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Thread: David Hanson Kiku Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Default David Hanson Kiku Build

    This is my first entry chronicling the custom build of a Kiku by David Hanson (forum username tukanu). The instrument is to have a koa baritone body, 20" scale length, and 5 strings. My intention is to tune it aDGBE, like the first five strings of a guitar, but with a re-entrant A string.

    I'm primarily a mediocre fingerstyle guitarist. However, i've had a fascination for 5-string instruments for quite a while (see my recent thread "An Alternative 5 String"). Recently i purchased an Ohana 5 string Tenor uke, and have become enamoured of the mellow sound of nylon-like strings, although i don't like the double course sound. Thus, a kiku seems like a good combination of these interests.

    Anyway, since this is a new build thread, i'll include a photo of the wood that is to become the body of the new instrument:

    https://rlgreene.net/Kiku/KoaBodyWood.jpg

    Feel free to express your opinions.
    Last edited by rlgph; 12-30-2019 at 12:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    I like this idea! It's kind of a big brother to mine, tenor dGCEA. Do you have strings picked out yet?
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Western North Carolina
    Posts
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    Default

    Uke strings are pretty much unexplored territory for me, so i'll be looking forward to suggestions as time passes. I like clarity (who doesn't) and sustain.

    BTW, i notice you're in Rayleigh. I live about an hour north of Asheville, near Burnsville.
    Last edited by rlgph; 12-29-2019 at 07:47 AM.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2019
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    Honolulu
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    Baroque guitars had 5 courses and were tuned with re-entrant bass strings. I used to keep mine with E - B - G - D - A (re-entrant D and A) so I course play Sanz. de Visée uses your tuning (re-entrant A only). Wish I still had it.

  5. #5
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    One option for all unwound strings would be a custom Living Water set. But the D string is really fat and will not sustain well as you go up the neck. If you want a warm tone and most stick low on the neck, it would work. I'm kinda guessing you wouldn't like it.

    There are many options for baritone DGBE. The high 'a' string is gonna be the tricky one. You'll need to look for GCEA baritone sets most likely. Actually the best approach might be a GCEA set and then get a single for the low D like the Thomastik Infeld flatwound CF35 (I think).
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    CH
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    This is such a cool idea, looking forward to seeing how it will turn out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Western North Carolina
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    One option for all unwound strings would be a custom Living Water set. But the D string is really fat and will not sustain well as you go up the neck. If you want a warm tone and most stick low on the neck, it would work. I'm kinda guessing you wouldn't like it.

    There are many options for baritone DGBE. The high 'a' string is gonna be the tricky one. You'll need to look for GCEA baritone sets most likely. Actually the best approach might be a GCEA set and then get a single for the low D like the Thomastik Infeld flatwound CF35 (I think).
    My thinking is that the high a will be the same pitch as the 3rd string at the 2nd fret, so finding an appropriate string shouldn't be a problem. I guess you were thinking an octave higher -- higher than the 1st string.

    Similarly, if the D string is too thick and lacks sustain, i could go for an octave higher, so that both the 4th and 5th strings are high tuned. I have a guitar that has strings 4, 5, and 6 tuned an octave higher than usual (a variation of Nashville tuning). It has an interesting "jangly" sound because each major chord has two notes of the same pitch, but on strings of different thicknesses.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    106

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    A 5 string kiku with a baritone body will have a 20" scale. So, any standard set will work for DGBE. Adding the re-entrant "a" is what makes it a Kiku. Either add a "G" and tune it up to a re-entrant "A", or add a "B" and tune it down. Yes/No??
    Last edited by Tukanu; 12-30-2019 at 12:51 PM.

  9. #9
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    In either case, the 5th string is at a pitch higher than the G on the 3rd string and lower than the B on the 2nd string, not higher than the 1st string.

    However, would not having both the 4th and 5th strings high tuned also qualify calling it a kiku?
    Last edited by rlgph; 12-30-2019 at 01:09 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    A kiku by definition is a non-conformist. So yes, any and all combinations of strings and tunings fit the definition.

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