About this project
The Pahulele is an original instrument design by luthier Reid Shigemura of Ho’okani Music Company. “Pahu” is the Hawaiian word for box, and that is just what this instrument is. The body is a plywood box with design aspects inspired by cigar box guitars and ukuleles. It is one of the most unique instruments you will find. Entirely handmade in Honolulu, Hawaii. The main body is constructed of top grade Baltic birch plywood and the neck and bridge are made of very carefully selected, premium quarter sawn Douglas Fir. Finished with traditional high quality lacquer.
The key feature of the Pahulele is its removable neck. The neck can be completely detatched and stored securely within the body. This makes it perfect for traveling or shipping the instrument without fear of in transit damage. It can be completely disassembled and stowed away in about 90 seconds, and put back together and tuned in about 3 minutes. The back of the instrument slides out to access inside the body. You tune the Pahulele with the tuning keys located inside the body. You can access the tuners through access holes in the back or with the back removed. There is also an allen wrench included that is used for removing the neck, and there is a dedicated storage slot inside the body to stow the wrench when not in use.
The Pahulele is an instrument I have been actively developing for about one year now. I had the concept for the instrument in my head for a year before I even started developing it. The concept was an ukulele with either a folding or detachable neck that would take up less space for people who are traveling. When I finally started development, I decided to add some challenges / requirements for this instrument.
In order of importance, these requirements were:
- A unique and original design
- A real instrument that plays and sounds good
- Quick manufacturing time
- A plywood box body
One year later, and with several design changes, I have been able to create an instrument that meets all original requirements and is a very cool and fun ukulele! I have already made and sold about 50 Pahuleles and I have been collecting feedback from customers and I think this instrument is ready for the mainstream. That is where I am looking to the Kickstarter community for help. I would like to be able to increase production of the Pahulele and keep it an affordable handmade instrument. I don't want to outsource production. I plan on keeping it made in Hawaii and available globally. To do so, I need to buy material and hardware in bulk. If I can raise at least $10k, I would be able to purchase the supplies and tools needed to put the Pahulele into full time production. I'm looking to make between 80 - 100 Pahuleles per month. If the demand is greater than that, I am prepared to upscale further.
Another big step for the Pahulele is that I am separating it from Ho'okani Music Company and making it into it's own brand. Up until this point, the Pahulele has just been one of the models of Ho'okani. Pahulele is becoming it's own brand with it's own logo distinguishing it from my other products. I think that the Pahulele is such a different and unique product that it deserves it's own spotlight.
Some of the funds raised will go towards advertising / marketing the Pahulele, as well as research and development of new models and accessories for the pahulele. I plan on making cases and carry bags for the instrument and I am in the process of designing a solid wood model. I am also very close to releasing an electric-acoustic Pahulele that has a built-in pickup to plug into an amplifier. That is going to be one of the bigger investments because to keep the instrument affordable, I need to purchase the pickups in large quantities.
As part of the rewards, I will be making 2 special Kickstarter exclusive limited edition models of the Pahulele. These limited editions will be the first pahuleles sold with pickups! They will also feature special Kickstarter exclusive color schemes and engravings. Backers will be able to cast votes for the colors and design of these limited editions as the Kickstarter campaign progresses! That's right, you get to help create the instrument. I will post photos, release polls, take feedback and suggestions from backers.
Pictures of the stickers, picks, and shirts will be released soon. I am working on some designs now and may be asking for your input. I will most likely have more than one design for each and you will be able to choose which one you want.
If funding for this project is successful, I will be throwing an invite only party in Honolulu Hawaii to celebrate. This event will most likely be scheduled for sometime in July 2015. There will be live music, open jam sessions, food, and more! As a reward, all Kickstarter backers will be invited to this event. You will need to provide your own transportation and other accommodations, especially if you do not live in Honolulu, but you will be invited none the less regardless of where you live. So if you live in Honolulu or will be in the area in July, please come and celebrate with us!
Risks and challenges
Some challenges that I may face could be that some parts or materials may cost more or take longer to get than expected. Also, If demand is much greater than expected, there could be some delays in production if I have to retool or setup a larger shop to meet the demand. If there are any issues that could result in delays, I will be sure to address them promptly and keep all backers informed of progress. I have a lot of experience with building instruments and I also have a lot of business experience managing the guitar department of a music store for 13 years. I am very capable of dealing with any setbacks that may occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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