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View Full Version : Is mismatched color between neck and body acceptable?



Vespa Bob
06-15-2016, 07:47 AM
I'm in the process of finishing my latest teardrop soprano and in between coats of lacquer I decided to double check the neck to body fit. Although I could see earlier on that the mahogany neck was darker than the mahogany body, but I rather liked the lighter tone. Now that I see the neck and body together, I'm not so sure if this is a good thing or not. I have seen ukuleles that have contrasting woods being purposely used and they look great, but if the neck and body are of the same species, is that acceptable? I'm at a point where I can still apply a stain to the body, but before I do, I'd like to hear a word or two from the wise. Thanks.

Bob

hoosierhiver
06-15-2016, 07:53 AM
I think it looks fine, but I can guess that it would bother some people. Some folks want something that sounds great, other people are all about looks.

Sven
06-15-2016, 08:13 AM
I'd probably stain the body. And make a complete mess out of it!

Futurethink
06-15-2016, 08:16 AM
What about adding binding that matches the neck and heel wood? Is it too late for that?

Griffis
06-15-2016, 08:52 AM
I can tinker on electric instruments and do some setup work on acoustic things, but I am far from being any kind of luthier, so please just take this from someone who is a player and enthusiast and who greatly admires the skill and knowledge needed to craft an instrument by hand.

I think that build looks beautiful. I actually like the contrast between the neck and body. Someone suggested staining the body to more closely match the darker neck, and to me that seems like a good approach if the contrast is that bothersome or the person for whom this is being made has a a problem with it.

Essentially, everyone is just different--this kind of thing is going to really bother some people, and some would barely notice and not care at all.

I've seen acoustic guitars with what I thought were horribly mismatched tops and that would put me off, but it never bothered the owners...

saltytri
06-15-2016, 09:06 AM
It looks terrific! Far from a "mismatch," I'd say it's a perfectly valid aesthetic choice.

BlackBearUkes
06-15-2016, 09:22 AM
Since you are using lacquer ( assume it is nitrocellulose lacquer being sprayed), you can add special colors to the lacquer to make it match the neck and then apply clear lacquer tops coats.


I'm in the process of finishing my latest teardrop soprano and in between coats of lacquer I decided to double check the neck to body fit. Although I could see earlier on that the mahogany neck was darker than the mahogany body, but I rather liked the lighter tone. Now that I see the neck and body together, I'm not so sure if this is a good thing or not. I have seen ukuleles that have contrasting woods being purposely used and they look great, but if the neck and body are of the same species, is that acceptable? I'm at a point where I can still apply a stain to the body, but before I do, I'd like to hear a word or two from the wise. Thanks.

Bob

siauke
06-15-2016, 10:50 AM
I think it looks good!

Vespa Bob
06-15-2016, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the prompt replies, from which I gather that there is no hard and fast rule as to mismatched necks and bodies. There is a difference on opinion as to whether it is aesthetically pleasing, though, and that is why I'm having a problem deciding on which direction to take. If I were to keep the uke, I'd leave it as it is, because I like it that way and I already have another which has the same tone throughout. However, since this build has so far turned out pretty good, I will probably want to sell it, therefore it should be finished in a way that's acceptable to most buyers. I have the dyes and have used them before, so darkening the body to match the neck is no problem. I'll wait a little longer before deciding. Thanks again for your input, folks, you're great!
The pic below is of a previous build.

Bob

Jim Hanks
06-15-2016, 01:09 PM
I like the contrast. I don't think you'd have trouble finding buyers.

PhilUSAFRet
06-15-2016, 02:06 PM
I may try and stain the bridge to match the neck!

Vespa Bob
06-15-2016, 04:38 PM
It's settled then! By my calculations, leaving it as it is wins by a margin! Thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it immensely. I also love the colour of the wood on the sound box, so that's how it's going to stay. Will post pics once it's all done. BTW, Phil, the bridge is Indian Rosewood, so it is close in tone to the neck.

Bob

sequoia
06-15-2016, 05:24 PM
I like the two-tone look. Adds interest. Also, I'm not a big fan of dyeing wood. I like to go natural. This might have something to do with my less than stellar experiments with wood dyes.

Michael Smith
06-15-2016, 06:22 PM
Very few stringed instruments use the same wood for neck and body. I don't see the problem.

kohanmike
06-15-2016, 09:02 PM
I'm one that doesn't like when the neck and body color are mismatched. I cruise eBay almost every night looking at tenor ukes, and many of the ones made by Bruce Wei have mismatched neck and body colors, though the customs he's made for me are matched very well. I actually bought one of his eBay models recently because the neck made of natural maple looked so good against the brown sunburst body, very unusual for his builds on eBay (and it's a nice sounding uke too).

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA brown uke.jpg

anthonyg
06-16-2016, 02:15 AM
I know its only aesthetic, but I like it when they match. A blond neck on a darker body can look good though as pictured above.

You have to keep the tint matched though. If one has a warm tint and the other has a cold tint they look awful.

Anthony

jcalkin
06-16-2016, 03:16 AM
No doubt you've heard the phrase "His sense of taste is all in his mouth." I try to be that way. A fussiness about small details often suggests meaningless intolerance more than intelligence, an adopted reaction more than honest feeling. So I try to enjoy everything about instruments other than shoddy workmanship, even if the point in question is something I would never do to my own work. If you like what you've done, its good. If others don't like it, that's their problem. If you're going to grow as an artist/craftsperson you have to be independent in thought and action. Sorry if this sounds preachy, but I never would have thought to ask the question.

Vespa Bob
06-16-2016, 06:17 AM
Not preachy at all, in fact I completely agree with you and was hesitant to post the question for those reasons. Nonetheless, since I'm fairly new at the art of lutherie I was unsure whether or not there was some kind of "unwritten law" regarding this subject. Apparently not:).

Bob

jcalkin
06-16-2016, 10:06 AM
Not preachy at all, in fact I completely agree with you and was hesitant to post the question for those reasons. Nonetheless, since I'm fairly new at the art of lutherie I was unsure whether or not there was some kind of "unwritten law" regarding this subject. Apparently not:).

Bob

There's only one rule. Everything you do is right until you need to please one particular person. You have to understand the foundation of lutherie so that your pieces will have a certain life span, but even that can be trial and error if you have the time. The more rules we follow, the more alike our work will be.

dwh
06-16-2016, 10:36 AM
I think it looks outstanding! Great work there! It only matters if one is shallow enough to not appreciate artistry!!!

kohanmike
06-16-2016, 05:35 PM
You have to keep the tint matched though. If one has a warm tint and the other has a cold tint they look awful. Anthony

I agree here wholeheartedly, what I meant by mismatched when I looked at those Bruce Wei eBay ukes.

sequoia
06-16-2016, 06:00 PM
I tend to agree with John that pretty much anything goes. However... however... I don't see solid body magnetic pick-up four string builds as ukuleles. The only "rule" I see is that the thing should be hollow and have four nylon strings. Otherwise, skies the limit and there are no rules other than sound structural design.

anthonyg
06-16-2016, 06:25 PM
I just had a look again through my ukuleles. I have quite a few that are mismatched so yes, mismatching is "acceptable". All my expensive ukuleles though are matched.

It depends on your market and how much you want to sell them for.

Anthony

Futurethink
06-17-2016, 02:02 AM
However... however... I don't see solid body magnetic pick-up four string builds as ukuleles. The only "rule" I see is that the thing should be hollow and have four nylon strings.

The logic behind that “rule” doesn’t hold up. It implies that solid body guitars are not guitars and that an electric cello is not a cello. It throws into question any hollow-body ‘ukulele with a metal-wound G or C string. What about gut strings, or fluorocarbon?

Risa and Pono and Godin and others make solid body or semi-solid body models they call ‘ukuleles. Pono has a connection to Ko’olau, one of the major ‘ukulele makers. These companies don’t agree with that “rule”.

To be fair, you did first state that you have a preference, and put the word “rule” into quotation marks.

Vespa Bob
06-17-2016, 08:55 AM
When I first noticed the different colors between the neck and the body, it was in shady conditions and the neck had been sanded to a dull finish.
Yesterday, after shooting on a heavy coat of clear lacquer in the sun, the neck took on an amazing transformation. Suddenly there were light and darker areas which changed as the neck was rotated in the light! In places, it absolutely glowed! Once back in the shade, it returned to an all over dark shade. There's no doubt now that I'm not changing anything and if the rest of the build goes well, I might keep it for myself!
The pics below don't really do justice to the color shifts in the wood, but they give the general idea.

Bob