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AndrewKuker
12-12-2015, 12:05 PM
I enjoyed these thoughts at Ervin Somogyi's blog recently. Thought I'd share-
http://www.esomogyi.com/blog.html#voicing1

PeterF
12-13-2015, 02:42 AM
Thanks for posting that. I've always loved his work. Slightly off topic, but I'll be interested to see the results of his 3 identical guitars test in his most recent blog post.

mm stan
12-13-2015, 04:10 AM
Aloha Andrew ,
Thank you for the insightful blog, im guessing the luthiers who know tricks on voicing will not give it away
Its not tone, yup i meant the voice of your instrument.
Yes and if voicing in any way be controlled after the instrument is done for adjustment..
Im asking all luthiers gurus here, you can pm me.. :)

chuck in ny
12-13-2015, 07:25 AM
i like that guy. all common sense and a good approach.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-13-2015, 11:35 AM
Aloha Andrew ,
Thank you for the insightful blog, im guessing the luthiers who know tricks on voicing will not give it away
Its not tone, yup i meant the voice of your instrument.
Yes and if voicing in any way be controlled after the instrument is done for adjustment..
Im asking all luthiers gurus here, you can pm me.. :)

You can shave away bracing after an instrument is done. More difficult is to add wood/bracing to an unstable instrument or one that is too floppy (ie too much bracing was shaved off so it aint stiff enough to get a good tone).

I've preached this from the beginning: ALL uke makers should read guitar making books

chuck in ny
12-13-2015, 01:28 PM
beau

which guitar making books would be most helpful?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-13-2015, 02:25 PM
beau

which guitar making books would be most helpful?

Books of Luthiery
1. Contemporary Acoustic Guitar Design and Build- Gilet/Gore (2 Vols) (http://www.giletguitars.com.au/book.shtml) or (http://www.goreguitars.com.au/main/page_the_book_overview.html)
Disclaimer- i used to work at Gilet Guitars but this is acknowledged as the most scientific book on luthiery out there- alot is totally over my head as everything said in here is backed up with math and equations
The full review from American Lutherie # 109, Spring 2012. by R.M. Mottola (http://LiutaioMottola.com) can be read here: http://www.goreguitars.com.au/main/page_the_book_full_review.html

2. The Responsive Guitar- Ervin Somogyi (2 Vols) (GET ON AMAZON)
These two volumes tell you both everything and nothing.- I read them after I had been building for about 8 years and i think it would be difficult to build a guitar(instrument) without prior knowledge with these books. It is a must have for guitar builders though and there is much excellent knowledge i here for uke makers.

3. Making Master Guitars – Roy Courtnall (Expensive (about $100 for 1 vol) but good)- I only got this book in 2014- its great and all the classical guitars show the same top/back/sides thicknessess as ukes. Its more history then building but there is building in it- shows (and talks about) 7 or 8 luthiers different approaches to top bracings.
4. Classical Guitar Making- John Bogdanovich (this is cheap at $25 and really good)

5. The Art of Inlay- Larry Robinson (just for inlay)
6. The Luthier’s Handbook- Roger H Siminoff (Tap tuning etc- not great but something to eventually buy)
7. How to Make a Living Doing Something Crazy- Kent Carlos Everett (a must have)
8. The Qualities of Craftsmanship- Kent Carlos Everett (also a must but not quite as must as the above)
9. The Big Red Book of American Lutherie- All volumes are excellent resources. (Great stuff voer 6 -soon to be 7 vols)
10. Trade Secrets Vol 1 and 2- from Stew mac- some good tips in here. (more good stuff- been a while since ive seen these though)
11. Guitar Finishing- An excellent instrument finishing book by Stew Mac # 5095. (excellent finishing book, especially for colours, bursts etc)
12. Making an Archtop Guitar- Robert Benedetto (if you want to do a carve top uke)
13. The Guitar Players Repair Guide- Dan Erlewine (Excellent resource, tips, tricks)

DownUpDave
12-13-2015, 03:19 PM
Thank you very much for putting together such an extensive list. I appreciate it.

mm stan
12-13-2015, 05:35 PM
Mahalo Beau, fo sharing :)

printer2
12-14-2015, 01:02 AM
Surprised this one was not mentioned yet.

Left-Brain Lutherie

Using Physics and Engineering Concepts for Building Guitar Family Instruments: An Introductory Guide to Their Practical Application

ISBN 0-9760883-0-4

http://www.ukuleles.com/LBLBook/TOC.html

I do not have it yet, do have the Gore/Gilet books.

70sSanO
12-14-2015, 04:55 AM
Aloha Andrew ,
Thank you for the insightful blog, im guessing the luthiers who know tricks on voicing will not give it away


You can shave away bracing after an instrument is done. More difficult is to add wood/bracing to an unstable instrument or one that is too floppy (ie too much bracing was shaved off so it aint stiff enough to get a good tone).

I've preached this from the beginning: ALL uke makers should read guitar making books

This reminds me of the David Crosby mods on his Martin that has become legend/folklore. I would say this ability separates someone who can make an instrument from someone who is an actual luthier. And I would imagine the best ones know the tricks, as mm stan has said, and evaluate each instrument and make the necessary tweaks to maximize the instrument's potential.

John

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-14-2015, 06:55 AM
Also, it is a usual practice to add poster putty (in australia we call it blue-tac- the blobby stuff you hang posters on the wall with) to the inside of a classical guitar top to dampen problem nodes which cause a variety of problems such as buzzing, and top resonance being in sync with the air resonance making a wolf note.

Pete Howlett
12-14-2015, 01:45 PM
If I win my fellowship Beau we are going to have a very serious discussion about this... as well as one with Chuck! I have never measured a darn thing or tried to tap tune or voice a ukulele. I'm too concerned about getting the other stuff right. And because I do, people consider I do a decent job. Now if I could find a way to improve that wasn't based on theoretical physics (bearing in mind most of this applied stuff is not empirically tested, peer reviewed and substantiated by a doctorial research fellowship - the only way it could be truly validated and move from opinion to fact) I think I would sit up and listen :) The other thing I just do not understand with all this theory is the premise that wood behaves in a predictable way - example: I have just completed 6 concert vita ukes. Tap the front and they all sound no better than a wet cardboard box and yet they have the most powerful, sweet sound out. Admittedly the cedar top walnut body one is the warmest with the mahogany body coming in second and the koa body one chirping away like it was made in Hawaii. But they will compete with any scientifically put together ukulele with it's over engineered kasha style parabolic shaped bracing with epoxy glued carbon fibre patch and elevated fingerboard.... :) This stuff is not for me. A more sensible discussion would be why this stuff seems to work well for those who use it and why it doesn't for intuitive builders like me. I think you would be unlocking a real treasure house of knowledge if you could answer that one! I suspect you would be looking at other factors in overall build and construction that are common to us all for the probable answer to the question :) And we haven't even touched on the effect of gradual hardening of lacquer over time as it 'tightens' the instrument or the changing of the crystalline micro structure of the wood over time. What about the stiffness of the neck (as opposed to the ludicrous tapping of 'tonewood' necks I frequently see on YouTube) ? I am yet to be convinced that the science, though important and essential to good builds is the holy grail to good tone, projection and 'sound'. I am reluctant to say it because I don't believe in magic per se but there is a certain 'mojo' that some of us have that can only be described as a divinely bestowed gift. I hope I have it, I know some of you guys definitely have it :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-15-2015, 04:10 AM
Personally, I don't measure deflections or use any scientific methods- but it is unequivocally better to understand more sophisticated methods of building. Guitar books all tell you things that no uke book tells you- simple 101 stuff like tuck your transverse bars and back braces into the linings.

My method of bracing/carving tops is to tap until i get a long ringing musical note, instead of a thud- not sure if thats scientific or intuitive or empirical intuitive science or just common sense???

I totally agree that there is no evidence to show that one way is better then the other- intuitive vs scientific method of building.

To be fair, i don't think most "scientific" luthiers (ie- ones who measure every splinter of wood) claim that their instruments are better then more intuitively built ones.

It is probably true that a scientific method produces more consistent results- (said again- it produces results that are either good or bad but are consistent).

While intuitive is, at the end of the day, a bit more cross your fingers when you string it up...no matter how good a luthier you are.

strumsilly
12-15-2015, 04:48 AM
interesting reading , even for a non builder. I read down about his Sawstop table saw. didn't know anything like that existed. bet that could save quite a few fingers!

PeterF
12-15-2015, 08:09 AM
I think the issue is more to do with repeatability and consistency, rather than the quality of the sound. If you have a top that weighs so much and deflects so much and you know exactly how you braced it and do chladni tests on it etc, you can then get another top to behave in the exact same way, ensuring a consistent sound across all of your instruments. If someone buys a Somogyi guitar, they want it to sound like a Somogyi guitar, not like an Olsen or McKnight guitar for example.
Having said that, I think it has a lot more of a noticeable effect on guitars and larger instruments. Ukuleles aren't exactly meant to have a piano-like sound that sustains forever with lots of bass, so there's a lot more tolerance for what sounds good and what doesn't.

Pete Howlett
12-15-2015, 08:26 AM
If you are looking for a completely androgynous sound use carbon fibre - total consistency. The whole beauty of using a living and dynamic organic material like wood is the nuances that you get because it is not uniform! The repeatability is only ever exact in the build aspect -as for the sound.. there are parameters and all that testing counts for nothing when one person 'likes' it and another is not so keen! As far as ukulele go, the primary focus for most people is volume unless you are buying a Chuck Moore; you are then thinking eye candy first :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-15-2015, 09:36 AM
The whole beauty of using a living and dynamic organic material like wood is the nuances that you get because it is not uniform!

I totally agree-

PeterF
12-15-2015, 10:48 AM
Yes of course there will always be variations, otherwise guitars would get boring. What I meant was the overall general qualities of the sound. If you talk to Trevor Gore (who wrote The book on the application of physics to guitar design) he will tell you that he can make a guitar out of any material and still make it sound like one of his guitars, with the qualities his customers would expect from them. To prove it, he made a guitar out of scrap wood from an old shed and it sounds excellent. He has taken the guess work out of the building process, so you can build a guitar to a 'sound goal' and have a good chance of hitting it, rather than simply building one and seeing how it turns out.
Of course, as I said before, there is less of an application to ukuleles, as they have less strict requirements in their tone and just need to be loud.

printer2
12-15-2015, 12:20 PM
You can make a guitar sounding object but the the quality of the sound is a function of the wood you use. The G&G books does not change that. Also the science of guitar making mainly works at the lower register of the guitar. The higher up you go in frequency the more art or craft takes over rather than science. Not to say the books are not a valuable resource, there is a lot useful information in them especially for the newer builder. But the information in the books are just one way to skin a cat, it will work for some, some not so much.

sequoia
12-15-2015, 06:15 PM
I think this is a good quote from Somogyi and could be applied to ukes.


What this is all about is that I have long been aware of the adage (in Spanish guitar making, at least) that the best guitars are built on the cusp of disaster. That is, the best ones are built so that they are just able to hold together under the pull of the strings and the stresses of use. Anything less, and the guitar would be on the slippery slope toward falling apart; anything more, and the guitar would have less than its full voice.

Ah yes, but where is that cusp of disaster? That is the challenge and the gamble.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-15-2015, 07:51 PM
If you are looking for a completely androgynous sound use carbon fibre - total consistency. The whole beauty of using a living and dynamic organic material like wood is the nuances that you get because it is not uniform! The repeatability is only ever exact in the build aspect -as for the sound.. there are parameters and all that testing counts for nothing when one person 'likes' it and another is not so keen! As far as ukulele go, the primary focus for most people is volume unless you are buying a Chuck Moore; you are then thinking eye candy first :)

Believe it or not Pete I spend a hell of a lot more time on the tonal qualities of my ukes than I do on the aesthetic aspects of them. You would know this is you've actually heard and played them rather than only have seen them.

hawaii 50
12-15-2015, 08:00 PM
Believe it or not Pete I spend a hell of a lot more time on the tonal qualities of my ukes than I do on the aesthetic aspects of them. You would know this is you've actually heard and played them rather than only have seen them.''

Haha Chuck I would bet Pete never played or touched a MB....:)
you know my MB is all about the tone not to much"eye candy"

mm stan
12-15-2015, 08:42 PM
Aloha Pete, i beg to differ from your accessment of Chucks ukes
I have a couple moore bettahs and they sound amazing Pete, in fact...
One of the best ukes i ever owned and played in tone and voice...its not just eye candy as you stated for sure.
I would love to compare your uke against them...:)

hawaii 50
12-15-2015, 08:47 PM
I have a couple moore bettahs and they sound amazing Pete, in fact...
One of the best ukes i ever owned and played in tone and voice...its not just eye candy as you stated for sure.
I would love to compare your uke against them...:)

I thought you had one Stan...maybe Pete will send you one to review...:)

Timbuck
12-15-2015, 08:58 PM
I'm not really interested in Guitar building...Co's guitars sound nothing at all like traditional soprano ukuleles to me...Trying to make a small ukulele sound like a Gibson jumbo seems pointless some how. I remember 5 years back our Pete said this
Matt - respectfully... guitars are not ukulele. Repeat 4 times before you go to bed tonight, twice in the morning and every half hour and on the hour during the day :)

Seriously, having been a guitar maker I can only say that the skills I learned building guitars helped me learn fairly quickly to build ukuleles and that is the beginning and end of input from my profession as a luthier. I am now a ukulele builder/maker and to become one, had to discard much if not all of the guitar technology I applied to my guitars, including ideas about tonewoods. You can write the rulebook completely differently in respect of ukulele in my humble opinion though I suspect there are many of my estimable contemporaries who will strongly (and I hope they do) disagree!

Resist the dark side! Do you still feel the same Pete ? :D

AndrewKuker
12-16-2015, 12:07 AM
As far as ukulele go, the primary focus for most people is volume unless you are buying a Chuck Moore; you are then thinking eye candy first :)

Well yeah Pete, except Chuck’s ukes excel in volume. So no, that’s not right at all.


I'm not really interested in Guitar building...

With the number of little tanks I’ve played I might agree that there’s something to say for not showing up at that class…..But like Beau was saying about about the transverse bars not being tucked into the lining, I’ve seen them ending before with a dipping top below. They didn’t provide the structural strength they were designed for. There’s usually a reason why things are done a certain way and basic concepts can be learned from guitar makers 'cause there's just more better documentations.

Either way though, however you get there, cause out in the real world musicians don’t care how you came to it. If it’s good, then the fruits of your effort will be appreciated and your work will have value.

Dan Uke
12-16-2015, 02:08 AM
If I win my fellowship Beau we are going to have a very serious discussion about this... as well as one with Chuck!

Instead of having serious discussions, it might be better to close your eyes so you don't get distracted by their beauty and just listen to their ukes.

Michael N.
12-16-2015, 02:24 AM
I think this is a good quote from Somogyi and could be applied to ukes.



Ah yes, but where is that cusp of disaster? That is the challenge and the gamble.

I'm not sure Somogyi is right regarding this. Certainly the Torres model (generally speaking) is built incredibly lightly, some with paper thin sides and paper thin soundboards. You can then contrast this with the famous Hauser model, which are built much more robustly and in a more northern European tradition. Both are played by some of the biggest names out there but I wouldn't say that Hausers are built on the edge of collapse. Not at all.

printer2
12-16-2015, 03:25 AM
I'm not sure Somogyi is right regarding this. Certainly the Torres model (generally speaking) is built incredibly lightly, some with paper thin sides and paper thin soundboards. You can then contrast this with the famous Hauser model, which are built much more robustly and in a more northern European tradition. Both are played by some of the biggest names out there but I wouldn't say that Hausers are built on the edge of collapse. Not at all.

The whole cusp of disaster thing is overstated. If the instrument was built just below it the string tension would cause the wood to creep over time and rather than imploding tomorrow the guitar would need a neck reset every six months. Building the top light will make for a more responsive instrument but it also depends on the tonality you want. Build really light and you have a guitar built for flamenco, quick and loud to get the notes out of the way but no sustain. A jazz guitar might also want these qualities to play a lot of notes and they don't intrude on each other. The jazz guitar would also be better without a lot of overtones as they may clash with all the chords that are already harmonically complex. Finger picking does work well with guitars with sustain and rich harmonics, Somogyi's guitars probably work well here. Also is the guitar meant to be played for the enjoyment of the player or an audience. A guitar that has a wide sound field which gives good feedback to the player may not be the best for projection. A responsive top and heavy back and sides like a Hauser gets the sound out to the audience.

As they say, one size does not fit all.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-16-2015, 03:54 AM
I'm not really interested in Guitar building...Co's guitars sound nothing at all like traditional soprano ukuleles to me...:D

I agree Ken- Sopranos are in their own category. Hence why I took them off my website.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-16-2015, 03:58 AM
...You can then contrast this with the famous Hauser model, which are built much more robustly and in a more northern European tradition. Both are played by some of the biggest names out there but I wouldn't say that Hausers are built on the edge of collapse. Not at all.

I can't remember- Was it Hauser that built scientifically???- One of those guys did.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-16-2015, 04:04 AM
The whole cusp of disaster thing is overstated. If the instrument was built just below it the string tension would cause the wood to creep over time and rather than imploding tomorrow the guitar would need a neck reset every six months. Building the top light will make for a more responsive instrument but it also depends on the tonality you want. Build really light and you have a guitar built for flamenco, quick and loud to get the notes out of the way but no sustain. A jazz guitar might also want these qualities to play a lot of notes and they don't intrude on each other. The jazz guitar would also be better without a lot of overtones as they may clash with all the chords that are already harmonically complex. Finger picking does work well with guitars with sustain and rich harmonics, Somogyi's guitars probably work well here. Also is the guitar meant to be played for the enjoyment of the player or an audience. A guitar that has a wide sound field which gives good feedback to the player may not be the best for projection. A responsive top and heavy back and sides like a Hauser gets the sound out to the audience.

As they say, one size does not fit all.

Your response demonstrates what I was talking about at the start and the original point of this thread- ie The more you know about guitars (and other instruments etc) the more you can define and refine what is going on and understand and promote such things as thick top vs attack and sustain. I feel most traditional uke makers don't research this stuff which is a shame. It is learnt over time of course but it seems most newish (and oldish?) uke makers aren't interested in reading guitar books to learn what they say about such things as what Printer2 says here.

wickedwahine11
12-16-2015, 06:11 AM
As far as ukulele go, the primary focus for most people is volume unless you are buying a Chuck Moore; you are then thinking eye candy first :)

Hmm, with all due respect, I beg to differ. Yes, Moore Bettahs are very beautiful, but they are also the best sounding instruments I have ever played. They are also actually a very high volume as well. I had three of the big K manufacturer ukes: KoAloha, Kamaka, and Kanilea. All three were very nice. When I got my first Moore Bettah, I never played any of them ever again, as none of them could compare to the tone and playability of the MB. And the KoAloha, the loudest of the three, was not really any louder than the MB. So I sold all three K ukes and bought another Moore Bettah. And Chuck actually is continually striving to improve upon the tone. My first MB was built in 2014, the one built in 2015, with a wider lower bout (and I think slightly different bracing, I stand corrected if I am wrong about that) sounds even better than the first. I want to make clear that I don't mean this as a personal attack on you Pete, we just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-16-2015, 07:54 AM
I've played a MB and they (unfortunately for us other builders!) sound as good as they look. It IS possible to have both in the one instrument.

mds725
12-16-2015, 12:03 PM
Hmm, with all due respect, I beg to differ. Yes, Moore Bettahs are very beautiful, but they are also the best sounding instruments I have ever played. They are also actually a very high volume as well. I had three of the big K manufacturer ukes: KoAloha, Kamaka, and Kanilea. All three were very nice. When I got my first Moore Bettah, I never played any of them ever again, as none of them could compare to the tone and playability of the MB. And the KoAloha, the loudest of the three, was not really any louder than the MB. So I sold all three K ukes and bought another Moore Bettah. And Chuck actually is continually striving to improve upon the tone. My first MB was built in 2014, the one built in 2015, with a wider lower bout (and I think slightly different bracing, I stand corrected if I am wrong about that) sounds even better than the first. I want to make clear that I don't mean this as a personal attack on you Pete, we just have to agree to disagree on this one.

This. People may look in awe at Moore Bettahs for their exquisite inlay, beautifully grained woods, incredible thoughtful detail, and superior craftsmanship, but the Moore Bettahs I have played are definitely built to sound at least as good as they look.

printer2
12-16-2015, 03:14 PM
Your response demonstrates what I was talking about at the start and the original point of this thread- ie The more you know about guitars (and other instruments etc) the more you can define and refine what is going on and understand and promote such things as thick top vs attack and sustain. I feel most traditional uke makers don't research this stuff which is a shame. It is learnt over time of course but it seems most newish (and oldish?) uke makers aren't interested in reading guitar books to learn what they say about such things as what Printer2 says here.

Heck, shows that I am odd. Oops, meant to go to advanced and not post. Better think quickly then.

I am interested in what makes these instruments work. I want to be able to take a piece of wood and get the sound I want out of it. I also want to know if it is possible to get the sound that I am looking for out of a particular piece of wood or if it is not possible. I could make a ton of instruments out of every different wood out there but I am starting late in life and doubt I will get the knowledge with trial by error.

So I have been reading books, learning online, learning from you guys on ukes, learning about violins, want to see what the mandolin people are doing. Doubt I will ever get to a point where I can call myself a luthier but I would like to be able to talk to real ones and only be a few rungs underneath them. Basically I want to make well made instruments to satisfy my future customers (even though this is really just a hobby and I would not mind if it just paid for itself).

I would like to make the fewest dogs as I can, I am not great at building the same thing, I usually go and do things that I haven't yet and sometimes even what others haven't. Did a all pine guitar a few years ago, was told it would not sound good, took it to a luthier who played it and did a double take when he realized hat it was made out of. He said it sounded fine, then he had to turn the guitar over and look at the back when I told him it was not a hardwood. Until that point he never considered a softwood could be used.

Can you get by and make good instruments using time tested methods and woods? Sure can. May not need to learn what others in different areas of the art are doing. May not even know why something works but just know that it should be done this way. But that is not me. I need to know why. And to know if I can. Which leads to me wanting to know how to do it well.

Crazy huh? And all because I saw a kid playing a cigar box guitar and thought, 'I can make one of those'.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-16-2015, 04:40 PM
you should look at Les Stansells ukes- he basically makes little flamenco guitars- all port orford cedar. Flamenco guitars had cypress back n sides though but that stuff is sooooooooooooo bending its basically a soft wood.

greenscoe
12-16-2015, 10:56 PM
[QUOTE=printer2;1789201]


I am interested in what makes these instruments work. I want to be able to take a piece of wood and get the sound I want out of it. I also want to know if it is possible to get the sound that I am looking for out of a particular piece of wood or if it is not possible. I could make a ton of instruments out of every different wood out there but I am starting late in life and doubt I will get the knowledge with trial by error.

So I have been reading books, learning online, learning from you guys on ukes, learning about violins, want to see what the mandolin people are doing. Doubt I will ever get to a point where I can call myself a luthier but I would like to be able to talk to real ones and only be a few rungs underneath them. Basically I want to make well made instruments to satisfy my future customers (even though this is really just a hobby and I would not mind if it just paid for itself).

I would like to make the fewest dogs as I can, I am not great at building the same thing, I usually go and do things that I haven't yet and sometimes even what others haven't.

Can you get by and make good instruments using time tested methods and woods? Sure can. May not need to learn what others in different areas of the art are doing. May not even know why something works but just know that it should be done this way. But that is not me. I need to know why. And to know if I can. Which leads to me wanting to know how to do it well.

Crazy huh? /QUOTE]

....you've taken the words from my mouth: this is the way I approach my interest in making ukes. It's part rediscovering the wheel, part standing on the shoulders of giants and part boldly going where no man has gone before....

...and I think it helps keep me sane in a crazy world.

(I realise it's moved somewhat off thread)

Michael N.
12-17-2015, 12:02 AM
you should look at Les Stansells ukes- he basically makes little flamenco guitars- all port orford cedar. Flamenco guitars had cypress back n sides though but that stuff is sooooooooooooo bending its basically a soft wood.

It is a softwood. In fact it's density lies roughly in line with European Spruce except that Cypress (at least Spanish Cypress) has an incredible aroma to it. I love it's natural golden Yellow colour too. Over time that darkens to a more mellow Yellow/Orange.
I'm just finishing off a guitar made of Yellow cedar, which is pretty much a shoe in for Cypress. From my tests the Yellow cedar is the exact same density as the Cypress that I have but it is a little stiffer. It has such an incredibly tight quarter sawn grain. In fact the grain is so tight that it doesn't look like it has any grain at all! Any of these woods can be used for Backs/Sides and Soundboards. That's especially true in the Uke world where the tradition of using denser woods for the soundboard is common.

mm stan
12-17-2015, 01:33 AM
Im sure the contrasting hardness in woods of the top and back plays a big factor in tone but not voicing.

printer2
12-17-2015, 04:12 PM
you should look at Les Stansells ukes- he basically makes little flamenco guitars- all port orford cedar. Flamenco guitars had cypress back n sides though but that stuff is sooooooooooooo bending its basically a soft wood.

Some nice instruments.

BlackBearUkes
12-19-2015, 11:26 AM
Interesting read folks. Voicing a guitar, or at least learning what works for you after a number of builds, seems reasonable. All the voicing I do on guitars is done while I am building from learned experience, never after the body is together. As for ukes, I would suggest building and learning as you go and don't worry about the voicing because they will sound how they sound and there isn't much you can do about it unless you build doing stupid things..Use good well seasoned wood, braces lightly and use well established methods and all will be well. Ukes (I am talking about sopranos here, not tenors which are more guitar like and don't sound like ukes IMO, but that's another thread) are not guitars and while there are similarities in construction methods, the end result is totally different in sound and playing styles.

Recstar24
12-19-2015, 11:42 AM
Some nice instruments.

Yes they are! I have a POC back and sides with incense cedar top. All cypress in the flamenca Blanca tradition. Les does an excellent shellac finish and the quality of the woods used is about as high master grade as you can get.

Pete Howlett
12-19-2015, 12:55 PM
I know Chuck and his work very well and am convinced he is aiming at perfection on all fronts and produces as many unadorned ukes as he does works of art. However you notice that most people who praise his work focus on the spectacular inlay... which is a shame :( For a long time the ukulele was locked in time. In my observation, the past 10 years has seen a more confident approach to building and moving the tradition forward. It is natural for builders like Beau who was trained in guitar building to reference it heavily - I built all sorts of guitars before I stopped and focused on ukulele. I don't deny that making those Stella, Weissenborn and Lakeside repros helped me learn my making chops. I am nevertheless convinced that this background which I draw from only applies to the construction ethic of my work. I can think of nothing in my guitar building history that has helped me in my uke building today except one side bars - a lower V brace to stabilise the area between the bridge plate and tailblock on my spruce fronts - and this was more by observation of distortion than by reading a theoretical work or remembering those intense discussions I had with the luthiers of the day back in 1976 when I was writing my degree thesis on the construction of the classic guitar... I just simply disagree yet hope to be persuaded otherwise if I get to visit y'all next year (hoping to be successful in my bid for a travelling fellowship on Jan 22nd :) )