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Thread: NUD - Kevin Mason Torrefied Spruce / Ziricote 19.5 Baritone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
    Posts
    3,376

    Default NUD - Kevin Mason Torrefied Spruce / Ziricote 19.5 Baritone

    I actually received this uke at the end of April, so I've been delayed in doing my NUD post. I will try to add a sound sample in the next day or two.

    At UGH 2017, I had the pleasure of playing two of Kevin Mason's baritone ukes and they really impressed me. They were very well executed and were particularly favorable to me on playability. I knew then and there it was only a matter of time before I commissioned one. And so I did in very late 2018.

    We discussed a few different wood options and he set up looking for some good sets. I fully expected it would take awhile, but that very evening he found a remarkable set of ziricote and I said, "Oh, heck yes!". That was so easy.

    For the top, we decided to use torrefied spruce. I pretty much let Kevin run free on this. I did ask for a nice 12th fret marker. I think the only other decision was tuners, and I selected Rubner given their bang-for-the-buck.

    Scale: 19.5
    Tuning: Linear Bb
    Top: Torrefied sitka spruce
    Body: Ziricote (a stunning set, I might add!)
    Finish: Shellac
    Fingerboard: Macassar ebony
    Bridge: Macassar ebony
    Headstock: Slotted, with Macassar ebony plate
    Tuners: Rubner

    I evaluate ukes across four dimensions, and here are my thoughts on this particular uke.

    I love the tone. I have it tuned linear Bb, which is where Kevin also ended up on the other 7 baritones he has made. The tone is very rich. Clear. Clean. Really great sustain.

    Playability is top-notch, but that's not surprising as Kevin has played guitars and lutes professionally for many years. It is super comfortable to play. I did lower the action a bit and may lower it a tad more, but haven't fully decided.

    Aesthetics: Even better in person. In the photos I had seen I loved many things but the front often seemed a little "washed out” that had me a little worried I would not be floored by the aesthetics. Maybe it was something about the pics because in person it looks great. And what a gorgeous set of ziricote. I also love the ebony fretboard. It’s unique. And the 12th fret marker is perfect. Just a splash of style. The tuners look fantastic, too. So, super happy!

    Build execution. Kevin's work is very clean. Definitely punches above his weight class in terms of how clean his build is vs. his price point.

    Yes, so I am very pleased with this uke and I definitely recommend Kevin. He's also a joy to work with.

    I'll share a few photos below, but here is a link to all the photos:

    https://flic.kr/s/aHskKG6DBm







    Last edited by Ukulele Eddie; 07-11-2019 at 02:14 PM.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    That is a great looking bari. Terrific craftsmanship. Can't wait to hear it.

    Any significance to the horns (2 anteaters? )
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    Default

    Ditto! That is one fine looking bari. Congrats on that. Do you find the side port makes a lot of difference, sound wise?
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned re-entrant gCEA)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned DGBE)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (currently tuned low-octave ADF#B)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
    Posts
    3,376

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    @Kenn2018, no significance. I just wanted a nice, simple inlay for the 12th fret marker. I quite like it.

    @Johnboy. I like to have a sound port but it's not the end all, be all. I have ukes with and without.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  5. #5

    Default

    Wow it’s spectacular. Enjoy and those 12th fret marker are extra special.
    K
    Sopranos, Concerts, and Tenors

    4 Sale: Pineapple - MP Cali, Tenor: Washburn, Luna Tattoo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    1,450

    Default

    Wow, beautiful! Can't wait to hear a sound sample. Enjoy it!

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    McDonough, GA
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    Gorgeous baritone Eddie. Excellent choices on your build.

    You’ve selected Torrefied spruce on other builds. Is that your favorite top wood?
    I’m going to have to get a Torrefied top uke some day.
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
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    Thanks, Hodge. Yes, I've had 4 torrefied tops and do like them. While I do think it has positive impact on tone, I also like what it does to the color.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Saratoga, CA
    Posts
    672

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    Awesome uke!!! Another excellent uke added to your collection!

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