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griemers
05-23-2009, 04:02 AM
Okay guys, I am seriously considering getting a Mainland Concert as my next uke. I've been playing an Oscar Schmidt OU-1 for almost 10 years and it is time to upgrade. I've got a few questions.

1.Is there anyone around here who has played the different wood types and finishes who can comment on the differences in tone between them-- ie. cedar vs. mahogany, matte vs. gloss, etc.

2. I've heard that these are made in the same factory as the Bushman. Is this correct, and does anyone have any info about them in regard to human rights/how they treat their employees? PLEASE -- no political discussions about whether or not I should be concerned about this-- just facts if available.

Thank you everybody!

--G.R.

ukeshale
05-23-2009, 04:09 AM
Okay guys, I am seriously considering getting a Mainland Concert as my next uke. I've been playing an Oscar Schmidt OU-1 for almost 10 years and it is time to upgrade. I've got a few questions.

1.Is there anyone around here who has played the different wood types and finishes who can comment on the differences in tone between them-- ie. cedar vs. mahogany, matte vs. gloss, etc.

2. I've heard that these are made in the same factory as the Bushman. Is this correct, and does anyone have any info about them in regard to human rights/how they treat their employees? PLEASE -- no political discussions about whether or not I should be concerned about this-- just facts if available.

Thank you everybody!

--G.R.

There's a lot of mainland ukers on here but 'hoosierhiver' is the man you should look for. if you don't get the answers you require on this thread then you can find him here on the underground using that username^

ichadwick
05-23-2009, 04:38 AM
I bought the Mainland gloss tenor/cedar model. My experience dealing with Mainland was very good. Mike was helpful and friendly. I can't say for sure about it being the same factory, but the products definitely have similarities in design and build.

The Mainland is loud, bright and has great sustain. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I am even considering a matte mahogany to complement the gloss cedar.

actaylor
05-23-2009, 05:02 AM
I bought the Mainland cedar/rosewood concert model as a gift for my daughter. I don't know much about ukes, but I've been playing guitar for more than 40 years. I thought the uke was well constructed, sounds great and was a good buy for the money. I'll probably get one for myself down the road...

hoosierhiver
05-23-2009, 05:06 AM
The companys we (Mainland) works with seem to be respected and above board in the area of working conditions. Of course I cannot oversee production, but this is something I am concerned about as well. I have never had any reason to believe there is any improper treatment of workers and have had a personal friend and associate meet in person with the factory personnel several times to help oversee our production.If you have any specific questions feel free to pm me or give me a call. Mike

griemers
05-23-2009, 09:03 AM
Thank you for the responses everybody! Hoosierhiver, that's good to hear. I've heard really good things about your company on this side of things.

In your own opinion, what are the advantages of the different types of wood/ finishes? Do you find that people who play a particular style of music tend to buy one type over another?

--G.R.

hoosierhiver
05-23-2009, 09:27 AM
Thank you for the responses everybody! Hoosierhiver, that's good to hear. I've heard really good things about your company on this side of things.

In your own opinion, what are the advantages of the different types of wood/ finishes? Do you find that people who play a particular style of music tend to buy one type over another?

--G.R.

There's a thread here about mahogany vs. cedar that has alot of good comments on it.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9563&highlight=mahogany+cedar
As far as finish, with our ukes it is essentailly ones cosmetic preference.

griemers
05-23-2009, 09:41 AM
Cool. Thank you for the link. Sorry, I should have used the search function first.

nikolo727
05-23-2009, 11:44 AM
Cool. Thank you for the link. Sorry, I should have used the search function first.

hey broh its cool, your new here and your learning. its not a sin, but most people are just tired of telling people to use the search function. sometimes i fall into that category. :p

ichadwick
05-24-2009, 03:20 AM
There are pages of comments about various tonewoods, but it's like tasting wine or cheese: everyone finds something different.

You might want to read the Heretic's Guide to Tonewoods (http://www.guitarnation.com/articles/calkin.htm). The author writes, part:

The concept of tonewood is a hoax. Of the few things that we can do to a guitar and still call it a guitar, changing the wood it is made of will have the least impact upon the quality of the sound that it produces. The tonal difference between a mahogany guitar and a rosewood guitar is exactly the same as the difference between two mahogany guitars or two rosewood guitars. Can you tell what a guitar is made of while listening to an unfamiliar recording? No one I know claims they can. No one at the blind listening sessions I've attended could reliably distinguish between mahogany and rosewood guitars, or maple and koa guitars for that matter.

Guitars sound like guitars. No matter how poorly or bizarrely they are made, you'll never confuse the natural sound of an acoustic guitar with that of a banjo, a mandolin, a drum or a flute. Obviously, not all guitars sound alike, but even when we think we can distinguish a night-and-day difference, it won't be so extreme that one will sound like a guitar and another won't. We may have a strong preference for one or another, but they will all sound like guitars. If they didn't, they would be called something else.

The tone of a guitar lies more in the hands of the builder than in the materials from which it is constructed. With increased experience, the level of craftsmanship increases. As the quality of the luthier's instruments goes up, the tonal difference between the instruments goes down. There are not only fewer dogs, but it becomes more difficult to build one that stands noticeably above the others. I noted this phenomenon in my mountain dulcimers years ago, and more recently have seen it happen to my guitars.
Based on what he says, a lot of your difference is sound is preceived but not necessarily empirical. You might as well chose an instrument's wood for its appearance as much as anything else.

hoosierhiver
05-24-2009, 04:55 AM
There are pages of comments about various tonewoods, but it's like tasting wine or cheese: everyone finds something different.

You might want to read the Heretic's Guide to Tonewoods (http://www.guitarnation.com/articles/calkin.htm). The author writes, part:

Based on what he says, a lot of your difference is sound is preceived but not necessarily empirical. You might as well chose an instrument's wood for its appearance as much as anything else.

Nice post Ian.
People often ask me about the sound differences in different woods. Though generalizations can be made, it really is hard to define what a particular wood sounds like unless the uke is poorly made,then it'll sound like crap no matter what wood it is made of.

ichadwick
05-26-2009, 01:40 AM
Nice post Ian.
People often ask me about the sound differences in different woods. Though generalizations can be made, it really is hard to define what a particular wood sounds like unless the uke is poorly made,then it'll sound like crap no matter what wood it is made of.
Thanks. I started thinking about tonewoods and what I had assumed was the conventional wisdom about them when I got my Mainland from you, actually. I was surprised by the sound - not what I had come to expect from cedar at all. It was brighter and louder than I had expected and certainly quite different from my other two cedar tops.

That's when I started looking for some alternate thinking about tonewoods and found that article.

I think the point was driven home to me when I got my cigar box uke from Tom Guy. It really sounds lovely, but very different, too. A good part of that difference, I realized, is in the size and shape of the soundbox.

It makes me wonder what - if anything - is lost in the cutaway design. Are there subtleties of tone and harmonics that go missing when a portion of the upper bout is removed? Or are they just transformed?

These two ukes have become my two main players, BTW. The Mainland I keep in high-G, the CB in low-G. I like them for their differences, not any similarities.

I have to try one of your Mainland satin finishes, someday, and see how that changes things. Glad I got one of your ukes, Mike!

13down
01-28-2013, 11:43 AM
I read that article a while ago but had forgotten about it, so thanks for reminding me.

The idea that construction can matter more than tonewood is a huge and important one to remember- I have to remind myself of that all the time.

For some reason, many of us are still attracted to the idea that tonewood is the "magic bullet" for tone, and I don't know why. I suspect it's something to do with the what the author refers to as "psychoacoustics."

I used to be obsessed with finding a uke with the perfect tonewood until I heard a Martin uke... and realized that my solid mahogany uke (Pono), which I wasn't the biggest fan of, sounded nothing like the Martin all-solid mahogany uke. The Pono was a bit muddy and had too much sustain for my liking. The Martin sounded almost as clear and crisp as some spruce-topped ukes (though still more bassy, of course).

That was when I realized tonewoods were a lot less important than I'd thought they were.

Anyway, to tie it together, I've realized that I like the sound of the Mainlands I've heard and that I should probably just buy the one that sounds the best rather than searching for the "perfect wood."