New Uke Day (NUD) NUD 'Oli Spruce and Ebony baritone (heliconia)

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Hey all! I was lucky enough to get this new instrument recently for me birthday! With the help and love of my inlaws, cousins, and other family my partner and I had a lovely trip out to Oahu for a little over a week. During that time I got to make the pilgrimage from Honolulu over to North Shore and Haleiwa where the Ukulele Site store is. Super awesome trip! Not only is it a gorgeous drive, town, and awesome beaches and better waves--but then I also get to stop by TUS. And who happens to be at the store other than Corey Fujimoto and Brey Loa! They both work at TUS and also perform around Oahu mostly as the duo, Soul Purpose Music. I like to follow them on instagram as they livestream shows too lots of R&B and soul music which I love! I did my best not to fan girl out on them but was definitely fan girling inside

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Proof that I am supa tall!


As luck would have it, I had also sent them a message by Instagram earlier in the week getting info for one of their local shows and would be bumping into them again in a few days. At the time, they only had one 'Oli model at the store and it was actually being held for someone else. I am going to be writing a review of this ukulele soon, but frankly it's more of a love letter. I'm a player and not a reviewer and I already have the cousin to this instrument, a Pono master series spruce and Rosewood tenor. As you can see from my signature, I'm smitten for sure. Pono doesn't endorse players, but as a player I absolutely endorse Pono (and 'Oli, and Ko'olau). I might get into why I so strongly support them in my review, but suffice to say they are just really great humans giving it all of their love all the time.

Anyway, I got to try out the Cedar Rosewood Macaw flower baritone and I knew it was going to sound good, but wow did it blow me away!

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I fiddled (ukuleled?) around a bit and then got out my tablet because I just don't memorize many songs, and the ones I do memorize don't seem fun to potentially play with others. Anyway, as I was trying it out, it turned into an impromptu jam. I imagine they are always eager to jam with anyone bold enough to play! Really Corey was jamming with me as I was just reading the sheet music, but it felt so fun to get to play with someone so skilled! And so lucky my partner decided to record these encounters for me on their phone!



While I couldn't get the instrument at this time, they were kind enough to make arrangements with me to come back out see the other 'Oli baritones in stock. Again this turned into some impromptu jamming along with me! So cool!



I originally went with the intent of getting the mango 'Oli baritone, but I always find myself more drawn to soft top instruments every time I actually get to play in person. I loved all of the models I tried, but dang the spruce ebony just really spoke to me and I kept circling back to it even after making myself try to want the other one more :LOL:


Getting it there, choosing it in person, the trip out to where they put all the work and effort into making these instruments a really enjoyable experience was fully worth it to me and honestly the highlight of my trip! Even though I had the instrument right there, I still requested a rush setup from them and had the instrument shipped to me. I am not afraid to fly with it, but I have had numerous mediocre experiences at shops requesting setups on my instrument and some true horror stories. At this point I would only trust an ukulele specialist to handle my setup, and really for me specifically I only trust the Ukulele Site. I am sure there are other great skilled folks out there, but I've had enough negative experiences and also the contrast is stark compared to how GOOD the setups are from TUS. I my instruments need adjustments they'll be taking a trip out to Oahu for sure.


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Extremely well packed with care, the packaging reminds me of a lei, perhaps welcoming it to its new home. It worked well as I had one drying on its wall hanger!

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Chill with the cousin


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I'll post some more photos after I get myself a late lunch, consider this a little teaser ;)
 
Wow! Nice ukulele and a great story!

My question is how much difference the "comfort bevel" makes when playing. I just sent an inquiry to TUS asking if they will be making concert scale ones with this feature.

Added: Got a response saying that the next batch will have the comfort bevel!
 
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Some more photos! These are just with my iphone and my instrument has already been played a bunch, cried on, dirty finger prints on it--so it's not the pristine photos but lets keep it real. I had to wait for a clear sunny morning to get some nice photos here in Portland, and those are kind of rare this time of year for us.


A view through the soundhole, notice the thin!!! top and bracing. Each model has a graduated top and I believe the thickness varies to specific wood types to get the voicing they want. This view reminds me of a chapel kind of

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More of the Heliconia. I hear they call it lobster claw too, which is nice because heliconia is a little hard to say

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In the shade or a dim room the ebony is quite dark and you could almost mistake if for a brindle pattern or tortoise shell. But in the light, wow! All the colors really stand out. Take a moment to really look at all the colors that pop on that back in what we would normally call just "brown"

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You can really see the colors pop in the binding with it's yellow green ebony, what a cool color!

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The tone, somehow, is even more beautiful than the instrument is!


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Arm bevel, mirror finish

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My latest recording, I'm going to give it real justice soon though and actually get a recording with my mics instead of just the phone. No reverb is added to any of my recordings


 
Congratulations!
Thank you so much! ^^

Congratulations! You are one lucky person to have that very nice sounding and looking uke. Enjoy.
Many thanks! I am lucky indeed!

Wow! Nice ukulele and a great story!

My question is how much difference the "comfort bevel" makes when playing. I just sent an inquiry to TUS asking if they will be making concert scale ones with this feature.

Added: Got a response saying that the next batch will have the comfort bevel!
Thanks so much!

As to how much a difference it makes, that would depend on the player. If it's a spot that causes you discomfort right now, it will definitely help. I hope that makes sense :)
 
Jamming with Corey...... I'm so jealous. What a wonderful birthday trip, and a wonderful new 'Oli uke.
 
Wow, what a great experience for you. The uke is gorgeous! I agree with you regarding TUS...both of my current guileles came from them. I'm lucky enough to have a local store that can do all my instrument work. I know how important it is to find that level of trust with a business. Enjoy your new uke!
 
Jamming with Corey...... I'm so jealous. What a wonderful birthday trip, and a wonderful new 'Oli uke.

Thanks so much @RafterGirl :) You should take the trip to them if you ever get the chance and jam with them, they are so nice and it's super beautiful in Haleiwa! Just figure out the traffic before you head out there because it can be quick or super long depending on time of day.

Wow, what a great experience for you. The uke is gorgeous! I agree with you regarding TUS...both of my current guileles came from them. I'm lucky enough to have a local store that can do all my instrument work. I know how important it is to find that level of trust with a business. Enjoy your new uke!

@frets alot It was so much fun, 10/10 would recommend! And thanks so much, I can't put it down! :love:

I don't think I'd be brave enough to play in front of Corey, let alone jam with him. What an amazing experience! These 'Olis are testing my UAS resistance.

@necessaryrooster Fortune favors the bold! Also obviously Corey is amazingly skilled and though I think I did well, I was admittedly nervous playing in front of him and had to slow my tempo, loosen my grip, try to calm myself. When he joined in it was very softly, I'd imagine mindful not to suddenly scare me so I don't lose the pocket--like trying not to startle a cat :LOL:. What a kind a thoughtful player, a real pro! I felt encouraged playing with him honestly and I can't wait for the chance to do it again!
 
Wow, what a cool experience and I would be totally fangirling with Corey too but would be too nervous to jam with him. That was great! I would have done the same thing with having TUS do the setup as I totally relate to your experience with horror stories at local shops as mine put a scratch on my new uke from just installing a strap button..ugh. Congrats on your new Oli! 😄
 
Wow, what a cool experience and I would be totally fangirling with Corey too but would be too nervous to jam with him. That was great! I would have done the same thing with having TUS do the setup as I totally relate to your experience with horror stories at local shops as mine put a scratch on my new uke from just installing a strap button..ugh. Congrats on your new Oli! 😄

Thanks so much! And yeah it's wild out there sometimes, it really helps you appreciate the folks that really care a ton!

I always love your NUDs, and this was no exception to that. Such a wonderful story and memories for you with this ukulele and isn't it glorious 😍😍😍! Congratulations on a beautiful new addition to your herd.

Thanks so much Amie for your kind words! It really is glorious! 🥰
 
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