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Ragtop232
03-31-2018, 02:32 AM
I've been doing some research on the various ukulele brands and what neck joint the builders implement when building their ukuleles. I know there isn't a lot of tension, but still I believe a strong neck joint helps the vibration of the strings and ultimately tone and volume.

I would like to ask in your opinion, what is the best neck joint specific to ukuleles? Has anyone experienced a neck joint failure with a ukulele and if so, what joint was utilized. Also, I would like to hear the pros and cons of the various types of neck joints.

From my research, here's what I've found.

Martin - Dovetail (supposed to be the strongest)
Kanile'a - Biscuit joint with heel glued directly to body
Kamaka - Biscuit joint with heel glued directly to body
KoAloha - No joint and heel glued directly to body


Looking forward to your input and opinions.

Jim

igorthebarbarian
03-31-2018, 05:37 AM
This was initially confusing because there is a “Famous” brand of ukuleles; it’s the Japanese Kiwaya version.
I’ve never had a Uke neck joint fail though

Ragtop232
03-31-2018, 06:05 AM
This was initially confusing because there is a “Famous” brand of ukuleles; it’s the Japanese Kiwaya version.
I’ve never had a Uke neck joint fail though

Sorry, I didn't know there was an actual brand called "Famous". I guess I didn't research enough.

I'm just curious about some of the most popular ukuleles on the market today and what the luthiers are using for neck joints.

Rakelele
03-31-2018, 06:23 AM
Just adding to your list: as far as I know, Pono has been using a bolt-on neck for the past couple of years. Seems like a pretty solid solution, and helps resetting the neck, should there ever be a problem. Moreover, it enables them to finish the body and the neck separatly, hence allowing a satin neck combined with a gloss body.

Spicysteve
03-31-2018, 08:19 AM
Pete Howlett uses a bolt-on neck also. I agree with Rakelele on the positive aspects of this method.

igorthebarbarian
03-31-2018, 09:17 AM
Sorry, I didn't know there was an actual brand called "Famous". I guess I didn't research enough.

I'm just curious about some of the most popular ukuleles on the market today and what the luthiers are using for neck joints.

No worries! I think “Famous” is a rather cheesy name.

It would be cool if you compiled/posted pics of these various neck joints all in a row to compare/contrast.

Also much like the choices of woods, there appears to be variety in this category too!

DPO
03-31-2018, 09:30 AM
Bolt on neck joints would be as popular as any I would think.

Ragtop232
03-31-2018, 09:40 AM
I would agree that a bolt-on should be one of the most effective when it comes to ukulele necks. However, looking at the big 3 K brands, we have 2 of them using a straight biscuit joint at the heel and 1 using no joint at all, or so I'm told, and just gluing the neck to the body. I wonder if KoAloha has ever had any neck problems with just the neck glued to the body?

Django
03-31-2018, 10:24 AM
Dovetail joints, if done well are very strong, but require a lot of skill and hand work. Bolt on necks are less elegant, but easier to reset if required. As far as transmitting vibration, I think that transmission of vibration is a negative. The player’s grip and the solid neck block should absorb any vibrations from the neck.

Rakelele
03-31-2018, 10:46 PM
Pepe Romero uses a Spanish Heel neck joint on his Customs, and probably also on his Romero Creations Replica models.

Aaron Oya who is a member of this forum and a great builder has been using the Mortise and Tenon neck joint; he describes the method in this video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fcx3Kupto0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fcx3Kupto0

Ragtop232
04-01-2018, 02:34 AM
Rakelele, thanks very much for that video. Very informative. From a luthiers perspective, lots of good, sound reasons to use a mortise and tenon bolt-on neck joint.

Ragtop232
04-02-2018, 03:28 AM
As far as transmitting vibration, I think that transmission of vibration is a negative. The player’s grip and the solid neck block should absorb any vibrations from the neck.

I was always under the impression that the neck/body needed to be as rigid and solid as possible with no possibility of a moveable joint once put together. Any moveable joint in the line of vibration would serve to "dampen" and absorb the vibration from that point through the end point.

However, I'm not a luthier, so I could be totally off-base here.

Jim

bariukish
04-02-2018, 04:41 AM
For those interested in form and function of ukulele neck joints, do some research into Jerry Hoffmans creative approach to this this vital joinery. His "Form and Function" approach has created his unique pocket ( or cantilevered), reverse heel, laminated, full and reverse block designs. I believe that his creativity and engineering of this critical joint gives his creations the volume and resonance they exhibit.

besley
04-02-2018, 12:04 PM
Guitarists have argued for decades whether dovetail type neck joints (Gibson, Martin) give better sound and sustain than bolt on necks (Fender, Taylor). If there's a difference, I sure can't hear it.

Ragtop232
04-03-2018, 05:31 AM
As far as sound goes, I'm unsure if it really makes a difference as long as the joint is tight and doesn't move to absorb the string vibration. I guess my biggest concern would be longevity of the joint and structural integrity over the long haul.

Jim

Pete Howlett
04-03-2018, 07:34 AM
Dovetail joints by their very nature can only fit the final 10%... it's why I bolt on.

Ragtop232
04-03-2018, 07:49 AM
Dovetail joints by their very nature can only fit the final 10%... it's why I bolt on.

Pete, fantastic information. Since you are a qualified builder, could you explain why you've chosen the bolt-on neck and is it glued to the body or just bolted. Also, would you ever trust just a butt-joint glued (without dowels or bolts or mortise-tenon cheeks) to the body as the string tension is less with ukes as compared to other musical instruments?

Thanks,

Jim

Ragtop232
04-04-2018, 03:13 AM
I had never actually seen this type neck joint. From the photo's, I'm assuming the neck and body block are all one piece and the ukulele sides are molded and fastened to the neck/block. This most definitely would be the strongest joint I would think.