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DownUpDave
05-29-2016, 05:12 AM
I wanted to ask this question of those that have built ukes with redwood tops. Sinker redwood is in vogue and has been sexy for a while and very popular

From a strictly sonic point of view do you notice any difference between sinker redwood and non-sinker redwood. Does sinker sound any better or are we paying upcharges for just looks alone. I have read that sinker can vary greatly in tone because of how much mineral deposits have been absorbed.

If you were building for best sound as a top priority would you choice one over the other. Thanks

DennisK
05-29-2016, 05:27 AM
Going by tap tone, sinker is equal or worse than regular redwood. More akin to spruce. So you're paying for looks, history, and the effort of dredging it up from river bottoms. Old growth redwood is a very finite resource, so salvaging these logs before they decompose is a worthy goal. And many ukuleles are built with far less ideal wood, so fear not :)

BlackBearUkes
05-29-2016, 10:19 AM
All things being equal, a good luthier will bring out the best in either wood, and I doubt you can tell the difference in sound if a blind test were conducted. Personally, redwood is very brittle and more prone to cracking and splitting down the road, at least that is my experience.


I wanted to ask this question of those that have built ukes with redwood tops. Sinker redwood is in vogue and has been sexy for a while and very popular

From a strictly sonic point of view do you notice any difference between sinker redwood and non-sinker redwood. Does sinker sound any better or are we paying upcharges for just looks alone. I have read that sinker can vary greatly in tone because of how much mineral deposits have been absorbed.

If you were building for best sound as a top priority would you choice one over the other. Thanks

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-29-2016, 07:13 PM
the only instrument ive ever had to retop was a sinker redwood concert- the sinker RW was just to stiff, even at 0.40"-

sequoia
05-29-2016, 07:40 PM
\Sinker redwood is in vogue and has been sexy for a while and very popular

Sorry, this is a big pet peeve of mine and I've said it before. I live 2 miles from where the majority of this "sinker redwood" was taken out (Big River, California) so I know of what I speak. Although the logs they got out were huge, the supply that I see being advertised as "sinker" redwood no way came from that period. It is now a state park and they don't allow that sort of operation on the river anymore. What I've said before is there really is no way to look at a plate of redwood and be able to tell whether it is from a real "sinker" log or not. Therefore I seriously suspect that much of the "sinker" wood being sold is just plain redwood or maybe at best real "old growth" redwood.

Oh and does a sinker plate sound better than a plain old piece of redwood? I don't think so. This mainly is a marketing thing if you ask me. Real sinker can display some pretty purples and can look nice, but make your ukulele sound better? I don't think so. Oh and also, I have not had great results with my sinker redwood. Not bad results mind you, just underwhelming sound if you ask me. A bit thin sounding. Actually kind of pretty for finger picking with nice color, but on the mellow quiet side.

The picture below is an extreme closeup of a real "sinker" top wood that I know came out of the river. Note the extremely close grain lines. This actually tells you the stuff is real "old growth" and probably a 1,000+ year old tree, but there is no way to tell it is "sinker" or not.

91579

lauburu
05-31-2016, 11:08 AM
the sinker RW was just to stiff, even at 0.40"-

Beau, could you pls clarify? 0.40" is about 10mm. Slip of the decimal point?
Miguel

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-31-2016, 07:17 PM
opps- .040"= 1mm

DownUpDave
06-01-2016, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the honest answers guys. I guess the looks thing is akin to spruce vs bearclaw spruce. Nothing wrong with good looks, supermodels make a nice living because of it. I do like the sound of redwood and non-stinker redwood looks quite nice to me when paired with the right purfing and binding.

Briangriffinukuleles
06-06-2016, 08:50 PM
Fellas, I have finished three, and am working on three more, tenors with redwood tops that came from old water tanks in New York City. New York has a gravity problem and their water system won't push water above six stories. Thus for many years, perhaps 125 yrs, they have put redwood water tanks on New York buildings. There are an estimated 15,000 wooden water tanks in the city. The redwood tanks are being replaced with Alaska Cedar as they age and fall apart. I was able to get some incredibly beautiful old growth Redwood with growth rings 50 to 60 to the inch. I think the three tenors I have completed with it are the best sounding tenors I have built. I am about convinced that Redwood tops and East Indian bodies are the holy grail in uke making. I am currently making three tenors with identical redwood tops but three different rosewood bodies, East Indian, Honduran, and Brazilian. It will be fun to hear the differences.