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Dougf
03-07-2015, 10:02 AM
A while back I went wine tasting at one of the small wineries here in the Sierra foothills, and the winemaker shared some of his philosophy of wine making. He explained that rather than fussing too much about the myriad details such as sulfite levels, tannin content, sugar and alcohol percentages, etc., his goal is to just try to get out of the way and let the grapes do their thing. Iím sure in practice itís a lot more complicated than that, but as a guiding principle, it seemed like a good approach.

So it occurred to me that perhaps some of this could be applied to making ukuleles, that maybe part of the trick is to just figure out how to get out of the way and let the natural beauty and resonance of the wood shine through. Itís really more of a way of thinking about it, especially at my skill level. The physical craft of shaping and gluing wood wonít really change much, but I like the idea of letting the wood do its thing, rather than making it do my thing.

lauburu
03-07-2015, 10:43 AM
Mmmmmm. Not sure I understand how wood would do its thing. Normally it just sits there until I come along and do something with it. That's why I bought all those tools.
Perhaps someone could explain?
Miguel

Dougf
03-07-2015, 11:19 AM
Mmmmmm. Not sure I understand how wood would do its thing. Normally it just sits there until I come along and do something with it. That's why I bought all those tools.
Perhaps someone could explain?
Miguel

I probably didnít explain it very well. Itís really just a way of thinking. Of course wood canít assemble itself into a Ďukulele. But do we think of it as happening because of our mastery over nature, bending it to our will? Or do we think of it as resulting from our skill and our technology being put to use to allow nature to show off its magic?

And as I pointed out, perhaps thinking this way would make no practical difference. But I like to think it would.

Titchtheclown
03-07-2015, 11:20 AM
I am a clown.
Clowns and ukuleles go together.
This probably explains a lot more about my building process than it first appears.

Allen
03-07-2015, 02:45 PM
You're either a numbers type of personality, or by feel and intuition type. Luthier require you to be expert in both in my opinion.

sequoia
03-07-2015, 06:40 PM
Be the uke Luke.... Be the uke...

Don't mean to make fun. I actually understand what you are trying to say Doug. Take what the wood is giving you. But this requires a lot of feel that comes only from years and years of experience. I am currently in a wrestling match with a piece of myrtle that no matter how I talk to it just resists being turned into a ukulele. I attack it with sharp steel and stone abrasives and still it resists. We have both called it a draw for now and it sits stickered in the shop while I go onto something else. I might not be a real luthier, but I do know that when it ain't happening, it ain't happening and it's time smoke a pipe and take a walk.

Michael Smith
03-07-2015, 07:41 PM
Grapes doing their thing is to fall on the ground and be carried away by small animals and birds in an attempt to create a new grapevine somewhere else. Grapes don't want to be made into wine. Forgive me for saying that, maybe I'm just perturbed at the wine industry in general. They have taken over my area and are not a environmentally friendly industry as many would believe.

Hluth
03-08-2015, 10:06 AM
Grapes doing their thing is to fall on the ground and be carried away by small animals and birds in an attempt to create a new grapevine somewhere else. Grapes don't want to be made into wine.

LOL on that one. Wanting is for birds and animals (including us), not plants.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-08-2015, 10:15 AM
Bill Cumpiano once said: "You want to build a better guitar? Try being a better person." I try to follow that philosophy because I think it transmits to the instrument.

lauburu
03-08-2015, 11:09 AM
to allow nature to show off its magic

An old saying which was written inside the label of a renaissance lute and refers to the wood from which the instrument is made:
Dum vixi tacui mortua dulce cano. While I lived I was silent; Now dead I sing sweetly.

Sometimes you find a piece of wood that is really "noisy" You can tell, just by handling it, will sound great.
Sometimes you find a piece of wood that's so beautiful to look at you put it aside until your skills are worthy to work on it.

If I were a tree, I'd want to end up as a musical instrument. I can't think of anything more noble.


"You want to build a better guitar? Try being a better person."
I think that by building ukes (guitars) I am becoming a better person. Or maybe that's just aging.

Anyway that's enough philosophy for one day
Miguel