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View Full Version : Poll: Do you prefer a gloss or satin finished neck?



Rakelele
02-18-2018, 06:26 AM
I know that many players prefer a satin finished neck as they find it smoother and faster, less sticky to slide your hand up and down. Ukulele makers such as John Kinnard, Kanilea, Ko'olau and Pono have reacted to that and now offer instruments with a high gloss body and a satin neck.

While I certainly appreciate their effort to present such an option, I feel just the opposite, namely that a satin neck gets greasy from sweat, making it stickier over time. While I can just wipe down a gloss finished neck with a towel after playing or even use some guitar polish spray, I haven't found an equally efficient way of cleaning a satin finished neck.

With this background, I find it interesting to find out more about how many players prefer what type of finish on their ukulele necks, and why? Please fill out the poll above and/or share your opinion with a comment below.

BigJackBrass
02-18-2018, 06:33 AM
I prefer a satin finish to the entire ukulele, to be honest. Gloss always seems to be trying to distract from the look of the wood.

Ukulele Eddie
02-18-2018, 06:37 AM
I think you should have a third option - “I have no preference”.

I have ukes with both. To me, neck shape is much more important than gloss vs. satin. All things being equal, I slightly prefer satin but it’s not anything that would impact whether or not I would choose a particular uke.

DownUpDave
02-18-2018, 06:46 AM
Hey Rainer, interesting perspective from your end on the satin neck getting grimey!!!

I voted satin neck even though my hands very rarely get damp or sticky. The best neck for that is one finished in Tru Oil, it is really like unfinished wood. My Mya Moe and LfdM baritone have that finish on the neck. With other satin necks I like to give them a few wipes with OOOO steel wool now and then. Cleans them up real good and gives a much better surface.

SoloRule
02-18-2018, 06:50 AM
Rainer
I prefer satin neck . My hand don't slip as easily but I am sure the satin would soon turn into glossy as a result of the oil from my hand.

Croaky Keith
02-18-2018, 07:59 AM
I think I only have one gloss uke, & that's a laminate, all the others are satin/matt finish, so my vote goes for satin. :)

70sSanO
02-18-2018, 10:01 AM
Doesn't matter. All if my satin necks are now hand rubbed polished gloss finish from use. Have yet to see one that doesn't polish over time.

John

Uke Don
02-18-2018, 10:24 AM
I prefer satin, but as 70sSanO said they become glossy from use. The best way I've found to make them satin again is to use 3M Scotch Brite sanding pads like these https://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Brite-07448-each-7448-Ultra-Fine/dp/B01J9IAKLC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1518988767&sr=8-5&keywords=3m+non+woven+sanding+pad. They don't leave behind metal residue like steel wool does. You can use them to make a glossy neck into a satin one as well.

Rllink
02-18-2018, 12:14 PM
I've never even thought about it until now, and now that I have, I've not come to any conclusion.

robinboyd
02-18-2018, 12:16 PM
I've never even thought about it until now, and now that I have, I've not come to any conclusion.

Me too. Doesn't really worry me.

Joe King
02-18-2018, 10:52 PM
I put "satin" because in summer when my hands get sweaty, the gloss is too slippery.

Having said that, I really prefer whatever is the finish on my concert Flea, as well as the shape of the neck.

I've tried lots of other ukes over the years, and the Flea shape and surface is very comfortable for me and I like it a lot.

Booksniffer
02-19-2018, 04:43 AM
Satin everything for me, not just the neck; which is why I am so glad to have picked up a Koaloha Opio when they still made them in sapele, with the satin finish.

Gloss looks great, but I don't like the way it feels so much - and it makes the ukulele more slippery to hold against my (clothed) body.
(Whereas on skin, like the left hand, gloss sticks a bit)

The Mainland that I bought a few years ago has a gloss finish, so I used one of those green dishwashing sponges to sand the neck. I seem to remember reading Aldrine does the same thing, so at least I'm in good company! ;)

jricc
02-19-2018, 06:10 AM
New member here. Glad to be aboard. I personally prefer satin for the whole instrument.

Nickie
02-19-2018, 06:17 AM
There are only 2 choices, so I picked the lesser of evils.

I actually prefer NO finish on my uke necks. Just wax on bare wood. Gloss is really the worst.

RafterGirl
02-19-2018, 06:25 AM
Another vote for satin. The gloss necks I have tried felt plasticky and sticky. I do own a 2006 KoAloha that has a semi-gloss finish and I'm ok with it. But if I could zap it with a magic wand and make the neck satin, I would. I wouldn't be opposed to gloss on the body of a uke if the neck was satin.

bratsche
02-19-2018, 10:19 AM
I voted satin, but actually prefer necks unfinished (like my viola & violin). Some day I'll strip them all. (Or not...)

bratsche

Snargle
02-19-2018, 04:20 PM
My recently-purchased VTAB Concert had a gloss finish on both the body and the neck. I played it for about a week before I took some 0000 steel wool and gave the neck a good rubbing. The gloss is gone, the neck now has a smooth, soft, satin finish, and I now love playing it.

buddhuu
02-21-2018, 10:11 AM
I'm usually satin or bare wood all the way on my instruments. For some reason, though, the gloss on my new Cordoba 35T feels fine and doesn't seem to stick at all. I don't get it.

RafterGirl
02-21-2018, 06:14 PM
It appears, based on the poll and comments, that satin necks are far more desirable. Why then are so many ukuleles made with gloss necks? Most mid-priced production ukuleles and many of the higher priced ukes are gloss.

Jarmo_S
02-21-2018, 06:29 PM
It appears, based on the poll and comments, that satin necks are far more desirable. Why then are so many ukuleles made with gloss necks? Most mid-priced production ukuleles and many of the higher priced ukes are gloss.

Propably because a buyer without much playing knowledge values a glossy neck more for the visual impression.

I have a cheap violin hanging on the wall and looked and everything else is glossy ecxept the playing part of the neck, for a reason I think, except don't know how it is with the a better ones.

I looked at my Kala-CEM and yes a glossy neck. It is not that bad though. The contact surface to hand is so small, compared to a guitar. Also I notice that usually I don't glide my thumb but change the positions with a step move.

I have an electric guitar with a glossy maple neck and with it the stickiness is a much bigger bother :)

kitsunegarcia
02-22-2018, 02:16 AM
I need a third option of no preference or either one is fine. Most of my ukes are satin but i have one gloss and its not any harder to slide for me.

Maybe it's just me being prissy and weird but I wash my hands before playing my ukes esp if i have been eating something sticky or have sweat, grease, or lotion on my hands so the sticky neck thing hasn't been an issue for me. My palmar skin texture is also smooth, slide-y and dry. I also tend to play in air conditioned venues. I guess when i try busking outside on a hot day my answer might change! Could be acids in sweat interacting with gloss finish?
You've given me much to think about.

Rakelele
02-22-2018, 08:27 AM
Very interesting answers, keep'em coming!

By now, there is an impressive majority who voted for the satin finished neck, so I guess the companies which offer this are definitely on to something.

pritch
02-22-2018, 09:54 AM
My Maton concert had a thick gloss finish which was very sticky, ojectionably so. That was cured by the application of some 0000 wire wool. The gloss finsh on the Pono electric is more appropriate and has never bothered me. Most of the rest have satin necks and I do prefer the satin finish.

Not sure how you categorise Mrs Timms' French polish but that's particularly nice to the touch.

Rllink
02-22-2018, 01:24 PM
It appears, based on the poll and comments, that satin necks are far more desirable. Why then are so many ukuleles made with gloss necks? Most mid-priced production ukuleles and many of the higher priced ukes are gloss.Only if you assume that 46 members of UU represents the entire ukulele community. For that matter, one would need to assume that the membership of UU represents the ukulele community, something that I've come to realize over time is not the case.

kissing
02-25-2018, 03:39 AM
I prefer satin NECKS.
But I prefer gloss ukuleles overall.

I'd pick a gloss ukulele over a satin ukulele, with all other things being equal.

But I prefer a satin neck.


Ideally a ukulele's body should be gloss and the neck-only satin.

I'm a sucker for the gloss look

kitsunegarcia
04-14-2018, 03:57 AM
I just discovered a new thing although my answer is still pretty much the same. Not all gloss necks are equal. When I gave my original answer the only gloss necks I had tried were my own TT and someone's Pono. Neither of those affected my grip. I now have an IZ and I really dislike the neck gloss as far as feel goes. Feels like dipped in silicone spray or pig grease. That is after cleaning! Ugh. I may start reading through those DIY to remove neck gloss!

bratsche
04-15-2018, 10:59 AM
I prefer satin NECKS.
But I prefer gloss ukuleles overall.

I'd pick a gloss ukulele over a satin ukulele, with all other things being equal.

But I prefer a satin neck.

Ideally a ukulele's body should be gloss and the neck-only satin.

I'm a sucker for the gloss look

Yeah, same here. I think gloss really brings out the depth of wood grain in a way satin doesn't, especially when the wood is beautifully figured. The key is not having it look cheaply applied, or too thick with a plasticky look. I really love my Kala ASOV tenor - the solid ovangkol back and sides have gorgeous moving 3D figure in the grain that looks almost like a chatoyant polished tiger's eye gemstone slab. And it also has a satin finished neck! The best of both worlds: it sounds and looks great, and is super comfortable to play.

bratsche

AlohaKine
04-15-2018, 12:47 PM
I guess whatever feels good at the time with that particular Uke... :)

kkimura
04-16-2018, 01:44 AM
I'd like to see a ukulele neck finished like a violin neck. Seems like that would be the ultimate in play-ability.