“Tom is just amazing. I can’t imagine playing any other guitar.”
After listening to Marija’s studio recording “Waves” I can hear why she would say that. I can also hear why Tommy’s guitars start at $7,500.
Still, just because he’s a world class guitar builder doesn’t necessarily mean his ukuleles will be world class. But are they?
Yesterday we received two Rodriguez sopranos. One is a very basic all mahogany with a satin finish, and the other is an adorned spruce rosewood in gloss. We will list more details soon at TheUkuleleSite, but I’ll give you a sneak peek along with some first impressions.
First off, the feel and overall setup is perfect. You may think, “These are high end ukuleles, of course they’re gonna come set up perfectly.” Not necessarily. We have three full time setup tech’s and Joel works almost exclusively on “high end” ukes. Arriving at maximum potential is a rare occurrence for us, in any price range. We know the value of our work, unfortunately we don’t feel very crucial in this situation. Nevertheless, it’s quite refreshing!
The craftsmanship shows the work of an experienced luthier. Very clean inside and out. The spruce top model has tasteful adornment and a nice gloss nitrocellulose finish. The mahogany has more of a clean simplicity. Both are very musical, partly because these woods are between 40 and 100 years old. For instance this spruce top is not your average piece of spruce. It’s 100 year old red spruce from a Tiffany piano. And this isn’t just rosewood, it’s 60+ year old Brazilian rosewood. The nut and saddle material? You ready….30,000 year old mastodon ivory!! Whaaaaat! That’s Awesome! I believe the Mastodon that this came from actually survived a T-Rex attack (most likely, no actual proof)
And, most importantly, the super cool materials make an equally impressive sound. I’d like to explain something real quick about the videos. For a long time I used compression and reverb to compensate for inferior equipment and understanding. But it’s always been my goal to offer a realistic experience, and a useful tool for you. We are close to a true and transparent recording setup and capture it accurately without any post production. Of course, the reproduction is largely determined by what you listen through (use good headphones or monitors). The process came to mind because these were so easy to record. Soprano’s rarely ever gives the balance of frequencies and airy sustain that these do. The warm presence and harmonic character create a poetic emotion that inspires music! That is a rare and subtle factor and makes these worth every penny.
These two sopranos from east coast luthier Tommy Rodriguez provide a full and focused tonal balance. This is the continuity of a single master luthier giving expert attention from start to finish. Images open up to gallery sliders. Enjoy!We hope to continue to show you custom ukes from this remarkable luthier located in Virginia, Tommy Rodriguez is the real deal! Check them out now at your nearest uke shop! (You guys live on the North Shore, right?)