Handcrafted Ukulele Exhibit by HAMAKUA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (Ross Yamamoto)

Saturday November 9, 2019 - 6:00 pm


Hāmākua Musical Instruments... A cool wind blows across the land. Scent of ginger and plumeria fill the air. The mist from Akaka falls gently presses against your brow and the sounds of Hawai‘i fill your mind. Palm trees and banana leaf rustle in the wind and the simple yet beautiful sounds of ukulele, laughter, and song and aloha reach your ear. This is Hāmākua, the rich, northeast coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. For many years I have travelled there from the mainland. My family, from Kalihi in Oahu, a neighboring island, lives a faster pace. The bustling of town, like the cities on the west coast of California, had lost my interest. In search of a slower, more palatable life, I found myself falling in love with Hilo and the shores north of it. What caught me was the wind, like a breath from God. That is what the Hawaiian’s felt as they named this coastline “Hāmākua” … Breath of the father. As if God the Father had breathed upon it. Today I live in South East Vista, California. It is an unincorporated area of North County San Diego. No less than five miles from the bustle of a small city, up on top of a hillside I have found that same wind speaking to me. Here I build musical instruments. Ukulele, the sound now known as Hawaiian, is my instrument of choice. I have found sustainable woods like African mahogany, also local timber like sycamore and black acacia that grow wild here in Southern California. Of course we build from the mighty koa tree, and my connections to the Big Island of Hawai‘i have brought me knowledge and friendships with wood dealers that are responsibly harvesting the old growth that is fallen on their acreage. Other woods have also come my way, but we do not build with ones I would be ashamed to build with. Our goal here at Hāmākua Musical Instruments is to build a great sounding ukulele. It’s not about cost, or fame, or bragging rights. We occasionally do custom orders. We build with what we have. Many times they are scraps of guitar wood from guitar builders who have nice left overs that are too small for a guitar but just right for a ukulele, or old furniture that is aged or broken. With the right pieces, we can build the right parts and hence build a ukulele that has surpassing sound and playability. Of course hand built ukuleles are not inexpensive, but we have managed to keep costs down enough to offer our instruments at a good price. Please feel free to try our instruments! Your input is vital to our dynamic growth. If you like what you play, tell a friend. If you don’t, tell us! Thanks for taking the time to know a little about us, and playing our instruments. We hope to inspire you to stop and feel the “Hāmākua Coast” every time you play. Blessings, Ross Yamamoto Hāmākua Musical Instruments