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View Full Version : It took me a long time to realise that ....



parker coleman
03-03-2010, 10:59 AM
A quote from Pete Howlett....so true "It took me a long time to realise that a good ukulele was one that had been thinned to almost destruction. I'm still working towards it..."

DogBisquit
03-03-2010, 05:04 PM
Sounds like Willie Nelson's guitar.

Yorito
03-03-2010, 07:00 PM
A good uke is one that will grow old with you. We all show our age after a while. :P

buddhuu
03-03-2010, 10:41 PM
A quote from Pete Howlett....so true "It took me a long time to realise that a good ukulele was one that had been thinned to almost destruction. I'm still working towards it..."
Yup. True of many, if not most, acoustic instruments. A big variable is the point at which destruction occurs.

'Ukuleles are relatively low tension instruments. I've not built one yet, but I expect the top/belly on a uke should be able to survive more extreme thinning than a mandolin or guitar.

The bridges on ukes and mandolins exert different kinds of forces on the tops. Mando tops have to endure scary downward force, which is why even "flat topped" mandos in reality have at least a shallow induced arch to lend strength against that downward push. 'Ukulele and flat top guitar bridges try to twist: the tail side of the bridge wants to come up, while the neck side of the bridge pushes down. That's the reason for that "bellying" phenomenon seen on some ukes.

The quest for thinner tops is one of the motivations behind the huge range of weird and wonderful bracing systems to be found in acoustic instruments. I'm just getting the wood together for a couple of builds (mandolin and octave mandolin or maybe 'zouk) and the two biggest dilemmas for me are choosing a bracing design that will allow a nice thin top (jury's still out), and deciding on what kind of neck joint to use. For the neck I'm thinking glue-reinforced bolt-on or Spanish one-piece at the moment. I'm not good with dovetails.

Pete's videos on uke construction are totally essential viewing. Brilliant stuff, and he has the sense to recognise and adopt good techniques recommended by other builders where appropriate - Chuck's barrel nut bolt-on neck joint, for example.

hoosierhiver
03-04-2010, 02:17 AM
Very true, I've been great sounding ukes that had the top bowed in slightly from the tension because it was so thin.