‘Ukulele Number Three (my personal ‘uke which I play regularly) was begun in the summer of 2006, again using the Hana Lima ‘Ia construction method with Spanish heel. My daughter and I made these almost matching ‘ukes together. These ukes are made with a mahogany neck, spruce top and walnut sides and back. These ‘ukes seemed to take forever to finish. So why did it take so long? – it was on and off the bench quite a few times. I actually finished it in 2009, then reworked it more in 2011, and I later decided to ‘electrify it’ as well. But, it’s pretty much the way I like it now. It, like number two is still a bit heavy, but we’re getting there . . . Guitar players seem to appreciate the heavier ‘uke, but most think they’re too heavy. I have since figured out how to really lighten up the instrument. This ‘uke was stripped down and I removed some wood from the neck and and sanded the back and sides in an attempt to lighten it up a bit, with a modicum of success.
The inlay in the headstock of ‘ukulele #3 shown below are Japanese characters (pronounced unsui) taken from the book, “Zen Guitar” by Phillip Toshio Sudo. A quote from the book best explains it:
“In Japanese, unsui means traveling monk or truth-seeker. Literally, it translates as “cloud and water.” To be an unsui is to embody the spirit of Zen Guitar – floating, flowing, at once with and without form. If you learn to view yourself in this way, your journey on the path of Zen Guitar will have no end.”
If you have not yet read this wonderful book, you owe it to yourself to do so. You might also want to pay a visit to the Zen Guitar Dojo. I’m not a guitar player, but I love this book! Here is my interpretation of the zen logo, but for ‘ukulele.
I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Jake Shimabukuro live eight times and enjoyed meeting him after the shows on several occasions. Over the past few years I’ve gotten this ‘uke signed by Jake, Greg Hawkes, Victoria Vox, and Jumpin’ Jim Beloff.