Updated: Sep 16, 2020
“What is the Leolani/KUMU Feather model?“ Great question! It’s a question we always get asked along the follow up, “So what is the difference between the Feather and full bodied models?” Zing! So lets talk about it. But before we start lets go back to the beginning. In 2010 we at Leolani began to see a trend in the guitar biz of guitars shrinking down to travel size. Some even being able to be brought on a plane as a carry on! Seeing this spurred us to design the perfect travel ukulele. It had to be thin enough to fit in a backpack while having superb sound. We accepted the challenge and got to work. Though we would soon find out we weren’t the only ones figuring out this new idea.
As we were in the design process a travel sized ukulele hit the market. This version of the travel ukulele had a very thin body, almost to the point of looking like a paddle. And being honest, it also had a “thin” sound. We on the other hand decided that our version needed to retain the sound attributes of a full bodied ukulele as well maintaining a high standard to aesthetic design. We wanted to make it difficult to choose between the two versions as it meant the new design held up to tradition. After months of designing and mulling over several prototypes, the Feather model was born. Given the name for the ukulele being “light as a feather.”
Many Leolani and KUMU ukulele come in both versions, Feather and Full. We currently offer them in both tenor and concert sizes seeing that the soprano size is already compact and perfect for travel.
So lets dig in! There are two major differences between the models. This being the depth of the body (upper and lower bouts), and the weight. The full bodied tenor model has a depth 3.2 inches, or 81mm while the Feather tenor has a body depth of 2.12 inches, or 54mm. This is a difference of a little more than an inch, or 33%! For the weight, there is a 2 ounce difference. This equates to a 10% difference.
These two differences have made the Feather model more comfortable to play for younger/smaller players since it plays closer to the body. Keep this in mind when deciding between the two. Other than that, everything else is identical. Identical length, scale, and width. As well as having the same adornments. And as I mentioned earlier, they are also the same price! We didn’t want a price difference to be the deciding factor between the two.
“But what about the sound?”
Great question! There indeed is a difference in the sound profile between the two models. The thinner body of the Feather focuses the sound. It is bright, ‘punchy’, and has great note separation. The perfect model for finger style playing. On the other hand the full bodied model has a deeper, warmer sound profile. Sporting a larger body allows for more sustain. If the Feather ukulele is the jazz piano, then full bodied ukulele is the grand piano. Perfect for strumming and playing rhythm.
So there you have it! These are the differences and similarities between the Feather and full bodied Leolani/KUMU models. Check them out on our website at leolaniukulele.com. Now to the only question that really matters.... which model do you prefer? Good luck!