LOS ANGELES, CA - Six of the world’s most distinguished instrument builders have come together to showcase their unique building approaches and to make a lasting difference in the lives of sick children. Each luthier will build a tenor ukulele out of wood sourced from two trees that are legendary among acoustic guitar and ukulele enthusiasts. All of the proceeds from the sale of the instruments will go to benefit The Ukulele Kids Club, a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to harness the healing power of music by sending hospitalized children home with the gift of music for life.
The backs and sides of the ukuleles will be built from The Tree, an almost mythical 100-foot tall Honduran mahogany tree that landed in a ravine when it was felled in 1965. Even after being cut in half, the giant was impossible to move and laid stuck in the ravine for 18 years. Scientists don’t know why, but the figuring in this particular tree is so unique that another like it has never been found. In addition to its rare beauty, The Tree is lauded for its acoustic properties. To many of the top-notch builders who have used the wood, they say it sounds more like Brazilian rosewood, which is for many the benchmark in acoustic guitar and ukulele tone.
The tops will be made of Lucky Strike redwood, a particular redwood tree that fell during a storm and was discovered in the early 1990’s. Part of the fallen tree straddled a ravine, which allowed it to air dry naturally for many years. Known for its exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio and its straight, even grain with considerable cross-grain silk, Lucky Strike redwood delivers a unique sound that carries the warmth of redwood but also the clarity of spruce.
To see either of these woods in any one instrument is extremely rare. To see and hear six instruments with both woods built by some of the most highly respected luthiers in the business has never been done. The distinguished luthiers who will turn these storied woods into beautiful looking and sounding instruments include:
- Steve Grimes (www.grimesguitars.com)
- Beau Hannam (www.beauhannamguitars.com)
- John Kinnard (www.kinnardukes.com)
- Jay Lichty (www.lichtyguitars.com)
- Jake Maclay (www.hiveukuleles.com)
- Joji Yoshida (www.jojiyoshidaguitars.com)
“I’m very honored that such talented luthiers are excited to demonstrate how they each uniquely approach virtually identical, storied wood sets,” said project founder Eddie Monnier. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the nuances of six different world class voicings and unique aesthetic styles. Their selfless contributions will create significant benefit for The Ukulele Kids Club, which puts music in the hands of kids enduring very serious medical situations.”
The Ukulele Kids Club founder Corey Bergman added, “We are excited to be selected as the charitable cause by these esteemed luthiers who recognize the healing power of music therapy and the positive benefits of gifting music for life. Project proceeds will help us achieve our goal of gifting 10,000 ukuleles to hospitalized children by the end of 2018.”