I am always on the hunt for the greatest ukes in the world. My brother Noa actually makes some of them, Ko’olau, and I trust his opinion on ukulele quality probably more than anyone. After a trip to Japan he told me that he was most impressed with a builder named TODA. However, he couldn’t visit this builder because he has no public phone, email, website, or any of that. He basically doesn’t want to be bothered. He just wants to build instruments. He only deals with Masa at Ohana Ukulele in Japan. Fortunately, Masa said he would supply us as a distributor when possible. This one here made with sitka spruce and Indian rosewood was just finished for Asada at Ribbee Ukulele in Thailand but he was kind enough to let me buy it when he saw that I wanted to try one. Mahalo to Masa and Asada for letting me show you such a phenomenal instrument.
This is not a flashy build, but is extremely precise inside and out. Every miter joint is perfect. Set and relief of the neck, fretwork, and intonation: perfect. Visually attractive with artistic flow and intelligent design in the body shape, bridge, koa pickguard, abalone dot outlay, and the super cool twisting wave at the top of the headstock. Above all though, the sound on this TODA VT tenor ukulele is just fantastic! Looking inside I see almost like a miniature steel string guitar bracing. X brace with a transverse brace below the asymmetrical bridge patch. Very different from other ukulele builders and the result is impressive. Take a look/ listen and share your thoughts below.
This sound sample from Corey Fujimoto is completely “raw”, untouched, uncompressed audio using the most transparent mics that do not color the tone. Use quality speakers or headphones for the most true listening experience.
I have been asking myself all day if I was going to keep this one for myself. If I thought I could not get another I definitely would, but this one will be going up at The Ukulele Site to share with our audience there. I know I will eventually get a Toda though. I consider this uke to be among the best I have ever played.