View Full Version : HPL opening up?

08-05-2017, 07:31 AM
Call me crazy but I swear my Martin OXK ukulele is "opening up". I've had it a few years now and it seems to be sounding better. At first I figured it was just me getting used to its sound or hopefully me playing better.

But, the first comment my visiting nephew said when he played it recently was, "wow, this is loud".

So all you HPL ukulele owners out there, are your HPL ukes sounding better with age?

08-05-2017, 08:43 AM
Can't see how - very inert material!

08-05-2017, 09:08 AM
That's my thought exactly. We're talking about Formica here. Maybe the spruce braces are settling in? More likely its the wood between my ears. But that said, the OXK seems to sound better non the less.

08-05-2017, 10:01 AM
Intersting topic, I think it is possible that the inert material is "breaking in". The finest wood tops do not sweeten in sound just sitting around for 60 - 100 years if they are not played . It is the vibrating movement that helps to soften up or break down the fibre.

I have spoken to a Farallon owner who knows his stuff and he said he noticed an improvement in sound over the first month and so have I with mine.

Ok the can of worms has been opened wide.....let the games begin

08-05-2017, 10:07 AM
...More likely its the wood between my ears...

:biglaugh: :rofl:

YES - likely those magical particles are in alignment with the resonance of the HPL, and more-so with more frequent play time...

My 0XK was bought used, how old or how often played I have no info, but has a distinct sound, and can have a sweetness to the tone, as well as sparkle and shimmer, and alternately can really bark like a Chihuahua if I am strumming aggressively, and I'd expect no less since it seems these models are made in Martin's factoria en Mexico.

08-05-2017, 10:12 AM
I think it's your imagination. But then I am not one who thinks any of my wood ukes have opened up. I notice strings changing tone. Nylon strings are sensitive to atmosphere changes, which is one reason why I dislike them. And on humid days my ukes can sound a bit duller. But opening up? No. I think you're just getting better at playing that uke, planting your fingers on the fretboard more accurately, that sort of thing.

08-05-2017, 10:15 AM
:biglaugh: :rofl:
and more-so with more frequent play time...

I knew it, the more you play ukulele the better you feel!

08-05-2017, 10:39 AM
I knew it, the more you play ukulele the better you feel!
And the more you play the better you get.

08-05-2017, 10:56 AM

not sure about HPL
fiberglass / GRP racing dinghy
will change as sailed/age
more flex slows down the boat

so who knows HPL might change for the better
as it is flexed
then it might
just break down as in dead sound
worthy of a long term study?


08-05-2017, 11:00 AM
And the more you play the better you get.

Ah, hope springs eternal (in my case)

So except for an unnamed Farallon owner no one else noticed their HPL uke "opening up"?

08-05-2017, 11:41 AM
@ Bill1 - I like what you've posted here and it all makes a lot of sense to me.

As far as the home-made Tone-Rite experiment, if you are going to be away for the weekend, and want to drive your neighbors crazy, you could have a loop of the Shepard Tones running continuously, and I am pretty sure that the first night, after bedtime, the neighbors are going to have either the landlord or Police enter your place in order to silence the noise - LOL


(explanation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_tone

(sound sample) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzNzgsAE4F0

08-05-2017, 12:17 PM
So, for the Shepard Tones, when the police finally came in and shut it down, you'd have the Silence of the Lambs? :D

08-05-2017, 01:10 PM
So, for the Shepard Tones, when the police finally came in and shut it down, you'd have the Silence of the Lambs? :D

Sure, why not, and to improve the effect, you can use some crimson-red spray paint to write 'c L A r I c E' on the walls at all kinds of odd angles and sizes LOL and be sure to plaster up the other walls with random newspaper stories from 'The Inquirer' and 'Weekly World News' about alien abductions and 3-headed babies...

I'd pay to see the look on everyone's faces as they come in to witness the scene...

My deepest apologies to all for going so far off-topic - I could not help myself!

08-06-2017, 10:16 PM

mm stan
08-06-2017, 10:50 PM
Um are you sure its not your strings mellowing out

08-07-2017, 12:51 AM
Um are you sure its not your strings mellowing out

Could be, how does it sound when the strings mellow out?

08-07-2017, 03:06 AM
I strongly believe that at least part of the "opening up" phenomenon is the player gaining familiarity with the instrument and understanding how to play it to get optimal tonal satisfaction. The reason it sounds better is not because its physical makeup has changed any, but because the player has learned to play it in a way that gets him or her the sound they are looking for.

08-07-2017, 03:30 AM
I think that a lot of people have spiritual and mystical experiences with their ukulele which defies explanation. I try not to question them with my own logic, as logic is relative when it comes right down to it anyway.