8/13/2017

2012 Oceana Redwood/Mahogany Baritone Ukulele





This Oceana baritone was made by Mr. Zac Steimle after moving back from Ecuador to the United States. The owner of this instrument (my consignor) had it custom-built for him and what came out of that arrangement has to be one of the best baritone ukes I've heard in a long while. It looks great, plays great, and sounds tremendous. I'm quite surprised he's selling it on as it's only once in a blue moon that baritones really excite me.

They're, essentially, practical instruments for the most part and often have fairly practical voices to go along with them -- so the most I often hope for is something as nice as an early 1950s Favilla. I hold those in great respect, so when something as nice as this comes out of left field it's a bit jarring. I guess I spend too much time with old instruments!

What I'm trying to get at is that the voice of this is quite a bit fuller and more articulate than I'd ever expect it to be. Listen to the clip above -- notes are clear, sustain is good, and even fast passages do not blend or run into one another. It's a bit like the response you get from a great Kamaka soprano but with the depth of a good classical guitar midrange. It's interesting.

My only work was to adjust the setup a hair -- it's set at hair-above 1/16" at the 12th fret. It's almost "as-new" but does show some open pores in the finish on the side wood, there's a very light amount of use-wear, and one tiny scratch behind the E string slot of the bridge on the top.


I haven't even got to the wood yet, have I? The top looks like "sinker" redwood to me and is quite tight-grained. The back, sides, and neck are mahogany with mild-medium figure, and the fretboard and bridge are rosewood. The binding (and rosette) is rosewood with maple accents, though the back is unbound. Both the nut and saddle are bone.

It has a long-ish 19 7/8" scale length, 1 3/8" nut width, flat-profile fretboard, and slim-C-profile neck shape. The body is 10 3/8" wide and 3 1/4" deep.



The dots are pearl and that neck is quite fast.





That's a tall saddle.





The (original) tuners work just fine but feel a little out-of-place on an instrument this nice.





The "soundport" soundhole in the side does allow the player to enjoy the "real tone" of the instrument a bit more.





A hard case comes with it.

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