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View Full Version : Are all Walnut made uke sounds the same?



CYN
03-31-2019, 08:11 AM
Was wondering if anyone had a lot of experience with different walnut sounding ukes? I was reading that Black walnut had a woody warm sound with warmer lows , however , when I listened to Bruko on You tube reviewed by Vic I was so surprised on how bright it sounded. I wondered if there were different walnuts that made different sounds when used for ukes. I was leaning towards a walnut uke in the future but now thinking that I have brighter ukes and looking for more of a warm rich lower end sound.

BuzzBD
03-31-2019, 08:39 AM
In my experience, the design and build quality have a greater effect on the sound than the woods used. Bruko is known for bright sounding ukulele. And you are correct, there are many different types of walnut and it tends to be highly variable in its nature.
Bradford

Anthroterra
03-31-2019, 08:48 AM
In my limited experience, I've found that the top wood makes the biggest impact on sound. Haven't seen walnut used much as a top If you google Mya Moe or Beansprout, there's some good info on the sound of the wood but it doesn't distinguish between eastern (black) and western (claro) walnut. Beansprout particularly has a bunch of video examples you could listen to, and I'm sure Aaron Kiem would answer any questions if you emailed him or messaged him on facebook. My tino alto (size between soprano and concert), with walnut (claro) back and sides and cedar top, is surprisingly warm for it's size. I think it's how the cedar and walnut play off each other. Port Orford cedar has a much lower Janka hardness rating than the walnut, and softer woods is where you get a warmer, mellower sound. Claro is ever so slightly softer than eastern black. It also depends a lot on the maker, cut of wood, and other factors of course. Even my two koa tenors, made in the same place by the same brand by two different people but the same way, sound completely different. Here's a good place to get nerdy (like me lol) about wood: https://www.wood-database.com/

Ukecaster
03-31-2019, 09:39 AM
Agreed, the top makes way more difference to the sound of an instrument than back & side material. Back in my guitar days, I often heard guys say they liked black walnut B&S guitars much more then Claro. Black walnut is supposedly grown in colder climates than Claro. I've also seen more Peruvian walnut guitars recently. That said, the best sounding acoustic guitar I ever had was an OM size, with black walnut B&S, and a creamy yellow Engelmann spruce top, wow did that one sound outstanding. I'd like to commission a tenor with those woods one day.

Jerryc41
03-31-2019, 09:55 AM
Based on my extensive experience of owning one walnut uke, I would say it depends totally on how the uke is made, regardless of the wood used.

AustinHing
03-31-2019, 02:40 PM
I have a blonde walnut guitarlele, so it’s not the black walnut you are looking for. It’s definitely on the bright side but the strings play a huge part in the voice too.

DownUpDave
04-02-2019, 12:16 AM
Take all koa or all mahogany (common ukulele woods) by four different builders and they will sound different. Yes tone woods have a certain typical sound but the build makes the most difference. Take maple, especially all maple which is suppose to be bright. Solorule has an all maple Kala Elite that is warm and mellow sounding, even in high G. I gave up trying to generalize after playing that one. Most luthiers would say walnut is middle to warm in tone, sandwiched between slightly brighter koa and slighly warmer mahogany.......sometimes.....depending :p

I own a Fred Shields all solid walnut uke and it is bright. Ken has an all solid MP Cali tenor that is very warm, go figure.

kissing
04-04-2019, 05:29 AM
I think no two ukes sound the same, even if made of the same wood.

Assumptions made about tonewoods is very general at best.
For example, "spruce" can very generally be considered to be brighter sounding than say mahogany and cedar.

But there will be a lot of variation in how ukes made of the same wood would sound depending on who made it, what strings are on it, etc.

It is harder make generalisations when the wood is not as commonly used, such as Walnut. The best way to decide about walnut would be to hear sound samples, or better yet - play the instrument itself and compare using your ears.

Jerryc41
04-04-2019, 06:16 AM
I think no two ukes sound the same, even if made of the same wood.

Assumptions made about tonewoods is very general at best.
For example, "spruce" can very generally be considered to be brighter sounding than say mahogany and cedar.

But there will be a lot of variation in how ukes made of the same wood would sound depending on who made it, what strings are on it, etc.

It is harder make generalisations when the wood is not as commonly used, such as Walnut. The best way to decide about walnut would be to hear sound samples, or better yet - play the instrument itself and compare using your ears.

I think we should also discuss how the brand of glue and the clamping pressure can affect the sound. :D

hoosierhiver
04-04-2019, 06:35 AM
The other major factor is the way people describe the sounds, it's like describing wine, it varies with the individual.

Jeffelele
04-05-2019, 01:04 AM
I think we should also discuss how the brand of glue and the clamping pressure can affect the sound. :D

I think distance is an often overlooked factor.

Jerryc41
04-05-2019, 01:26 AM
I think distance is an often overlooked factor.

I hope so. : )