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View Full Version : I'm playing uke again, UAS is back, found a very unique uke.



kohanmike
12-05-2016, 08:28 PM
Not that I've ever ridded myself of UAS, as a matter fact, I embrace it. For the last couple of years I've been playing bass uke with The CC Strummers, and have not hesitated to accumulate a variety of basses, but in an effort to play my ukes again, I joined a harmonica duo who's uke player dropped out. We play in the lobby of the Los Angeles Veteran's Hospital once a week.

I saw this design a few days ago being sold in Bruce Wei's eBay store, so I contacted him to make me one with a spalted mango top and he suggested for strength, a curly mango body. It's in the works for $445 shipped.

I'm totally fascinated that it doesn't have a top sound hole, only a side hole and a series of small sound ports all the way around the body. I'm taking a chance that it will sound good, but he's made me three ukes and one ready made that all sound pretty good.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/side holes.jpg

Booli
12-05-2016, 10:30 PM
...I'm totally fascinated that it doesn't have a top sound hole, only a side hole and a series of small sound ports all the way around the body. I'm taking a chance that it will sound good, but he's made me three ukes and one ready made that all sound pretty good.

I read somewhere that the SOUND of an instrument in the guitar-lute-uke-mando etc. family does not in fact have it's origin AT the sound hole, but instead is projected forward by both the resonance/vibration of the wood of the top and back, and that the sound hole has a sort of venturi effect in allowing the air to move, which allows the top to 'breathe', and this would be louder than an instrument that is totally sealed with no sound hole at all.

I cannot recall the source for the above info, but many years of studying speaker design and building speakers, this makes sense to me since the top of the instrument is acting as a diaphragm, and as long as it's movement is not hindered too much, and enough air can flow when it resonates, the sound should be fine.

IIRC, the function of side-ports is to allow a little more volume up to the player's ear than what might come out of the totally flat top, while also letting the space inside the sound-box breathe. If the uke was totally sealed, with no holes at all, it would be quieter and you'd likely lose some treble frequencies in the tone, since the air is confined and constricted like in a balloon and cannot vent in and out of the sound-box freely with enough velocity in proportion to the 'pumping' of the top and back of the instrument relative to it's vibrations..

I dont know if I am saying this correctly, but this was my take-away and paraphrased understanding. Maybe some of this is what's going on with an instrument like this?

BluesPreacher
12-06-2016, 03:31 AM
I've heard that about our instruments too, that the sound projects from the whole top, not out of the sound hole.

Your project/upcoming new critter sounds amazing! Good luck!

And your gig sounds like way too much fun to be legal. Uke/harp duo--WAY cool! Good luck there too. And playing for a vet's hospital--good on ya!

kohanmike
12-06-2016, 04:47 AM
Thanks guys. That's also been my understanding, the vibration of the top creates the sound, not the sound hole itself, one of the reasons I went ahead with it.

KanePono
12-06-2016, 08:31 AM
Hey Mike,

That's an interesting looking uke and I look forward to the photos and report of yours after it is received. I was wondering if you ordered yours with a pickup installed or if it would be possible to install one later give that there is no sound hole from which to fish the wires and hardware.

kohanmike
12-06-2016, 09:09 AM
I was wondering if you ordered yours with a pickup installed or if it would be possible to install one later give that there is no sound hole from which to fish the wires and hardware.

I didn't order a pickup, I usually put them in myself, but I don't plan on adding one to this. I guess the idea is to work through the side sound port if that decorative cover is removable.

kohanmike
12-06-2016, 09:12 AM
Oh, and I didn't mention that it will have a Florentine cutaway. These images are my mockup, I don't know what the actual grain will look like.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/BWA spalted samples.jpg

Choirguy
12-06-2016, 02:14 PM
I've read some mixed reviews about Bruce Wei ukuleles on the forums, which pushed me towards the Opio and Pono. So you are happy with your Wei ukuleles?

Jeffelele
12-06-2016, 03:19 PM
Really interesting. Looking forward to your further report!

Jeff

Inksplosive AL
12-06-2016, 03:23 PM
I didn't order a pickup, I usually put them in myself, but I don't plan on adding one to this. I guess the idea is to work through the side sound port if that decorative cover is removable.

I think I would plan on just working through the hole you drill for the jack. ;)

~peace~

kohanmike
12-06-2016, 07:12 PM
I've read some mixed reviews about Bruce Wei ukuleles on the forums, which pushed me towards the Opio and Pono. So you are happy with your Wei ukuleles?

Those reviews are very old and most are about the ready made ukes built by others he allowed to sell through his eBay. He stopped doing that a couple of years ago. So far everyone of my ukes have been good, the only disappointment I have is my gypsy jazz does not have the projection and sustain I prefer, good tonal quality, but according to a conversation I had with Pepe Romero Jr., my choice of solid curly maple for the top seems to be the culprit, he said it is not a highly resonant wood. Otherwise even the ready made $100 uke I got a couple of months ago sounds good.

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

tangimango
12-06-2016, 08:49 PM
I love the look of that ukulele. way to go man , and thanks for always sharing your custom builds with bruce.

if I ordered one,i would have added either a les paul style cutaway or scallop cutaway would look pimp. even an arm bezel.