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VegasGeorge
08-23-2015, 09:49 AM
I'm sort of worried about myself. You see, I have this nice Fender T-Bucket tenor Uke. It's all laminate construction. And, I like it. It looks good, feels nice in my hand, plays well, and sounds decent. But it's the poor relation in my Ukulele collection, hanging there amidst the solid Koa woods. I have this urge to put it back in the cabinet, and stop wasting my time playing it when I could be playing one of my much nicer instruments. But, I don't. I keep playing it. It's kind of like the excitement of dating a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. I even find myself playing tunes that I wouldn't normally play on my other Ukes, stuff like "Before The Next Teardrop Falls." I can almost smell the stale beer! I would hesitate to play it in public, for fear of getting into a brawl. I guess it's bringing out the "bad boy" in me. I feel so guilty! :confused:

weerpool
08-23-2015, 10:37 AM
if it feels nice and you love playing it, don't stop. laminate or not, i think its all about how it makes you feel at the end of the day.

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2015, 11:30 AM
My bias is that ukes should be fun. If you have fun playing it, nuff said.

Walker78
08-23-2015, 11:45 AM
Laminates can be just fine, especially for playing at home. I agree with the two guys above. I also strongly agree with your signature quote! So very true

SteveZ
08-23-2015, 12:01 PM
Laminates, especially with guitars, have been around for a long time. There's good and bad there, just as in solids. My favorite uke (the 6-string) is a laminate and it sings beautifully in spite of me.

DownUpDave
08-23-2015, 12:41 PM
I still own my first uke, an all laminate Gretsch tenor named Dirty Gurdy. I have sold off much more expensive solid wood ukes but kept the "fun girl" around

kvehe
08-23-2015, 01:28 PM
I have one like that; it's the Takamine in my avatar. It doesn't sound the best, but it sounds fine considering its price, and for some reason I find it the easiest to play. I would never, ever let it go.

Russellbarnett
08-23-2015, 03:49 PM
My Kanilea tenor was laminated. I liked not ever having to worry about the humidity, contact with sweat, etc. When I got my Ken Potts tenor (he uses french polish to finish them) I asked about it and he told me to just wipe the instrument down with a soft cloth when I was done. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't, but I do miss not having to worry about it.

As for sound, I never had any complaints about the sound of the Kanilea so it didn't seem to noticeably affect things.

igorthebarbarian
08-23-2015, 04:14 PM
Good post. Thanks for sharing! I am lazy and live in AZ so I'm very pro-laminate myself. Digging my Famous (budget-Kiwaya's) for the reasons mentioned above

Hippie Dribble
08-23-2015, 04:21 PM
I have two ukes around 2k and several other rippers. But the one I play most (well, maybe aside from my Ono) is the cheapest: a laminate Kala ebony concert. I adore it's sound and playability. Money spent bears no relation to joy experienced when it comes to ukes. I love em all!!!

Debby
08-23-2015, 04:26 PM
I have two ukes around 2k and several other rippers. But the one I play most (well, maybe aside from my Ono) is the cheapest: a laminate Kala ebony concert. I adore it's sound and playability. Money spent bears no relation to joy experienced when it comes to ukes. I love em all!!!

I love the music you play on that Kala ebony concert. It's some of my fave music!

sarastro
08-23-2015, 04:43 PM
Nothing inherently wrong with laminates. My Kiwaya KS-0 is a fine instrument both in terms of playability and sound.

VegasGeorge
08-23-2015, 05:00 PM
OK, OK, you guy are WAY to serious about this. I was trying in my clumsy way to poke fun at my own attitude about laminate versus solid wood instruments. And, yes, I know that any prejudice I might have is totally irrational. But honestly, don't any of you guys feel just a little less civilized when wielding that street smart, rough and ready laminate Uke? It's like, "Get in my face and I'll smack you with this Uke." But, I'd never do that with one of my beautiful Koas.

Uk3player78
08-23-2015, 05:04 PM
All of mine are laminate M brands. I love em all and bring my flavour of the week everywhere. The ukulele is a fun instrument with a small sound board.

Sure i have had all solid wood ukuleles in the past, i'm a guitarist i quit ukulele for a year of the 4 i have been playing. Upon my return around 9 months ago i bought a laminate Mahalo U320T Tenor with the intention of moving 'up' but instead i added a Makala Dolphin and one Makala MK C brown concert.

They are all way better than they should be and bring me much joy. Shoot me but my acoustic guitar has to be all solid and high quality and it is. Ex Martin player now playing a rare Martin eater.

Ukulele? Its all about the fun. Its not about cost. I'm use to 'mine is better than yours' guitar forums. Ukulele is a refreshing change. :music:

bnolsen
08-24-2015, 02:37 AM
the kiwayas and martin oxk are high end lams. not exactly slumming it with those. tone and sustain on my oxk is very good, the kiwayas should be competitive.

"mine is better than yours :cool:": it seems my butler music lanikai lu21p gets most of the play time and my other butler music lu21b now gets a bit of love as well. i finally think I figured out why. My lu21p has a wide nut, wider string spacing than my oxk, the same string spacing as my concert fluke. seems to help my foray into fingerpicking.

igorthebarbarian
08-24-2015, 06:38 PM
I think there's this mental block-thing that says "hey it's a laminate, screw it, have fun, go to town on it" vs. a nicer more expensive all-solid wood, where you'd be thinking "be careful, this thing costs a lot!". Like it's almost "too nice to play". I have clothes like that, where they're "too nice to wear". My mind is broken!

Mivo
08-24-2015, 08:37 PM
I think there's this mental block-thing that says "hey it's a laminate, screw it, have fun, go to town on it" vs. a nicer more expensive all-solid wood, where you'd be thinking "be careful, this thing costs a lot!". Like it's almost "too nice to play". I have clothes like that, where they're "too nice to wear". My mind is broken!

It's not just you. :)

I find myself doing the majority of my practicing and playing on my factory manufactured $180 soprano instead of my Barron River tenor or my newly acquired vintage 1920s soprano. I'm not worried about the Chinese soprano because it's easily replaceable (although it is very well set up with great intonation; comes from the same factory churns out KPKs), and there's no emotional attachment, though I get increasingly fond of it.

It also lives on seat or on my desk, outside of a case, so it's very accessible and I can just grab it when I feel like spending a few minutes with it. Taking the others out of their cases is more of a deliberate act, and somehow that also contributes to them being less played.

Expensive instruments almost seem to have a prohibitive, intimidating effect on me.

k0k0peli
08-24-2015, 10:09 PM
Money spent bears no relation to joy experienced when it comes to ukes. Or any other instruments. Most of my acoustic guitars, mandos, 'ukes etc are laminates and/or metal or plastic. Yes, I have a few with 'solid' wood including a Harmonia concert 'uke (China), vintage Martin tiple and luthier-crafted Celtic mandolin and Maffick mountain dulcimer (USA), Art et Lutherie guitar (Canada), and an old Martin Backpacker guitar (Mexico) with neck and body carved from a single hunk of mahogany -- THAT is SOLID! Some were costly, most weren't. The costly ones aren't necessarily played the most.

I have one I'm almost ashamed of but big deal. The Soviet-era Lunacharsky mandolin (US$30 a few weeks ago) looks like a POS but with only minor setup tweaking sounds and plays just fine. Yes, it's 'solid', sort of. No, it's not as mellow as the Celtic that cost 23x more. I contrast it with my bright flashy Chinese F-type mando with a thin voice. If I crashed a bluegrass jam with the F-type (and I'm not a great BG player) I'd be thought uppity and ignorant. If I showed up with the Lunacharsky boat-paddle I'd be pitied and tolerated.

Most good cigar boxes are solid wood, right? So a CBG or CBU would be 'solid', not laminated. Think about it.

actadh
08-25-2015, 01:50 AM
This year seems like it has been either cold or humid - neither good for a "real" uke.

The most playing time this year has been on the OXK and the plastic ukes. All are fun to play, too.

Forget wiping off with a soft cloth. I have been scrubbing off sand, sweat, marshmallows, ice cream, puppy nose prints, and sticky toddler finger marks. And, getting a lot of playing time instead of worrying about my uke.

VegasGeorge
08-25-2015, 03:23 AM
I think there's this mental block-thing that says "hey it's a laminate, screw it, have fun, go to town on it" .... My mind is broken!

Hey, that's it! "Go to town" describes it well. I pull out my all laminate Fender, and all I can think about is "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights!" Mostly the "wasted" part. :cool:

kkimura
08-25-2015, 03:59 AM
Before laminated tone wood became economically feasible, everyone had to settle for solid wood instruments.

:D

Trader Todd
08-25-2015, 09:52 AM
I've never really been a tone snob chasing after that holy grail of sound regardless of the instrument. Do high end instruments sound different than entry level laminates? Of course they do, but different doesn't always mean better. My wifes Makala dolphins sounds $1000 better in a skilled players hands than it does in mine.

Tootler
08-25-2015, 12:42 PM
The ukes I take out to play are my Flea and Fluke. Plastic body, laminate top. I love them, great tone, plenty volume and I get lots of positive comment on the sound they make - and lots of remarks about the shape.

Calypso
08-30-2015, 02:53 AM
I also own a Fender T bucket tenor and it's by far my favourite uke to play. My partner has a solid top and I know they're supposed to have more volume and better tone - but it doesn't sound any louder or any sweeter than my laminate Fender.

I've played some high end instruments and while some of them sounded wonderful, they're really not worth the price tag. And they didn't sound several hundred quid more wonderful than my Fender.

Besides, if I need volume, I can plug it in but so far, it fares very well against other people and their ukes, in fact it's had surprised compliments from more "serious" uke players with more expensive instruments.

It's all about what feels and plays best for each individual. The Fender has just the right slender neck for my small girly hands and not-very-long fingers (the only other neck which is even slimmer is on my Luna 8 string), the action is perfection, the tone is sweet and it's just such a joy to play. That says it all. Right is right, no matter what it's made from and this is right for me. :cool:

P.S. - I put a Fremont soloist squeakless wound low G on this uke and it sounds AMAZING.