All guitars may be fully customized as seen on the options page, with the exception of the Territorial, and the Mark Nelson Deluxe.
Shown here are three Po Mahina Guitars for size comparison.
From left to right, Punahele Iki, Mauna Loa, Ka Makani O Ka`u
Punahele Iki & Punahele Models
These are the smallest guitars I make, and are commonly called "parlor" or "travel". I like to think of them as just guitars that are smaller than what is usual today.
These are real instruments with big voices and very suitable for fingerstyle playing of all sorts.
Even the Punahele Iki with a shorter 23 1/2" scale length can handle C and F Slack Key tunings.
The Punahele is available with two body shapes, 12 frets to the body and 14.
With both of these models a Spruce top is a good choice. All Koa is beautiful, a little quieter in this size, but with a very pleasing clear sound.
Listen to Chris Yeaton play "Beautiful in Blue" from his Ho`o Pa`a CD on this guitar.Beautiful in Blue Beautiful in Blue
This is the next size up and still a little small by today's standards, but would have been the usual size in 1920.
The steel string version is available in two body shapes, 12 frets to the body and 14.
Shown here is a 12 fret all Koa with no binding and a satin finish, giving it a really pretty old time look.
Ka Makani O Ka'u Model
One of my favorite guitars, and a model I do often, especially in an all Koa body.
A favorite of Slack Key players, this is an excellent choice for all kinds of Hawaiian music. With it's clean balanced sound, this is also a great choice for old style Blues and Ragtime.
Because of it's body shape, this guitar can be made in 12, 13, or 14 fret versions - they all work well. I simply adjust the soundhole and bridge placement and make the appropriate changes to the bracing.
Mauna Loa Model
This is the largest guitar that I build and is sometimes called a "mini jumbo", although my shape is slightly different.
With a 16" lower bout it is about the same width as a common dreadnaught but with a narrower waist and the upper bout feels smaller.
This design offers a big sweet sound with lots of bass but still nice treble. It is a good choice for someone feeling more comfortable with a larger guitar.
Sounds great with either a Koa or Spruce top.
Mauna Loa 12 string
Keola Beamer Artist Model
Working with Keola, and using the original double hole guitars he played in the 70's and 80's when he was involved with the Honolulu Guitar and Lute Workshop as a starting point, I am proud to announce the Keola Beamer Artist Guitar. This is designed for Slack Key with an emphasis on purity and strength of overtones and excellent sustain with plenty of volume. This is the perfect guitar for Keola's nahenahe Ki Ho`alu.
This is available as both a steel string and a nylon string. Each will has a label signed by Keola as well as myself.
This is a medium sized guitar at 15 ¼" in the lower bout.
The steel string is available in all Koa as is Keola's, or with a Spruce top and your choice of back and side wood. Standard is an Ebony fingerboard with a hand cut shark in lay at the 5th fret. The shark is Keola's aumakua and may be omitted or changed, no problem.
I would suggest a scale length of 25" or 25.4", depending on your style and hand size. It is also available with 12, 13, or 14 frets to the body. (Keola plays exclusively 12 fret to the body instruments.)
As with all my instruments, the width of the neck at the nut can vary according to customer's preference
||Shark inlay detail
Ed. note: I own this guitar. Besides it's breathtaking beauty two things stood out when I received it.
First, sliding up the neck, as is frequently done in Ki Ho'alu, was buttery smooth. The action is head and shoulders above any other guitar I have every played.
Second, the sustain goes on forever. Easily, you can sustain a chord or note into next week.
An all Koa guitar in the style of instruments made in Honolulu the early 20th century. Similar to the wonderful guitars of Kamaka and Paul Summers, this has the advantage of a truss rod adjustable through the body, being made of very well seasoned Koa and constructed under humidity control. This guitar, unlike most of the old ones, will easily make the transition to the mainland. This is my Size 3, 12 fret to the body.
This is made entirely of Native Hawaiian wood, with Koa used for the neck, fingerboard and bridge, as well as the body.
The only options available here are a choice of nut width and a pick up, if needed.
A wonderful guitar for Slack Key in the old time style.
Mark Nelson Deluxe Model
This is a copy of the guitar I made for Mark Nelson, an extraordinarily talented musician, teacher and author of many instrumental instruction books.
While this is not a copy of any particular guitar, it calls to mind the wonderful guitars made in Chicago in the 1930's and is especially well suited to any fingerpicking style, including Slack Key and old time flatpicking.
It is essentially a special Size 6, with much different bracing, 12 fret neck, 25" scale, rosewood fingerboard with large pearl inlay and a raised finger rest. "Deluxe" is inlaid into the peghead.
Mark's is made of Flamed Maple, but Honduran Mahogany or Rosewood may be substituted at no extra cost. Adirondack Spruce is standard for the top.
Besides nut width choice, and a pickup if needed, there are no other options available.
Mark Nelson Deluxe guitar
||Sound hole detail