PDA

View Full Version : I've eaten my hat...



Pete Howlett
09-27-2014, 06:03 AM
For years I espoused koa as king but sensing a changing tide and the desire for contemporary players to have a more rounded and guitar-like sound, I've followed the Californian model and now have these in my stable. My first attempt with a radiused fingerboard too - the set-up was easier than I remember from my long and distant guitar making past. These spruce tops are braced differently to my koa tops but that remains a secret for now. Shape is a scaled down OM from the plans of Christoffe Grellier. Sorry about lighting - need to work on the exposure setting of the camera.


http://youtu.be/I1f4dUlKXl8

gyosh
09-27-2014, 07:18 AM
You didn't eat your hat. You expanded your customer base :)


Look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work Mr. Howlett.

VegasGeorge
09-27-2014, 08:45 AM
Sounds lovely! Being somewhat of a traditionalist myself, I understand your feelings about building with other woods. Koa is so identified with the Ukulele. But like Ricky sang in Garden Party, "You see you can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself." And if you're pleased, I'm sure you customers will be too.

PhilUSAFRet
09-27-2014, 10:20 AM
Wow, I could see one of those in my hands. Gorgeous looking and sounding

ksquine
09-27-2014, 01:52 PM
I like your new design. Not sure why you'd have to eat you hat over it....looks more like another feather in your hat to me

sukie
09-27-2014, 05:49 PM
With all respect to everyone....I have a question. I do NOT mean to cause a ruckus, I just need enlightenment...

I guess it may be just me, but I don't understand why anyone would want a guitar sound. It's an ukulele. An ukulele is an ukulele. A guitar is a guitar. Why would someone want an ukulele to sound like a guitar? I totally understand not all ukuleles being koa. There are other lovely woods. What is the advantage of an ukulele sounding like a guitar? Is it just totally personal preference?

consitter
09-27-2014, 06:42 PM
With all respect to everyone....I have a question. I do NOT mean to cause a ruckus, I just need enlightenment...

I guess it may be just me, but I don't understand why anyone would want a guitar sound. It's an ukulele. An ukulele is an ukulele. A guitar is a guitar. Why would someone want an ukulele to sound like a guitar? I totally understand not all ukuleles being koa. There are other lovely woods. What is the advantage of an ukulele sounding like a guitar? Is it just totally personal preference?

I'm of the same thought. Of course I'm sure there are people out there that might want guitars that are more 'portable', and an ukulele certainly fits the bill. However, even strung low g, in my humble opinion, spruce top ukes still sound like ukes.

gyosh
09-27-2014, 07:06 PM
I'm of the same thought. Of course I'm sure there are people out there that might want guitars that are more 'portable', and an ukulele certainly fits the bill. However, even strung low g, in my humble opinion, spruce top ukes still sound like ukes.

My CR is more "guitar like" in sound. It has a deeper, warmer tone than most ukulele's but it doesn't "sound like a guitar."

consitter
09-27-2014, 07:09 PM
My CR is more "guitar like" in sound. It has a deeper, warmer tone than most ukulele's but it doesn't "sound like a guitar."

My custom does too, even though it's solid koa from tip to tip. But when I put re-entrant strings on it, it sounds a whole lot more like a uke. Have you tried re-entrants on yours yet?

Pete Howlett
09-27-2014, 07:16 PM
My point. The world is changing. You the players are changing it. The depletion of resources is changing it. I could go on. I just hope the Hawaiian builders can make the koa last until replanting takes a hold.

consitter
09-27-2014, 07:19 PM
My point. The world is changing. You the players are changing it. The depletion of resources is changing it. I could go on. I just hope the Hawaiian builders can make the koa last until replanting takes a hold.

At KoAloha at least, it does. They replant 3 trees for each one that is harvested for them.

Dan Uke
09-27-2014, 08:02 PM
With all respect to everyone....I have a question. I do NOT mean to cause a ruckus, I just need enlightenment...

I guess it may be just me, but I don't understand why anyone would want a guitar sound. It's an ukulele. An ukulele is an ukulele. A guitar is a guitar. Why would someone want an ukulele to sound like a guitar? I totally understand not all ukuleles being koa. There are other lovely woods. What is the advantage of an ukulele sounding like a guitar? Is it just totally personal preference?

So what makes a ukulele a ukulele? Is it only qualified if it's made from koa? Here's Andrew calling Stan's Spruce / Milo the most "guitar-like" tenor tone I've ever heard. So what is a guitar tone? What is a ukulele tone?

http://theukulelereview.com/2013/07/13/moore-bettah-ukulele-2-tenors/

consitter
09-27-2014, 08:14 PM
So what makes a ukulele a ukulele? Is it only qualified if it's made from koa? Here's Andrew calling Stan's Spruce / Milo the most "guitar-like" tenor tone I've ever heard. So what is a guitar tone? What is a ukulele tone?

http://theukulelereview.com/2013/07/13/moore-bettah-ukulele-2-tenors/

Since you've asked that question...what about you? What makes a uke sound versus a guitar sound? Tone wood? Size...tenor vs soprano? Stringing...re-entrant vs low G? A combination thereof?

Dan Uke
09-27-2014, 08:32 PM
Since you've asked that question...what about you? What makes a uke sound versus a guitar sound? Tone wood? Size...tenor vs soprano? Stringing...re-entrant vs low G? A combination thereof?

Exactly, I don't know. When I listen to some videos, I don't think there is a clear separation. When Keitz Metzger had his comparison of koa and spruce, I could imagine him playing a guitar.

Timbuck
09-27-2014, 09:20 PM
A lot of ukulele's I see here on this forum and in the shops...look like mini guitars to me, with thick bound fretboards, geared tuners, cutaway bodies, arch tops, "F" holes, complicated bracing, Electronic pickups, and so on :(....And resonator Ukulele's should be banned, along with banjo uke's (co's they distort my hearing aid) ..If he was still around, I wonder what Mr Nunes would make of it all ?.

consitter
09-27-2014, 09:44 PM
A lot of ukulele's I see here on this forum and in the shops...look like mini guitars to me, with thick bound fretboards, geared tuners, cutaway bodies, arch tops, "F" holes, complicated bracing, Electronic pickups, and so on :(....And resonator Ukulele's should be banned, along with banjo uke's (co's they distort my hearing aid) ..If he was still around, I wonder what Mr Nunes would make of it all ?.

Do you think he would use today's tools/techniques and produce a totally different uke than what he made back then?

Pete Howlett
09-27-2014, 09:49 PM
Expectations change. There is room for everyone..

consitter
09-27-2014, 09:58 PM
Do you think he would use today's tools/techniques and produce a totally different uke than what he made back then?

Of course the above is kind of a "chicken or egg" question that you really don't have to answer.

I do think though that complicated bracing, f holes and arched tops do change the sound. I also agree with resonators and banjo ukes, as I don't like the sound, but that's me.

However, I do like bound fretboards, as they keep my tender hands from scraping down the frets. :) I'm also a fan of geared tuners. They make it so much easier for me to tune. I sound bad enough when I play as it is. I want to at least hear my mistakes in tune. ;)

consitter
09-27-2014, 09:59 PM
Expectations change. There is room for everyone..

Absolutely.

Michael N.
09-28-2014, 12:07 AM
So much of what I see being done by Ukulele makers is directly influenced by what is happening with Guitars. I look at some of the bracing schemes (for example) and 99% of Ukuleles are way over braced in respect of the string tension. Of course that may be a good thing. The Ukulele (by it's very nature) emphasises the higher frequencies, with short sustain. It's also why some dense woods like Koa/Wlanut/Mahogany can be used for soundboards, along with a Bridge that has a huge footprint in relation to the soundboard aggregate.
The tonal aims of a Ukulele aren't the same as the tonal aims of a modern Guitar, even though the Ukulele was almost certainly derived from a Guitar. Don't forget that the Rennaissance Guitar effectively had 4 strings and was tiny in comparison to a modern Guitar. Virtually a Ukulele in all but name and it's highly unlikely that any of these things existed in isolation. Using a hardwood for the soundboard is nothing new either, although it obviously didn't really catch on as far as the Guitar is concerned.
These things are always in a state of flux. They develope, diverge, converge and ever the process continues. I wouldn't get too hung up on definitions and absolutes. Theirin lies madness.

kkimura
09-28-2014, 01:58 AM
It is in our nature to evolve. Even drums bear little resemblance to their ancestors.

Matt Clara
09-28-2014, 03:25 AM
John Calkin once said, and I paraphrase, if you build something to the specs of a guitar, it doesn't matter what wood you use, it will sound like a guitar, and no one will confuse it for, say, a ukulele. And vice-versa, si? Now, if you keep making your ukuleles bigger, eventually you're just building four string guitars.

sukie
09-28-2014, 05:18 AM
So what makes a ukulele a ukulele? Is it only qualified if it's made from koa? Here's Andrew calling Stan's Spruce / Milo the most "guitar-like" tenor tone I've ever heard. So what is a guitar tone? What is a ukulele tone?

http://theukulelereview.com/2013/07/13/moore-bettah-ukulele-2-tenors/
I have no idea. That is why I was asking. Maybe I am misunderstanding. That's a real possibility.

Minor Adjustment
09-30-2014, 02:03 AM
I would agree with evolving, exploring. Quite some time back the guitar was electrified, and or replaced by banjo's to stay in the mix and not be drowned. Piano - Organ . It gives more options, chord shapes can stay the same, new sounds can be had. Choice is nice !

Doc_J
10-02-2014, 01:55 PM
For years I espoused koa as king but sensing a changing tide and the desire for contemporary players to have a more rounded and guitar-like sound, I've followed the Californian model and now have these in my stable. My first attempt with a radiused fingerboard too - the set-up was easier than I remember from my long and distant guitar making past. These spruce tops are braced differently to my koa tops but that remains a secret for now. Shape is a scaled down OM from the plans of Christoffe Grellier. Sorry about lighting - need to work on the exposure setting of the camera.


http://youtu.be/I1f4dUlKXl8

Pete, I really like your new California tenor, it looks and sounds great!

This is a nice addition to your existing uke models.