My Name Is
Stan Slonina ... aka 'Stano"
I Am KeAno Ukulele - and - I Build Ukuleles
My life has been one of many journeys. Fresh out of high school I decided to follow the path of higher education in the quest of a degree in architecture and a dream of becoming the next Frank Lloyd Wright. I
learned early on, however, that great plans were meant to be changed as I was so easily distracted in 1976 by one of the original episodes of Hawaii Five-O. I was absolutely enthralled with what Chan was accomplishing in the Crime Lab. Were laboratories such as this real and could they really
do the things l was seeing on a television show? With my curiosity peaked, it was good bye Architecture and hello Evidence Technology. Throughout my 35 year career in Forensic Science I can honestly say that
I was doing CSI when it was nothing more than three letters of the alphabet. During this time I have experienced and witnessed things that I only wish that I could forget. Fortunately, whenever I needed an escape, to unwind and get away from it all, I would always find myself turning to either my guitar or my workshop. Music and wood working
have always played a very big and important part of my life. It was just a few years back that these two interests came together and KeAno Ukulele was created.
It’s kind of odd that I had always thought of the ukulele as being a toy and never thought of it as a serious musical instrument …. until an eventful day that I stumbled across a ‘You Tube" video of a young man sitting
on a rock in the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park performing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as a tribute to George Harrison. That video of Jake Shimbukuro changed my life and my way of thinking. I haven’t touched a guitar since. Of course, I had to have a ukulele. So … within a few days, I found myself looking at my newly purchased instrument and constantly saying “I know that I could build a better ukulele than this”. I have always loved a good challenge. Little did I know
just what this endeavor would bring. I started studying lutherie, wave harmonics, sound board bracing variations, construction techniques for ukuleles and classical guitars. I started building jigs and not to mention the plethora of tools for joining, shaping and bending wood. I found myself obsessed, working in the shop all weekend and every day after work. My ‘day job’ was truly getting in the way. There was only one thing to do … retire and start doing the things that I want to do with the rest of my life by utilizing a lifetime of acquired woodworking skills … and that’s exactly what I did.
It is not very common, in this day and age, for someone to be able to come up with a radically different design or concept for a well established item, in this case an instrument, that has been around for generations; but that is exactly what we have done a KeAno Ukulele. In fact we have taken it just a little bit farther and were
awarded a design patent for the overall design and construction of a ukulele's body. This instrument is the KeAno 'Breeze'. Coming in at only two inches thick the reduced size sound chamber produces an amazing amount of un-amplified sound. The arm of the individual playing the instrument rests upon the outer solid wood frame and never comes into direct contact with sound board of the ukulele’s body. Try it for yourself using your current instrument …. Hold it as you normally would with your arm slightly resting on the soundboard and strum the open strings. Listen to the overall volume and tone. Now, move your arm so that it does not come into contact with the sound board and once again strum the open
strings taking note of the overall volume and tonal quality. The tone is brighter (less muted) and the volume is significantly increased. KeAno Ukulele is extremely proud this unique and innovative instrument that can be played as either as an electric or acoustic instrument; allowing you to rock-out with the big boys or quietly play and practice by yourself or for that special person.
that I produce. To me there is no greater accomplishment than using the patience and talents, that I am very blessed to have, to produce such beautiful musical instruments and hear their voices for the very first time. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be present when a new owner opens their instrument’s case and sees and hears their ukulele for the very first time. It is truly a moving, rewarding and extremely satisfying experience for me … and it never gets old.
I am very thankful for the career in forensic science that I had. The overall attention of finite detail utilized in the comparison and analysis of physical evidence is the same attention to detail used in every instrument