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ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 03:46 AM
This question is for the benefit of those like me who may get some better insight to this often undiscussed feature that (for the builder) is a time consuming upcharge on most builds that employ purfling.:

Q. Is purfling mostly or all aesthetic, or do luthiers find that routing the edges and inserting purfling into the routes in some measurable manner enhances a soundboard by, in part, freeing them up or otherwise contributing to any enhancement (or detriment) of sound quality?

macfish
12-12-2015, 03:58 AM
Not sure of the difference between purfling and rope binding, but here is Scott Wise's take:
http://www.wiseukulele.com/html/options_and_design.html

Sanfe
12-12-2015, 04:00 AM
Purely for looks, right? It's not even on the edge - kinda like racing stripes on a car.

And I can't imagine it helping with sound for better or worse (well maybe for worse). I figure the more the sound board is left alone, the better. I can't imagine routing out a well, filling it in with glue, and then adding purfling actually helps the top to resonate for the better.

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 04:11 AM
Not sure of the difference between purfling and rope binding, but here is Scott Wise's take
http://www.wiseukulele.com/html/options_and_design.html

Thanks for the link, Mac. So on that page link that take away quote Scott gave was "It is expensive and time consuming to do, but the reward is a better sounding instrument.".

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 04:25 AM
Purely for looks, right? It's not even on the edge - kinda like racing stripes on a car.

And I can't imagine it helping with sound for better or worse (well maybe for worse). I figure the more the sound board is left alone, the better. I can't imagine routing out a well, filling it in with glue, and then adding purfling actually helps the top to resonate for the better.

Exactly what I always thought, decoration, bling, etc... That found on higher priced instruments as an element of decor. Then I heard a fleeting discussion of sound enhanced qualities to it but didn't get to hear the supportive substance of that claim... Hence, the online search.

Sanfe
12-12-2015, 05:22 AM
For some things I'm a minimalist. When it comes to musical instruments, I am one. If I can't hear purfling, then I'm not going to pay extra to own it. I play and listen to instruments, not ogle them. I'm not detracted by aesthetics - I can love and appreciate it.

But I'm more attracted to things that make me a better person. So a plainer simpler ukulele with the same sound and especially with a lower price tag will attract me more than the "prettier" version of it.

I'm just not into paying for luxuries in general.

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 06:11 AM
If I can't hear purfling, then I'm not going to pay extra to own it.

I agree, and this may all be measurement in minutia. But it's a part that interests me as an education as to what aspects, large and small, of the instrument we all enjoy effects it. If paying more for a solid-wood top is further enhanced by allowing it to vibrate more by the process that allows for the installation of purfling, than possibly it is worth the expense. Some of the opinions I read elsewhere may be right when they say it's not enough to matter and if you rest your pinky on the top while fingerpicking, it likely reduces the vibration more than any other benefits that bracing or purfling provide. Even if true, I think it can't hurt giving the instrument the most design options to sound it's best if it's not too prohibitive to the overall cost benefit.

macfish
12-12-2015, 09:41 AM
In general I agree, and the difference might be in terminology, purfling vs. rope binding. But given 35 years of building and research, I'm inclined to trust Scott's explanation of rope binding as contributing to sound quality. Can I discern it at this early point in my journey? Perhaps not, but I don't dismiss it as a luxury or bling.

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 01:43 PM
Thanks for the input, Bill. Any validity then to the suggestion that the routing made for the purfling creates a hinge-like effect on the top wood allowing it to vibrate more freely?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-12-2015, 01:54 PM
Purfling is different to binding. We need to find out which one the question is about. The intro in this link explains the difference.
http://www.lmii.com/binding-and-purfling-tips

Binding helps the join, purfling is cosmetic. The excerpt from Scott Wise is about binding not purfling, I don't think he does purfling.
I always ask for binding around the top of custom ukes because it is like the fender on my car, it takes the impact of bumps and can be replaced if I get a bigger bump or dent on the join. I prefer to pay for binding over more highly figured wood because it is about maintaining the important top to body join.
I am never likely to be interested in paying for purfling or highly figured wood.
If the binding improves sound thats nice, but I want it for its ability to help the join.

Couldn't have said it better. ;)

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the confirmation, Chuck. And I also agree with Bill and prefer binding for the protection it offers.
Do you feel that if an instrument is routed for purfling, if that routing changes anything enough to include or exclude it?

ukuleleden
12-12-2015, 11:31 PM
Thanks for the replies, especially the replies I received via private message. I understand that some who build or repair Ukes may not want to go out on a limb with an opinion on something that is not absolute or difficult to measure to give an opinion in an open forum which is perfectly understandable. And seemingly not enough to make much difference in either direction. The basic approach seems to be the best: As one person wrote me "If you like the sound, look and feel, that should be enough evaluation for a decision of what works the best.". Hard to not agree with that summation.

the flat tire
12-13-2015, 01:32 AM
I always figured purfling didn't matter as long it didn't extend beyond the interior kerfing. I suppose the size of the kerfing does matter?

Doc_J
12-13-2015, 02:32 AM
While purfling doesn't enhance structure or sound, it sure is pretty.
The same logic applies to using pretty wood vs. plain looking wood.

http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Moore%20Bettah%20Tenor%202014/P1060739_zps9c2e9738.jpg

DownUpDave
12-13-2015, 02:39 AM
Doc J just won the debate on why you need purfing, beautiful will always win out. A finally crafted instrument is so much more than just a box that can produce a sound.

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