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View Full Version : Poll: Can u tell difference - koa vs spruce?



Kmetzger
09-14-2014, 08:47 AM
Can you tell which of the two ukes in the sound sample below has a Koa top (with Koa back and sides) and which is the Spruce top (with milo back and sides)?

--> Both are Moore Bettah's and both recorded with no EQ. Both have the same gauge Worth clears on first three strings.

--> One uke plays rhythm part from the start and the other uke joins in playing lead at the bridge (immediately after the words "When you're in my arms") and throughout the remainder of the song, along with the first uke that continues to play rhythm until the end.

It is here: https://soundcloud.com/keithmetzger/the-nearness-of-you

I've seen lots of discussions and opinions characterizing the sound differences between tone woods - especially between Koa and Spruce. And I've often wondered if these characterizations universally apply, or if the uke design, strings and builder are the main contributors, having more of an impact than the tone wood on the overall sound.

Be interesting to hear what you all think.

(I had posted this previously/recently just to share the link when I completed the recording, but wanted to repost in order to pose a question that I think worth asking.)

Keith

Bill Mc
09-14-2014, 09:00 AM
That is lovely playing Keith. I'd only be guessing if I were to make a choice between the two ukuleles.

coolkayaker1
09-14-2014, 09:59 AM
Lovely, Keith.

Dumb question...can you give me a hint to the time (minutes and seconds) in the sound sample when the instrument changes (that is, the bridge)? Thanks.

Kmetzger
09-14-2014, 10:17 AM
After the words "when you're in my arms", the second uke joins in playing lead, but the first uke continues playing rhythym. The lead uke is panned a little to the left and the rhythm uke remains panned a bit to the right in the mix.

So it isn't that there is a change from one to the other. Just that one joins in with the other.

Peterjens
09-14-2014, 10:19 AM
My vote has been cast and I am very curious about the answer.
Your performance is enchanting.
I love this forum for members turning me on to songs of this caliber. What beautiful lyrics.

Jim Hanks
09-14-2014, 10:46 AM
My vote has been cast. The lows of one sounded warmer to me than the other and that's the one I'm guessing is koa. But that's through an ipad speaker so I reserve the right to blame it on poor playback equipment if I'm wrong. :p

katysax
09-14-2014, 12:23 PM
I guessed that the first one was Koa, but it was really just a guess. Too many variables. I am listening through macbook air speakers. My Moore Bettah is Milo/Bearclaw Spruce. I thought the second one sounded more like mine, but I can't say that I can really tell the difference.

Dan Uke
09-14-2014, 01:03 PM
I thought you were playing two guitars since there's reverb. ;)

coolcow
09-15-2014, 03:03 AM
What a lovely song...love your voice...i've been repeating it over & over again..:o
Is there anyway I could download this song??

I'll say the 1st one was Koa follow by spruce.....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-15-2014, 03:30 AM
Nice job on the tune Keith. The only thing that muddies the question is that those ukes were built about five years apart, and as you know, with slightly different construction methods. So if there is a difference in sound it may be more about the construction that about the wood combination. These days my ukes sound remarkably similar despite the wood used. There are differences, but very subtle ones.

strumsilly
09-15-2014, 04:33 AM
I couldn't really tell. loved the song, playing and singing though. I've always felt an instruments tone came from a variety of factors, the species of wood only one of them. That being said, I'm partial to well aged mahogany for a ukulele.

Ukulele Eddie
09-15-2014, 06:04 AM
I cast my vote but certainly wouldn't have put money behind it. ;-)

Really, really, really enjoyed the playing and the singing. Would love to download that if you would allow (and to hear other recordings if you have any).

Like many here, I dream of owning a Moore Bettah some day. When I hear somebody like you perform, I think it's cosmically much more (or should I write 'moore' ;-) just for such a fine instrument to be in talented hands.

coolkayaker1
09-15-2014, 06:46 AM
"Can u tell difference - koa vs spruce?"
No, I cannot. And that's the correct answer to your question.

RyanMFT
09-15-2014, 09:06 AM
I thought I knew from listening to the song (which I enjoyed very much), but I agree with others, mine is really only a guess. Right or wrong, it was fun!

Edgeguy
09-15-2014, 07:33 PM
Beautiful song. I really enjoyed you playing. As a lot are saying mine is just a guess.

Dan Uke
09-15-2014, 07:58 PM
If I get it right, do I get your ukes? You wanna trade for mine? hahaha

When I read one uke was used to play rhythm, I immediately thought koa. When I first heard the note, I said koa but I didn't hear it decay quickly, then I said dang reverb! Then I started doubting myself and said they sounded the same! :p

Kayak Jim
09-16-2014, 11:55 AM
So when is the big reveal?

Curious whether I nailed it - err- guessed correctly....

sam13
09-16-2014, 02:57 PM
I voted but have no clue which one it was ... nice recording, and I enjoyed your playing and singing. Thanks for sharing.

bostoncreampuff
09-17-2014, 07:01 AM
Awesome playing and singing!!!
when do we get the answer??

ericchico
09-17-2014, 08:15 AM
I have no idea but also enjoyed the song. I just took a guess.

Kmetzger
09-17-2014, 04:29 PM
Awesome playing and singing!!!
when do we get the answer??

I'll give it another few days and then do the reveal.

And thank you all for your nice comments.

Fred Ukestone
09-17-2014, 09:37 PM
If people cannot pick the sound difference between koa and spruce, why are the prices of koa ukuleles so inflated ?

coolkayaker1
09-17-2014, 09:56 PM
If people cannot pick the sound difference between koa and spruce, why are the prices of koa ukuleles so inflated ?
Because I have a spruce tree in my backyard but I must fly to Hawaii to see a Koa tree.
:D
I know where you're coming from, Fred, and I agree with you. I've been on UU long enough to have seen at least three other well-conducted blind sound tests (PDX Ukes vintage versus new Martin sound test, MGMs ten different string test, and HMS Andrew's blinded uke test with Corey playing blurred out instrument brands on a video). The upshot each time: people cannot tell the difference between even what they think are the most glaringly "different" sounding instruments. A Koaloha, for instance. Unique, right? No one could pick it out with any scientifically-significant numbers. It was picked versus other instruments, from Kamakas to Kalas, statistically, no more than pure chance!

Bottom line: We hear with our eyes. The instruments with the fanciest woods and custom inlays sound the best to us when, in reality, they all sound the same. Not "about the same", but "the same". The eyes are the reason why, for instance, normal, sane, working people with regular incomes and electric bills--the ones who shop around for the gasoline station charging one-cent less per gallon-- are willing to pay three to five hundred bucks extra, to a well-known Pacific Northwest builder, for nothing different about a uke beside a "master grade" myrtle--a tree common to many backyards; and front yards, too, for that matter--but with figuring that looks like a melting chocolate bar, or an unshaven prom queen, or a hound dog's loose face! Doh! :p

Second bottom line: If people want different sounding ukes, there is one sure-fire, indisputable way to get it, yet players are inexplicably loathe to do it, for the most part. What is it? Tune them differently.:o

DownUpDave
09-18-2014, 12:39 AM
Because I have a spruce tree in my backyard but I must fly to Hawaii to see a Koa tree.
:D
I know where you're coming from, Fred, and I agree with you. I've been on UU long enough to have seen at least three other well-conducted blind sound tests (PDX Ukes vintage versus new Martin sound test, MGMs ten different string test, and HMS Andrew's blinded uke test with Corey playing blurred out instrument brands on a video). The upshot each time: people cannot tell the difference between even what they think are the most glaringly "different" sounding instruments. A Koaloha, for instance. Unique, right? No one could pick it out with any scientifically-significant numbers. It was picked versus other instruments, from Kamakas to Kalas, statistically, no more than pure chance!

Bottom line: We hear with our eyes. The instruments with the fanciest woods and custom inlays sound the best to us when, in reality, they all sound the same. Not "about the same", but "the same". The eyes are the reason why, for instance, normal, sane, working people with regular incomes and electric bills--the ones who shop around for the gasoline station charging one-cent less per gallon-- are willing to pay three to five hundred bucks extra, to a well-known Pacific Northwest builder, for nothing different about a uke beside a "master grade" myrtle--a tree common to many backyards; and front yards, too, for that matter--but with figuring that looks like a melting chocolate bar, or an unshaven prom queen, or a hound dog's loose face! Doh! :p

Second bottom line: If people want different sounding ukes, there is one sure-fire, indisputable way to get it, yet players are inexplicably loathe to do it, for the most part. What is it? Tune them differently.:o

I love him too Eugene but..............dude needs some sleep. Maybe that is why he can dish out the thoughtful answers, sleep deprivation.
CK1 there is another way for my ukes to sound different, have Corey play them. I have come to the realization that he can make a $150 uke sound like a $1500 uke. I on the other hand can make a $1500 uke sound like a $1.50 uke.

cdkrugjr
09-18-2014, 03:41 AM
I too find that there's most of the shortcomings of my sound are to be found in my fingers than in my 'uke.

Doesn't stop me from wanting one

Kmetzger
09-20-2014, 08:33 AM
For those that asked, you can hear other recordings I made with my two Moore Bettah ukuleles at this link: http://m.soundcloud.com/keithmetzger

Ukulele Eddie
09-20-2014, 08:54 AM
I'll give it another few days and then do the reveal.

And thank you all for your nice comments.

May we please have the answer today? Pretty please? ;-)

Kmetzger
09-20-2014, 09:08 AM
May we please have the answer today? Pretty please? ;-)

Yes - am about to post "the reveal"!

coolcow
09-20-2014, 11:52 PM
Would love to download that if you would allow (and to hear other recordings if you have any).

If there's a CD with this song, i'll buy one for sure.

Kmetzger
09-21-2014, 01:00 AM
If there's a CD with this song, i'll buy one for sure.

You can hear my other uke recordings here: http://soundcloud.com/keithmetzger

Not yet set up for download.

Thanks.

UkuDee
09-21-2014, 03:42 PM
Wow, what a beautiful interpretation you did of this wonderful song, Keith. One of the best I've heard!

Ukejungle
09-25-2014, 07:22 AM
Ran the output signal through my Rigol Spectrum Analyzer and measured the amplitude which is plotted on the y-axis and the frequencies on the x-axis. From the spectrum analysis dominant frequency, the power, distortion, harmonics, and bandwidth of the signal can be measured to show that the first ukulele is the one with the Koa top. That is all.

:)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-25-2014, 07:53 AM
Ran the output signal through my Rigol Spectrum Analyzer and measured the amplitude which is plotted on the y-axis and the frequencies on the x-axis. From the spectrum analysis dominant frequency, the power, distortion, harmonics, and bandwidth of the signal can be measured to show that the first ukulele is the one with the Koa top. That is all.

:)

Wonderful! Now tell Keith where to send your prize. He's tried of that koa uke now anyway.

BTW Keith, you need to cut a CD. Or an EP at least.

Jim Hanks
09-25-2014, 01:21 PM
Ran the output signal through my Rigol Spectrum Analyzer and measured the amplitude which is plotted on the y-axis and the frequencies on the x-axis. From the spectrum analysis dominant frequency, the power, distortion, harmonics, and bandwidth of the signal can be measured to show that the first ukulele is the one with the Koa top. That is all.

:)
Um, did you see the other thread where it was revealed (by OP) that said you're wrong? I'm guessing not. :p (I guessed right by the way. :) )

Ukulele Eddie
09-25-2014, 01:23 PM
BTW Keith, you need to cut a CD. Or an EP at least.

Ditto that!

Kmetzger
09-25-2014, 05:22 PM
Wonderful! Now tell Keith where to send your prize. He's tried of that koa uke now anyway.

No - never tired of any uke, and certainly never tired of Moore Bettah! And will never divest! (You will have to pry them from my cold, dead hands when the time comes.)