Blackbird is an innovative guitar company located in San Fransisco and run by luthier and eco-design expert Joe Luttwak. Close to 10 years back they created their first tenor ukulele made out of carbon fiber. This instrument gave the ukulele world an extremely durable alternative to wood ukes that are affected by their environment or plastic ukes that don’t sound very good. They next introduced “EKoa”, their own eco-friendly material and the amazing vintage wood tone they got took the industry by storm. Well maybe, a slow storm. But they are very in demand now and sell in our store and online very quickly. When they first came out with the Clara concert EKoa I did a blog on that HERE. After the Farallon tenor EKoa came out we did a Podcast comparing the Tenor, Concert, and Carbon fiber tenor here – Comparing Blackbird Models.

Blackbird continues to refine their models and add various options including radius fretboard, side soundports, and more. Here is an overview of the most popular Blackbird ukuleles. Check our current stock HERE.

Clara Concert

These are “raw” sound samples with no compression of mastering. Use quality headphones or monitors for most accurate sound.
What is EKoa?
Blackbird says, “Ekoa is made up of fiber reinforcement fabric in resin matrix, but one that is worker and planet-friendly. The plant-based fabrics and biobased resins have a beautiful designer material quality, which does not always require finishing along with distinct performance advantages over other composites. Ekoa is suitable for numerous applications from sports equipment to furniture, but the Clara ukulele is its debut application.”

The clara is impressively deep and rich in tone with fantastic projection for a concert size ukulele. It has a relaxed easy tension that’s a breeze to play and makes a wonderful companion for any occasion.

Farallon Tenor

The breakthrough of EKoa was confirmed with the release of Blackbirds tenor model. It’s really quite amazing what a rich, and even “woody” tone you get. The body is made from linen and bio resin and the bracing is carbon fiber. This instrument is not affected by humidity levels and less affected to weather conditions than wood instruments so it makes the perfect travel tenor. But even beyond that, it’s a great value for an incredible instrument.

As Blackbird was coming out with the prototype Farallon a few years ago we went and visited them in San Fransisco to try them out and talk with Joe.

Farallon Tenor w/ Side Soundport

Over the past few years Joe and his team have added various upgrades to the models. Just like the Clara and BTU carbon fiber model you can get a Misi active pickup installed, and a 12″ radius fretboard. Many people find a radius fretboard to be more comfortable for chording.

With this model they show a new option for the Farallon, a large side sound port. It seems to give even more volume to a model that was already loud! Kalei points that out in his sound sample here.

Farallon Tenor Gloss Sunburst

The EKoa instruments are always unassuming in appearance, humble if you will. BUT, if you prefer more eye candy as you play we are now exclusively offering this high gloss finish sunburst model. As they are in stock that is, these never last long but inquire with us and we can notify you when another arrives. Blackbird is pretty much a boutique line. It’s not some crowded assembly line factory thing. So we get them as we can. But when we do it’s a pleasure to share their unique and impressive style and tone with you. Stay tuned for more from one of our favorite builders, Blackbird!

Comments 9

  1. I have a Farallon, and can attest to the amazing sound quality of these instruments. The build quality is superb, the intonation is spot-on, and the customer support from Joe (the founder of Blackbird) is second to none. Highly recommended. I liked my “original” Farallon so much, I bought second (tobacco sunburst finish)!

  2. I’ve been playing my Blackbird BTU carbon fiber ukulele for almost a year now, and it has become the instrument I reach for most often. I got it more for functional reasons, since I live and travel through areas where the humidity fluctuates to the extremes. I knew it would be a great playing ukulele … but I really didn’t expect it to be THIS good. It really sings! It has a rather wide dynamic range … capable of very delicate and very loud sound without losing its tonal quality. It’s also very comfortable to hold, and very well balanced. What always amazes me is how clear every note is … all frets ring clearly and with no intonation issues. I truly love this instrument, and will likely buy a Farallon as my next ukulele.

  3. I have two Farallons and as I told Joe in an email, If I could only have one ukulele, it would be a blackbird Farallon. I think they hold their own acoustically against boutique custom instruments acoustically ( I have owned and still own quite a few), but where they really shine for me is plugged in. Their Fishman/misi pickup stands alone to my ears. And of course they are weather proof. Why do I own two? I have one tuned GCEA and one tuned DGBE. The baritone tuning on 17″ scale lacks some of the low end you would get from a longer scale acoustically, but plugged in it is huge, very crisp and well balanced, and it does not suffer from low end boominess. Highly recommended.

  4. All of the Blackbirds sound amazing. Listening with your eyes closed, they sound like a super high end custom build. I really love the looks of the looks of the Farallon sunburst! It would be very cool if Blackbird came out with a 5-string.

    1. I was thinking the same thing about a 5-string. Maybe a baritone size and scale length tuned DGCEA?

  5. I purchased my btu tenor in June of 2010, so it is one of the first production models and I will never let it go. It is soooo beautiful sounding and sooo playable. However, the new Farallon Tenor Gloss Sunburst is very attractive to me so I’m saving my pennies.

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