View Full Version : multi piece top

chuck in ny
02-13-2016, 06:26 AM
iirc on southcoast site there was some discussion on 2 piece being the proper acoustics for ukulele.
i have a lot of stock that won't make tenor size in 2 pieces. is there any sense or precedence for 3 or 4 piece tops, just the glue joints and no backer strips, or perhaps with very light backer strips.

02-13-2016, 08:52 AM
When Ovation guitars first started, they used Sitka spruce helicopter blades as a source for the top wood. Due to the width of the blades, the tops ended up as 3-4 piece tops. I assume it would work for a ukulele.....

Michael N.
02-13-2016, 08:56 AM
You shouldn't need backing strips. Maybe a cleat or two if you if you want to be cautious. Build it, then you can tell everyone what nonsense this two piece top idea is. What happens when you use a one piece, or a 3 piece for that matter?
And what exactly is a 'proper acoustic'? I swear that if you put these people in a blind test they will absolutely cr*p themselves!

02-13-2016, 09:06 AM
Have a look at how you would need to join the pieces, and then your bracing pattern. In all likelihood you will find that your braces are going to be doing all if not most of the reinforcing of those joints as you will ever need.

chuck in ny
02-13-2016, 09:07 AM

if i have this correct about the southcoast site, it was either the guy's partner or an employee, very fine instrument builder, and when the question was posed to him about perhaps a one piece top, or anything other than a book match, he got a tirade only part of which made sense in english.
this leads one to believe that multi piece top ukuleles could be marketed to other than angry and impassioned latinos. it would have to be factored into any marketing study.
thanks for the encouragement. i don't want to use the band aid strips and just have normal competently executed glue joints.
it was a strong suspicion that this was the case. to be fair we all have some odd notions.


i have more or less resolved on fan bracing. you have the cleat top and bottom of the sound hole and then the fan braces should at least cover some joints. one way or the other it's not worrisome.

02-13-2016, 09:34 AM
It would have to be some wonderful wood to warrant gluing up 2" wide pieces. Not hard to get acceptable wood for a single or 2 piece top in Uke sizes.


chuck in ny
02-13-2016, 01:10 PM
ed, yeah, i agree completely. 2" is cheesy. you find furniture factories, even or especially ethan allen, using less than 2" veneer and solid on an expensive cherry armoire and then it's a deep enough stain to blend it out. it bothers me as deeply as anything could. expensive furniture is sold out of stuff that would go in my wood stove.
on the other hand there's a lot of 3" to 4" stock that just can't make a tenor top two piece unless you want to make a slim body. actually that has some great appeal for ergonomics, and then with further thought it seems like a good way to cut your own throat and ruin the instrument and no have enough bass and resonance.
getting back to say 3.5" stock, a tenor could be done in 3 pieces, a baritone in 3 or 4 depending.
going to something like bamboo, you expect a ton of lamination, and it seems to work for them.

02-15-2016, 07:16 AM
I don't see any problem with a 3 piece top. 4 is probably fine but it might look cheesy as said above....unless you were going for a striped look with contrasting woods