Custom Ukuleles

The is the second tenor built in our, "Luthier's Reserve" series.  The "Reserve Series" is our top of the line, one off instruments, that 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. John 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 provided 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

​Ameritage case

Certificate of Authenticity

Luthier's Reserve #2

Luthiers Reserve #1

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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 bridge

Ebony faceplate with MOP logo

19" scale and 1-9/16 nut width

MOP fret and side markers

Bone nut and saddle

Hard case


The Kimo Hussey model is a design collaboration between John and Kimo and incorporates a 19" scale along with a 1-9/16 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