At Lichty Guitars by custom ukulele – we mean a ukulele that is designed and handcrafted just for you. Different woods contribute to different tones (along with the type of sound board, bracing and many other factors). When you place an order for a custom ukulele Jay will discuss all the variables with you to kick off the design process. The next step is for you to select the specific piece of ukulele tonewood that you’d like your instrument to be built from. We have on hand, at all times, a wide selection of premium exotic and domestic woods. Look through our selection and see which set of wood “has your name on it.”
“I look for wood that speaks to me both visually and tonally. What I’m after is wood that has that wow factor – a powerful blend of stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty and a rich tonal quality. Selection of the very best wood is where the joy in building each guitar begins.” – Jay
A few things to note:
If you are wondering what is the best ukulele tonewood, we invite you to read the following post: Best Acoustic Guitar Tonewood / Best Ukulele Tonewood ?
Here is a sample of our current wood supply
Very similar to Cocobolo in looks and in tone (none currently available)
Black Limba, which is the sapwood and heartwood of the White Limba tree is similar in quality to mahogany and yet its distinct figure sets it apart from any other tonewood.
Brazilian Rosewood is a protected species and the wood is therefore becoming increasingly hard to find. We look for old growth and CITES Certified wood. Brazilian Rosewood is considered to be the premier tonewood by luthiers and guitar and ukulele players. It is currently one of our most popular woods for custom order ukes.
(sizes are indicated when you hover over the image)
Bubinga grows in Africa and though not a true rosewood, it is often referred to as African Rosewood, It is as hard as the rosewoods, but has a finer texture. It has great stability and tone and makes a beautiful instrument.
Chechen is a species of tree that grows in Mexico and Central America. It is often referred to as Caribbean Rosewood, because of its habitat and characteristics, though not a true rosewood. Chechen is a little known tonewood that is hard, dense and tight-grained and that can be found in colors ranging from amber to dark brown with beautiful figure. Given it offers a sustainable alternative to rosewoods, we expect you will be hearing more and more about it.
Learn more about this unique tonewood Chechen
Cherry is domestic tonewood that is comparable in tone and quality to Walnut and Maple.
A true rosewood from Central America that compares with Brazilian Rosewood in terms of tonal quality, warmth and stunning beauty.
Macassar Ebony from Indonesia has many similar characteristics to Brazilian Rosewood – beautiful colors and tones.
Granadillo is often referred to as Black Cocobolo. It is a non-porous dense wood that produces a bright taptone and long sustain.
Denser than Indian Rosewood, Honduran Rosewood is well-known for its excellent tonal properties. It produces a well-balanced guitar with solid projection and strong lows and highs. One set currently available.
Hormigo is a tree that grows in the humid forest zones in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras . When struck it produces a beautiful bell-like tone. It is appropriately called “the wood that sings”
A favorite among luthiers, Indian Rosewood is one of the most stable rosewoods and has a deep, rich tone and beautiful brown color (and sometimes purple hue).
A classic for ukuleles, Koa is one of the most sought after tonewoods given its beautiful figure and rich tone.
Harvested from the South American rainforests, Lacewood shares similar characteristics with Mahogany and yet is notably stiff and light, producing a big full tone.
Mango is a Hawaiian hardward with a bright tone similar to koa.
Mahogany is one of the most stable tonewoods and is also used for soundboards. It produces a balanced woody tone with a powerful midrange. We typically have a variety of types of Mahogany on hand.
Milo is a Hawaiian wood that grows in coastal regions. Though hard to come by, it is prized for instrument making because of it’s rich colors and tone.
Learn more about Milo Tonewood
This tropical species tends to resemble Koa in looks and Mahogany in tone and character and has become a favorite of guitar and ukulele builders.
Myrtlewood is an evergreen hardwood that grows along the Pacific coast in the northwestern United States. It varies in color and texture as a result of the soil and growing conditions. Myrtlewood is becoming more and more popular for instrument building given is beauty, both visually and tonally.
Special wood reclaimed from a North Carolina mountain cabin – One set currently available
Pau Ferro is denser than Indian and Brazilian Rosewood and has an incredible tap-tone. The color of this wood comes to life under a finish, with chocolates, creams, reds, and golds throughout the grain.
None currently available
No sets currently available
Sycamore is a sustainable domestic tonewood. It is best described as falling somewhere between maple and mahogany in terms of tone. Highly figured sets look remarkably like lacewood.
Wenge is a dense African wood with tight straight grain. It is a heavier wood than Indian Rosewood and Brazilian with excellent projection and sustain.
From Mexico this high density wood is often compared to Brazilian Rosewood given its rich deep tones and yet it offers beautiful spider webbed figure unlike any other wood.
Learn more about ziricote
Options include Engelmann Spruce, Adironack Spruce, Sitka Spruce, Carpathian Spruce, Lutz, Sinker Redwood, Curly Redwood, Western Red Cedar, Koa, Mahogany, and hand painted custom tops. Please inquire for sets beyond those featured in the gallery. Too, note Baritone or Tenor size by hovering over image.