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JohnBoy
05-07-2008, 05:09 PM
I need a little help again. I have decided to buy my second uke. This one will be a concert. As I have started looking I have found that some concerts have 14 frets to the body and others have 12. Why the difference? Are those with 12 frets to the body true concerts? Will the spacing between the frets be wider if there are 14? Any help will be appreciated.

Keonikapila
05-07-2008, 05:17 PM
I need a little help again. I have decided to buy my second uke. This one will be a concert. As I have started looking I have found that some concerts have 14 frets to the body and others have 12. Why the difference? Are those with 12 frets to the body true concerts? Will the spacing between the frets be wider if there are 14? Any help will be appreciated.

The scale length is what determines if a uke is soprano, concert, tenor, baritone...A concert scale is a concert scale, regardless of whether it has 12 or 14 frets to the body, so your fret width will be the same. The difference will either be a slightly smaller body, or a higher bridge position (closer to the soundhole) on the soundboard. If you're planing on hitting a lot of those higher notes, a 14-fret to the body uke will make it easier to do.

JohnBoy
05-07-2008, 05:25 PM
So if I understand right...A concert with 14 frets to the body will mean that the bridge is set closer to the sound hole. Does that have any affect on the sound? If so,what?

Keonikapila
05-07-2008, 05:32 PM
So if I understand right...A concert with 14 frets to the body will mean that the bridge is set closer to the sound hole. Does that have any affect on the sound? If so,what?

Or it could be a slightly smaller body. If it does effect the sound, I doubt it would be anything drastic (if it did have a negative effect, the 14-fret-to-body practice would've probably been died off a while ago).

I'm no luthier, but I would assume that moving the bridge closer to the center of the soundboard would actually improve the tone, since the wood would theoretically vibrate more freely (as an example, hitting a drum in the center as opposed to hitting it near the sides)

GX9901
05-07-2008, 05:54 PM
Or it could be a slightly smaller body. If it does effect the sound, I doubt it would be anything drastic (if it did have a negative effect, the 14-fret-to-body practice would've probably been died off a while ago).

I'm no luthier, but I would assume that moving the bridge closer to the center of the soundboard would actually improve the tone, since the wood would theoretically vibrate more freely (as an example, hitting a drum in the center as opposed to hitting it near the sides)

Actually, from what I've gathered, the opposite is true. On a 12-frets-to-the-body uke, the bridge is in a more ideal location, which is pretty much the center of the soundboard between the soundhole and the bottom. Some luthiers (for example Dave Means of Glyph and William King) will only make 14-frets-to-the body ukes with a long scale (slightly longer than standard scale length) so that the bridge falls on this ideal spot. The effects of moving the bridge up toward the soundhole for a regular scale 14-fret-to-the-body instrument is debatable though. I mean, Ko'olau make 14 fret ukes all the time without using a longer scale, as does many other makers.

Kekani
05-07-2008, 09:13 PM
Depends on the builder, and what he (or she) wants to do with the scale and where the saddle is placed. There are some that say the 12 fret Martin Tenors have a sound the 14 fretters don't.

Many ways to go about it - you can make a 12 and 14 sound exactly the same by assuring placement of the saddle is the same. Of course, this is assuming the builder knows how to make the box exactly the same, bracing is the same, even though there will be differing dimensions.

Personally, most 12 fret `ukulele sound too small, while, all things being equal, the 14's tend to have more complexity, resonance and sustain. Of course, everything is never equal, and I find the mainland builders tend to lean their Tenors towards the Standard/Concert chalangalang type of sound, where the local builders lean towards, for lack of a better term, instruments with guitar-like qualities. One is not necessarily better or worse, its just a thing.

Then you get something out of the box, like a KoAloha Tenor - 15 frets to the neck.
http://www.koaloha.com/KoAloha_Products/TenorStd.html

TokyoUketarist
05-07-2008, 11:24 PM
As you get better at solos you'll wish you had more frets.
I started with a cheap soprano and soon outgrew it. Go for the 14 frets!
You can never have enough IMHO!:)

JohnBoy
05-08-2008, 02:56 AM
I am amazed at all the variations that go into the design of a uke! I guess this is just another reason to play one BEFORE you buy it. I wish I lived in the islands. Oh well...next Feb. I will be there with fire in my eyes and a burning in my wallet! In the meantime I will just buy a less expensive concert so I can compare it to my tenor.