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Pete Howlett
12-22-2014, 11:11 AM
I received this in my mail:
I see that you are a frequent poster at UU and I learn a lot from your
posts. I am going to start building a Bell Baritone using plans from Georgia
Luthier Supplies. The plans call out top thickness for Koa at .060" and
spruce at .080". On my last baritone build I used Adirondack Spruce at .090
and thinned the plate edges to about .080. This time I'm using curly
redwood, which I figure is between spruce and western red cedar in
stiffness. What would you recommend as a average thickness for red wood on
a bell baritone 10.78" lower bout? The plan seem to be too thin?

Now if I was an attorney making $120 an hour should I have got my $20 for the time it took me to give this useless piece of advice?
There is no ideal thickness. Flexion is the indicator and this is related to stiffness. A whole set of variables I'm afraid and without touching your wood I wouldn't want to be the author of its ruin... sorry but there is no rule of thumb with these things - try building a resonator and you will get the idea.

I'm not being unkind here, just telling the truth. I cannot comment on a piece of wood I haven't touched or felt and predict how it will behave. I doubt anyone can.

BlackBearUkes
12-22-2014, 02:25 PM
Agreed!....................................(I added the dots because this repy was too short for the message gods)


I received this in my mail:

Now if I was an attorney making $120 an hour should I have got my $20 for the time it took me to give this useless piece of advice?

I'm not being unkind here, just telling the truth. I cannot comment on a piece of wood I haven't touched or felt and predict how it will behave. I doubt anyone can.

Inksplosive AL
12-22-2014, 02:38 PM
I received this in my mail:


I see that you are a frequent poster at UU and I learn a lot from your
posts. I am going to start building a Bell Baritone using plans from Georgia
Luthier Supplies. The plans call out top thickness for Koa at .060" and
spruce at .080". On my last baritone build I used Adirondack Spruce at .090
and thinned the plate edges to about .080. This time I'm using curly
redwood, which I figure is between spruce and western red cedar in
stiffness. What would you recommend as a average thickness for red wood on
a bell baritone 10.78" lower bout? The plan seem to be too thin?

Now if I was an attorney making $120 an hour should I have got my $20 for the time it took me to give this useless piece of advice?


There is no ideal thickness. Flexion is the indicator and this is related to stiffness. A whole set of variables I'm afraid and without touching your wood I wouldn't want to be the author of its ruin... sorry but there is no rule of thumb with these things - try building a resonator and you will get the idea.

I'm not being unkind here, just telling the truth. I cannot comment on a piece of wood I haven't touched or felt and predict how it will behave. I doubt anyone can.

Oh if I only had $5 for every time I had to answer "does it hurt?" or what do you think of this for a tattoo? Heck a dollar even. Now I will admit all this talk of touching and feeling wood hehe it brings out the kid in me.

Ive mentioned a consultation fee to other artists in the past to get laughed at. I now only talk tattoos if it entertains me or after you make a deposit. In my business they mine ideas and look for the cheapest to carry out your vision. Oh and I only talk business in person, and never discuss trade secrets. Makes everything go easier.

Guess its late in the game to be rethinking not becoming a doctor or lawyer for either of us eh?

~AL~oha~

rudy
12-22-2014, 03:46 PM
I get e-mails like that farly often. It's usually something along the lines of:

"I really like your (fill in the blank) and I'm going to build one like it, only I'm going to (insert radical design departure here...). What do you think?"

If I'm not rushed and I'm having a good day I might respond, but more likely they get something back like this:

"All instrument construction projects are individual and I'd really feel uncomfortable offering advice. There are many knowledgeable folks over on (Ukulele Forum, Banjo Forum, Acoustic Guitar Forum, etc.) who would most likely be very happy to offer their opinion."

That IS what forums are all about...

VegasGeorge
12-23-2014, 02:29 AM
If free advice were a coin, the other side would be "No good deed goes unpunished."

IamNoMan
12-23-2014, 03:05 AM
If free advice were a coin, the other side would be "No good deed goes unpunished."And if all the seas were whiskey we'd all jump in and swim.

There is a time and place for "free" advice. Its good outreach and works among peers quite well. There is a price for everything though. As an Engineer I worked with the technical societies. One a month we'd have dinner meetings. Cocktail hour before hand. Buy me a drink and I'll listen to whatever you want to say. In the storytelling business we give them a fancy name, Guilds, we do it similarly.

C.F. Martin has an interesting approach. For about 50 years they have helped sponsor the Philadelphia Folk Festival. They raffle off a guitar, proceeds to the Folk Song Society, and they are given a booth in the craft show area. The booth displays and sells Martin Products. They also have luthier demonstrations most years. The outreach and good will is a tangible benefit. The Martin activities are manned by volunteer luthiers who get free admission to the festival and were, maybe still are paid during the regular company work hours at festival. The volunteers are encouraged to freely talk about their trade and tolerate free advice BS. I have acquired and played with many friends who work at Martin this way. Quess What ? My first ukulele was a Nazareth made Martin.

mzuch
12-23-2014, 03:29 AM
A the risk of being contrary, I respectfully disagree with the notion that requests for advice are some sort of imposition. I also don't think we should be discouraging new builders on this board. How else are they to learn? I don't pretend to have the knowledge or depth of experience that the seasoned pros do, but as a hobbyist I've built a few dozen ukes. If anyone wants my advice, such as it is, feel free to PM me.

Timbuck
12-23-2014, 03:42 AM
"Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that's no reason not to give it".....Agatha Christie. ;)

ericchico
12-23-2014, 04:25 AM
Don't cut yourself short that is great advice concerning the question so charge by the hour if you feel the need to do so . There are so many others on this forum who will answer that and keep it private.

Dan Uke
12-24-2014, 08:18 PM
I got 2 ukes made by a luthier who is very generous with his time and I am working with someone currently who is also generous with his time.

Manalishi
12-24-2014, 11:02 PM
Surely this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question!
Which strings are best,what will this sound like, should
I use a strap...take your pick,they all come up regularly
on this and any other forums!

Pete Howlett
12-24-2014, 11:20 PM
Trouble is, a lot of new and inexperienced makers have done quite a bit of very laudable research, most of it relating to guitar technology. I'm not sure if this should be a 'sticky' phrase or not: "Guitar Making is not Ukulele Making". It's a simple concept. The technology behind building a simple folk instrument is a simple one - build lightly, accurately and cleanly; don't over brace the front. As a builder of over 20 years experience I cannot give any better or more profound advice to anyone trying to get volume, tone and projection from the humble ukulele. And to qualify - I built guitars for 10 years. They are a completely different instrument with so many variables that only geniuses get it right with them. With a little bit of care and adhering to the rules, anyone can make a good ukulele, a few make great ones :)

coolkayaker1
12-25-2014, 01:54 AM
The recent (now) Luis fdM thread speaks to this concept.

Dan Uke
12-25-2014, 05:32 AM
hey Pete, I'm looking forward to meeting Sherry in LA to try one of your ukes!!

stevepetergal
12-25-2014, 06:41 AM
I remember getting asked questions about specs, tolerances, .. all kinds of precision measurement things at Piano Technicians' Guild meetings, seminars , and conventions. My answers were always something like "Do it in a way that makes it work." Measurements are always a starting-point. As in many things (I suspect Luthiery included) precision in one area is inescapably dependent upon the measurements somewhere else, usually in many other places. Measure all you want and once you begin the next step, your previous measurements are out the window. When I became comfortable with this fact, I realized I was getting pretty good at my craft.
At first, I felt guilty giving the "Make it work" answer. I was never very helpful to newbies. But as time passed, I was less interested in being helpful. "Make it work, kid" turned out to be not only the most correct answer, but the easiest and least time-consuming one as well.