The Ukulele came to Hawaii via Portuguese immigrants who came to the islands to work the large cattle ranches. Cowboys, of a sort, they brought their traditional small stringed instruments (the machete, the cavaquinho, the timple, and the rajão) which inspired the construction of the first ukuleles.
Originating from a small archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Islands, it’s not hard to understand why the ukulele’s development was shaped by a short menu of available tonewoods on those islands. Some
of these include Kolohala (or Pheasant Wood, a very hard wood which is great for fingerboards), Milo. Kula and ‘Hawaiian Ash’. Koa. of course became the most popular Hawaiian wood for instruments, due mainly to the large size and prevalence of the thees in Hawaii, not to mention it’s renowned beauty,
The ukulele has traveled the world now, of course, and as a result, its construction has taken on characteristics of the guitar and other stringed instruments (banjo-lele anyone?). Koa is not as easy to find as it used to be, but we carry it when we can. But in addition, we now carry a very wide selection of fantastic tonewoods that are being eagerly explored by Ukulele builders stepping outside of the tradition of the ukulele’s construction. We now allow our customers to select the exact sets they want to buy from a photo gallery on our website.