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Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty)

Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty)
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Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty) Ken Franklin Custom Tenor (Lefty)
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Ken Franklin Custom Tenor lefty

This beautiful instrument was built by Ken Franklin in Ukiah, California. Ken has been building guitars since 1973 casually and then professionally since 2003. His mom had a ukulele from the 1930s and when she passed away he decided to fix it up, and in 2012 decided to start building his own. This is great for the ukulele community because he makes excellent ukes!

Ken had this to say about this instrument,

"Probably not the most creative name I could think of but easily recognizable to those left-handed players who are usually made to turn a right-handed ukulele into a lefty. It has a dedicated left-handed sound port, a left-handed intonated saddle, a left-handed clear pickguard and left-handed position markers. I’ve been using a meandering placement lately for the aluminum markers so the fifth and twelfth fret markers are closer to a left-handed player.

This isn’t just a nod to left-handed players though. Lefty is a robust instrument with a rich, complex voice well suited to fingerstyle play but also much more than adequate when strummed. The redwood top is a major part of this. I have three of these special tops and this is the first ukulele with one. It’s not like other redwood that I’ve used before. It has more density and less tendency to split so it should be very reliable in service. And the tap tone… beauty doesn't begin to describe it. You’ll be carried along on its journey. One of those ukuleles that I’ve made which probably shouldn’t be for sale but then I’m a right-handed player. (I had to string it up backward just to test it out.)

The back, sides and head plates are ebiara, a West African hardwood that isn’t often seen on the market but is not on any endangered lists. It has a nice natural luster and a fairly coarse grain which I find appealing under a penetrating oil finish. The tap tone doesn’t ring like rosewood and it’s not nearly as dense but it’s pleasant like some ebonies. The figure is what some would call ropey with darker streaks. Some even call it red zebrawood and it’s also known as berlinia. The neck is Khaya. Bindings are Macassar ebony, the bridge is African ebony and the fingerboard is Malaysian Blackwood which is also an ebony.

Like other recent builds Lefty has dual bolt-on attachments for the neck. One is inside the body and the other also connects the strap button on the heel.

These are new tuners for me. I’ve always appreciated the quality of the Gotoh 510 tuners with their smooth operation and solid string posts. While they work fine on guitars they are too big for ukuleles in my opinion. So I was very pleased to see these smaller 510s with shorter posts which fit a ukulele nicely. They’re a dream.

The frets are Evo Gold with polished rounded ends. The strings are Worth BT with a GHS Winter Silver wound low G. 

Mika gives us a raw sound sample. 

The design of this tenor is unique with a mini X brace. Ken says this has opened up the warmer tones on his ukes and you can hear that with this acacia tenor. It has a slight 20" radius to the fretboard for easy chording, a top arch with a 30' radius, and the back with an 18' radius. This allows for structural stability with a light build. It's bound in ebony as well as an ebony fretboard that's adorned with aluminum markers. 

Even though this was made with left-handed players in mind, it sounds and plays awesome for a right-handed player as well. It's one of the best sounding ukes to come through and we think you're gonna love it!

Essential Accessories & Popular Customizations

"Lefty" Ken Franklin Materials
P2 Tenor Body w Oval Soundhole
Oval Soundport
Double Sides
Dual bolt-on neck with integrated strap button
Hand carved poplar linings
Redwood top
Ebiara back and sides & headplate
Malaysian blackwood radius (20") fretboard, binding, & 12 hole bridge
Kahya neck
Semi-gloss oil varnish w microcrystalline wax
Clear pickguard
Evo gold frets
Aluminum position markers
Gotoh SGi 510 mini 16:1 geared tuners
Worth BT strings w GHS wound low G
Includes hardshell case

Ken Franklin Tenor
Total Scale Length: 17.25”/43.82cm
Body Length: 11.75”/29.845cm
Overall length: 26”/66.04cm
Nut Width: 1.45”/36.81mm
Saddle Width: 2.14”/54.46mm
Lower Bout Width: 9.25”/23.5cm
Upper Bout Width: 6.75”/17.15cm
Lower Bout Depth: 2.75”/6.99cm
Upper Bout Depth: 2.5”/6.35cm

String Spacing
At Nut: G to C = 9.66mm G to A = 28.63mm
At 12th Fret: G to C = 10.80mm G to A = 33.51mm
At Saddle: G to C = 12.76mm G to A = 37.88mm

More Information

This ukulele includes a hardshell case.

Humidifier (Options at the "Humidifier Options" above)

Another option is to add a ukulele humidifier. This is required if you live in a low humidity area or if you use indoor heating/cooling, especially for areas with winter seasons or hot summers. If you are heating the air in your house, the air will become extremely dry.

Regardless of the outside humidity levels, the indoor humidity levels will drop dramatically once the air is heated. The same is true for air conditioning, usually not as drastic of a humidity drop as a heater, but it will remove a significant amount of moisture from the air as well. In either case, it is always a good idea to supplement with a humidifier that you store in the case with the instrument while not in use. This is usually a requirement by Ukulele manufacturers in order to keep the instrument covered under warranty.

In order to humidify the instrument, you will need a case for the humidifier to work properly and you will need to maintain the humidifier by refilling it as needed.

Other Options (Many found in the essential accessories above)
Another option is to switch your string set or change from low G tuning to high G tuning or vice-versa. Just add the strings you want and choose the restring option at the string listing. 

After adding this instrument to your shopping cart, you can add extra accessories from the website or from this page. installation of strap button(s) if you like to use a strap.
Add a pickup installation so you can play through an amplifier.
Get a free shipping quote by adding this to your cart. If your cart reaches $500 dollars or more, domestic US orders will receive free FedEx 2 day shipping. (2 business days is the time in transit once the instrument departs)

There is a special instructions box where you can add notes or preferences that our setup or shipping department needs to be aware of.

Before being shipped, your instrument will first go through our setup department. The processing time before shipment will depend on the setup option chosen. See additional tabs for more information on our setup process, turnaround time, and shipping. 

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Setup Options


Current Turnaround Time: Amount of time before shipping-
Full Setup: 5-7 Days
Full Setup RUSH: 2-4 days
Basic QC Only: 2-4 days

Basic Quality Control - $0.00 (Always Free)

BASIC QUALITY CONTROL covers inspecting the instrument for any major defects that would have been missed by the factory and any faults in construction that could potentially damage or limit the functionality of the instrument over time. Any defective instruments are rejected and replaced.  We make sure that each Ukulele meets the basic standard for a brand new instrument and will be ready to play once you receive it. A final cleanup is also included after inspection before packing and shipment.

Full Setup - $40.00 for Ukuleles Under $399 / Free for Ukuleles $399+ 


-Overall QC evaluation: To find defects in construction as well as to get an overall view of the instrument and note the areas that need extra attention and adjustment during the setup.

-Saddle Adjustment: The height of the saddle is lowered to reduce the distance between the strings and the fretboard, making it easier to play than the factory setup, especially higher up the fretboard.

-Nut Slot Adjustment: The depth, width, and angle of the nut slots are adjusted to create a more comfortable playing experience especially on the lower frets.

-Fret Dressing: After adjusting the nut and saddle heights, high spots in the fretboard or uneven frets will potentially cause fret buzz, dead spots, or other unwanted problems. The frets are filed to create a more consistent level across the fretboard. We then crown the frets to return their rounded curvature back to the top of each fret creating a clear contact point for each string. We then smooth and polish the frets and condition the fingerboard to bring them back to new condition.

-Final Cleanup: We always do a final overall cleanup of the instrument to make sure it is in new condition and ready to play before it is prepared for shipment.

Rush Setup & Delivery - Additional $50.00
The RUSH SETUP AND DELIVERY service is for customers who would still like to receive everything included in the full setup but on a shorter time frame. One of our setup technicians will work overtime outside of normal business hours to complete the setup within 2-3 days of the order being placed and immediately hand it over to the shipping department for packing and shipment. The $50.00 rush charge is in addition to the cost of the full setup. 

Additional services (see individual product listings to add these services to your order)
Re-stringing: We will replace the factory installed stock string set with a new set of your choosing. Select the “replace stock strings” option when adding your desired string set to the shopping cart.

Strap Button Installation: 1-2 buttons are installed to allow the use of a strap. Color options available. 

Pickup installation: for players who would like the option to play or record with amplification.

Friction Tuner Upgrade (friction tuners only): We offer upgrade options for select instruments with friction tuners to be retrofitted with new geared tuners for better precision and comfort when tuning.

Left-handed Setup: Left-handed setups are also available upon request. Occasionally an additional charge may be added for compensated saddles on select models. 



Shipping Information


For more even more details and FAQ visit our Shipping Page under the Company Info tab at the header menu.

FedEx is our primary shipping carrier, all orders that qualify for free domestic shipping will be sent using FedEx. UPS and DHL can also be chosen as alternative options upon checkout, USPS is only used for smaller accessory orders. 

As soon as the shipping label is created you will be automatically notified via email with tracking information. All packages will be shipped with a signature requirement by default. If you do not wish to have a signature requirement you will need to notify us, either by leaving a note in the “special instructions” when adding the item(s) to your shopping cart or by emailing our shipping department directly. Any shipping related requests (hold/delay/address change) should also be directed to our shipping department ( veronica@theukulelesite.com). 

NOTE FOR INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: You may also be required to pay import duties/taxes, this will vary depending on your location and the value of the item(s). To estimate these taxes, you can contact your local customs office. Fedex also offers a helpful estimation tool: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/international.html

UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE PERMIT: If your ukulele contains any amount of shell inlay (abalone or pearl) it will require a permit to be shipped internationally. The cost of this permit is $93.00 USD. We will handle the paperwork and file the permit for you, but the cost of all duties and fees are the responsibility of the customer.

SHIPPING COST will vary depending on the size dimensions and weight of the package as well as the destination. To get a quote, use the “Calculate Shipping Cost” link located next to the “Add to Cart button” on each listing.

This is made even easier when you are already logged in to your customer account. Follow this link to create an account if you don’t already have one go HERE.

FREE SHIPPING: All orders within the USA with a total over $500 will qualify for free FedEx 2-day air shipping.

SHIPMENT AND TRACKING NOTIFICATIONS are sent automatically via email as soon as the shipping label is created so please make sure your email address is accurate when placing the order. Outgoing shipments are picked up by our shipping carriers Monday through Friday. 

ACCESSORY AND CASE ORDERS: While non-instrument orders for cases and accessories do not require the same processing time needed for instruments, they do require time for processing and packing. The typical processing time for accessory/case orders is (1-4 business days) depending on current order volume. 


*If you would like to receive your instrument as soon as possible you can forego the full setup process by selecting the “Basic QC Only” option or by selecting the “Full Setup RUSH” option when adding instruments to your shopping cart. More details are available under the “Setup Options” tab.

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