The Kawika Ukulele was made by an independent luthier in Hilo, Hawaii by David Hurd. The name Kawika is Hawaiian for David, who was an oceanographer prior to his career as a ukulele-builder. These instruments are hand-crafted, professional-quality ukuleles that are appropriate for concert performance. They are made of high-quality woods, sometimes koa wood and sometimes substitutions such as red cedar and other high-end exotic woods. These ukuleles are no longer manufactured, though already existing examples can fetch good prices among professional players and those who want a quality instrument, whether or not they play particularly well.
During the 1990’s, which is the era the Kawika Ukulele originates, was one when there was a market increase in interest about this instrument. The instrument came in all the common variants. Though most people will be familiar with the sound of a tenor ukulele, there are different voices for this instrument, which allow performers to get exactly the instrument they need and, of course, which allows beginners to choose an instrument that truly interests them. These instruments also showcase the beauty of a hand-crafted ukulele. Imitations of these instruments may be available for $10 in tourist shops, but real ones are serious instruments, indeed.
This ukulele, like any hand-crafted instrument, is created with certain characteristics in mind. The woods selected, the ways in which those woods are cut and the means by which the instrument is fastened together all play significant roles in the end result of the instrument. These instruments are capable of good volume and a full-bodied sound, in contrast to the skewed impression that many people who have only heard cheap ukuleles have of the instrument. The lower voices of these ukuleles are rich and full, the higher voices project as a concert instrument should be expected to project.
The creator of the Kawika ukulele models was a scientist, and there is great precision found in the creation of these instruments. He also, however, considered it an art, as do most lutheirs. These ukuleles are appropriate for those who take the instrument rather seriously and who want a hand-crafted instrument with many traditional features. There are numerous types. The luthier himself has moved on to other things, having written a book about building the instruments recently. The original company name was Ukuleles by Kawika. The company is no longer available for repairs or for orders for new instruments.
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