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davegraham
06-16-2014, 11:14 AM
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone knew of any carbon fiber ukuleles that don't have the futuro-funky designs that virtually all of them have that I've seen. I'm not talking about the look of carbon fiber, but the actual designs that most luthiers that work with this material seem compelled to make. I'm sure that the Blackbird tenor is a fine instrument, but I can't get past the design of it. I like the Karadoo tenor (the maker over in Thailand), but I don't know if the guy is around anymore. If anyone has any knowledge on this, I would love to hear.

Pueo
06-16-2014, 11:18 AM
I am pretty sure Mike Da Silva in Berkeley, CA makes traditionally styled carbon fiber ukuleles, or at least he has done so...

Andy Chen
06-16-2014, 02:46 PM
The Blackbird Clara concert is a traditional pineapple shape. Although it's not carbon fibre, it is a composite material that has some of the benefits of carbon fibre, namely weather resistance and lightweight construction. It is a wonderful uke.

Ukulele Eddie
06-16-2014, 07:53 PM
I can second the recommendation to consider a Blackbird Clara (full disclosure, I help out a Blackbird dealer). I actually like the look of the tenor (as an avid cyclist, I'm used to carbon fibre) but prefer the sound of the Clara as it has greater depth in the lower register. Plus, I have come to prefer concerts and sopranos in size. The Clara is made from a proprietary plant-based composite material. It's not just a great "outdoor" uke, it's a great uke in its own right in my opinion (and several other UUer's who own some pretty special instruments have said similar). FWIW, I have mine strung re-entrant with Aquila Reds and lots of people at the SoCal Uke Mountain Retreat were blown away.

Don't get me wrong, I drool over artisan wood instruments and will always have some. But I could no longer imagine not having a Clara given it's wonderful sound and awesome flexibility (I can leave my instrument in my car while I run errands, etc.).

Steveperrywriter
06-16-2014, 08:40 PM
You leave your Blackbird Clara in the car while you run errands? Isn't this like an $1150 instrument? In SoCal?

I live in a pretty good neighborhood, but it will be a cold day in Hell when I leave an expensive musical instrument in my car all by itself and go run errands.

Andy Chen
06-16-2014, 09:19 PM
I could no longer imagine not having a Clara given it's wonderful sound and awesome flexibility.

My thoughts exactly!

kvehe
06-17-2014, 12:18 AM
The last post in a Karadoo thread that ended in February indicated that the owner has died. This came after many people posted about their inability to get in touch with him (presumably while he was ill and in and out of the hospital). I have had a Blackbird tenor for about two years and think it's super.

SailingUke
06-17-2014, 04:57 AM
Another vote for the Clara, wonderful instrument.

Dane
06-17-2014, 07:02 AM
Blackbird just needs to make a tenor guilele and I'll buy it. I'd love to have one I can leave in my car.

Ukulele Eddie
06-17-2014, 07:41 AM
You leave your Blackbird Clara in the car while you run errands? Isn't this like an $1150 instrument? In SoCal?

I live in a pretty good neighborhood, but it will be a cold day in Hell when I leave an expensive musical instrument in my car all by itself and go run errands.

Yes and yes. My rear windows are heavily tinted so you cannot see in.

Steveperrywriter
06-17-2014, 08:10 AM
Yes and yes. My rear windows are heavily tinted so you cannot see in.

You are braver than I; when I lived in SoCal, if you forgot to take your garbage out, you could just put it in a box in your car and it would be gone the next day ...

hoosierhiver
06-17-2014, 08:30 AM
The last post in a Karadoo thread that ended in February indicated that the owner has died. This came after many people posted about their inability to get in touch with him (presumably while he was ill and in and out of the hospital). I have had a Blackbird tenor for about two years and think it's super.

Aww man, I was wondering what happened with him, he was a nice guy.

rar jungle
06-17-2014, 10:34 AM
I heard from the owner of Ribbee Boutique, almost a year ago, that Blackbird somehow stopped the Karadoo guy from making his carbon fiber ukes.

davegraham
06-17-2014, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to check out this Clara now.

M3Ukulele
06-17-2014, 12:45 PM
Clara certainly a winner and a big achievement in Ukulele design. I want one...... but am a Tenor player and although some have suggested this concert plays as big as a tenor, without getting hands on... I'm not ready to part with $1150. I'm sure if I could get my hands on one in my travels I'd likely come home with a Clara. It is just too cool, sound greats and of course you can take it anywhere and not worry. I recently did a month in Mexico and the humidity was 85% with most day 32- 34C and I know my Pono would have been hurting coming from Canada with all the climate changes.

That being said, the second, they produce either a long neck Clara or a Ekoa Tenor ( in any shape.... 8 or the current asymmetrical shape of the current carbon fibre tenor ukulele or whatever) I'm going to order on line, without a hesitation and GET ONE.

My .02 cents worth on the carbon fibre thing. Its seems Joe has hit something big with Ekoa!

Andy Chen
06-17-2014, 02:41 PM
Dane: The Blackbird steel rider may only be slightly bigger than what you're after. It's the smallest loud travel guitar I've played.

Dane
06-17-2014, 04:22 PM
Dane: The Blackbird steel rider may only be slightly bigger than what you're after. It's the smallest loud travel guitar I've played.

Yeah I was checking them out, it looks fantastic. But unfortunately I'm not interested in steel string acoustics anymore. Steel string for electric only. I sent a message in to blackbird after reading this thread.

I wrote:


Hello,

I was wondering if you guys had considered designing a carbon fiber guitalele (guilele, guitarlele, or guitar ukulele).

Tenor scale length and tuned to ADGCEA these can be popular "travel-guitars" for guitar players, and would be the only available guilele in carbon fiber. Tenor scale length is long enough to sustain good tone, and not sound like a toy, but also short enough to fit easily into most travel situations.

Have a good one, you guys make beautiful instruments. Keep innovating! -Dane

The very quick response I got was:


Hi Dane!

Thank you for your email. At moment we have our hands full with our tenor and concert models I'm afraid. If/when we do a guitarlele I think we'd go with a 20" scale to get some juice out of the D and A strings. Should still be fairly portable... Anyway, no plans as of yet (unless some one with someone wants to order a custom instrument which costs about the same as a car!)

Please let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions.

Best,
Joe

So that's interesting!

Andy Chen
06-17-2014, 04:30 PM
Interesting indeed! But as mentioned above, an Ekoa tenor from Blackbird would be a real winner. Many uke players are waiting for that. I, too, have emailed Joe of Blackbird about that, and he says the Ekoa tenor won't be a reality for a while.

If and when the Ekoa tenor comes, I will be in for it, despite having the current Blackbird tenor and the Clara.

Dane
06-17-2014, 04:51 PM
Sorry but what is Ekoa?

Andy Chen
06-17-2014, 05:00 PM
The proprietary plant-based composite material that the Clara is made of. It provides a vintage tone that is as resonant as it is rich and loud.

Dane
06-17-2014, 06:20 PM
The proprietary plant-based composite material that the Clara is made of. It provides a vintage tone that is as resonant as it is rich and loud.

Is it 100% weather proof?

Andy Chen
06-17-2014, 06:29 PM
Yes. Only differences between carbon fibre and Ekoa are that CF would be stronger than Ekoa and can be submerged in water.

PereBourik
06-17-2014, 08:01 PM
On the Clara, only the tuners are at risk to weather, and electronics if you have an installed pickup, of course. My Clara is brilliant. It has the range and volume of a tenor. I've never heard any ukulele handle low G better than a Clara. As well, yes, but not better. Good in weather. Good in the rough and tumble of camping. Great, rich voice with the distinct harmonics of a concert size instrument. Much like Mary Poppins, "Practically perfect in every way."