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View Full Version : Crazy for Cedar and Koa - new ukes!



marymac
08-30-2011, 09:11 PM
Ok in the past month I've acquired two new ukes, both koa back and sides with a cedar top. Other than that, they're pretty different ukes!

The first is a Michael Dunn Maccaferri D-hole uke. RichM told me that Michael doesn't make these any more which is a shame because this is really a beauty. It sounds great too! I have it strung with Worth Brown low-G so it sounds lovely and rich.

Uke number two is a 2003 Black Bear by Duane Heilman. The inlay on this is glorious and the uke was lovingly cared for by Rev. Dr. Kate (UU: revdrkate) since it was first made. In addition to its beauty it's got an accumulation of good karma from Kate playing it at hospices and senior homes for years. I'm nowhere near as good a player as the Rev but I intend to enjoy the uke just as much. She has it strung with Worth Clear high-Gs and it sounds great with these.

Enjoy the pics! - Mary

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-n7cVC8b/0/XL/i-n7cVC8b-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-XsFvqBb/0/XL/i-XsFvqBb-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-H3R8CBk/0/XL/i-H3R8CBk-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-9wXZCHv/0/XL/i-9wXZCHv-XL.jpg

marymac
08-30-2011, 09:12 PM
http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-NxfFxPT/0/XL/i-NxfFxPT-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-dW74Kk8/0/XL/i-dW74Kk8-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-57CXjTh/0/XL/i-57CXjTh-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-nxgv3CC/0/XL/i-nxgv3CC-XL.jpg

marymac
08-30-2011, 09:15 PM
Black Bear Cedar/Koa photos

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-KFfwtWC/0/XL/i-KFfwtWC-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-Jgstvb2/0/XL/i-Jgstvb2-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-MmCbQzh/0/XL/i-MmCbQzh-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-FtTRF8Z/0/XL/i-FtTRF8Z-XL.jpg

marymac
08-30-2011, 09:16 PM
http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-DvXGHFS/0/XL/i-DvXGHFS-XL.jpg

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/i-Bpt4hV5/0/XL/i-Bpt4hV5-XL.jpg

HoldinCoffee
08-30-2011, 09:29 PM
Oh my!! Those may be the most beautiful ukes I have ever seen. The body shape on the D-hole is quite striking, would love to hear a sound sample if you have any handy. Til then I am content to drool over the photos!!

marymac
08-30-2011, 09:54 PM
I'm getting set up to record some (basic) samples this week. Hopefully by the weekend I'll have video and audio to post. Glad you like them!

ukulelecowboy
08-31-2011, 12:12 AM
Hey Mary!

Gorgeous ukes! I have a background in professional photography and the photo work is really impressive. Can I ask about your shooting setup?

Thanks,

blab
08-31-2011, 01:17 AM
Beautiful. And the D-hole has a floating bridge which - I think - is rare.

Trinimon
08-31-2011, 01:30 AM
Dang, they are pretty! I like the inlay work on the Black Bear's fretboard. The Michael Dunn Maccaferri D-hole uke looks stunning. You've got yourself a couple beauties with some history. Great work on the photos!

RichM
08-31-2011, 01:45 AM
I lost an ebay face-off with Mary on that Michael Dunn. Mary, I'm sure if the ebay seller had posted wonderful photos like that, he may have actually got some bids! You know my offer stands... the moment you get tired of it, give me a buzz and I'll take it off your hands :)

Oh, and I should probably clarify-- I contacted Michael when I saw this uke up on ebay, and he told me he hadn't made any ukes in several years. I imagine he might be open to a custom order if someone really wanted one. And he still makes the most gorgeous guitars you can imagine... and is a fantastic player, as well.

guitharsis
08-31-2011, 01:45 AM
Congrats, Mary! Ditto on everything
Trinimon posted. Looking forward to video and audio.

I'll take the Black Bear off of your hands anytime.:)

dkcrown
08-31-2011, 02:25 AM
Mary, two great looking ukes and beautiful photography to boot! Congrtats! You are amassing quite a collection. :)

Uke Republic
08-31-2011, 02:42 AM
Beautiful instruments

zac987
08-31-2011, 02:53 AM
Good lord both of those instruments look great. The Black Bear is the kind of uke I've always wanted in aesthetics, and I'm sure it's absolutely wonderful sounding as well.

FiL
08-31-2011, 03:09 AM
Wow, that Michael Dunn uke looks fantastic! Quite a big/deep body on it.

molokinirum
08-31-2011, 03:33 AM
Wow....two awesome looking ukes!!! Looking forward to hearing the sound samples!
BTW...excellent pictures, thanks!!

bynapkinart
08-31-2011, 03:55 AM
Wow, that Maccaferri looks incredible! The bear looks sweet too, I'm kind of interested in hearing what spruce and koa sound like together.

marymac
08-31-2011, 05:47 AM
Hey Mary!

Gorgeous ukes! I have a background in professional photography and the photo work is really impressive. Can I ask about your shooting setup?

Thanks,

Hi Mike - I do my photography in my messy basement so it's not some pristine photo studio! I use an SLR (Canon 40D) on a tripod for shooting, then I have a large sheet of photo paper (probably 6' wide by 8' long) draped over a table and clamped to some shelves. The paper creates that "infinite horizon" look. For lighting I have two of the cheapest light stands they had at the local photo store but I did add a couple expensive bulbs (fluorescent daylight 500W bulbs). Worked just as well when I had cheaper incandescent bulbs in them but it did give everything a yellowish cast.

Anyway, that's it: camera, tripod, paper, two lights. 30 minutes to shoot these two ukes.

Hope that helps! - Mary

marymac
08-31-2011, 05:50 AM
Beautiful. And the D-hole has a floating bridge which - I think - is rare.

The floating bridge is great for adjusting intonation. The only negatives are that it's easy to move accidentally when wiping off the body, and the longer length made it tricky to string the A string without snapping it. Finally got it on though and the sound is worth it.

marymac
08-31-2011, 05:54 AM
Wow, that Michael Dunn uke looks fantastic! Quite a big/deep body on it.

The size of the body is definitely striking, especially sitting next to a "normal" sized tenor. It really gives it a resonance that I can't duplicate without going to a baritone.

marymac
08-31-2011, 05:55 AM
Mary, two great looking ukes and beautiful photography to boot! Congrtats! You are amassing quite a collection. :)

Hey DK - yes, I'm afraid I am. If I didn't love 'em so much I'd be feeling a little buried but right now I'm just happy. You've got some nice one's yourself if I recall! Cheers - Mary

allanr
08-31-2011, 05:59 AM
OMG! That D-hole with the floating bridge looks amazing. Uke-lust...

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-31-2011, 06:17 AM
Beautiful ukuleles, beautiful pictures. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing!

dkcrown
08-31-2011, 06:33 AM
Hey DK - yes, I'm afraid I am. If I didn't love 'em so much I'd be feeling a little buried but right now I'm just happy. You've got some nice one's yourself if I recall! Cheers - Mary

Yes Mary, I do have a few nice ones. And I just picked up another this week that I will be posting some pics of in the near future. :)

marymac
08-31-2011, 06:35 AM
Yes Mary, I do have a few nice ones. And I just picked up another this week that I will be posting some pics of in the near future. :)

Cool! I'll be looking for it!

pulelehua
08-31-2011, 08:02 AM
Mary,

Can you say how a cedar top/koa back & sides compares to an all koa ukulele? I've become a bit obsessed by cedar lately. Kind of from reading National Geographic, of all things... Of course, is it Western Red Cedar? Cos as it turns out, most other cedars aren't cedar.

I digress.

How does the cedar sound?

The Black Bear is gorgeous. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, so the other is a bit wacky for me, but the Black Bear... yum.

mds725
08-31-2011, 08:23 AM
Those are gorgeous, Mary. I'm looking forward to the sound samples you plan to make. Congratulations!

RichM
08-31-2011, 08:52 AM
The Black Bear is gorgeous. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, so the other is a bit wacky for me, but the Black Bear... yum.

See, the wacky factor is what makes the Dunn work for me. More so than just about any luthier today, I love the way Michael Dunn (http://www.michaeldunnguitars.com/) intermingles the traditional with the outrageous to create instruments that are aweseome to look at, delightful to play, and sound wonderful. He's got competition from fellow Candian Allan Beardsell (http://www.beardsellguitars.com/) (who hasn't built any ukes that I'm aware of...yet.) In the uke world, Peter Hurney (http://www.pohakuukulele.com/)is really getting my attention...

marymac
08-31-2011, 10:29 AM
Mary,

Can you say how a cedar top/koa back & sides compares to an all koa ukulele? I've become a bit obsessed by cedar lately. Kind of from reading National Geographic, of all things... Of course, is it Western Red Cedar? Cos as it turns out, most other cedars aren't cedar.

I digress.

How does the cedar sound?

The Black Bear is gorgeous. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, so the other is a bit wacky for me, but the Black Bear... yum.

Both cedar tops are very warm. I don't have an all-koa tenor to compare it to but compared to the Kala Acacia Tenor my partner has, I'd say very similar sound but with a bit more treble. Clearer sound overall. My all-koa concert has more treble still, but I think that's a function of its size (much smaller body).

pulelehua
08-31-2011, 11:28 AM
Both cedar tops are very warm. I don't have an all-koa tenor to compare it to but compared to the Kala Acacia Tenor my partner has, I'd say very similar sound but with a bit more treble. Clearer sound overall. My all-koa concert has more treble still, but I think that's a function of its size (much smaller body).

Thanks, Mary. Did you commission it directly? I've been to Black Bear's site, and it's a bit unclear how open he is to orders.

marymac
08-31-2011, 11:37 AM
Thanks, Mary. Did you commission it directly? I've been to Black Bear's site, and it's a bit unclear how open he is to orders.

No, I bought this used. It wasn't commissioned at all - Duane designed and built it, and Kate bought it from him when he used to sell on ebay. I think you would have to email him directly to see if he's open to commissions. If not, older Black Bear ukes come up on FMM periodically.

Hippie Dribble
08-31-2011, 02:46 PM
As far as I know, Duane is always open to commissions for custom uke builds.

Lexxy
08-31-2011, 02:50 PM
Wow those ukes certainly are pretty. Have fun with them Mary! (And yes videos please :) )