This Tenor ukulele was built as an experiment. I wanted to try the Kasha bracing system in my "Pinecone" design with it's carved curved back and thin body profile. I also wanted to test the new Graph Tech Ratio Tuners that were new on the market. I have now played it for the past six weeks. Here are the results of the experiment.
This uke is a success! I find that it is extremely playable, perhaps it is the thin profile, or the radiused fretboard, or it's jaunty bright sound, but i find myself frequently choosing it over the other three ukuleles presently residing in my living room. Lots of power, a strong and rich voice, and I have become fond of it's Mod, rather offbeat appearance. I like it and will keep it rather than sell it.
The soundboard is made of a single piece of the wonderful old cedar that I have hoarded for more than 50 years. extremely tight grained wood with a bright ringing tap tone. The Kasha shaped bridge is Macassar Ebony as is the fret board. The saddle is Bison bone. The small sound hole is simply a design element having no known acoustic purpose.
I like side sound ports in my instruments but this narrow side seemed to call for three little ones rather than one large one. Besides I kind of liked the port hole like design element.
The entire Pinecone family feature curved concave backs carved from a 3/4 inch thick plank of fancy Big Leaf Maple. I am convinced it is what gives them their surprising power and excellent tone. Combined with flame maple sides it is also what gives them their beauty. Note the lathe turned maple strap button on the bottom and the strap button on the neck heel.
My grandson 'Evan Christie designed the peg head plate years ago. I have them cut by a laser machine and they are of course, the "Pinecone" hallmark.
This photo shows the slight 12 foot radius I sanded into the fret board. I am now a believer that it helps with playability. I plan on including the radius in all of my future instruments.
The all plastic Graph Tech tuners have proven to work very well. They deliver a six to one turning ratio, hold their position and keep the instrument in tune very well. They turn smoothly and seem strong and durable. They are extremely reasonable in price, perhaps the least expensive tuners one could buy. Their appearance is not high end, but they will surely earn a place in the ukulele market.
Another view of the Graph tech "Ratio" tuners.
I even overcame my long held reluctance to put strap buttons on the heel of a neck. I find the strap attached here does support the instrument better and perhaps leaves the fretting hand freer to fret. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.
So the final result is, "Holey Moley" is a success. The Kasha bracing works on the pinecones. I like it a lot and have already received interest from local players interested in buying one. Holey Moley may have a future.