He’s currently making an instrument per month because he’s a solo custom builder that puts a lot of time and attention into each instrument. Plus he builds guitars, so we don’t see a lot of these custom tenors, but when we do they are truly wonderful.
Joji is also a fantastic musician, with a love of Hawaiian music, and that inspiration shines in his these hand crafted instruments.
When you make ukes this nice the women line up!
These are “raw” sound samples with no compression of mastering. Use quality headphones or monitors for most accurate sound.
Moon Spruce Top Pernambuco Tenor
Adirondack spruce bracing, torrefied Bird’s Eye Maple bridge plate backstrap and rosette, and Gotoh 510 Tuners.
Swiss “moon” spruce aka Alpine spruce is grown at very high elevations and harvested according to the lunar cycles as they correlate with the lowest sap content and highest tonal qualities. Breedlove said this about the wood,
“Moon spruce provides a sound rich in overtones, focused, full of nuance and tone color — a sound often preferred by fingerpickers. It offers a quicker response and greater headroom than Engelmann but usually takes a slightly longer period of playing time to open up than Engelmann or Sitka.” This ukulele may not have fully “opened up” yet, but I can’t imagine it sounding much better than it does. Perhaps this can also be attributed to the wood used for the sides, back, and neck.
Referred to as the “Music Tree” in Brazil. They say pernambuco is the most resonant tree in the forest. Legend is that can be identified by whacking the trees with a cudgel as one strolls through the forest; it is the tree that sing back to you! This wood is extremely rare and a guitar set will run 2-4 thousand dollars!
Koa/ Snakewood Tenor
This one is truly unique in look and remarkable in feel. The sound, it has very strong projection and a punchy clarity all over the neck. The sustain is among the very best ever, may be partly due to the very dense snakewood sides back and neck. The South American Snakewood is hard to find especially at this instrument grade and I beleive this is the absolute best I’ve seen. Stunning!
The top is of course Hawaiian koa and super gorgeous. Katalox, another South American hardwood, is inlayed around the soundhole along with two rings of abalone. Ebony fingerboard with Jescar EVO gold frets and the ultra expensive Rodgers tuners, and a large beveled side sound port are other cool aspects of this one of a kind tenor. It’s finished in a glossy French polish finish and has clear pick guards along the upper bout of the top to protect it.
Koa Tenor w/ Brazilian Rosewood Sides
Joji really puts his heart and soul into each of his instruments. This is another stunningly beautiful tenor with a koa top and back and Brazilian rosewood sides, and it sounds awesome!
French Polish is the traditional classical method of finishing. It’s very time and labor intensive to get a look like Joji does here, but the result is a gorgeous gloss showing off these jaw dropping tone woods with the least amount of inhibition in tone. For extra protection the top has very thin clear pickguards on the upper bout of both sides.
Joji breaks the norm here with the variation of woods but who could deny the beauty. The tone is top of the line and features include the side sound port, Waverly tuners, and EVO gold fretwire.
When we get Joji ukes they are put at out custom section of The Ukulele Site – HERE