Ukulele Related News from NAMM 2018

Rakelele

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As in previous years, I thought we could collect all Ukulele related news from the National Association of Music Merchants Winter Show in a single thread.

So if you're at NAMM, please post your impressions, pictures, or videos in this thread.

Everybody else who is not that lucky to be there in person, including myself, can share whatever they find on the internet from ukulele makers, brands or vendors regarding new model announcements, accessoires, etc.

I'm really excited to see what's new, and I've already spotted some very exciting things. I'll start listing them soon, but everybody else who finds something of interest to ukulele enthusiasts, please contribute... :music:
 

SoloRule

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I am waiting eagerly for my 007 to report back. He is there right now.
 

Rakelele

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Rakelele

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Exciting news from Ohana: Apparently they are both going smaller and bigger by adding Pineapple Sopraninos and Sopranissimos on the one hand, and guitars and something that looks like a tenor guitar on the other hand. I hope these models are short scale, so they will accomodate ukulele players like me.

Here's another picture of the Sopranino lineup, one that looks like a reverence to the earliest builders (upper left), a couple of Pineapples (upper right) and several different colors (bottom): https://www.instagram.com/p/BeYl4ooFUBA/?taken-by=uke_republic
 

SoloRule

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As discussed in another thread (here), Pepe Romero is presenting some new models from his Romero Creations import line: A concert scale version of the Tiny Tenor and a great looking Replica of his own custom tenors.

Anothere glance at Pepe's booth, with a Mango Replica tenor (right) and three concert scale models (between the Tiny Tenors and XS Sopranos): https://www.instagram.com/p/BeWzcEOFjyM/?taken-by=uke_republic

I was hoping they would introduce a tenor body plus more wood choices.
 

Ukulele Eddie

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As I shared before, this year I did not want to commit to taking tons of photos and "reporting". Nonetheless, I was tasked with some missions by folks.

First, however, for those not familiar, NAMM is not the place to really check out tone. It's a constant cacophony. Second, the shows for music industry merchants. So you don't find custom luthiers, etc. for ukuleles. While there are plenty of super high end guitars as such, not so for ukes. Plenty of nice stuff, but more production-oriented.

Below are some of what I found interesting:

1. Romero Creations new "The Replica" tenors look nice. They are a production tribute to Pepe's custom stuff and retail for about $1K. There is an all-mango, an all hog and a spruce-top. I cannot recall for sure but I think the body was mahogany. They feel very resonant. I liked the neck profile a lot. And, they have a normal headstock. I really do not like the headstock on the other Romero Creation models. I understand why they did it on the Tiny Tenor but I find it, ah, not so pleasing aesthetically.



2. I checked out the Seagull Electric (both the steel and nylon string). The steel string has a VERY narrow neck width (1 3/16" - yes, that's correct). The nylon stinged, pictured below, was more traditional width (probably 1 3/8"). I could not tell how they sound unplugged as a band was performing in the room where they were displayed. As expected with Seagull, nicely finished. $399 street price.



3. Blackbird is now doing unidirectional weave on the uke bodies (and the top if special ordered). Prices going up in February, so get your orders in.



4. The Kanile'a 2018 Platinum looked nice. They've further improved their TRU bracing, added a bevel for comfort, used some gorgeous koa and provided other nice appointments. A very nice instrument.





5. The Takumi booth in always on of my favorite ones to visit as they have really nice stuff (Takumi, Loprinzi, Kiwaya and usually several other select Japanese luthiers). The Takumi continue to impress me a lot and I'm surprised they aren't more widely appreciated. I bought a Honduran mahogany concert last year and this year was eyeing the 3K concert version. Really beautifully done. For those who like SUPER thin necks, I think LoPrinzi is as thin as they come. They, too, seem like super values.


Here is a link to all the pics. There's some guitar stuff in there, too (a $19K Santa Cruz guitar with ancient spruce top, gulp!) and some gorgeous Larrivee guitars with wonderful inlay.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmbHusct

Tomorrow if I get a chance I'll provide links to the videos I took of some of the musical performances.
 
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keod

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Thanks Eddie, great pics, much appreciated! Really like the new backs on the Clara.
 

SoloRule

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Thanks Eddie, these are wonderful images, I particularly like the Kanile'a Platinum, very nice :D

I agreed. That one looks the best.
Kanile’a always have lots of choices.
The guitar in a glass case must be very special just like the price tag
I am eager to get my hand on a TT mango. Thank you 007 for the update!
Mission accomplished although you failed one but I forgive you!;)
Great pictures and you actually delivered the report before deadline. Job well done!
 

Ukulele Eddie

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A few more thoughts this am that may be of interest:

6. Takumi had a Kiwaya Taropatch on display. I can barely deal with four strings, but this thing was pretty neat and freakishly light.

7. KoAloha has a line below their Opio line (made in China). These are made in Indonesia and provide another nice option for entry level ukes.

8. Ohana offers an unbelievable number of models. I'm surprised that it makes business sense to offer so many, but certainly if offers a bewildering number of options for consumers.
 

Iulia

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I never heard of this expo (in UK) until last week. Can you actually buy or pre-order stuff, or is it looking only?
 

SoloRule

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A few more thoughts this am that may be of interest:

6. Takumi had a Kiwaya Taropatch on display. I can barely deal with four strings, but this thing was pretty neat and freakishly light.

7. KoAloha has a line below their Opio line (made in China). These are made in Indonesia and provide another nice option for entry level ukes.

8. Ohana offers an unbelievable number of models. I'm surprised that it makes business sense to offer so many, but certainly if offers a bewildering number of options for consumers.

I heard a lot of good thing about Ohana.
 

Sanfe

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I never heard of this expo (in UK) until last week. Can you actually buy or pre-order stuff, or is it looking only?

Technically not open to the public. Industry folks debuting new products, services, etc. I suppose you can buy products, but more as a dealer/retailer.

If it's your first time going, it's overwhelming. If you (have to) go every year, it's a necessary annoyance ameliorated by the once-a-year meeting with others you like in the industry.
 

Rakelele

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Eddie, thanks so much for taking the time to report! That's exactly the kind of background information I was hoping for.

Any idea as to what the new unidirectional weave from Blackbird is for? Is it an aesthetic, a sonic, or a structural improvment?

And what is that abalone purfled guitalele with the arm bevel in your flickr stream?
 
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Ukulele Eddie

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Eddie, thanks so much for taking the time to report! That's exactly the kind of background information I was hoping for.

Any idea as to what the new unidirectional weave from Blackbird is for? Is an aesthetic, a sonic, or a structural improvment?

And what is that abalone purfled guitalele with the arm bevel in your flickr stream?

My pleasure.

1. The unidirectional fiber on the body is to simplify their process and does not alter tone or durability. It took quite a bit of time to work through it and anything they can do to improve their process ultimately benefits customers.

2. The guitalele was from Maestro. Looked nice!
 

Iulia

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Technically not open to the public. Industry folks debuting new products, services, etc. I suppose you can buy products, but more as a dealer/retailer.

If it's your first time going, it's overwhelming. If you (have to) go every year, it's a necessary annoyance ameliorated by the once-a-year meeting with others you like in the industry.


Thanks. I wouldn't be safe - I'd likely be arrested trying to smuggle out half a dozen of various instruments stuffed down my shirt .... ;)
 

Joyful Uke

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Thanks for letting us vicariously enjoy NAMM. I appreciate the time and effort.
 

Osprey

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Thanks for letting us vicariously enjoy NAMM. I appreciate the time and effort.
I second that. Since we can’t go, we are glad some can and appreciate all reports. Photos and videos are especially nice.