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View Full Version : Building for the couch/ for the player.. what do you look for..



kerneltime
09-19-2018, 10:45 AM
On a podcast with Rick Turner (https://www.fretboardjournal.com/podcast/luthier-on-luthier-rick-turner/) there was a bit where the projection of a guitar was discussed.

Certain designs focus more of the sound in a focused direction (thick stiff sides and back, no sound holes) and can be louder at the mic than a guitar that projects sounds around itself (thinner sides and back) and be louder for the player.

Being louder for the player was referenced as "building for the couch".

That very accurately describes what I like.. I usually play indoor with an audience of 4 at the most.. and mostly just 1.

What have your experiences been with ukes? When looking for back and sides do you look for thinness or types of wood (more soft than stiff?).

Side sound holes help but from personal playing I find the sound to be more fulfilling when the entire uke is designed to be loud for the player vs opening a hole to let the sound out for the player..

I recently saw an all spruce uke, Les Stansell himself plays an all Cedar uke (which I loved).. what other options have you'll experienced that deliver the best experience to the player over projecting for a performance.

70sSanO
09-19-2018, 01:52 PM
Interesting question. I generally play at home or for a living room size crowd, but I also play outdoors; hike, bike, etc.

I'm not sure side/back material and thickness makes that much of a difference on the smaller size ukulele with a sound hole and a side port.

The exception is a particular ukulele I got in 2007 from a small builder in Hawaii. It only has a side port. The shape of the slightly larger lower bout and waist shape was designed to push the sound toward the side port... at least that was the theory. Since all the sound comes from the side port it is obviously loud for the player, but it is also brighter sounding than someone listening to it from the front of the ukulele. But it isn't quiet for the listener.

Since that time I have also picked up a couple of Fred Shields ukuleles that only have a side port, but they are fluke shaped.

It is a nice design for the couch player. For me a side port only ukulele would be something I would explore.

John

ukeinfused
09-19-2018, 01:57 PM
Such an interesting question...
I always thought loud was loud, versus less loud (often more muted).
Never realized there could be "more loud on the couch" (I play like you, neither with nor for a group.)

kerneltime
09-19-2018, 02:01 PM
Such an interesting question...
I always thought loud was loud, versus less loud (often more muted).
Never realized there could be "more loud on the couch" (I play like you, neither with nor for a group.)
I think, the the sound can be projected by a uke or a guitar and it depends on how it is built, the analogy would be when we talk the person in front hears us more loudly than some one behind.. but when we hum it is more unidirectional... The podcast around the one hour mark gets into it.. the podcast in itself is great listen and touches many different topics.

hollisdwyer
09-20-2018, 06:34 AM
Yes this is an interesting question and one that I would find hard to answer. Since I commissioned my first Uke 3-4 years ago I have always had side sound ports installed. I do believe that they provide a ‘better’ experience for the player. I only have one Uke without a side sound port, a Collings UC2. While this is a great sounding instrument I don’t get the same auditory pleasure that I get with my other Ukes.
As to what these instruments sound like to the people who are in front of me when I play, I have no way to know. I can only go by what they(my band mates) tell me which is that my instruments project very well.