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ukeinfused
07-21-2018, 06:37 AM
In an effort to distract myself from actually deciding which one to sell, I got all nerdy about my three mahogany sopranos (they all sound wonderful) this morning and weighed each one on a scale I borrowed from my wife's business.

1960's Martin: 12 oz
Kiwaya KTS-7: 11.8 oz
1920's Weymann: 8.2 oz

The latter has always seemed astonishingly light, and it was amazing to note that it weighs only 2/3 of the other two. (It sounds like a dream: loud, warm, vintage, warbly.)

Purely out of curiosity:
Does anyone know how much of this weightlessness is due to the wooden tuners? (How much does a set of friction pegs weigh?)
Anyone ever come across a lighter soprano scale uke?

110599

ukeinfused
07-21-2018, 06:55 AM
It's also impressive to note that the Kiwaya KTS-7 achieves that weight despite the wider neck, extended fretboard, binding and other fancy appointments...

saltytri
07-21-2018, 09:05 AM
Manuel Nunes koa soprano made in 1907 = 7.8 oz.

ukeinfused
07-21-2018, 09:41 AM
Manuel Nunes koa soprano made in 1907 = 7.8 oz.

Cool-o!!
You should know:
Is there something about these having been built with hand tools that they're so light... or is it that wood has aged and dried (even more)?

saltytri
07-21-2018, 10:01 AM
Great question! I don't know that the use of hand tools is a factor but that's an intriguing idea. Maybe someone else has good information on that. My guess is that the early ukuleles are light because that was the paradigm of the time and the early builders had the skill to pull it off.

Dryness of the wood might very well be a problem for old instruments that have been poorly kept and might make them seem unusually light. Mine is a family heirloom that was haphazardly stored for many years. When it came into my possession, there was a small crack that was repaired but only after it was gradually rehumidified in a special humidification closet for several months. In the two or three years since then, it's lived in a case in the usual ambient humidity of 45 to 55 in our area, except for brief excursions in unusual weather. So, it's reasonable to say that for this instrument the humidification of the wood is normal and not a factor that contributes to abnormal lightness.

Jerryc41
07-22-2018, 02:33 AM
Dryness of the wood might very well be a problem for old instruments that have been poorly kept and might make them seem unusually light.

Good point. I wonder how the weight would change if you put that inside a hard case with a humidifier. Dry is good, but too dry is bad.

I remember seeing a fishing contest, and the fisherman took their fish and scooped up as much water as they could through the open mouth of the fish the before it was weighed. Ridiculous.

emarcano
07-22-2018, 03:34 AM
Purely out of curiosity:
Does anyone know how much of this weightlessness is due to the wooden tuners? (How much does a set of friction pegs weigh?)
Anyone ever come across a lighter soprano scale uke?

I have a Kamaka gold label soprano that also weighs around 8 oz (not a very good kitchen scale; will get a better one tomorrow from work). Old, handmade does seem to make a difference.

Eugenio

willisoften
07-22-2018, 03:41 AM
My sister had an early Hawaii made uke which I think was marked something like Aloha! Grand Hotel Hawaii it had a nasty accident and alas died at the scene. From memory I salvaged the neck from the splinters - I don't remember a tail-block or any bracing, the neck was very sender and the sides fitted into slots on the heel. What was left of back and sides was held together with the binding and veneer strips. This was maybe thirty years ago so the details are hazy but the absence of a tail block must certainly save a couple of oz.

Bill Sheehan
07-22-2018, 03:51 AM
Is it possible that the Weymann has less internal bracing, or perhaps doesn't use "lining" to join the top and the back with the sides (kind of like the Martin S-0)?

spongeuke
07-22-2018, 09:00 AM
Weighing in with a few light weights, In ozs.
1950s Martin 2M 11
1950s Gretch 10.4 ( no kerfing)
1918 Martin 2M 9.3
1927 Martin 1M 9.2
1918 Martin 1M 9.0
1920s? Samuel C. Osborn 8.8 (Koa)

ukulelekarcsi
07-22-2018, 11:01 PM
There are several threads on weight and lightness of construction, the best one being http://www.ukulelecosmos.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21298&p=247850. It not only focusses on sopranos (leaving out the smaller sizes) but also makes some statements about categories (older and Hawaiian construction is usually lighter) and some reasons.

Tuner weight seems to be not the biggest issue - metal/plastic geared ones seem to add some 1,8 oz or 50 g, while metal/plastic friction add just 0,70 oz or 20 g above wooden friction tuners. A separate fretboard, the use of softer tonewoods (thicker slices + more bracing), thicker necks (or necks with a reinforcement bar) and slighty larger dimensions added most of the extra weight. Drying out of wood doesn't really seem to make much difference; light ukuleles seem to have been built that way and the moisture coming out is no more than a few drops.

Early hawaiians were around 220 g (7,75 oz), early Martins and Gibsons were around 270-300 g (9,5-10,5 oz), very good modern builds seem to be around 350 g (12 oz), which doesn't dismiss very good ukuleles with oversized tuners, plastic backs or special bracing systems which usually are around and above 400 g (14 oz)

merlin666
07-23-2018, 05:24 AM
I have never weighed my ukes but the Koaloha concert feels light. Another thread might shed light on the HEAVY ukes, as there are some that I found notable: a Kamaka 6-string, and an Eastman tenor (Kamaka sounded great though).

Ziret
07-23-2018, 07:34 AM
I have two sets of friction tuners here, so I weighed them.

Gotoh's cheapest, also lightest, weigh 44 grams/1.55 oz.
Grover weigh 54 grams, 1.9 oz.

That doesn't bring either of them even close to your Weymann.

Just for curiosity's sake, I weighed my Kiwaya KS-5, a laminate. It came in at 12.8 ounces with strap buttons installed, and a shoelace strap, so probably around 12 ounces. Comparable to your Martin or Kiwaya.

The Weymann sounds amazing. I hope to try one someday.