Michihiro Matsuda’s Experimental Ukulele

In issue 21 we ran a short article about a harp guitar built by Michihiro Matsuda. At the time I thought that guitar was one of the wildest looking instruments I had ever seen. Obviously Michi felt it was just too ordinary so he decided to come up with something truly extraordinary.

“I have been thinking quite a while about making an instrument without a body,” Michi says. “I thought that because a ukulele doesn’t have much bass that it would be a good experiment. The top is made of a sandwich of Nomex and spruce, which is bent into a bow shape. [Nomex is a lightweight, ultra-strong high-tech material used in the manufacture of aircraft.] I first tried using a solid spruce top but it didn’t sound so good. All the parts are replaceable on this so I can try different ideas.”

The experimental uke isn’t for sale, because Michi is, well, still experimenting.

Photos by Grant Groberg