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Thread: Review of 2020 Kinnard Maple and Sitka Baritone

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Review of 2020 Kinnard Maple and Sitka Baritone

    Like all great artists, John Kinnard continues to refine his work. I recently received his latest baritone creation.
    A few pictures are attached.

    First the obvious, it’s gorgeous. The looks are really clean, simple yet well thought out. Nice composition, simple elegance! I’ve always been drawn to maple fretboards. This beautiful blonde baritone has all the other normal Kinnard attributes, including a flawless build and easy playability. It felt very comfortable.

    Actually, it felt better than just comfortable in my arthritic left (fretting) hand. I don’t know what the magic formulas are for my comfort, but it was easy to tell in a few minutes how comfortable it was. Hard to believe it, but my left hand actually felt good after playing for nearly a half hour straight. I’ve had to sell some awesome ukes because of hand discomfort. Comfort trumps all else. If it hurts when you play it, you won’t play it. This is a very enjoyable baritone, indeed. Funny after playing this wider neck a while the standard baritone neck width began to feel a little crowded.

    Love the sound. Impressive how responsive this baritone is even with the lighter gauge strings on it (Worth CMs with a .033” smooth wound Oasis warm on the 4th). Interesting how some songs sound a lot better on a great instrument. With these light strings I have been a half step to a full step above DGBE. It sounds terrific in all those tunings, but the lighter gauge strings play better with higher tension. It has opened up nicely and really does sing. I really enjoy how the notes are clear and distinct, yet blend well and warmly as a chorus. Every note on each strings sounds exactly as it should. Perfect intonation and depth!

    This baritone truly seems to play outstanding in all modes finger style or strummed. The strings blend amazingly well on the main chords when strummed. On other baritones those chords can be a little harsh, or muddy. It’s surprisingly warm and crystal clear at the same time. This baritone seems to excel at whatever style I play on it. Great on Silent Night strummed or Hotel California played finger style. It has a wonderful blending of individual strings when strummed- you can hear the note separation in strums. It's a great mixture of harmonics and single note clarity.

    I hear better projection from this baritone than most other baritones. By that I mean the sound gets outside the box or has no ’boxy’ element to the sound. Quite a few baritones have a little boxy/boomy/constrained component to their sound.

    KinnardUkes has definitely advanced and refined their baritone design since an early Kinnard baritone I had a few years back. This current model is more responsive, clear, harmonic, and projecting than earlier model Kinnard baritones and most other custom baritones. Physically there are key differences in this latest Kinnard baritone, compare to one I had from 2015. The current top bracing is cross braced vs. fan bracing. The scale is 19-7/8 vs 19” on the 2015 model.

    I’ve played quite a few baritones and I can’t think of anything I would want to change on this latest Kinnard baritone. The fit, feel, sound, looks are terrific. It's difficult to compare instruments as each builder has a different sound and strengths. This might be the best baritone I have played. It lacks nothing and has many strengths.

    BTW I had not been thinking about a Kinnard baritone before I tried it. After playing it, I felt like it was designed and built just for me. Had to have it. Currently, it’s my favorite uke.

    Recorded some samples of this baritone:
    1 step up
    https://app.box.com/s/w28lsooa0o0ico3jdwx5uglpd4vug9kp
    1/2 step up https://app.box.com/s/rs345nflcy0fc1mpx3vw4grwu3ppl7bn
    dgbe https://app.box.com/s/u0l32t9oirqg4l3f3kc4kljzgirljkux

    Harvest Moon https://app.box.com/s/vtgqpu52dq81set7br5muco6bqoq84qf

    Specs:
    19-7/8 scale
    Curly Maple body with cut away
    Sitka Spruce top
    Maple neck
    Ivoroid binding Top and Fretboard.
    Maple through-hole bridge,
    Compound radiused maple fretboard 1-1/2” width at the nut
    Quilted maple faceplate
    Gloss body, Satin Neck finishes
    Side sound port
    Gotoh open gear tuners
    Bone nut and saddle
    P1090458 by hejenkins, on Flickr
    P1090457 by hejenkins, on Flickr
    P1090456 by hejenkins, on Flickr
    P1090454 by hejenkins, on Flickr
    Last edited by Doc_J; 12-18-2020 at 08:35 PM.
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    691

    Default

    Congratulations on your acquisition. Kinnards are truly special instruments and it is no surprise that this one looks, sounds, and plays great. It is cool that you can play it longer and more comfortably than others.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Nice. Sounds like a "holy grail" class of instrument
    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
    Southern Cross concert GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant
    Jupiter #71, A, UG1

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    249

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    It's a beauty, Hodge. Glad to hear it plays easily and makes pleasant sounds. Have a good time with it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    421

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    That's such a beautiful uke, Doc! Baritones are probably my area of least interest right now, but your uke journey and reviews are fun (and informative) to follow! Thanks for posting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
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    Thanks for sharing about your wonderful Kinnard Baritone. About a year ago I was able to handle and play a Kinnard longneck soprano.....WOW.........quality craftsmanship and top notch sound all around....could not really justify a purchase at the time.......your Baritone sounds really very nice.......such a pleasure to hear.....I'm all smiles when I play a quality instrument....I'm sure you are as well....enjoy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdenn View Post
    That's such a beautiful uke, Doc! Baritones are probably my area of least interest right now, but your uke journey and reviews are fun (and informative) to follow! Thanks for posting.
    It’s funny when I started playing the uke about 11 years ago I thought tenors were too long and hard to play. Primarily I played sopranos and some concerts at the start, then after a couple years I moved to tenors, lately I play mostly baritones. I’ve always kept an open mind to try different ukes and sizes. BTW I still play a soprano now and then.
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    133

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    That is a beauty! Thanks so much for sharing. It seems. to have captured the perfect blend of candy for both eye and ear. Thanks for posting the sound clips and review. Oh, and I agree with you - bari's are really nice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,943

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    I do a lot of window shopping, and saw that one, and that it disappeared from the Kinnard site quickly.
    Glad that it went to you, and that you're enjoying it so much.

    Really a unique, beautiful ukulele, and even more importantly, it seems perfect for you. My hands are picky about necks, so I understand why that's so important. Great review. Enjoy your Kinnard!

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