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Harana Instruments - Handcrafted Ukuleles from Cebu

Beautiful musical instruments made by master luthiers with over 200 years of tradition in the art of instrument making.

Harana Instruments - Handcrafted Ukuleles from Cebu

Beautiful musical instruments made by master luthiers with over 200 years of tradition in the art of instrument making.

$1
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
1
backer
19days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, December 1 2019 3:59 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Harana Instruments - Cebu's Best Handmade, High-Quality Ukuleles

Ronnie Pangatungan, master luthier

High-quality ukuleles by master luthiers in Cebu, Philippines.

Harana Instruments is a company I want to start in collaboration with local craftsmen in the city of Cebu, a historical city in southern Philippines. It was where Ferdinand Magellan's epic journey ended when he was slain by the natives.

Craftsmen have been making instruments in this tropical metropolis for well over 200 years. According to historians, during the colonial era, Spanish friars taught the locals how to repair instruments that were used by the church because it would literally take months (not to mention expensive!) for instruments to be fixed if they were to send them back to Spain for repairs.

Luthiers from the olden days. Photo by Jay Dilan.

As a result, generations of master craftsmen have thrived in this industry. Sadly, because of better opportunities elsewhere, there are less and less young people willing to take on this profession.

During my interview with craftsmen, I learned that they are barely making ends meet. Competition from big name brands are strangling these Cebuano craftsmen. Which is sad because these big name brands are expensive and are of inferior quality. They mostly come from factories in China and Indonesia.

On the other hand, Harana Instruments's, mission is to work with only the best craftsmen and compensate them well, stimulating the local economy and to bring them out of poverty. My hope is to bring the money back to this trade so that the younger generation will regain interest in this honorable profession. Part of the proceeds will go back to the community through non-profit organizations that I would like the backers of this project to vote on.

During my travels, I've learned that they use high-quality woods for their guitars, ukuleles, bandurrias, mandolins, etc. The woods they use range from standard ones such as mahogany and birch to more exotic woods such as mango, acacia, narra (one of the hardest local woods),  and jack fruit just to name a few.

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My vision is to provide the world the option of opting for these same high-quality instruments rather than being stuck between cheap, factory-made, mass-produced instruments or expensive handmade instruments from Hawai'i (due to high labor costs).

When you support Harana Instruments, not only are you supporting the beautiful people of Cebu, you are also supporting the continuation of a craft that spans hundreds of years.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lorenzo Franco

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For the first line up, I'd like to release our flagship ukulele. We are going this direction because ukuleles are much easier to ship than guitars. Later on, my hope is that we'll expand our product lines to sopranos, concerts, bandurrias (a folk instrument originating from Spain but are more commonly found in former Spanish colonies), and guitars.

Harana Cebuana Tenor Ukulele

Our flagship model is honestly one of the best ukuleles I've ever laid my hands on. And I'll tell you why!

Features

The body is made from solid mahogany. What makes this particular model's body stand out is the thickness of the wood in the back and then gently curves towards the middle (see the picture below), resulting in a pronounced, balanced tone. The thickness, in conjunction with the shape, kind of acts like a speaker cone so the sound that comes from it is loud. When I go to the beach or any other public places to jam out, people could definitely hear me playing. If there is an award for ukulele volume, this would be the clear winner.

The craftsmanship is amazing, too. The bindings around the body as well as the pick guard are all made from abalone shells found in the nearby beaches. This results in a classy, gorgeous look.

Harana Cebuana Tenor Ukulele - Front View
Harana Cebuana Tenor Ukulele - Rear View
Harana Cebuana Tenor Ukulele - Closeup

Improvements

The ukulele is easily one of the best instruments one can get for the price but, like in all areas of life, there is always room for improvement. Some of the things I'd improve when we start production at the workshop is I would import Aquila strings and have them installed before shipping to the customer.

I'd also like to see a tie bridge. The current models come with thru-body bridges so changing strings is not the easiest task, though it does give it a clean look. I will speak with the luthiers to see what the pros and cons would be to doing so.

And last but not least, I'd put abalone markers on the side of the neck to make it easier to see the frets.


Budget Allocation

At this moment in time, nothing is set in stone. I will work with my mentor to see how to optimize the funds that will, hopefully, be coming in.

  • 30% will go to acquiring the inventory, premium Aquila strings to improve the sound. Stretch goal would be to purchase a laser etching machine or strike a contract with a 3rd party so that customers would be able have the option to customize the appearance of their instrument.
  • 30% will go to shipping and procuring sturdy boxes for overseas shipping. Stretch goal would be to include hardshell cases but only if we can find a supplier that will give us a good, bulk pricing.
  • 10% for travel expenses. We'll need to set aside a small amount for travel expenses because I'll shuffling back and forth between Cebu and Manila to coordinate with the suppliers and maybe to California as well if we decide to freight ship the units to the US.
  • 20% Marketing.  Facebook and Instagram ads will be the bread and butter for advertising. If budget permits, 
  • 10% for overhead

Profit Allocation

  • We would like to donate 10% of the profits back to the local community in Cebu. When the product line launches, we will ask our backers which non-profits organizations or causes they'd like the funds to go to :)
  • We would also like to reinvest most of the profits back to the company so that we can grow our product line and keep improving and invest on marketing

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Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge for me is navigating through the logistics and importing to the US. I have a friend who is an entrepreneur who volunteered to help me in this matter.

Since shipping from the Philippines to the international market tends to be pretty expensive and may take weeks to deliver to North America and Europe, we will have to run the numbers on whether to fulfill orders and ship from the Philippines or export the inventory in bulk to the US.

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    Pledge $579 and get a Harana Cebuana Tenor Ukulele at a discounted price and discounted shipping to the continental US and the rest of the world.

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