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Theblackegg
02-25-2017, 02:56 AM
I understand why a guitar and other such instruments are the form they are, but why has the ukulele taken the figure of 8 form? It doesn't seem to have much economical merit, as say the guitar which has that shape to sit on the players leg for example.

Is it generally considered to produce the best tone being in this form or simply to look nice following the delicate contours of a voluptuous women (:/)?

Then again i guess double basses, cellos etc also have this form.....But why?

Griffis
02-25-2017, 03:15 AM
Part of it, at least I like to think, is aesthetic as well as ergonomic (in the case of some string instruments.)

To me it is reminiscent of the shapely form of a goddess figure.

Not sure why chordophones derived from the lute family frequently retained the figure 8 shape even as they shrunk (as in guitar--> machete de braga--> ukulele) when, as you say, being so small the waist is not needed.

Saying nothing of why the violin family is so shaped. I do not know, but would like to learn.

Perhaps some has to do with acoustic properties, some with tradition.

Of course, ukuleles do come in other forms, but I'd argue the figue 8 is by far the most common.

Really good question! I hope someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

Croaky Keith
02-25-2017, 03:50 AM
I believe it adds strength to the body. :)

Osprey
02-25-2017, 04:14 AM
I'm not a violin player but my guess the violin has a narrow waist so there is more room for the bow.

UkerDanno
02-25-2017, 04:20 AM
because, that's why! If you don't like it buy a pineapple! :shaka:

Theblackegg
02-25-2017, 04:58 AM
because, that's why! If you don't like it buy a pineapple! :shaka:

Haha! I'm not complaining! I love the form, just something that keeps me up at night along with the classic why are we here, what the hell is in turkish delight to make them taste so bad etc!

Doctroid
02-25-2017, 07:07 AM
I understand why a guitar and other such instruments are the form they are, but why has the ukulele taken the figure of 8 form? It doesn't seem to have much economical merit, as say the guitar which has that shape to sit on the players leg for example.
I'm no expert but I'm unsure that's true. From http://www.fretboard.com/guitarhistory.html: "In Spain of the 13th through 15th centuries, two instruments could be called "guitar": the guitarra moresca, a lute shaped instrument; and the guitarra latina, a more guitar like shaped instrument. As this period ended, the instruments were more commonly called guitarra and chitarra. A third instrument, the vihuela de mano was a similar guitar-like instrument, plucked with the fingers. And as the 15th century came to an end, these instruments began to become more rounded and have more prominent indentations at the waist." I can't find much on the sizes of these instruments, but at http://home.earthlink.net/~curtis_bouterse/id6.html the guitarra latina appears to be around tenor-to-baritone uke size, or not much larger, and at http://www.jubilatores.com/guitarra.pdf is mention of a scale length of 46 cm, about 18 inches. So decidedly smaller than modern guitars, and less need to support it on the leg. And in the illustrations on those pages they're consistently shown as being played while standing.

From http://www.acousticmasters.com/AcousticMasters_GuitarBody1.htm: "The idea of a waisted body, with a square back and sides, may have been inspired by the design of the bowed instruments of the time, where symmetric waist cutaways were introduced to allow clearance for the bow. Some versions of the vihuela (an instrument that is related to the guitar) were played with a bow."

It's also true the guitar shape influences the acoustics. On a quick search all I find is a rather vague statement at http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/guitar1.htm but essentially the resonant frequency of the upper bout is higher than that of the lower bout, which are somewhat decoupled by the waist. So maybe the body acts rather like a 3-band equalizer, boosting the upper and lower frequencies relative to the middle, or something along those lines.