View Full Version : and the curly cousins

Paul Henneberry
02-11-2015, 01:38 AM
Howdee All,
And I thought Id also post some pictures of a pair of Koa and Tasmanian Blackwood super sopranos that I just finished at the same time as the walnut pair. The only structural difference between the four ukes is that the TBW uke has a LR Baggs 5 0 pickup. The TBW uke is the one with a paler SB and sides and the in your face curl and the koa uke is the darker one with the wonderfully wavy grain on the sides. I originally thought that Id make a koa and a blackwood uke to compare the acoustic properties of the timbers but in reality no two pieces of wood from the same tree are the same and when you have two different timbers with different degrees of curl and then add an under saddle pick up and preamp any comparison is irrelevant. You might be able to make an average comparison if you made 100 of each. The only comparison that I could offer is to the workability of the timbers. For some reason the koa was more susceptible to scorching when worked with machine tools and power abrasives. Both got that green surface stain when bent in a fox bender while wrapped in aluminium foil but it sanded out and wasnt a problem. The nitty gritty:
Koa sound board, back, sides and neck. TBW - sound board, back, sides and neck
Koa / TBW head stock veneer.
Mulga fretboard and bridge.
Grover tuners and gold evo fret wire.
Nitro spray finish over cyanoacrylate grain filling.
Carbon fibre reinforced neck.
Tortoise shell celluloid binding.
14 scale and 14 frets to the body.
I was surprised how little effect the pickup system had when the TBW uke is unplugged. I had two concerns on this point during construction having never built one into a uke before. I was expecting some attenuation from the pickup insulating the saddle from the bridge and
I thought the amp/battery/volume pot / cabling might affect the sound box resonance. Unfortunately I cant compare the same uke with and without, but it sounds fine to me when played unplugged. I got somebody to play both ukes while I stood back and listened. The koa one is definitely louder and brighter but not by much.

While on the subject of the JR Baggs, I was expecting an off position on the volume pot to protect the battery, do you guys remove the battery when not in use or does it just last a reasonable time when not in use and unplugged? That battery is fiddly to fit even when you pull the battery base off the Velcro and get it out the soundhole and between the strings. Ill try the MISI if I ever fit a pickup again.




02-11-2015, 09:05 AM
Wow again....just as gorgeous as the walnut twins. You must have a wood dealer that likes you
Cool rosette too