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View Full Version : The laminate vs solid nonsense is getting me down



bazmaz
03-12-2015, 12:44 PM
And as such I felt it needed to be said.

I'm not being Naive here - I own mainly solid ukes and love them. But there is no automatic reason to claim every laminate uke is 'junk' and, perhaps more importantly, there is no automatic reason to claim everything branded 'solid' wood is therefore superb.

I don't believe that. I am sure many on here don't believe that - but sadly there are many who DO

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/03/theres-good-and-bad-ukuleles-whether.html

katysax
03-12-2015, 01:06 PM
I definitely agree with this. I have a Kiwaya KS-7 - which is in their eco series. It is a wonderful soprano, one of the best I've owned. I sent off the KTS-7 - their more expensive solid - that I had in a trade because I never played it preferring the KS-7. By all accounts, and every one I've tried, the Martin OXK is excellent whereas I did not love the S1. I've played plenty of solid instruments that are dead. I just got a Kala that has laminated back and sides but solid top and I am very impressed with it.

There are some times when I think an inexpensive laminate is a better choice than a solid wood instrument. And it's actually mind blowing how good so many $100-300 ukes are, laminated or solid. However, I'd say that overwhelmingly there is a certain sound quality to laminates that is characteristic to them that I don't like as well as a good solid wood. But the key here is it has to be a good one because in the low priced instruments, there is a chance that similarly priced laminate will be better than its solid counterpart.

To my mind though Blackbird with the Clara and Kiwaya with their eco series and Martin with their OXK ukes have shown that it is quite possible to make a superb instrument with a laminated top. Very often though laminates will be cheap. That doesn't mean they are bad though. Also there are plenty of solid instruments that are dull sounding.

I agree with what you say. There is no reason to think either that inexpensive instruments are junk. Many of them are very good to play. I often think that the people who misspend and don't use the best judgment are people like me who put money into expensive instruments. I still do it although sometimes I feel like I've been snookered.

Patrick Madsen
03-12-2015, 03:21 PM
For me it's all about the neck.Thin, fast, slightly radiused with low action. To find that, usually takes a custom; well that's what I tell my wife anyway. I could care less if a laminate or solid but the top would have to be solid.

Photojosh
03-12-2015, 03:48 PM
But there is no automatic reason to claim every laminate uke is 'junk' and, perhaps more importantly, there is no automatic reason to claim everything branded 'solid' wood is therefore superb.

I don't really hear people saying either of those things.

Hippie Dribble
03-12-2015, 04:33 PM
I love all ukes, laminate or otherwise!!!

strumsilly
03-12-2015, 05:17 PM
I have both.
Does my Islander AT-4 sound as good as my Koaloha tenor. no. the Koaloha tenor is almost 10x I paid for Islander in $. . Is it 10x better. no. BUT, I'd rather play the Koaloha.

Booli
03-12-2015, 07:34 PM
And as such I felt it needed to be said.

I'm not being Naive here - I own mainly solid ukes and love them. But there is no automatic reason to claim every laminate uke is 'junk' and, perhaps more importantly, there is no automatic reason to claim everything branded 'solid' wood is therefore superb.

I don't believe that. I am sure many on here don't believe that - but sadly there are many who DO

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/03/theres-good-and-bad-ukuleles-whether.html

Amen to that, brother.

Thanks for the great article. :)

drbekken
03-12-2015, 08:23 PM
Good article, bazmaz.
I may not be the person to voice an opinion on this, since I have never played a solid wood ukulele in my life. Still, I have a perspective. Since the late 1970s, I have been a jazz pianist, playing all kinds of gigs from the funkiest of dives and high class festivals to the Norwegian Government Residence and the 1000 year old Nidaros Cathedral. As a pianist, until the arrival of portable digital pianos, I had to make do with what I got on the particular gig. That meant that I was forced to accept the notion that any instrument might sound, if not great, then at least 'good enough'. I have this idea in my head every single time I pick up an instrument. I look and listen for ways in which I can bring the best out of just about any piece of junk I am given.
Don't get me wrong, though; I do want a Steinway or a Bosendorfer whenever possible. However, mostly I am stuck with half-bad acoustic pianos or some digital. Then I am facing a challenge.
With digital pianos (and with ukuleles), I need something that works, and which can take beatings and the hassle of being hauled in and out of cars. Whether or not the uke is laminated, well, that's the least of my concerns.
Hope to play a high end solid uke one day, but it's not any kind of quest for me.