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View Full Version : New Black Bear Tenor Spruce/Koa Ukulele<SOLD>



BlackBearUkes
12-13-2011, 10:04 AM
SOLD, thanks!

This is a new tenor size uke with a 17" playing scale. The top is 4A Sitka spruce.
The back and sides are koa with the back being highly figured and book matched. The
neck is Spanish cedar with a graphite truss rod for lifelong strength and stability.
The fingerboard, bridge and bindings are rosewood. The head plate is figured koa.
The nut and compensated bridge saddle are polished bone. The bridge pins are
fossilized ivory with abalone dots. The logo inlay and rosette are abalone shell.
The fret dots are MOP, white side dots are included. The frets are slightly larger
than standard for easier playing. There are 12 frets to the body, 17 total. The
geared 4:1 ratio tuners are 5 Star brand with hand-made Koa knobs. The finish is
nitrocellulose high gloss lacquer finish to a semi-gloss smooth satin touch. The
strings are Aquila brand. The playing action is low and easy with accurate
intonation. Even though most spruce top ukes have a brighter sound, this uke has a
very full rich mellower sound with clear ringing highs and excellent volume and
sustain. Your complete satisfaction is guaranteed. Limited Lifetime Warranty to the
original owner. No case, but I will double box for safe and secure shipping. Made in
the USA. $35 shipping in the USA lower 48 states. Payment by money order, personal
check or bank draft only, no Paypal. Email me if you need more information. Thanks
for looking.

PRICE - $1500

bobmyers
12-13-2011, 10:38 AM
Really pretty uke, but no disrespect, for the money there are some really great options, I'm thinking Ken Turner, Mya Moe, Kepasa etc.
I know that Black Bear is a respected, relative, newcomer but I would not be interested unless the price was about 2/3 lower.
For your info. I would love to hear it and one way to create a better market is with great sound samples.
Good Luck, Bob

rbeetsme
12-13-2011, 10:55 AM
I already have a terrific Black Bear tenor. If this was a concert I would be sorely tempted to find a way to acquire it.

aaronckeim
12-13-2011, 11:53 AM
Bob- You have no idea who you are talking to. Duane was building high end ukes years before all the people you have listed above. His work is without flaw and his reputation is solid and reaches back to 1998. If anything, his prices should be higher. That uke from Mya-Moe would be about $1800.

tattwo
12-13-2011, 11:55 AM
Really pretty uke, but no disrespect, for the money there are some really great options, I'm thinking Ken Turner, Mya Moe, Kepasa etc.
I know that Black Bear is a respected, relative, newcomer but I would not be interested unless the price was about 2/3 lower.
For your info. I would love to hear it and one way to create a better market is with great sound samples.
Good Luck, Bob


Wow!......

tattwo
12-13-2011, 11:57 AM
Bob- You have no idea who you are talking to. Duane was building high end ukes years before all the people you have listed above. His work is without flaw and his reputation is solid and reaches back to 1998. If anything, his prices should be higher. That uke from Mya-Moe would be about $1800.

Thanks Aaron.....Im still trying to pick my words

Hippie Dribble
12-13-2011, 12:03 PM
Really pretty uke, but no disrespect, for the money there are some really great options, I'm thinking Ken Turner, Mya Moe, Kepasa etc.
I know that Black Bear is a respected, relative, newcomer but I would not be interested unless the price was about 2/3 lower.
For your info. I would love to hear it and one way to create a better market is with great sound samples.
Good Luck, Bob

Bob,

Duane Heilman has been doing this stuff for years mate. His work is without flaw and he is regarded highly by his peers. His prices - certainly recently - are crazy low when you consider the skill and craftsmanship that go into each and every ukulele he builds. I have owned 2 of his ukes and they are amazing.

His reputation is enormous and his record without blemish. You may be interested to check out his website and gallery for yourself:
http://blackbearukuleles.net/index.html

He was a featured builder on one of the earliest ukulele documentaries made, namely, 'The Jumping Flea'...long before 'Rock That Uke' or 'the Mighty Uke' were in vogue. The man is an artist in the true sense of the word. Perhaps you should do your research before making such a preposterous post as this. As Aaron rightly asserted, you are looking at considerably higher cost from other custom builders using similar materials.

As much as I love Mya Moe and Collings, I would recommend Duane's work to anyone - and have done so on numerous occasions - without hesitation.

Kanaka916
12-13-2011, 12:04 PM
Aaron, Terry . . . Thank You! Duane, you just keep building them.

NatalieS
12-13-2011, 12:33 PM
That inlay is to die for. I do NOT need another uke, but... dang. :) Beautiful!

southcoastukes
12-13-2011, 12:38 PM
Bob- You have no idea who you are talking to. Duane was building high end ukes years before all the people you have listed above. His work is without flaw and his reputation is solid and reaches back to 1998. If anything, his prices should be higher. That uke from Mya-Moe would be about $1800.

+1, Aaron!

I have admired Duane's work for years. From everything I've heard his ukuleles are fantastic (even with the all solid wood construction).

I think, for example, he was the first to reproduce a harp ukulele.

And finally, why do you think people like Aaron Keim check out what Duane has to offer in the first place. Everyone who's a fan of ukuleles wants to see the latest Black Bear (and wonder a bit about how he can do it so cheap!).

fabioponta
12-13-2011, 01:46 PM
Duane make ukes with a kind of unique sound. The Black Bear mahogany soprano that I had had the more woody tone I've ever encountered in a soprano. Amazing construction and finish. It would be a $2000 or more with this AAAA master grade woods.

zac987
12-13-2011, 02:41 PM
Talk about a dream uke if I ever saw one. Good lord.

UncleElvis
12-13-2011, 02:47 PM
Makes you wonder if that was an attempt to get a lower price...

if not, I can't figure out why that sort of negativity was said.

misteruke
12-13-2011, 03:18 PM
I must chime in too. Although, I don't want the original poster (2nd poster, Bob) to feel too beaten up, as I doubt Duane was losing any sleep over it, but still I appreciate having a thread to post to that I actually know something about. Here is a video of Aaron playing on my first Black Bear uke (which I still own and cherish--I have had the privilege of owning, and then sharing one other)... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhIw4PcSlOQ
I bought that uke without playing it based on Duane's reputation (quite a few years ago). I called him about it, and he gave me his time. I have called him about guitars, and he has given me his time, but the best thing I got out of that deal was the ukulele you see in the video. To each his own. I have bought and sold some amazing instruments in my time, and my Black Bear is a keeper! I can't believe I let the other one go, but it needed to be shared, as it didn't get played as much as it deserved to. These are hard times, and I know many are changing their business models to adapt. I like Duane's style, and I like his instruments, and at the prices he is selling right now, I would say there have been many bargains lately.
I have seen folks look inside my ukes and poo-poo what they see. I have taken chances with new or unknown builders. I have Beansprout uke #14 (Thanks Aaron!), and even though a very reputable builder criticized some of the finishing...it SOUNDS AWESOME, and every time I take it out, somebody wants to know where they can get one...I'm trying not to collect ukuleles anymore, just want to play them. If I had $1500 just laying around, and I needed a spruce top uke, this one would be all over my radar. What else can I say? Somebody will be very happy with this uke!
By the way, Duane made the fiddle in the video too!

Drew Bear
12-13-2011, 03:25 PM
...for the money there are some really great options, I'm thinking Ken Turner, Mya Moe, Kepasa etc.
Others have already pointed this out, but here's what a quick search turned up:

Kevin Crossett at Kepasa Ukulele (http://kepasaukulele.com/about.htm) started "in early 2004."

Gordan & Char at Mya-Moe (http://myamoeukuleles.com/trivia.html) started around 2008.

I'm not sure who Ken Turner is, but Rick Turner of Renaissance Guitars, Rick Turner Guitars, and Compass Rose Guitars and Ukulele (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzjtjQzVES0&feature=youtube_gdata_player) has a history too long to even summarize. But he only started building ukulele around 7 years ago.

By all accounts, all these folks are great to work with and make excellent instruments, but I don't see how their credentials in any way surpass those of Duane Heilman at Black Bear Ukulele (http://www.blackbearukuleles.net/info.html).

Stevelele
12-13-2011, 03:26 PM
I don't mean to pile on here, so I'm just going to focus on the positive. Ever since I started becoming interested in the uke, I've coveted Black Bears. You very rarely see used black bears available on the market, because their owners simply do not want to give them up. I have spoken to several owners who tell me that their Black Bears are among their favorite ukes, comparing it in the same category as the best vintage martins, custom dasilvas and the like. As others have mentioned, Duane has been doing this expertly for a long long time, and all it takes is one look at his gallery and you'll realize that you're dealing with an absolute master of his craft, and someone with an incredibly creative mind. I look forward to owning a Black Bear one of these days. When Duane joined the forum, I was really excited--there was a while there that he wasn't making so many ukes, probably focusing on other things. Now, he makes koa concert and sopranos at absurdly low prices for handcrafted ukes made by the hands of someone like Duane. I hope that this thread encourages people to post clips playing their black bears so we can enjoy more of them

Stevelele
12-13-2011, 03:39 PM
Just in case there's any doubt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQuLB1czYRI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0njDZNGo9gE

rbeetsme
12-13-2011, 03:45 PM
I see that this sold, someone got a great instrument.

BlackBearUkes
12-13-2011, 03:57 PM
I'd like to thank everyone for there words and thoughts. For those of us who have been doing this for a living, we are a lucky bunch. The money is not always great and times can get tough, but to be able to get up in the morning and do what we want to do is worth a heck of a lot more than money. As far as prices go, I try keep it reasonable. My overhead is low and I've been able to build faster and smarter over the years. Hopefully I will have many more ukes to offer. Thanks!

Kanaka916
12-13-2011, 03:57 PM
Since the Instrument has been sold, I'm gonna lock this thread. Most of us here know who Duane is and aware of his reputation as a master craftsman.