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johnson430
10-10-2016, 06:34 AM
OK, we have all heard the talk: weight matters and less is more.

It is a big thing in cycling but does it really matter so much with instruments, specifically ukes?

I will start off by saying I have what UU member coolkayaker once dubbed as a "Bricklove". Funny thing is, if all bricks sound this good, everyone would be playing bricks.
Also, even with the added weight I don't find it to be all that heavy when I practice/play. And unlike my Pono, which I always used a strap with, I seldom if ever put a strap on my Breedlove. It actually "sits" in my lap better than any other uke I have played.

Yes, I have had a KoAloha, and yes it was as light as a cheese cracker and had volume and sustain out the wazoo but it lacked any controlled responsiveness and note color. This is where my Breedlove shines, amazing response and note color.

So, does weight really matter when it comes to sound, volume, sustain, responsiveness, play-ability?

My observations are that more weight can be a good thing.

What do you say?

Rllink
10-10-2016, 07:10 AM
It is not something I really think about, and it has nothing to do with how I like a particular uke unless it is so heavy that it is obviously so.

Ukejenny
10-10-2016, 07:18 AM
Compared to wafer-light builds, my Black Bird Clara has a little more weight. And it sounds incredible. And it feels incredible. And it plays incredible. And I don't have to worry about dinging it by looking at it too hard. It is a win/win situation.

johnson430
10-10-2016, 07:22 AM
Compared to wafer-light builds, my Black Bird Clara has a little more weight. And it sounds incredible. And it feels incredible. And it plays incredible. And I don't have to worry about dinging it by looking at it too hard. It is a win/win situation.

I have heard great things about the Clara. Glad you like yours so much, thanks for sharing your opinion.

Ukulele Eddie
10-10-2016, 07:29 AM
No, weight in and of itself does not matter. I've had light ukes that sound amazing and some that are unimpressive. And I've had heavy ukes that sound great and others that sound overbuilt. My Hive Hornet is not light, yet it remains among the very best tenors I've ever heard or played.

Ultimately, it comes down to the build.

johnson430
10-10-2016, 08:00 AM
Ultimately, it comes down to the build.

That seems to be the general consensus from others I have spoken to about similar matters.


On that note, there is one well know USA builder who seems to make ukes that, regardless of wood used, all seem to have the same very general sound. It isn't a bad sound, and from the reviews, many love it.
But "that sound" is very distinct to that builder. It seems like the type of build the maker is doing has a greater impact on the sound than the wood being used (this could be spruce, maple, cedar, etc) Or at least to my ears and to others I have talked to who have heard sound samples for that uke maker.
Perhaps others have had similar experiences.

So can we assert that build is paramount and all else is secondary or tertiary?

Booli
10-10-2016, 02:01 PM
It is not something I really think about, and it has nothing to do with how I like a particular uke unless it is so heavy that it is obviously so.
I agree prefectly with ^Rollie^.

Also, for serious practice I always use a strap made from a 72cm round black bootlace which holds the uke in place and I do not notice the 'weight', OTOH - for casual noodling, if leaning back in the chair or on the couch, the...ahem...front-stomach camel hump provides a nice 'shelf' with a 'pocket' of appropriate support such that a strap is not needed, but said camel hump is not enough with sitting up or standing to provide support (thankfully, and diet is working as it shrinks down).

Sometimes being 'stout' can at least offer some advantage when 99% of the rest of the time it's complete misery. :)

as an aside - dont get fat - it's not fun - and in fact really sucks - but that's just my opinion from a person who's been labeled as, and living as 'husky' my whole life due to a metabolism that moves at a glacial pace...

Camsuke
10-10-2016, 08:03 PM
Here's a thread from a little while back, it contains some interesting posts; http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?94851-Want-to-make-your-cheap-uke-sustain-longer&highlight=fatfinger+sustain+enhancer

PhilUSAFRet
10-10-2016, 09:59 PM
Some would say that KPK's are "bricks" but each time I hear it, I don't care. Sounds like it cost many, many times more than I paid for it.

Doc_J
10-11-2016, 02:31 AM
Have to agree with Eddie, it's the builders design and execution, not the weight. I'll have to weigh my ukes some day.

Since much depends on an instrument's frequencies, seems mass and stiffness can compensate for each other. However, reducing the damping ratio (more resonance) is function of damping and mass, not stiffness. So in theory, more mass should increase resonance, if damping and frequency are constant.

johnson430
10-11-2016, 03:17 AM
Here's a thread from a little while back, it contains some interesting posts; http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?94851-Want-to-make-your-cheap-uke-sustain-longer&highlight=fatfinger+sustain+enhancer

Thanks for sharing this link, Campbell. It was a very interesting read.

stevejfc
10-11-2016, 03:40 AM
It's all about the BUILD!

DownUpDave
10-11-2016, 04:29 AM
I like a "FAT" tone

kohanmike
10-11-2016, 05:17 AM
I can only comment on the ukes I own, and my lighter weight acoustic ukes have more resonance, projection and sustain then my heavier ukes. I also recently bought a Godin Multiuke chambered solid body and I'm impressed how much sounds it puts out unplugged.

Ukejenny
10-11-2016, 04:56 PM
Some would say that KPK's are "bricks" but each time I hear it, I don't care. Sounds like it cost many, many times more than I paid for it.

The tenor KPK I started on sounds fabulous, and feels/looks fabulous. My husband plays it now.

mm stan
10-11-2016, 10:26 PM
I do believe in high end ukes, weight may enhance the richness, punch substain.
Lighter ukes like lighter strings have a thinner tone.

ukulelekarcsi
10-11-2016, 11:45 PM
No, as a rule of thumb I still stick by 'the lighter, the better'. Step into a music shop, weigh those new ukes and compare their volume and sustain, and there certainly will be a significant correlation. Even with variation in tonewoods, strings, and builds.

Of course there are exceptions. The relationship weight-sound quality will not be absolute. Flea are very resonant, but rather heavy; there's more mentioned above. But those exceptions don't mean that it doens't works as a rule of thumb. I rate Brükos higher than Koki'os, which are higher than Makalas, which are better than Mahalos, which are better than Cliftons - and on a kitchen scale, that corresponds.

There also a correlation with the price tags there, which might even be a better rule of thumb.

BTW, lighter strings give a thinner tone, but lighter ukes do not - to the contrary.

Rakelele
10-14-2016, 07:32 AM
To provide some data to this discussion, here is the weight of some ukes I measured:

CONCERT
Kanilea K1 Gloss 475 gr.
G-String C1 500 gr.
Kala KA-C 540 gr.
Pono ACD 560 gr.
John Kinnard 605 gr.
Hoffmann ML 690 gr.

TENOR
Kanilea K1 Satin 560 gr.
KoAloha Opio 630 gr.
Pono AT 630 gr.
Moore Bettah 650 gr.
Pono MGTP 670 gr.
LFdM 675 gr.
Ko'olau CS 700 gr.
Pono ETSHC 850 gr.

While heavy weight in a cheap uke may be an indicator for overbuilt, and hence rather muted sound, I see no direkt relation of weight and sound in the ukes above. Some of the loudest ukes with longest sustain are the Pono ETSHC and the LFdM which are, according to these numbers, on the heavier side.

Nickie
10-14-2016, 07:39 AM
Listening by ear, or to a recording, my Cocobolo concert uke (heavy) is louder than my friend's Kanilea tenor (light) or my other friend's (midweight) Mainland concert.
I don't think it's just about weight, the wood type and the builder's hands are just as important. Yes, I've played some heavy and quiet ukes (OS and Snail), and some light loud ones (Tiny Tenor).
An 8 string Kamaka (heavy) is loud as hell.

johnson430
10-14-2016, 07:48 AM
To provide some data to this discussion, here is the weight of some ukes I measured:

CONCERT
Kanilea K1 Gloss 475 gr.
G-String C1 500 gr.
Kala KA-C 540 gr.
Pono ACD 560 gr.
John Kinnard 605 gr.
Hoffmann ML 690 gr.

TENOR
Kanilea K1 Satin 560 gr.
KoAloha Opio 630 gr.
Pono AT 630 gr.
Moore Bettah 650 gr.
Pono MGTP 670 gr.
LFdM 675 gr.
Ko'olau CS 700 gr.
Pono ETSHC 850 gr.

While heavy weight in a cheap uke may be an indicator for overbuilt, and hence rather muted sound, I see no direkt relation of weight and sound in the ukes above. Some of the loudest ukes with longest sustain are the Pono ETSHC and the LFdM which are, according to these numbers, on the heavier side.

Thanks for doing the work Rakelele.
It confirms what I was thinking and the collective consensus of uke players who have experienced both sides of the weight spectrum.
The weight of the Concert Hoffman ML surprised me the most, seeing as it even weights more than most of your tenor ukes as well. BTW, I love the sound of Hoffman ukes.