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pointpergame
03-14-2016, 01:46 PM
Another quizzical question. Coming from the world of mandolins, and about to try building a Ukulele or two, I wonder why I never see carved tops? I understand, they're much more "expensive" in terms of time, and a uke doesn't have to withstand the hundred pounds downward force of an 8-steel-stringed mandolin. I'm wondering about a very, very thin carved top. I can make up an answer for myself, but wondering if any of you builders have journeyed in this direction at all?

Inksplosive AL
03-14-2016, 01:58 PM
First let me say I'm not a builder of ukuleles but a buyer and one who enjoys the builders and art of the instrument.

Carved like my Mini Wei or carved arched top like this beauty made for the 2X4 challenge in the thread of the same name?

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?114726-2x4-challenge&p=1802709#post1802709

Or this Tenor?

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?103447-First-archtop-tenor-uke&p=1628861#post1628861

:cheers:

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-14-2016, 02:08 PM
why no nylon strung mandolins.....?

mainger
03-14-2016, 02:12 PM
You're just not looking hard enough ;)

Toby Chennell's JazzBox Ukes (http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/purchase.htm) are a good example.

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/penny1.JPG

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/baz1.JPG

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/f5.JPG

thomas
03-14-2016, 04:52 PM
why no nylon strung mandolins.....?

Mandolins used to be strung with gut strings, if I am not mistaken...

anthonyg
03-14-2016, 05:23 PM
You're just not looking hard enough ;)

Toby Chennell's JazzBox Ukes (http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/purchase.htm) are a good example.

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/penny1.JPG

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/baz1.JPG

http://www.tobychennell.webspace.virginmedia.com/f5.JPG

Beautiful instruments yet I believe that they are pressed (if thats the right term) rather than carved.

Anthony

Jim Hanks
03-14-2016, 05:43 PM
Iriguchi has done some fully carved ukes : http://iriguchiukuleles.com/ukuleles-2/models-sizes/

http://iriguchiukuleles.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/P1030405-e1416553991437.jpg

pointpergame
03-14-2016, 06:32 PM
Ok! Excellent. Flat tops are always louder. But uke's are at the low force end of the spectrum. So they don't necessarily need an arch structure. But very very thin might do something interesting to the spectrum and then be of functional use. Just asking.

There are, indeed, nylon mandolins but what would be the point. I made one so my weary hands could play 5ths tuning with lowered forces. But the mandolin is about very high potential energy unleashed in explosions of pitch over a broad range. That resistance to plucking --- the escapement --- in nylon I s a mere shadow of the steel version To mention one thing.

Thanks for the carved ref. Now I know where to look

That aside, have any of you cogitated on this?

Patrick Madsen
03-14-2016, 08:03 PM
Beautiful instruments yet I believe that they are pressed (if thats the right term) rather than carved.

Anthony

The photo on the bottom is mine. The tops and bottoms are all handcarved from solid wood. I also own a bass that's handcarved by Toby. I've put steel strings on the baritone. Sounds great. the sound is not as loud as a round soundhole. May add a pickup to the bari. The bass has the best neck I've played on any bass I've had in the 56 years of playing.

Here's a photo of the front of the baritone. one of my bass and a photo of his standup bass; all handcarved.

anthonyg
03-14-2016, 08:31 PM
The photo on the bottom is mine. The tops and bottoms are all handcarved from solid wood. I also own a bass that's handcarved by Toby. I've put steel strings on the baritone. Sounds great. the sound is not as loud as a round soundhole. May add a pickup to the bari. The bass has the best neck I've played on any bass I've had in the 56 years of playing.

Here's a photo of the front of the baritone. one of my bass and a photo of his standup bass; all handcarved.

Thanks for the correction. I was wrong.

Anthony

sequoia
03-14-2016, 08:59 PM
I've never built an archtop. I'm not really into the sound, but it is certainly is a viable technique for ukuleles. There was a thread on here a couple years ago where two very good luthiers combined to build an archtop carved uke and the conclusion was it was pretty much a nightmare. The amount of work was ridiculous and the end product didn't justify the labor. Personally I'm not sure the tenor sized nylon stringed instrument lends it self to archtop construction. I don't think nylon has the energy to work that that carved top. But it is always an intriguing question. Personally I have better things to do in life than whittling a solid piece of wood into a concave shape. Life is short. Call me lazy.

weerpool
03-14-2016, 09:34 PM
oh yes i do. i cavre the living soul out of it. 8930889309

greenscoe
03-14-2016, 11:03 PM
[QUOTE=pointpergame; ............I wonder why I never see carved tops? I understand, they're much more "expensive" in terms of time................... ?[/QUOTE]

As hobby maker I made an archtop just over a year ago just to see how much more difficult it was to make, how much time it would take and most importantly, how it would sound. I didn't find it that difficult but it took almost twice as long to make: if I make another it would take much less time. As for the sound, it is different but I've found using f holes on a conventional instrument gives it a different sound so I'm not able to separate the contribution of these 2 factors to the overall sound. Since making the instrument, I have thinned the top a little and found an increase in volume: I suspect I could thin it even more with beneficial results.

Of all the instruments I have made, this one is often the one that people find most interesting, not because of the sound but because of the way it looks. Do I play it all the time? No, as with my bowl back instrument, its played occasionally. My favourite instrument is a conventional tenor in walnut and cedar.

So, I think the answer to your question is that the extra effort/time/cost is probably considered not to be worthwhile. I should add that for large scale manufacture, the soundboard and back would be shaped using a CNC machine, with fine tuning (voicing) done by hand. Mainstream manufacturers don't appear to have made this investment- presumably the demand isn't there.


http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?103447-First-archtop-tenor-uke&p=1628861#post1628861

coolkayaker1
03-15-2016, 02:40 AM
One of the gentlemen at KoOlau makes a killer arch top. (Link includes video sound samples).

http://www.theukulelesite.com/koolau-hand-carved-archtop-tenor.html

Pegasus Guitars
03-15-2016, 07:34 AM
Someone mentioned that archtop ukes do not have as much volume. Not necessarily so. Redwood will give you plenty of volume.

70sSanO
03-15-2016, 08:41 AM
One of the gentlemen at KoOlau makes a killer arch top. (Link includes video sound samples).

http://www.theukulelesite.com/koolau-hand-carved-archtop-tenor.html

That is a really amazing sounding archtop. I have never been a fan of the sound of acoustic archtops vs. flattops. There is a reason that there are few nylon string archtop classical guitars. I don't believe it is cost as custom flattops go for quite a bit.

My poor understanding of a "carved" archtop is that there is such a fine line between making an archtop soundboard thin enough so that nylon strings can produce an adequate sound vs. too thin and having it collapse due to downward pressure. Now a braced domed top may be an acceptable compromise, but that is way beyond any understanding of how one would actually go about building one.

In the end, I really don't think there is viable market for an archtop ukulele.

John