PDA

View Full Version : All Solid Mahogany vs. All Solid Walnut?



13down
08-15-2018, 12:10 PM
Wondering if anybody can comment on all-solid mahogany sound vs. all-solid walnut?

Asking because I'm thinking about a custom build, and also am generally curious.

It seems to me that walnut is a visually interesting wood and also can be a bit mellower than mahogany. On most ukes, especially the smaller ones, I tend to like mellower sounds. I wouldn't mind something even mellower and darker than the mahogany ones I have played.

And yet, there are very very few all-walnut ukuleles out there in the wild to play or even to hear samples of. So I'm eager to hear the opinions of folks on the forum.

ProfChris
08-15-2018, 12:32 PM
I've not yet built in walnut, but I know a few who have and they generally say that it sounds pleasant but a bit dull. Short on the overtones which make the sound sparkle.

But, to be honest, the sound varies more between builders than it does between ukes by the same builder but different woods (at least for hardwoods). So I'd try to play a mahogany uke by that builder, and then ask how the builder expects the sound to differ with walnut.

DownUpDave
08-15-2018, 01:21 PM
Most wood data bases say walnut falls between mahogany and koa. In other words, brighter than mahogany but warmer then koa. I have a Fred Shields all walnut pineapple and it is brighter then I expected it to be. Brenda has the same instrument in cherry and it is notably warmer, which I did not anticipate. I like walnut for back and sides, I have a super concert and a tenor with that both with redwood tops. If I had to do it again I would pick all mahogany, I prefer a warm tone over bright.

Kenn2018
08-16-2018, 03:30 AM
I have a Michael Pereira Cali solid Black Walnut tenor and a MK solid Black walnut soprano. They tend to have a deeper more "woody" sound to them. The tenor really booms with Living Waters strings. I have a low G on it and it might be too much. The soprano does have a more mellow, richer tone than most sopranos I have played. It has Worth Browns on it.

Mahogany, to me, is much brighter and rings. Has a bit more sustain, but the low end isn't as pronounced.

I think walnut sounds nicer with a spruce top to balance the sound out and project a little more. I prefer Mahogany with a cedar top. The cedar isn't as crisp and bright as the spruce, so it tames the sharpness of the mahogany.

If you go to the Michael Pereira site, you can hear Ken Middleton play the Cali and custom walnut/spruce tenors. https://www.mpukulele.com/

CTurner
08-16-2018, 05:32 AM
I've had, first, a walnut Kinnard tenor and now a mahogany Kinnard tenor. Both beautiful and great sounding. I agree with Kenn2018, the walnut is "woody" whereas mahogany has that classic warmth. Loved them both, still have the mahogany.

merlin666
08-16-2018, 07:09 AM
I find walnut very appealing, given the scarcity of genuine mahogany. But as it is not a tropical wood I have heard that there can be quite a difference between the quite soft walnut sapwood and the extremely hard walnut heartwood, that is not only visual but also affects tone.

It might be very interesting to have a uke built of walnut sapwood for the top, and walnut heartwood for bottom, sides, and neck. Definitely preferable to the common mahogany substitutes like sipo, sapele, khaya etc.

DownUpDave
08-16-2018, 10:49 AM
I find walnut very appealing, given the scarcity of genuine mahogany. But as it is not a tropical wood I have heard that there can be quite a difference between the quite soft walnut sapwood and the extremely hard walnut heartwood, that is not only visual but also affects tone.

It might be very interesting to have a uke built of walnut sapwood for the top, and walnut heartwood for bottom, sides, and neck. Definitely preferable to the common mahogany substitutes like sipo, sapele, khaya etc.

Interesting examples from other posters. I had always thought walnut to be warm and woody, my Fred Shield is the opposite. You bring up a good point about the variability of "wood" Black Walnut t can be hard where as Claro or California can be soft, causing a spectrum from bright to warm respectively

M3Ukulele
08-16-2018, 04:03 PM
My best sounding tenor is a custom Moodyville Sitka top and black walnut back, sides and neck. Ebony fretboard, bridge and face place. Don’t know how all black walnut would sound in comparison but this combo is a keeper. I liked it better than All Koa, Koa top and mahogany and all mahogany when I was fortunate enough to visit Shelly PRk in North Vancouver and plat four side by side. I then got her to build mine. I think you will see more black walnut out there.

13down
08-17-2018, 08:53 AM
Claro or California can be soft, causing a spectrum from bright to warm respectively

I appreciate that input and I realize that the type of walnut I've been curious about is actually claro, not black. I'm specifically curious to hear how all-solid claro compares to mahogany!

Ukecaster
08-17-2018, 12:07 PM
Best guitar I ever had was black walnut B&S, with creamy Engelmann top. Just wonderful. I'd like to try that on a tenor uke, betcha Fred could do it. Also have heard opinions that black walnut sounds better than Claro (never tried Claro).