View Full Version : Question for Cocobolo Players

03-22-2020, 09:37 AM
I realize that it's the ukulele builder that makes a great ukulele. But still, different woods produce different sounds.

Cocobolo is a beautiful wood that is both denser and stiffer than almost all woods, including ebony. This does not work in its favor for sound energy, yet most folks seem to love their cocobolo ukuleles. Since a cocobolo uke is on my to-buy-someday list, my question is this:

Comparing it as best one can to other tone-woods (koa, mahogany, spruce, etc.) how loud is yours and where does it fall in the warm-bright spectrum of sound?

03-22-2020, 10:55 AM
My Cocobolo brand tenor's body is smaller than most of my tenors. Upper bout: 6-3/8"w; Lower: 8-1/2"w; Height, Shoulder to butt, 11-3/4". With an arched back from 2-1/4" at the neck shoulder to 2-3/4" at the waist, to 2-11/16" at the butt. Side sound port is elliptical: 1-5/8"h x 1-1/4"w. Sound hole is 2-1/2"dia. Nut width is 1-3/8" with 3/8" C/L (Centerline) string to string.

It has a bright sound that seems to me to be a little warmer than maple. I have Worth Brown Medium Low-G strings on it. Great sustain. Very loud for its size.

I only have a Spruce/Maple Arron Oya with Low-G Living Waters strings for a maple comparison. Which is quite a bit brighter.

It's brighter than my solid myrtle MP. And way brighter than my solid Mahogany Martin 1T IZ. (Solid Koa and mango tenors are also much warmer.)

My other tenors have spruce, cedar or Redwood tops, so they are hard to compare.

I think the Worth Browns warm the sound a bit, and take the bright edge off of the Cocobolo wood. It's very engaging and people at my uke club love both its looks and its sound. It's fun to play.

The neck is easy to play with a satin finish. The heel is 3-piece plus a 2-layer cap. The body has a more matte finish to it. The setup is low-ish. (I asked for an even lower than normal setup.) It is handmade so no two will be exactly alike. I think the craftsmanship quality is quite high. Much better than their early versions. I think it is well worth its price.

I have not played a concert or soprano version.

03-22-2020, 12:16 PM
Mine is a concert, circa 2019. Worth Brown strings. Middle of the pack on the brightness scale, with my KoAloha being the brightest, and Moon Bird as the most mellow. Loudness/Volume is equal to the Moon Bird, with both being a little bit less loud than the KoAloha. 16 inch concert scale, with a little larger body overall, except for body depth, which is a little less. Very comfy neck shape for me. Workmanship, looks, and sound are all very good.

03-22-2020, 02:50 PM
Well, let's see if I can be helpful here.
My Cocobolo Ukulele is about 5 or so years old. It's a concert size.
It's way louder than my BFF's LoPrinzi.
It's at least as loud as the two Mainland concerts in our group. It drowns out two Enya plastic ukes.
It holds it's own with a mahog Tiny Tenor.
But it gets beat down by my banjouke, my resonator uke, and my wife's 8 string Kamaka.
A friend bought a new Cocobolo last month, with larger soundhole, that is a little louder than mine.
I'm on the 2nd set of Worth Browns, and boy, do they make it sing, even under my not-so-capable hands.
You couldn't go wrong.

03-22-2020, 03:14 PM
I received my Cocobolo about three weeks ago. It's still two-weeks out from review (in other words, two ukuleles before it, and I post reviews on Fridays).

While it doesn't have any extra "bling," the wood is "blingy" enough for me; it is a bit more brown than the photos tend to suggest. It would be reddish in bright sunlight...but we don't actually get outside to see the sun for much of the year where I live.

It was a bunch of really nice features, including nice grover tuners, a side sound port, radius fretboard, and lots of little touches (Cocobolo stripe in the neck acting like a truss rod, cocobolo plates on the front and back of the headstock).

It is very comfortable to play, right up there for me with the Outdoor Ukulele Tenor and the Enya Nova (I like the necks on both of those instruments, while they are very different). Set-up is right where you'd want it to be. Or where I would want it to be.

The sound is interesting...it's very good, but I find that while it produces sound throughout the registers, most of the sustain is in the mid-register, which is different than Koa. I'd classify it more towards non-Koa acacia or cedar. My koa KoAloha just has overtones that sing out...and it is the one ukulele that I own that really has that characteristic.

Ultimately, mine was a "second" concert scale, so $399 plus shipping and the case, bringing the total to $519. They shipped it on Monday, it was on my doorstep on Wednesday. It is worth $500. It would be worth $600 (normal price), perhaps more.

It also came with a set of Cocobolo Maracas. Pretty cool.

While I know they aren't always popular here, here's my unboxing of it:


03-23-2020, 04:00 AM
I'm a bit of an outlier, as my Cocobolo Concert is one of the few made with a Cedar top. I've not been able to compare it to an all-Cocobolo instrument, but it's got a very sweet, mellow tone, very well-balanced, but with lots of volume. Not quite up there with my KoAloha Koa Concert, but that's almost too loud! (I rarely bring it to jams, as it drowns out most of the other ukuleles.) I'm a big fan of a softwood top on a hardwood body, and that combination really suits my style of playing, mostly fingerpicking and chord melody.

03-29-2020, 01:41 AM
I have a Pilarte cocobolo concert ukulele with Worth clears. It has a good sound but quieter than my other ukes. I like it in small group practice because I can hear the other players.

03-29-2020, 01:58 AM
I have a Pilarte cocobolo concert ukulele with Worth clears. It has a good sound but quieter than my other ukes. I like it in small group practice because I can hear the other players.

One drawback on these online jams is that once I start playing, I can't hear the leader. At least we have our weekly sessions, but it will be nice when we're all together again.

03-29-2020, 10:24 AM
Fascinating! All are happy with their cocobolo ukuleles. So far the results of those who answered the loud/quiet bright/mellow questions are:

3 for loud and 2 for quiet
1 for bright, 1 for mellow, and 1 for in the middle.

I'm not sure what to make of it, but the important part is that everyone seems happy with theirs and I'll keep it on my to-buy-someday list.

04-01-2020, 06:22 PM
Have 8 cocobolos, 4 of Cocobolo brand, have browns , clears etc on them, high, low Ggs, ALL sound great, some loud some more quiet, depends on strings & wood. Pleasure to play them, ALSO a DOUBLE NECK cocobolo wood ukulele, tenor & concert, LOWg, HIGH G. ENJOY what ever you have and experiment with strings