View Full Version : Ukes and strings used by "Iz"

02-21-2011, 07:34 AM
Listening to "Bruddah Iz's" album "Facing Future", I am wondering what kind of ukes did he use on it, and what kind of strings?

Anyone know?

Thank you.

02-21-2011, 07:41 AM
I'm not sure on the type of strings, but his most famous uke is the one he used for Over the Rainbow, which was a Martin Tenor uke with a low G string.

02-21-2011, 09:05 AM
I've been looking into this for awhile now, just to satisfy my own curiosity. Here is what I've found.

50's Tenor Martin
Kawika Tenor
KC Young 5 String Tenor
'20's Kamaka Soprano
White Label Kamaka Tenor

As far as strings all of the tenors in photos/videos I've seen have been low G. With a Wound Low G. And the other strings I've seen a wound 3 string sometimes while other times it was plain. Some times they were a black string, other times they were clear.

So from the little research I've done, I'd guess IZ wasn't particular about his strings as long as they were a wound Low G set. By the looks of some photos he'd leave his strings on for some time, because some photos the Wound string(s) were obviously very old! :)

And another little piece of info, I had read that the Martin Tenor was IZ's favorite uke and it was with him when he was cremated.

02-21-2011, 09:19 AM
I'll make some phone calls:)

02-21-2011, 10:44 AM
Not that my post will add anything useful to the thread, but this is a pretty cool topic. I have never thought about what type of uke Iz used, but now that it was asked I found myself curious and want to search for some more info. I certainly hope more members can add to this thread.

02-21-2011, 11:11 AM
Here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?42687-IZ-s-ukulele-s)is a post I had a few days ago :)

I found other photos of him in this book:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/314VSTZHVDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/IZ-Voice-People-Rick-Carroll/dp/157306257X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1298326199&sr=1-3)

02-21-2011, 01:33 PM
Now I want to buy that book. This thread has me very interested now.

02-21-2011, 01:50 PM
I love the guy's work and admired him. He is the one that inspired me to start playing the uke after a long hiatus from playing guitar due to my own morbid obesity and other health issues. He inspired me to pick up the uke and get back to music. If I could count how many pre-teen and teen kid's I have turned onto that guy's work that never heard of him. I wish he was here to share more with the new generation inspired by him.

02-22-2011, 04:42 AM
@Tudorp - that is fanstastic that he inspired you to take up the ukulele.
I just love when I listen to Hawaiian music I can always tell when Iz comes on. He just has a distinct sound that can bring out the best feelings.

02-22-2011, 05:10 AM
After listening to IZ about 10-11 years ago I had to buy an ukulele. Bought a $20 Johnson soprano off ebay for $19. Was complete junk, but it got me started :)

To this day if I'm in a bad mood and Somewhere Over the Rainbow comes on, it almost instantly betters my mood :) His voice seems to heal at times :)

Just wish I would have found out about him while he was with us. I look forward to playing music with him one day :)

02-22-2011, 05:13 AM
When I started playing last year Somewhere Over the Rainbow was my "benchmark" song. The one I wanted to learn and be able to play at will - to me it's one of the model ukulele songs.

02-25-2017, 09:46 PM
I know this thread is years old but in case anyone is still wondering I discovered, thanks to Martin's Historian, that the Martin Uke IZ used is Somewhere over the rainbow and many other songs and parts of shows (as he switched ukes during shows) was strung with a unique combination made specifically and only for Iz. The bottom 3 strings were composed of a fluorocarbon made by Martin (closest retail to it is the Martin 620 uke strings but they are not exact as his were custom) and coated with a chemical to create "wet feel" that would feel similiar to nylon or nylgut but without the the tuning issues those strings create in humidity and climate change. The top string was a wound low g custom made by Martin also. It was a unique creation and "created a beautifully balanced Low g that has not been heard from any other Low g string before or since." The exact composition of this string is undocumented and unknown as Is and the engineer who worked with him on achieving his desired sound have both passed.