The is the second tenor built in our "Luthier's Reserve" series. The "Luthier's Reserve" is our top of the line "one off" instrument we design to showcase John's skills and artistic vision of what playable art can truly be.
For this project John focused on the woods themselves to create an instrument with visual balance in color, shape and detail.
It's the sum of all these parts that produce an instrument that is visually stunning as a whole yet draws your eyes to the smallest detail- details that showcase John's 45 years of building experience.
Highly figured Claro Walnut was used for the top, back and sides and was accented with Maple on the fingerboard, bridge and headstock. We went for an "Art Deco" theme by blending sharp angles with softer rounded shapes to create balance. The darkness of the Walnut was contrasted by the lightness of the Maple to draw the eye to the different parts of the instrument. The Maple binding and backplate segued into the Walnut body and neck to draw the eye towards the details John integrated into the build.
The sound hole is elliptical in shape and the rosette uses Mother of Pearl in the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock positions to denote it as a "Luthier's Reserve" (our Series 3 builds incorporate markers at the 3, 6 and 9 o'clock position). Our new Z-Stock headstock catches the eye as we wanted something that was going to be very unique yet understated. UPT tuners on a center diagonal along with a "see through" design provide a unique yet proportional design that works really well with our body style. The Walnut neck has a floating center strip with bound Maple that visually picks up the same back strip down to the art deco purfling theme on the back.
The sound? All Walnut makes for a warm, deep, rich tone and the resonance and sustain that our instruments are known for really accentuate that sound. Walnut is probably one of our favorite woods for both beauty and tonality. This tenor will truly make a wonderful addition for the discriminating player or collector.
Introducing the new John S. Kinnard, "Luthier's Reserve Series". This new model will incorporate design features that make it one of a kind and very special as no two are planned to be alike. This is John stepping "outside the box" and using his artistic sensibilities and skills as a luthier to create something that shows off his creative vision of the ukulele as an object of playable art.
John's ukuleles have been described by some as "understated elegance". This is the first in the "Luthier's Reserve" series and definitely shows that aspect of John's work. As good as it looks, it sounds even better! Deep resonance, a rich, thick tone with sustain that goes on and on...this tenor is destined to be a collector's item.
This uke uses a torrified Sitka top and while it has been used on guitars in the recent past, I don't believe I have ever seen one used on a uke. Torrification is a process of "aging" the wood to simulate a top that is fifty or sixty years old. There are a number of different processes but basically the wood is placed in an oxygen free oven and "baked" for a certain amount of time. This drys out the moisture down to the cellular level and converts the sugars and cellulose in a way that mimics a spruce top that has been on an instrument for a very long time. Many guitar builders looking for that Martin pre-war tone are incorporating the torrified tops in their build and for a good reason. To say we are pleased with the sound would be an understatement.
John S. Kinnard "Luthier's Reserve #1" Tenor Cut-away
Cocobolo back with a Tiger Maple inlaid center piece
Torrified Sitka Spruce top
3 piece Tiger Maple neck
Tiger Maple binding with mitered purfling
Custom "Luthier's Reserve" Elipsicle sound hole with Custom 4 point Rosette
Custom fret/side markers
Slotted Headstock with Gotoh "Stealth and Rosewood backplate
Rosewood faceplate with MOP logo
Rosewood pinless bridge with custom appointments
Bone nut and saddle
Certificate of Authenticity
Luthier's Reserve II (2016)
Luthier's Reserve I (2015)
Luthier's Reserve III (2017)
We introduced our first Luther's Reserve in 2015 at the Ukulele Builders Guild of Hawaii show in Honolulu and followed up with the Luthier's Reserve II the following year. This year we continued the tradition by introducing the Luthier's Reserve III at the Ukulele Builder's Guild show that took place November 17th, 2017 on Waikiki.
This tenor was inspired by our trip this past summer to the Czech Republic, Vienna and Munich with Kimo Hussey and David Chen. We had the opportunity to visit a number of amazing cathedrals and they were the inspiration for this tenor we named "Heaven's Door". Highly figured Padauk was used for the back and sides and master grade Western Red Cedar was used for the top. Beautiful figured "Tiger" Maple was used for the neck.
The headstock design is what we refer to as the recessed Z-Stock. An Ebony faceplate was machined down to the figured Maple used for the neck. This showed off the Z-stock shape but also gave it depth and a 3D look. This was done by machining down to the Maple instead of all the way through like on our standard Z-Stock. Gotoh UPT's in brushed aluminum with MOP style buttons complimented the use of MOP in the body and the neck.
The design of the back uses inlayed purfling to give a cathedral effect with Ebony from the binding creating a walkway up to the arched doorway. The MOP used in the arch gives off a cloud like effect leading to the name "Heavens Door" for this instrument. The figure in the Padauk represents the art on the ceilings of these great cathedrals and the walkway leading up to the door creates depth and interest-
This cathedral theme was also carried over onto the Padauk fretboard. The apex of the arches act as fret markers on the 5th, 10th and 15th fret and another arch doorway appears just above the oval soundhole that designates this a "Luthier's Reserve" model along with four inlays at each point of the compass....
The back of the neck shows our "floating" neck inlay in Padauk against the white of the Maple. It starts from a slightly flared bottom and ends at the Ebony back plate with a small MOP arch that carries on the theme for the instrument. The bridgeplate was made from the same highly figured Padauk and an Ebony inlay created a unique effect of the strings disappearing into the body.
Like our other Luthier's Reserves this is an example of John's vision of playable art and is surely destined to be a collector's item.
The Tenor/Tenor is a two instrument matching set that allows the uke player to move into the realm of steel string guitar without having to learn any new chord fingerings. The tenor guitar tuned to DGBE is the same tuning and pitch as a baritone uke. This allows a seamless transition to the tone and voicing of a steel string guitar and can open up new avenues of musical growth and expression. Tenor guitars were very popular from the 1930's through the 1970's and there is currently a resurgence in interest as they can be used for all types of musical genres. We are offering the Tenor/Tenor as a special set or we'll build you an individual tenor guitar with woods of your choice.
Contact us for pricing and the current build time estimate-
Tenor Ukulele/ Tenor Guitar Set.
Cocobolo back and sides
AAAA Sitka Spruce top
Mahogany satin finished neck
Slotted headstock with Gotoh "Stealth" tuners
Cocobolo radial rosette
Rosewood binding with customer mitered purfling
Ebony fingerboard bound with 10" radius
Ebony faceplate with MOP logo
19" scale and 1-1/2" nut width
MOP fret and side markers
Bone nut and saddle
The Kimo Hussey model is a design collaboration between John and Kimo and incorporates a 19" scale along with a 1-1/2 nut. This provides the player more horizontal and vertical room to make those barre and jazz chords easier to play with less chance for string buzz.
The mark of all Kinnard ukuleles is their responsiveness to the lightest touch. This allows you to experience the full rich sound spectrum that the tone woods have to offer, without having to play loud. Kinnard ukes provide more freedom to express yourself because you have greater dynamic range and volume control for your playing style. Whether played soft or loud, this uke provides the full tonal palette the tone woods have to offer- giving you, the player, more creative control to express yourself and your music
Special Series Ukuleles
Kimo Hussey Super Tenor
John can build you a matching guitar and ukulele to your spec's. Whether it's a dred, an OM or a parlor size guitar, John can build you the guitar of your dreams and match it with a uke built with the same woods and appointments. Contact us for a quote-
Ukulele and Guitar Combo