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View Full Version : Solid Ukuleles that Crack the Least??



molinee
08-17-2009, 01:15 AM
Has there been a study done of which All Solid ukuleles crack the most and which crack the least? I live in the Southwest which has pretty low humidity (20-30 percent average in my area). I would really like to get an all wood uke rather than a laminate, but not sure which all wood ukes have a better reputation of not cracking... Just wondering.... And yes I know that I need to humidify, but also looking for one that has a good track record of not cracking.... TIA. I really like the looks of the new Ohai Pono tenors, but not sure if that would be a good one for my area.

dnewton2
08-17-2009, 01:36 AM
I don't know about good or bad or any study. But there seemed to be quite a few issuse with KPK ukes cracking even when properly humidified. I had a KPK and haven't had any issues but there have been several reports. I don't think you can get KPKs anymore but they have been popping up with different brand names.

Some builders seal the wood both on the inside and outside. I believe this would help protect the wood from the elements. I am not sure if any production ukuleles have this though. You might have to get one built for this option. But if you look around you might find a builder that does this with reasonable prices. (I don't know the pricing but I think the guy that built Links ukes does it)

Lanark
08-17-2009, 01:49 AM
Cracking under too dry conditions is going to be an issue with any wood or maker. However, I don't think it's generally going to be an issue if you take reasonable care and precaution with humidifiers and such. A solid wood ukulele isn't really as fragile as some stuff you come across would have you believe, but you do need to be on top of things.

My suggestion would be to go ahead and get the instrument that you want and get a humidity gauge. Monitor things and enjoy.

yookyoolayleeh
08-17-2009, 01:58 AM
I recently bought my first solid (Burko no.6 - mahogany/maple) and all of this humidity stuff is new to me. What should I be doing/buying to care for my uke? Do you recommend any specific pieces of kit? Thanks.

nic579
08-17-2009, 02:34 AM
Uke Minutes 4 DIY Ukulele Case Humidifier

http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/02/11/uke-minutes-4-diy-ukulele-case-humidifier/

bbycrts
08-17-2009, 06:46 AM
I'm not aware of any reputable studies - it would be pretty hard to do...

Anecdotes you find here are just that - anecdotes. I suspect you would find people far more willing to be harsh on a less-expensive, newer brand than on a Hawaiian K-brand, so I wouldn't be as surprised to hear more reports of people with problems with the lesser-known brands.

Somebody recently brought up issues with his K-brand uke and people jumped all over him - there is a lot of brand loyalty.

I guess what I'm saying is if you hear stories here...listen to the stories, but listen with a skeptical ear - you're not hearing everything.

Ahnko Honu
08-17-2009, 06:53 AM
Get the best of both worlds- laminate sides and back, solid top. The solid spruce, and cedar top KALAs have a good rep for stability as well as great sound and quality.

Bradford
08-17-2009, 03:13 PM
You could also consider getting a uke with a top of Port Orford cedar or alaskan yellow cedar. Both woods are extremely stable when it comes to humidity changes.
Brad

Boozelele
08-17-2009, 06:30 PM
I really like the looks of the new Ohai Pono tenors, but not sure if that would be a good one for my area.

I think the Ohai's are very thick and strong...but in exchange you sacrifice sound quality and resonance (in my opinion).


Hey Bradford...isn't that Port Orford Cedar also reffered to as "oregon willow", or "Oregon cedar", or something with "Oregon" in it? Or maybe I'm thinking of something else. I'm old and I get confused.

Rick Turner
08-17-2009, 06:44 PM
Get a uke build in a humidity controlled environment of below 50%. Get a uke made in Phoenix if you can find one.

clayton56
08-17-2009, 10:50 PM
I'm not sure if it translates to soundboards, but mahogany is very stable and it used in guitar necks and backs strictly because of that.

I have a piece of curly maple that developed lots of cracks, but I have never seen that with mahogany.

Bradford
08-18-2009, 07:18 AM
Port Orford cedar may be called Oregon cedar, I doubt it would be called Oregon willow. It is almost extinct. The existing stands have been hit by a fungal disease. The tribes are trying to save them and I hope they succeed.

Brad

Ahnko Honu
08-18-2009, 08:11 AM
I seems that Acacia is developing a notoriety as an unstable wood with Cordoba, Lehua, and Koa Pili Koko the makes that have experienced cracking problems in the past in drier areas though here in Hawaii my KPK has not experience any problems due to moist sea breezes. I'm not sure if it's the Acacia wood itself or just the use of wood that is still "green" which causes this problem. I have not heard of any cracking problems with the New Acacia Kala 'ukulele though they have not been on the market long. The Ohai wood 'ukulele seem to have issues. I would suggest a nice Mahogany if you must go solid.

Gaby
08-19-2009, 02:55 AM
Koaloha has a 'better than the weather guarantee' - check out details and conditions on their site.

Rick's suggestion has a lot of merit too; you'll find that most makers will use wood that can handle the climate the instruments are built in.

molinee
08-19-2009, 05:53 PM
Thanks Everyone..... I will do some more thinking on this subject. I live in Colorado where humidity in my area can be 20-30 percent most of the time. I wonder if it is possible to slowly ween your solid wood ukulele off of its moisture level over a period of say a year or two??? Or maybe it's all a crap shoot.... :)

clayton56
08-20-2009, 10:21 PM
Thanks Everyone..... I will do some more thinking on this subject. I live in Colorado where humidity in my area can be 20-30 percent most of the time. I wonder if it is possible to slowly ween your solid wood ukulele off of its moisture level over a period of say a year or two??? Or maybe it's all a crap shoot.... :)

I wouldn't try that, when wood shrinks, it shrinks. Try humidifiers. I heard that Antonio Carlos Jobim used to put his guitar in the bathroom when he took a shower.

What about storing your ukes in a cabinet? You could caulk it and put a humidifier in it. It could be a cheap Home Depot type of thing.

molinee
08-22-2009, 07:43 PM
I wouldn't try that, when wood shrinks, it shrinks. Try humidifiers. I heard that Antonio Carlos Jobim used to put his guitar in the bathroom when he took a shower.

What about storing your ukes in a cabinet? You could caulk it and put a humidifier in it. It could be a cheap Home Depot type of thing.

Yes I am using a humidifier right now for some guitars and ukuleles. Keeping it in the 45-50 percent range.... Still is a pain messing with it. Getting lazy in my old age.

Pippin
08-22-2009, 10:17 PM
High-Quality laminated ukes have their place, for sure. Colorado is one of them. :)