View Full Version : Ledward Kaapana Ukulele

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-19-2011, 07:27 AM
Here's an uke I just finished for Ledward Kaapana, one of Hawaii's great slack key masters. Hopefully he will play it at the Prairie Home Companion show on Oahu on New Years Eve.
It's a very personalized piece; the head stock inlay is of the black sand beach in Kalapana where Ledward grew up and learned to play music. The beach is no longer there as it was over taken by lava in the mid 1980s. The Kalapana/Kaimu area is known as the birth place of Hawaiian slack key music and is only a few miles from where I live. It still hosts weekly local music on the edge of the lava flow.
The "Jus' Press" on the fret board refers to the answer Ledward would get when trying to learn from his elders as a boy. When he asked how to play a certain passage they would answer "Jus' press!" It's also the name of Ledward's first album.
By locating the sound hole in the upper bout I am able to move the horizontal bracing up a bit, leaving a larger area of the lower bout to resonate. The result is a ukulele that has a bit more volume than the traditional designs I build.
The uke also features the new LR Baggs "Five-0" ukulele pickup with volume control (hidden just within the sound hole.) First impressions is that it sounds a lot like the MiSi's I'm used to installing, perhaps a bit more natural. A better amp than mine would be needed to truly evaluate it. Admittedly, I haven't spent much time with it (I just finished the uke last night) but so far I like it. It's powered by a coin type battery, good for about 300 hours.

12-19-2011, 07:35 AM
That's beautiful, Chuck.

Can't wait to hear him play it.

12-19-2011, 07:37 AM

12-19-2011, 07:38 AM
The pleasure center of my brain just became extremely active����������

12-19-2011, 07:42 AM
WOW, gorgeous!

12-19-2011, 08:10 AM
BEAUTIFUL!!! AWESOME BUILD!!! UNREAL!!! Great job Uncle Chuck, you always amaze me!

Uncle Ledward is a great ukulele player, too! Not just Slack Key on the guitar. For those of you who don't know who Ledward Kaapana is, here's a few links of him playing the uke and one of him playing Hawaiian Slack Key (Ki ho'alu) on guitar:





12-19-2011, 08:51 AM
FYI: Led along with his brother, Ned and cousin Dennis Pavao formed Hui Ohana one of Hawaii's most popular groups in the 70's and 80's. I think they had something like 14 albums and was part of the movement of traditional music and culture. After going separate ways, he formed Ikona. He then went on a solo career and did some recording for Dancing Cat Records.

Brad Bordessa
12-19-2011, 09:09 AM
"Go 'head!"

12-19-2011, 09:18 AM
A great uke for a great player. All is well in the ukulele world.

12-19-2011, 09:21 AM
If Led decides he doesn't want this, I suppose I could be convinced to take it.

I'm just sayin ...

12-19-2011, 09:36 AM
It is stunning! Love the beautiful inlaid headstock w/the black sand! Would love to hear that Five-0 p/u demo'd. Perhaps we will if he plays it at the Praire Home show.

12-19-2011, 09:38 AM
nice as usual!

12-19-2011, 10:04 AM

12-19-2011, 10:55 AM
Oh, yeah.

I definitely need a cigarette.


12-19-2011, 11:32 AM
Oh, yeah.

I definitely need a cigarette.


Maybe a pack...or two.

12-19-2011, 12:03 PM
Chuck, that instument is absolutely gorgeous. Now I just have to figure out how to get Ledward to adopt me. :)

12-19-2011, 01:42 PM
WOW LUALAU!!! DAT UKE IS ONE WINNAH FOR REAL KINE!!! Uncle Led is one lucky Hawaiian!!! A great uke fo a great player. Cannot wait fo hear how da uke sounds like wen Uncle Led plays em.

12-19-2011, 05:44 PM
Wow, that is one unique looking ukulele! If it sounds as pretty as it looks, I wonder why he wouldn't play it???

12-19-2011, 05:53 PM
Oh man.... That is a gorgeous Uke. Plus Prarie Home Companion on Oahu on New Years Eve?! Why couldn't they have done this two years ago when I was still there?! :( That is going to be one wickedly good show though!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-17-2012, 08:23 AM
Ledward sent me a video of him playing my uke. It can be seen here along with other pics. Thanks for looking.


01-17-2012, 08:28 AM
Absolutely wonderful.. Thanks for making it and sharing the vid.

01-17-2012, 09:22 AM
Thanks for the link to the video, Chuck! The uke is stunning, of course! It's cool to see Led's shirt through both sound holes!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-17-2012, 09:29 AM
Thanks for the link to the video, Chuck! The uke is stunning, of course! It's cool to see Led's shirt through both sound holes!

That's funny, I didn't notice that. What you can't see is the tiny volume knob for the LR Baggs Five-0 pickup located just inside the main sound hole.

Ronnie Aloha
01-17-2012, 09:53 AM
Aww, the Ko'olau mountains, wet vegetation and cloudy skies are classic sights of Kane'ohe. If there were waterfalls cascading down the cliffs it would be perfect. It brings back fond memories of my youth.

A perfect setting for two artists, Led and Chuck.

mm stan
01-17-2012, 10:28 AM
Awesome playing, sweet sound and a beautiful custom ukulele...so jealous...

01-17-2012, 11:13 AM
A beautiful work of art! & Nice website update Chuck! My heart always skips a beat when I first see that you've changed your "last updated..." message.