Hoffmann Ukulele

Jerry Hoffman is a master craftsman and creator from New Haven, Missouri. He went way beyond the manual on how to build an ukulele and came out with wonderful innovations. Each aspect of his builds reflect inventive thought and development, and these ukes are built to project well and still last through many generations of joyful play.

Hoffmann ukes are made from materials hand processed from as close to their source as possible. This gives full control over the process and insures the best sound, durability and style. The actual construction of the ukulele is done entirely by hand where attention is paid to how the materials are selected, and how they will interact together as a single unit. Also, all Hoffmann ukuleles feature an exclusive pinned nut that allows string gauge changes without replacement or modification as required with traditional nuts.

Here is a look at some of the Hoffmann ukuleles we’ve been able to showcase. Check in at our Custom Built category HERE for new instruments as they arrive.

A Style Mahogany Tenor

These are “raw” sound samples with no compression of mastering. Use quality headphones or monitors for most accurate sound.
The A design from Hoffmann is light in weight with excellent balance and a beauty all its own. Jerry has many unique and innovative aspects to his design, but one that really blows our mind is that the sides and the neck on this ukulele are the same piece of wood. If you have done any woodworking you will be able to appreciate the level of precision Jerry is coming with here. Beyond this just being impressive craftsmanship, the neck joint is as strong as you can get, and the acoustic advantages to this are apparent. It resonates with a clear warm tone and great projection.

A Style Cedar Walnut Tenor

The acoustic qualities on Jerry’s ukes are among the finest we have ever experienced. This instrument is a great example of that. The tone has excellent clarity but with the warmth and body that cedar and walnut are known for. And the access to the highest frets is accompanied by some of the the most piercing tones we have heard in the higher register of the fretboard on an ukulele.

A Style Cedar Maple Tenor

A new feature Jerry did for the first time on this ukulele is the curls in the body shape making it truly a one of a kind instrument. One aspect of Hoffmann ukes we haven’t covered yet here is his “pinned nut”, a Hoffmann exclusive. There are no nut slots. The metal pins in the nut hold the strings in place and with the break angle and the tension they don’t budge no matter how much you bend it. And there is no issue as to your string size, so no worries there. Jerry says he got the idea from pianos. It’s totally innovative for ukulele and works perfectly!

ML Cedar Ebony Concert

Jerry Hoffmann first introduced his M-style in 2007 as a stylistic departure from traditional shaped ukuleles. They featured a forward shifted waist and cantilevered neck with a “reverse heel” neck block. Improvements have been made along the way that include a lighter heel block, bolt-on neck, improved bracing and bridge design, and the introduction of a larger body. The sound on this one is crisp and responsive with good projection and warm tone.

ML Spruce Maple Concert Sunburst

The most noticeable feature of this ukulele is the honey sunburst that runs from vintage amber to golden honey color. Beautiful!

The back sides, neck, and binding are the finest quality curly maple, and the top is Adirondack red spruce with a hard-to-find consistently fine even grain from edge to edge. The fret board, bridge and head plate are made of rare old-growth Kamagong ebony . Tuners are Gotoh UPT’s and strings are Worth fluorocarbon.

ML Spruce Walnut Tenor

The ML has now become Jerry’s most popular shape because of it’s unique and attractive design and its deep, warm tone. This custom tenor features a red spruce top for a strong balanced tone and pairs well with walnut sides, back, neck, faceplate and rosette. This is framed off with a shop made trim of ebony and maple, and shown off with a flawless gloss finish. The feel is wonderful with nice low action and the tone is exquisite! Above Kalei gives us a “raw” sound sample and a few thoughts on this beautiful tenor.

ML Spruce Ebony Tenor

This tenor ML includes a beveled top edge for a smooth comfortable feel and all shop-made purfling crafted from wood selected for this instrument. The binding and head plate are Honduras curly mahogany and the top is the best quality red spruce. The back, sides, bridge and fret board are made from Kamagong ebony (Diospyros blancoi). This highly desirable native ebony species, while not endangered, is not currently available outside the Philippines. The gorgeous ebony on this ukulele was harvested over 100 years ago and shipped to the U.S. in 1949.

ML Spruce Mahogany Tenor

This one has an upgraded Adirondack “red” spruce top for the best tone and projection as well as a rare and gorgeous figured mahogany back and sides. Actually there is three different types of mahogany on this ukulele. The back and sides have a “leopard” figure, trim is a curly figure, and the neck is a plain vertical grain for stability. Along the edge is a 3 piece maple, padauk and mahogany purfling that is built into the body rather than added to the edge. The fretboard and bridge are old growth Kamagong ebony. The combination of unique design, construction and high quality materials is evident in the sound of this ukulele.

ML Spruce Padauk Tenor

This one has an upgraded Adirondack “red” spruce top for the best tone and projection as well as a gorgeous padauk back and sides. Padauk has become a really popular tone wood with custom luthiers (instrument builders) in the last few years. It has a similar character to rosewood with rich lows and a complex overtones, but is usually more dense than rosewood and can offer even greater clarity and sustain. On top of that it looks amazing, as you can see. This beautiful tenor is framed off with maple binding and protected with a glassy gloss finish.

Almost all of Jerry’s ukes have small artsy details that add a special custom quality to his instruments. This one has the purfling strips on the inside of the neck binding curling in as a tasteful and unique version of fret markers. Or the padauk purfling at the bottom of the sound board tapering out, so beautiful and precisely executed!

ML Spruce Cocobolo Tenor

This custom features is extra gorgeous! Fat abalone purfling along side the curly koa binding really pops against the red spruce top and master grade cocobolo sides and back.

The tone and feel of this instrument is as impressive as the look. This is in part because red spruce is the most prized sound board tonewood for stringed instrument makers. But it also has to do with the highest quality cocobolo sides and back. Cocobolo has been compared to Brazilian rosewood for the clarity and richness it imparts. Like Brazilian, supplies of cocobolo are becoming very limited, especially cuts of this quality. The feel is wonderful with nice low action making this custom tenor the whole package!

D Style Mahogany 5 String Tenor

The “D Style” body shape is closer to the traditional figure 8 shape compared to his other body shapes, but it still has a Picasso like twist to it that really appeals to those that appreciate creative design and unique musical instruments.

Jerry has many unique and innovative aspects to his design, but this ukulele is more than just impressive craftsmanship. The tone is excellent and the feel is as good as it gets.

This is a 5 string that has both a low and high G. It’s played just like a regular ukulele but carries both the brightness of a high G and the depth of a low G. It has an effortless feel with nice low action and is a joy to play.

D Style Cedar Ebony Tenor

As Aaron mentions this ukulele has a cedar top and ebony sides and back framed off with padauk binding and finished in a beautiful gloss. This is the classic D style from Jerry and what a trippy asymmetrical take on the regular uke shape. So cool! And the sound is fantastic!

Mahalo for visiting. What are your thoughts or experiences with Hoffmann ukuleles? Leave a comment or question below. Aloha!

Comments 3

  1. I purchased an ML style Koa/Cedar tenor from Andrew, and it is one of the finest instruments I have ever played. The attention to detail is among the best I have seen, and his proprietary pinned nut is one of the most creative and original variations on ukulele building that I have seen. The intonation is fantastic all the way up the neck and the tone is clear up to the 18th fret, which is easily accessible due to the body design. They are not cheap, but if it is in your budget, you cannot go wrong with a Hoffman.

  2. I’m easily swayed by beautiful ukuleles, but I think I have decided that a Hoffman is my dream uke, and definitely worth saving for! The scrolled sound-holes on that D style are absolutely gorgeous. Never seen anything like it. And the sound, as Kalei plays it, is perfect.

    Is that a tune of his own composition in the demo? Love it and would love to know if there is a tutorial/tab/sheet music available.


  3. I own one of these gorgeous D style tenors, and it is by far my favorite uke. Projection and playability are outstanding!

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