An all-koa tenor ukulele and GS guitar with solid lining.
Taylor’s design group has crafted a tandem ukulele/guitar release that celebrates their love of koa wood and honors the traditions, heritage and music of Hawaii, koa’s home. Inspired in part by a new design aesthetic for Taylor’s 2012 Koa Series, this Builder’s Reserve package also draws from the ukulele-building expertise of Taylor luthier Andy Powers, whose high-end ukes are played by the likes of Elvis Costello, Taylor Swift, and singer-songwriter Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek.
The solid koa ukuleles embody a handcrafted approach to instrument making, since Taylor hasn’t yet developed all the tooling that would be required to make the uke as a production model. Their reserves of koa include beautifully figured sets that are too small for a guitar but perfect for ukes. The appointments mirror those of the Koa Series, featuring a beautiful plumeria fretboard inlay that was scaled down to accommodate the uke’s more diminutive size.
The tenor-style design features a body length of just over 12 inches, with a scale length of 17.25 inches. The neck meets the body at the 14th fret. “It’s more of a guitar player’s uke,” says Bob Taylor. “Anyone who plays guitar can just have fun instantly with this.”
The ukulele is made to be tuned GCEA, with a low-wound G string, although the design also will work well with a traditional high-strung G. For players who might want to try it with a more guitar-like voicing, the design can accommodate baritone uke strings, tuned as a low baritone uke, which are the same as the four high strings on a guitar: DGBE.
The companion guitar for this series is an all-koa cutaway GS. The appointments are identical to the actual Koa Series, with one premium tone enhancement: solid lining and side braces inside the guitar rather than the typically-used kerfing. While far more difficult to execute, the thinner solid lining and side braces together add more torsional strength to the sides. As a result, less string energy is wasted, more of the top and back are free to move, and the guitar produces a livelier, more responsive, and more dynamic sound.
Only 30 of this ukulele/guitar pairing have been produced, and each is offered as a matched set.