PDA

View Full Version : Ooooh what a solid body you have. Is it for looks only?



Icelander53
03-02-2015, 11:11 AM
Well after my Godin return I've gone back into the research phase of my quest for a solid or chambered electric uke.

I have a couple questions that I'm sure some of you have answers for ( the question is should I believe you?;))

Anywho, does the wood used in a electric solid body have much effect on the sound? In the chambered? I'm seeing a lot of wood types on say the Pono electrics but I'm thinking this might be more of a looks thingy. What do you say?

And really I want to get a electric guitar type sound so should I skip the Pono's and Godin's and go for something like the Vorson which uses steel strings?

Are there any other steel string ukes being produced commercially rather than on special order?

I realize the quality difference and I plan on taking any Vorson I might buy right to a luthier and put up to $100 into it to get it tweaked and playing right.

katysax
03-02-2015, 12:33 PM
The wood on the Pono's is for looks - it should not make a difference in the sound.

I've got the Vorson, it's ok. I don't know that taking it to a luthier would help. The thing about the Vorson is that it's cheap. Mine has terrible intonation but that can be fixed with the bridge that it has.

I got one of the East-Start Ukes on the group buy. Mine is unplayable. I keep planning to bring it to a repair guy it needs some modifications and will probably be nice once its fixed up.

The Ponos and Ko'olau's are really intended as something that will sound like an amplified acoustic. You can still play with an amp and effects but its not an electric guitar type sound.

PhilUSAFRet
03-02-2015, 02:03 PM
Want an electric guitar-like sound, get a Risa LP or something similar. I have an East Start jazz uke awaiting a lot of work and a Risa tenor semi-hollow body "kidney bean" with twin lipstick pickups. Sounds like an electric guitar.

Inksplosive AL
03-02-2015, 02:27 PM
I thought I needed steel strings/magnetic pickups as well until I played my Risa stick through my RP-360. What I cannot get with nylon strings is the metal crunch not that I'm skilled at this with a guitar. I also believe a slide will growl on steel I dont know about nylon.

There's another made in the shape of a can of ham with a 30.06 bullet for a bridge what the heck is the name. Konablaster... train of thought writing left for shits and giggles. Those use steel strings. Cheap model by Malhalo the surfboard came in either nylon strings with a piezo pickup or steel strings with a magnetic pickup.

~peace~

Andy Chen
03-02-2015, 02:47 PM
The Ponos and Ko'olau's are really intended as something that will sound like an amplified acoustic. You can still play with an amp and effects but its not an electric guitar type sound.

This is probably true, though there's this James Hill music vid, where he plays a Koolau solid-body.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0grrM0FpqE

kissing
03-02-2015, 07:24 PM
Anywho, does the wood used in a electric solid body have much effect on the sound? In the chambered? I'm seeing a lot of wood types on say the Pono electrics but I'm thinking this might be more of a looks thingy. What do you say?

And really I want to get a electric guitar type sound so should I skip the Pono's and Godin's and go for something like the Vorson which uses steel strings?

Are there any other steel string ukes being produced commercially rather than on special order?

I realize the quality difference and I plan on taking any Vorson I might buy right to a luthier and put up to $100 into it to get it tweaked and playing right.

The wood used on a solid body electric guitar/uke does not affect the sound of the instruments.
What will affect the sound are the quality/type of the pickups and the quality/type of strings.
That being said, it is good to have good quality wood - something that is durable, looks good and is not too heavy.

Here is a video by a guitar expert and maker who explains why tonewood does not affect electric guitar tone:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svmOQuNC1Uw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svmOQuNC1Uw


If you really want electric guitar style sound, then you will definitely want to go for a steel-string electric with magnetic pickups.

I have owned literally every Risa steel-string model there is (Soprano and Tenor single-coils "bean" model, Soprano and Tenor humbucker Les Paul style model).
They are flawless instruments made in Germany. I highly recommend them. They are in a quality level of high-end electric guitars. Every part of the Risa's are high quality. High quality custom pickups, tuners, electronics, etc. They sound fantastic too. I consider them the standard for steel-string electric ukes.


I have also owned an Epiphone Mandobird, which is a 4-string electric mandolin that can be tuned like an ukulele. I don't really recommend these. They sound great, but the fretboard is extremely narrow as mandolins are. It was not very comfortable to play.

I also owned two Jupiter Creek steel-string electrics. They are well made and are quite inexpensive. Alas, the maker is no longer alive and the only ones you will find now are second-hand. However, since they are now no longer in production, I wonder whether this would affect the price and whether people will be willing to part from them. That being said, compared to the Risa, they are very simply designed (bare basics, no eye candy) and do not have a truss rod (which Risas do).

I believe a truss rod is very handy in any steel-string instrument, even ukulele. It allows you to have more control over how well the instrument is setup.

Another steel string "ukulele" I owned is the Eastwood Warren Ellis signature tenor guitar.
These are fantastic instruments, but you will have to tune it like a Baritone ukulele (DGBE) because the scale is longer.




I recommend the Risa steel-string electrics very highly.



That being said, I have a Vorson (Les Paul style) on the way. I impulse purchased it after a stressful day at work, and it was quite cheap.
If it arrives any time soon, I will let you know my thoughts on how it compares to the other steel-string electric ukuleles I have tried.
At the moment, I expect it to be of fairly good quality. Perhaps some of the parts will be cheaply made ones (tuners, pickups), and I suspect that I may change out the strings nearly right away. It has a truss rod and an adjustable bridge, which is a good sign. I suspect that it will be in the same quality level as a Squier Stratocaster electric guitar, if not a bit better.

The other electric instrument I have to compare it to at home is a USA-made Gibson Les Paul electric guitar (which I adore). We shall see.


I am personally capable of doing setups on electrics, so I will not have to take it to a luthier.
I don't suspect that the luthier will charge to much to do a basic setup on your Vorson. Perhaps take it in for a string change (I like Elixir strings. On a tenor electric ukulele, I would use the DGBE strings from an electric set to tune up to GCEA. If you want to tune the electric uke to DGBE, use the ADGB strings from an electric guitar set. Use a 9-gauge set for light tension and a 10-gauge set for medium tension).

Icelander53
03-03-2015, 04:02 AM
The wood on the Pono's is for looks - it should not make a difference in the sound.

I've got the Vorson, it's ok. I don't know that taking it to a luthier would help. The thing about the Vorson is that it's cheap. Mine has terrible intonation but that can be fixed with the bridge that it has.

I got one of the East-Start Ukes on the group buy. Mine is unplayable. I keep planning to bring it to a repair guy it needs some modifications and will probably be nice once its fixed up.

The Ponos and Ko'olau's are really intended as something that will sound like an amplified acoustic. You can still play with an amp and effects but its not an electric guitar type sound.

OK no Vorson, thanks for the input

Icelander53
03-03-2015, 04:06 AM
So what do you think of the Kona Blasters? I don't want to go so inexpensive that I have problems I can't deal with. They make one in a standard electric guitar shape for around $450.

I'd rather pay a few bucks more but the Risa is at the top of my price range.

I'm sooo sad about the tuning on that Ellis. I would have jumped on that one today.

Icelander53
03-03-2015, 05:32 AM
OK bro, I took your and many others advice and went with the Risa Tenor
http://www.ukuleleworld.com/RISA-UKELP432BK-LP-TENOR-Gloss-Black-A-dynamite-powerhouse-RISA-Gig-Bag-Included.html

I had a discount coupon so that paid the shipping and a little more.

Liquidayno
03-03-2015, 07:50 AM
Nice choice on teh Risa, that is what I play.

The steel strings play much differently than nylon, and the string spread is much tighter.

I have modified mine with several electronics mods, but it is great as a stock instrument too. Now make sure you put it through a quality effects processor and/or amp.

Doc_J
03-03-2015, 08:34 AM
Monkey Wrench Music puts up solid body, steel strings ukes for sale. I have one of their long-scale tenors, it's a great instrument at good price.
This one is mine:
http://monkeywrenchmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/blackwood3+4-225x300.jpg

Right now they have a long-scale tenor, double cut-away with 2 humbuckers available.

http://monkeywrenchmusic.com/for-sale

http://monkeywrenchmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Waldbltenor-129x300.jpg

Icelander53
03-03-2015, 08:40 AM
Hey! Where were you an hour ago?:mad:

Just kidding. That's a truly beautiful electric. I'll get that one next.

I got over UAS for a whole two months and I think I deserve some rewards. :rulez:

Of course I was pretty sick at that time and wasn't hardly playing at all.

kissing
03-03-2015, 09:26 AM
Wow great choice on the Risa Les Paul. I had that exact same model..love love it!

Icelander53
03-03-2015, 10:57 AM
But you sold it anyway?

kissing
03-03-2015, 01:24 PM
Not because I didnt like the instrument. I loved it, back back then I was a poor student who could only afford one expensive instrument at a time.

I had a Kamaka phase and sold it to buy one.

I miss the Risa Les Paul and if I had the money I would buy one. I currently have a genuine Gibson Les Paul, which kinda fills that void and a black Les Paul style Vorson on the way.

A Risa Les Paul tenor is top standard for electric ukes.