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Ukettante
10-11-2015, 06:41 PM
I read somewhere that guitars are harder to build than violins. Then I read elsewhere that ukuleles are harder to build than guitars. Put together, in the order of ascending difficulty in construction: violin, guitar, ukulele. Is that right?

It's a factoid I'd like to throw around to surprise people who don't think much of the uke.

Mivo
10-11-2015, 07:04 PM
I'd be surprised about that. Violins cost substantially more than guitars, and guitars seem to generally cost more than ukuleles (though they take more wood). But that's guesswork on my part only. :)

Ukulele Eddie
10-11-2015, 08:48 PM
Ukuettante, not sure where you read that but I find it hard to believe. Hopefully some luthiers will respond, so you get answers from people in the know.

I'm not in the know, nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn recently, so take this with a grain of salt. Violins are arched via hand carving, which takes a lot of labor. I recall when learning about violins for my daughter that I read it takes about 200-250 hours, though I suspect it varies a lot by the quality, just like with an ukulele. I think Chuck Moore once wrote that it takes him 40 to 100 hours per ukulele.

Ukettante
10-11-2015, 09:22 PM
Well, I read about the guitar and violin comparison in either "Clapton's Guitar" or "Guitar, an American Life." Though I can't recall which of the two books contained the comparison, I distinctly remember, and read twice, the passage about a renowned lutheir, if not the luthier that the book was about, saying from personal experience, building a guitar is harder than building a violin. Something about the strings pulling in opposite directions along the body of the guitar and strings pulling down toward the body of the violin. They were library books, so I can't check them right away to confirm.

As to the ukulele and guitar comparision, well, I read it about it somewhere on this forum. More than one person here has said it's harder to "get it right" when building an ukulele. Perhaps I was misreading the posts. A real possibility.

Anyway, hoping a luthier or two would chime in, cos I would really love to say to someone authoritatively: Did you know an ukulele is actually harder to build than a violin?

Mivo
10-11-2015, 09:36 PM
Why, though? It would sound a little insecure, I feel. Just let the music you play on the uke speak for itself. :)

Ukettante
10-11-2015, 10:17 PM
Oh, I was thinking of some people who think classical music is the only music worth studying and listening to. Just would like to saying something to shake them up a bit.

hub
10-12-2015, 12:01 AM
When it comes to ukuleles and guitars, that's most likely true. The smaller the instrument, the smaller is the size of the part that makes the sound and thus smaller inaccuracies will affect the tone. I'm not sure how big issue that is in reality, though - certainly not big enough to make ukuleles more expensive than guitars.

As for violins, I can speculate based on you've said. It is possible that a violin is acoustically much simpler animal. With strings anchored at the tailpiece and going over the bridge, the whole top works in the same way as a speaker cone. It works the same way for archtop guitars, banjos, dobros etc., by the way. This vibration type is relatively simple to understand and influence with shaping the wood appropriately.

On the typical guitar, however, the strings are tied to the bridge that's somewhere in the middle of the soundboard. They no longer move the top up and down, instead, they cause the bridge to rock, which in turn sends a wave deforming the top. This wave is more complicated, and with all the possible variations in the bracing it's difficult to predict what will happen when you change the shape. In this way, a guitar seems more difficult to design than a violin.

There's also the aspect of amount of energy both instrument receive to produce the sound. Violin has the comfort of the bow being constantly pulled across the string, which produces a constant influx of energy. As long as you don't fail in directing that energy to the top, you'll get an audible instrument and can only worry about the tone. The guitar, however, has to manage with just the initial pluck to feed the sound and sustain. That's a tiny force when compared to the bow of violin. That's why you strive to convert as much of it as you can, and why you need thin tops with complicated bracing instead of a sturdy slab of wood.

I think the main reason why violins seem more complicated (and can be so expensive) is in the players, not the instruments. Tone and intonation standards are completely different in an orchestra hall and rock concert, both for players and audience (not to mention, for a guitar you think about the intonation only during the setup or when you hear it's wrong, but on the violin you think about the intonation each time you put a finger down). That's what is driving the prices, and that's what's making the violin luther's work much more unforgivable than it's in the guitar world, even though the basic instrument design of a violin might be simpler.

That's it for a speculation. I'm not a luthier yet :D

Fleapluckin_Flapper
10-12-2015, 06:14 AM
I let the uke speak for itself,bearing in mind it's the players musical ability to make it sound magnificent. Violins are the most complex to make,guitars second,(depending on how many strings,if it's an archtop or solidbody electric,or an acoustic) Ukes would be the easiest,IMO tho I don't mean that as a brush off statement. There are a lot of gorgeous and complex ukes out there! As far as the classical music only crowd,it's not my job to change their mind. They're at where they're at. I say this being a classical and rock guitarist in addition to being a bluesey ukulele player. Wayne Dyer often said that every person you meet has an opinion of you,and those opinions are none of your business.....you don't concern yourself with them. I just play what makes me happy,what makes my musical heart joyous,and if others enjoy the ride,then great. If not,I don't take offense and just move on. Biggest way to impress others is in not trying to impress them,just BE. Shine your light,and you'll bring your tribe to you.

spookelele
10-12-2015, 06:23 AM
but... classical music is a style, not an instrument. You can play classical on violin, guitar, or uke.

Ukejenny
10-12-2015, 06:25 AM
I feel that trying to compare the making of these instruments is impossible to do fairly. Comparing art is a prickly undertaking. I'd much rather just enjoy it. If we could ask a luthier who was equally gifted at creating violins, guitars, and ukuleles, we could get some insight.

70sSanO
10-12-2015, 09:05 AM
I think the mfg process between flattop guitars and ukuleles and an archtop violin are so unrelated that it may not be possible to compare.

That said I would think the difficulty in hand carving a violin top (back?) to the exact varying thicknesses to be able to withstand the string tension and deliver a loud sweet sound is probably beyond what most guitar/ukulele luthiers can do.

John

ScooterD35
10-12-2015, 10:23 AM
http://youtu.be/UthmeYiBn0U


Scooter

ScooterD35
10-12-2015, 10:26 AM
http://youtu.be/3t1ph6h_Tyg




Scooter

ScooterD35
10-12-2015, 10:28 AM
http://youtu.be/WFJEgGdctkQ


Scooter

70sSanO
10-12-2015, 11:52 AM
Even with a "pre-cut" violin top, making a violin looks like a lot more work. The scraping of a violin top to different thicknesses is a important ingredient over plywood pressed tops.

John

Nickie
10-12-2015, 01:02 PM
I let the uke speak for itself,bearing in mind it's the players musical ability to make it sound magnificent. Violins are the most complex to make,guitars second,(depending on how many strings,if it's an archtop or solidbody electric,or an acoustic) Ukes would be the easiest,IMO tho I don't mean that as a brush off statement. There are a lot of gorgeous and complex ukes out there! As far as the classical music only crowd,it's not my job to change their mind. They're at where they're at. I say this being a classical and rock guitarist in addition to being a bluesey ukulele player. Wayne Dyer often said that every person you meet has an opinion of you,and those opinions are none of your business.....you don't concern yourself with them. I just play what makes me happy,what makes my musical heart joyous,and if others enjoy the ride,then great. If not,I don't take offense and just move on. Biggest way to impress others is in not trying to impress them,just BE. Shine your light,and you'll bring your tribe to you.

Where's the friggin' LIKE button?

CdnSouthpaw
10-12-2015, 01:41 PM
It would depend on what violin and what guitar were being compared as the example.

In general though...I would give the nod to a violin over a flattop acoustic.

mvinsel
10-12-2015, 02:05 PM
Where's the friggin' LIKE button?

*LIKE* (no button, I had to spell it out)