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Thread: NUD - Antica Ukuleleria Concert LIbero - Custom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Default NUD - Antica Ukuleleria Concert LIbero - Custom

    With a comparison of a Concert Libero to KoAloha 25th Anniversary

    The journey to owning an Antica Ukuleleria Libero has been over a year. I first contacted Marco in August 2019, hoping to get on his 2019 build schedule. His online calendar said he was booked through for the next few months and there were no 2020 options showing. Thru a few email exchanges I learned that he was 1) getting married, 2) suspending taking orders, in anticipation of 3) changing what he offered as standard and custom orders after the first of the year. Shortly after he started taking orders again, CoVId hit Italy hard had he was unable to travel to his Lab and builds suspended. I was able to place an order and was looking at that unknown timeframe driven by the pandemic.

    Marco finished my Libero in August 2020, just before taking a well earned holiday. Four days shipping got it from Italy to the US in 5 days, via UPS International shipping. I’m still trying to figure out why I was charged a $12 “brokerage fee” by UPS, along with a $65 duty. UPS won’t say and you’ll never get a specific answer from DHS!

    Now the good stuff. This is a Concert sized Libero with a zero fret, spruce soundboard, maple back in sides, cherry neck and headstock, radius’d pearwood fingerboard, and bridge. The body is feather thin. Held to a light source you can see the shadow of your hand through the wood. Very very tight grain on the soundboard. Of note, the spruce comes from the same forest as was sourced by Stradivari . And on that note, the shape of the back has a double curve, reminding of the shaping of a violin! (Not completely, but very curvy !). The downside of the light body is that it is slightly neck heavy (made more noticeable when a strap is attached at the heel).

    The neck is very flat and thin, with lots of first position room. Below I have added some comparative measures with a Concert KoAloha. Although the neck is narrow (35mm) but the G to A measurement is 30.1 mm at the zero fret. AND there is a lot of room at the first position. When you look at the pictures and compare the measurements, there’s 51mm of “space “ between the zero fret and the tip of the curved portion of the neck compared to the KoAloha at 38mm . Combined with the thin neck it’s really comfortable.

    The body is almost 2cm shorter than the KoAloha and shown side by side, the Libero seems small. (I always considered the KoAloha to be the standard in a concert sized body and length - but that’s just me !)

    And finally, and most importantly, it plays and sounds wonderful. Strung with Marco’s own strings w/ high g, it’s bright and resonant, but the sustain is noticeably shorter than both the Kanile’a and KoAloha concert bodies I also own; in my opinion, to be expected with my choice of woods. As seems to be common for me, I experience what I describe as a ‘thunk’ or thud-like tone when playing an F on the E string or C string. (yes, I’ve had my hearing checked! :-) ). I’m going to let the strings AND uke settle in some more and will try new strings if that doesn’t improve.

    Any string suggestions are welcome. I have two sets of Fremont Blacks, one medium, one hard. I have no experience with Fremonts and am curious for some feedback from those of you who have used them...how did they effect the sound of your uke(s)?

    Comparisons.
    Libero v KoAloha Concert
    Width at Zero fret v Nut 35.7mm v 36.8mm
    Width between String g to A 30.1mm v 27.1mm (yes the KoAloha is the narrow one)
    Neck thinness 14.6mm v 17.1mm
    “head room*” 51mm v 38mm
    Approx Length 59cm v 61cm Use the photos to compare the amount of space from the nut to the place where the headstock comes to a point. You’ll notice that the narrow-ness of the Libero is much longer
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Web_Parrot; 09-28-2020 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Missing paragraphs and links replaced; string requests
    KoAloha KSM-10 Pikake ::: Kanile'a Islander MAPG-4-C ::: Kanile'a K-2 Super Concert ::: Kala KA-SSTU-S ::: Ohana SK-50G ::: Enya Nova U Concert ::: Kala KA-ABP-CTG Bari ::: Fender Montecito Tenor Koa ::: KoAloha Silver Anniversary KCM-00 #060 ::: Antica Ukuleleria Concert Libero ::: Pono TE-MD-R

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
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    Default

    Very nice instrument indeed. Nice to see Marco's work out there in the world. As they say if I had the money..........Something about his work just seems right to me......

  3. #3
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    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    If I hadn't commissioned a custom uke from a local luthier I probably would've commissioned one of these. I've always found Marco's designs to be really nice and original, even for the plainer models. Congrats!

    Also, those UPTs on the KoAloha look excellent.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2015
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    USA
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    Wow. Both are beautiful instruments.

  5. #5
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    May 2018
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    West Philly, PA
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    Beautiful instruments! The headstock shape and the neck profile on the Libero are both very appealing.
    Pohaku "Yellow Label" Mahogany Soprano
    Weymann Model 10 Mahogany Soprano (c. 1918)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Germany
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    Gorgeous instrument! And very interesting what you write about the sustain. Same with my Libero soprano, and I'm loving it. Sustain isn't everything.

    It does have a pretty distinctive voice and I kinda miss it whenever I don't have it with me. (More than most of my other ukes. )

    Just out of curiosity: Have you switched the tuners of the Koaloha or are these standard (by request). The weird custom tuners (=ears) were the main reason I didn't order an anniversary soprano.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Wisconsin, central USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    Wow. Both are beautiful instruments.
    Thanks. It wasn't my intent to show off the KoAloha (she's really sweet, too). but the size differences were best displayed that way.
    KoAloha KSM-10 Pikake ::: Kanile'a Islander MAPG-4-C ::: Kanile'a K-2 Super Concert ::: Kala KA-SSTU-S ::: Ohana SK-50G ::: Enya Nova U Concert ::: Kala KA-ABP-CTG Bari ::: Fender Montecito Tenor Koa ::: KoAloha Silver Anniversary KCM-00 #060 ::: Antica Ukuleleria Concert Libero ::: Pono TE-MD-R

  8. #8
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    Apr 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    If I hadn't commissioned a custom uke from a local luthier I probably would've commissioned one of these. I've always found Marco's designs to be really nice and original, even for the plainer models. Congrats!

    Also, those UPTs on the KoAloha look excellent.
    Thanks. I put UPT's on my soprano Pikake KoAloha initially and liked them so much I added them to the Concert.
    KoAloha KSM-10 Pikake ::: Kanile'a Islander MAPG-4-C ::: Kanile'a K-2 Super Concert ::: Kala KA-SSTU-S ::: Ohana SK-50G ::: Enya Nova U Concert ::: Kala KA-ABP-CTG Bari ::: Fender Montecito Tenor Koa ::: KoAloha Silver Anniversary KCM-00 #060 ::: Antica Ukuleleria Concert Libero ::: Pono TE-MD-R

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Wisconsin, central USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig. View Post
    Gorgeous instrument! And very interesting what you write about the sustain. Same with my Libero soprano, and I'm loving it. Sustain isn't everything.

    It does have a pretty distinctive voice and I kinda miss it whenever I don't have it with me. (More than most of my other ukes. )

    Just out of curiosity: Have you switched the tuners of the Koaloha or are these standard (by request). The weird custom tuners (=ears) were the main reason I didn't order an anniversary soprano.
    Curiosity resolved! I put them on myself. As I mentioned in an earlier reply, the soprano went first, and it became apparent the distinctive headstock looked way better (the 25th editions came with 'wings' - good tuners, but just not on that KoAloha!)

    FWIW, they weren't easy to install. Unlike other ukes, the holes were larger -didn't need reaming. Instead... too large and I had to create thing wood ring shims so that the UPT centered in the hole. Otherwise the anti-rotate pin (on the UPT's) had nothing to grip, allowing the tuners to rotate.
    KoAloha KSM-10 Pikake ::: Kanile'a Islander MAPG-4-C ::: Kanile'a K-2 Super Concert ::: Kala KA-SSTU-S ::: Ohana SK-50G ::: Enya Nova U Concert ::: Kala KA-ABP-CTG Bari ::: Fender Montecito Tenor Koa ::: KoAloha Silver Anniversary KCM-00 #060 ::: Antica Ukuleleria Concert Libero ::: Pono TE-MD-R

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    I really like the looks of your new baby!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

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