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View Full Version : Mother of Pearl (mop) eye candy - bad stuff?



bellgamin
11-11-2017, 06:47 PM
Many of the ukuleles sold by dealers in Taiwan & Vietnam are LOADED with very elaborate designs executed in mop. I detest them because: 1) I think they look cheap & gaudy, plus 2) I have the *opinion* that all that nacre must load up the wood & thereby detract from a ukulele's sound.

I am curious as to what others think about this.

kohanmike
11-11-2017, 08:12 PM
Can't we keep this ukulele forum positive, why be so negative, it's a happy inspiring instrument no matter how it's configured.

1931jim
11-12-2017, 03:45 AM
Can't we keep this ukulele forum positive, why be so negative, it's a happy inspiring instrument no matter how it's configured.

Plus plus kohanmike.
Mother of Pearl. Mother of Toilet Seat. All different names we have heard.
As long as the ears are pleased the eyes will be secondary.

Doug W
11-12-2017, 04:38 AM
Many of the ukuleles sold by dealers in Taiwan & Vietnam are LOADED with very elaborate designs executed in mop. I detest them because: 1) I think they look cheap & gaudy, plus 2) I have the *opinion* that all that nacre must load up the wood & thereby detract from a ukulele's sound.

I am curious as to what others think about this.

I agree there are some instruments that are overdone with MOP. I haven't specifically looked at builders from Taiwan and Vietnam as folks who often overdo MOP. I have a mandolin with some fancy inlay work in the neck which I like on that instrument. I don't have any idea if excessive inlay affects the tone of an instrument.

As a result of this thread I expanded my vocabulary by one word. After a trip to Dictionary.com I found out that nacre means mother of pearl

spookelele
11-12-2017, 04:54 AM
I think taste is subjective.

Personally I prefer simple to gaudy.
But if there weren't people that liked gaudy, they wouldnt make it because it nobody would buy it.

I suppose if you don't have a name, looking flashy might be a way to stand out and make a sale.

I dont like those rims that spin on cars either... but enough people do.. that we all know what they are because we've seen them.

stevepetergal
11-12-2017, 05:38 AM
My opinion is the same as yours. Looks cheap and gaudy. I would never want one of those things. But, vive la difference!
As for sound, I would think all the inlays would have no effect on sound unless they are on the soundboard itself (or if inlays become loose and buzz or rattle). And even on the soundboard, the effect on sound could be so slight as to be insignificant. It would be interesting to ask a master ukulele builder and inlay artist like Chuck Moore (of Moore Bettuh Ukuleles) what he thinks.

stevepetergal
11-12-2017, 05:39 AM
Someone please explain what was negative about the original post.

1931jim
11-12-2017, 06:17 AM
Someone please explain what was negative about the original post.

In original posting. The word......"Detest"
www.dictionary.com/browse/detest
Detest definition, to feel abhorrence of; hate; dislike intensely. See more. ... verb. 1. (transitive) to dislike intensely; loathe. Derived Forms. detester, noun.

dinghy
11-12-2017, 06:20 AM
ahoy

have seen them
sorta makes me want to gag
Martin #2 is fancy enough for me
but
to each his own

yours truly
mac

Ukulele Eddie
11-12-2017, 06:34 AM
To each his or her own.

While I agree it can be overdone, personally I like well-executed inlays. But not all inlays speak to me. Many people, myself included, find a 5K uke astonishingly beautiful.

Is it only MOP inlay you dislike or any inlay?

Not too many people think Chuck Moore's elaborate inlays are ugly, and his ukes are often highly rated in tone.

Booli
11-12-2017, 06:34 AM
in terms of looks for me, I like simpler, and less bling, and IMHO lots of nacre looks 'knackered' to me (borrowing an British idiom)

in terms of loading down and impeding the vibration of the soundboard, I've got no empirical data, but methinks this might be a slippery slope of splitting hairs

(mixed metaphors, yes please :))

Having said the above, whatever floats your boat is good to me, it's YOUR money and YOUR uke, and IMHO whatever makes you happy and does not harm others is perfectly fine.

EDW
11-12-2017, 07:42 AM
Many of the ukuleles sold by dealers in Taiwan & Vietnam are LOADED with very elaborate designs executed in mop. I detest them because: 1) I think they look cheap & gaudy, plus 2) I have the *opinion* that all that nacre must load up the wood & thereby detract from a ukulele's sound.

I am curious as to what others think about this.

I agree. I prefer simple designs where the beauty of the wood really speaks for itself.

stevepetergal
11-12-2017, 09:01 AM
In original posting. The word......"Detest"
www.dictionary.com/browse/detest
Detest definition, to feel abhorrence of; hate; dislike intensely. See more. ... verb. 1. (transitive) to dislike intensely; loathe. Derived Forms. detester, noun.

Yeah, sure. But the post said very clearly that it was his opinion. I too, according to the definition you site, detest the look of these over-decorated ukuleles. That doesn't mean they're bad or even that I think they're bad. Not being negative, just expressing my opinion. I read the definition you attached. Please, read the original post.

DownUpDave
11-12-2017, 01:48 PM
This is my most "gawdy" MOP lathered ukulele. It sounds great, but it is an I'iwi. It was made by a master builder to sound good. I understand the OP doesn't like overdone bling. But the ukulele market caters to a wide audience and some go for looks over sound. Lots of young impressionable people are concerned with appearance

104372

70sSanO
11-12-2017, 03:01 PM
I think this is what the OP is referring to...

104373

I'm not sure if it is truly MOP, but it is not something I would embrace.

John

Nickie
11-12-2017, 03:21 PM
I detest negativity. Which is relative to whom is seeing it.
I agree that inlay can be overdone.
When I was a beginner, I highly valued bling on ukes.
Now, not so much, I'm not even that enamored by glossy finishes.
Maybe I'm jaded?
Anyhoo, I just learned two new words!
(And they aren't cusswords)

stevepetergal
11-12-2017, 05:30 PM
I think this is what the OP is referring to...

104373

I'm not sure if it is truly MOP, but it is not something I would embrace.

John

Yup. Detestable.

anthonyg
11-12-2017, 07:54 PM
I think this is what the OP is referring to...

104373

I'm not sure if it is truly MOP, but it is not something I would embrace.

John


Yup. Detestable.

Actually that's quite tasteful. Not that its MY thing yet its a traditional and symmetric design. The gaudy designs are things like sail boats, unicorns and palm trees that are over done.

This kind of decoration on the back or fretboard has no effect on the sound whatsoever. Would large inlays on the soundboard have an effect? Maybe. I don't know. Seeing as inlays need a deeper backing to be stable an overly ornate soundboard probably would be a little dead from all the wood used to support the inlay.

Lapyang
11-13-2017, 12:48 AM
My opinion is the same as yours. Looks cheap and gaudy. I would never want one of those things. But, vive la difference!
As for sound, I would think all the inlays would have no effect on sound unless they are on the soundboard itself (or if inlays become loose and buzz or rattle). And even on the soundboard, the effect on sound could be so slight as to be insignificant. It would be interesting to ask a master ukulele builder and inlay artist like Chuck Moore (of Moore Bettuh Ukuleles) what he thinks.

I think some Asian exporters like to put some flares on their Ukes to sell their products. Afterall they can't compete with the Hawaiian makers or the master luthiers. But they also want to distinguish themselves from the cheap Asian factories, so inlaying becomes a solution to them. Obviously there is a market need for it. Personally I like simple design better.

kvehe
11-13-2017, 04:11 AM
The first uke I configured myself, about two months into my uke-life, was a Mya-Moe koa super-soprano, upon which I put an extraordinary (to me, now) amount of bling. I think Gordon and Char were horrified, but made it anyway. Now I can barely manage to look at it. Fortunately, I don't really "look at it" when I'm playing, but I would never take it out of the house. :-)

Croaky Keith
11-13-2017, 04:30 AM
For me, the headstock is where you put any real bling, not that I want any, but I'm OK with a sound hole rosette & a bit of binding.

I don't really like the over done fret markers that you see on some ukes, either, though I do have one, because that's how Kala make it, my acacia concert.

bellgamin
11-13-2017, 08:40 AM
Many of the ukes I am talking about have large, elaborate mop designs both front and back. Must cover about 15% of the wood. It's the wood that gives a uke its timbre, right? So why dampen it with a lot of nacre?

By the way, the designs are quite intricate and beautiful -- nacre glows with several colors. It must take someone a lot of time to do them. Might it not be better if they instead spent that same time on fine tuning the uke's set up & so forth? Ah well, everyone to his/her own taste, de sho ka? :)

MopMan
11-13-2017, 09:24 AM
Many of the ukes I am talking about have large, elaborate mop designs both front and back. Must cover about 15% of the wood. It's the wood that gives a uke its timbre, right? So why dampen it with a lot of nacre?

I have had similar thoughts about soundboard inlays. It is impossible to prove scientifically, but it makes intuitive sense that an extensive soundboard inlay might change or possibly impede soundboard function.

The very existence of soundboard inlays suggests that their actual impact is probably not prohibitive to sound quality. On my instrument, to minimize theoretical negatives, I would not want to have more than a tasteful rosette.

mm stan
11-13-2017, 08:43 PM
In cooking, seasoning is to enhance the flavor and not overpower the base ingredient without the person eating recognizing
The seasonings as the Ingredient

kypfer
11-13-2017, 09:46 PM
Whether or not one likes this form of artwork, the important question, in my mind, has got to be "Is all this mother of pearl salvaged from waste food production (mussel shells or wherever), or is the environment being unnecessarily exploited just to provide a bit of bling to those who feel they need to stand out in a crowd?"

I'm assuming here that you all know where true mother-of-pearl comes from.

spongeuke
11-14-2017, 12:55 PM
Had a Harmony concert that sported MOTS (Mother of Toilet Seat) head stock and fret board. The fret board was thin so the frets were set through the MOTS and into the neck, as was common in prewar ukuleles. Had simple black dots at the 5th 7th & 10th frets. Sold or passed it on sometime ago as it wasn't up to the sound or performance of a Martin, but did look nice.