit with the uke.

I tried Martin's on mine but they snapped with barely any tension applied to them :( I had a spare set of "Senorita" strings (made by La Bella) that I found in a thrift shop while I was on holiday, and I got them for a cheap laugh. Now they're on my backpacker and sounding not half bad

cocohonk
09-06-2010, 04:20 AM
mmstan, I have a second hand small vox amp that I use, so probably won't get another amp anytime soon! :D


This might perk your excitement up a bit :)

15817

Ooooooooooh! That looks mighty cute. More excited now!



I tried Martin's on mine but they snapped with barely any tension applied to them :(

The martins are very thin strings! I guess I'm lucky, for now? :D

cocohonk
09-16-2010, 03:11 AM
A sound sample of my backpacker, with martin fluorocarbon strings, un-amped:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT0BQzecJF8

I flubbed a bit at the song (it's a new song for me), but it's not the uke's fault! :D Otherwise, that's what it sounds like! Also, I accidentally made the video in b/w, which is dumb, but I figure people can see it with color in the next video.


Will make a video of the sound, amped, when I get a chance to go get another cable.

SuzukHammer
09-16-2010, 11:29 AM
I am enjoying my concert backpacker as well. It is a twin to Whetu's. I am on my way home from a business trip and I love that it fits in my backpack and stays with me on the plane. It is perfect for noodling around in the hotel at night. It is set up with aquila's and a low g string but I am thinking about switching it to fluorocarbons. I am not crazy about the sound and feel of the aquila's and they are still going out of tune -which takes a little getting used to with the drum key.

Mitch

I made a mod to mine. See the thread in ukulele review. Part of the modification was to eliminate the string cutting into the wood which I think could be a problem with staying in tune. I used a harmonica cover plate

allie
10-09-2010, 11:39 PM
The uke looks so cool!

bottlegreen
01-03-2011, 10:37 AM
Oh, help. I've got it BAD.

I first saw the look of the Risa sticks, and thought it was the coolest thing ever... until I saw the Backpacker. I love the reclaimed wood. I love that there is a real person behind all that work. I love that someone loves his work enough to keep innovating and trying new things! I've only been playing for a couple of weeks on a Lanikai CU-21C, but this is going to me my next purchase. I look at them every day. I'm literally stalking the poor things.

I was just wondering if everyone continues to be happy with their Backpackers. Is there anything you might do differently now: geared tuners instead of drum key, or vice versa? with headstock or without? any other little adjustments you wish you had thought of? And is it really tough enough to toss in a knapsack? I'm also curious about the bottom piece being gouged by the strings. Does anyone ever see that as something that might become a problem? Also, does the site reflect US dollars, or NZ currency? I thought it was NZ, but...

I'm such a noob, with no music stores around me at all and no other uke'ers. I have no idea what I'm doing, and no way to look ahead to figure out what is "right" for me. I know needs change as we grow, but I can't afford to grow too fast, if you know what I mean. I'm hoping to get some ideas from folks who've had 'em for awhile and really know the ins and outs.

whetu
01-03-2011, 10:57 PM
I'm literally stalking the poor things.

Oh dear, time to literally take out a restraining order perhaps? :)


I was just wondering if everyone continues to be happy with their Backpackers. Is there anything you might do differently now: geared tuners instead of drum key, or vice versa? with headstock or without? any other little adjustments you wish you had thought of?

I continue to be happy with mine. Sometimes I do miss the convenience of geared tuners, but at the same time, the drum key system is, IMHO, still superior to friction tuners. Maybe pegheds could be a consideration, hmmm. Now I can't speak for the other backpacker owners, but I think that it's a lot like having a pet, or a loved one - you take it wholy for what it is, down points and all, and you don't really want to massively change it because that would fundamentally change what it is to something that it's not. You love the backpacker for being exactly what it is.

That said, I wouldn't mind a backpacker with Spalted Tawa as I think that wood is simply stunning to look at. And I have said that a blank headstock with a bottle opener in it could add some form and function :)


And is it really tough enough to toss in a knapsack? I'm also curious about the bottom piece being gouged by the strings. Does anyone ever see that as something that might become a problem?

I treat my backpacker like any other uke: with a bit of respect. So I haven't been blindfolded and throwing it hurtling across the room in the hopes it'll bounce off the wall and into a backpack. In saying that, I did get a small kete (flax bag) for it so that I can put it - in its protective case - and kete into a bag and not have to worry about it. It'd be interesting to see what the original backpacker owner's experiences were though.

As for the string gouging, I like suzukhammer's solution, perhaps Bevan could work out something similar:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?35789-Modifying-my-Captain-s-BackPacker-Uke&highlight=backpacker


Also, does the site reflect US dollars, or NZ currency? I thought it was NZ, but...

The website says NZ currency:

Price for the standard concert/soprano models = NZ$200 - includes pickup (Artec under-saddle transducer), drum key for tuning, and a cloth bag.

Here's what that translates to in USD:
http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi?Amount=200&From=NZD&To=USD

Hope that helps :)

bottlegreen
01-04-2011, 07:48 PM
Thank you, Whetu. I decided to go for it, and fired off an email. I also really like the spalted tawa. I requested it, since I have a fondness for fungi (I grow edible mushrooms as a hobby). I thought I'd want a soprano, to have something different, but they seem so petite I went with a concert.
Bevin was very kind, and I'm waiting to hear back. I don't think I was too fussy, since I hardly know what I like. But I hope that knowing something's in the works will keep me from looking at ukulele porn all day. :)

jongm
01-04-2011, 11:44 PM
hello bottlegreen.

i am still happy with my backpacker. it is the only uke i throw into my pack whenever i leave home, whether to go to a nearby cafe to read (and because i have it, play uke) or go backpacking, beach or mountain or just elsewhere. but i since realized that it is not the uke i pick up when i am home. it is too quiet and it is too inconvenient to plug in when i just want to practice or loudly muck around in the many corners of my place (or the many spaces/places outside). instead i play my son's generic but great sounding standard ukulele. and because my son complains, i now play the all-mahogany tenor i recently acquired.

so, it is not the "one and only uke" type (i thought it was) but instead the "other uke" (the kind you have for fun outside of home :)). hahaha. but it is a great uke for an audience of one (i played it in dates). nothing i want to change. i switched strings once, from aquila to worth clears. both sound great but the aquila is louder so i went back to the aquila. you might want to consider whetu's bottle opener if you are thinking of a headstock. it is more humid in my part of the globe so i am careful of the uke. i left it in its clothe bag too long once (almost a week) and it was covered with mold. no damage. but i now leave it out in my house's sunny parts.

have bevan put a harder type of wood on that part where the strings can bite into the top. mmstan told me it is called the stan strip. :)

goodluck. i am sure you'll enjoy your backpacker...

Gabriellaxyz
01-05-2011, 02:16 PM
Wait, Did i missread something, or did i see somethiing that said you bought it from the Philippines?? If not where did u get it? loll.. Sounds freaking awesome!! :)
<3

jongm
01-05-2011, 08:18 PM
ordered it through email. contact is at captain ukulele's website. bevan shipped it to me here in manila...

captain_kelly
01-05-2011, 09:17 PM
I too just ordered one in Spalted Tawa,Concert scale...can't wait!! I was told by Bevan that it will be about 4 weeks wait so by then I should have 2 or 3 other Uke's to pass the time :P "Ukulele's....Can't have just 10" should be the new slogan.

bottlegreen
01-07-2011, 04:29 PM
I finally worked out the details with Bevan. I will be sure to post pics when it arrives, but I think it's actually going to be quite similar to another member's Backpacker. And captain-kelly also ordered the spalted tawa... it will be interesting to see how similar ours are! They might be brothers!

I really just fell in love with this design. I can't believe Bevan isn't swamped in orders. He seems to do wonderful work and for something pretty custom and not made in a factory, it's really affordable. I would like to try other brands, but... I'm thinkin' I might call him up for a soprano someday.

Anyway, finally placing the order was like a fever breaking. I can wait with all the patience of the Dali Lama now that I know it's in the works.

Chuditch
01-07-2011, 11:10 PM
Sign me up to the Captain's crew me hearties! I'm in the process of working out woods for the soundboard of a Backpacker concert with Bevan via email. Unbelieveable value for a custom, my next solid wood uke will be a Captain too.

tjomball
01-28-2011, 01:05 AM
Just sent Bevan an e-mail about a headless concert one. Told him to get in touch with me about the wood choices.
Cant wait to hear from him.. It's going to be awesome to have a custom made uke..

bottlegreen
01-28-2011, 02:36 AM
I'm really happy to see these are kind of catching on. I have not heard from Bevan since we confirmed my order, but I'm not worried. It's obvious the guy has his hands full with several recent orders. I hope all the newer ones are photographed and added to the thread. I love seeing what people come up with!
I'm thinking I'll get the soprano as a reward for getting my captain's license. It will make that "Captain" inlay so much sweeter...
*Heard from Bevan yesterday. Looks like mine is shipping out on Feb. 9!