View Full Version : Wood Selection For Ukes

Vic D
08-27-2010, 03:41 PM
I'm building mostly with poplar. I can tell the mahogany sounds fuller and deeper by tapping. I can't use mahogany for what I want to do which is use local sustainable woods... I don't think I need to expain further, please voice your opinions.

OK, I'm explaining further... lol, luvs you peeps,
I kinda wanna try oak but I dunno, I can tell the mahogany is just perfect for carrying vibrations continuously througout wheras the oak seems like it can be all over the map. I dunno. I can just see the continuity in the tubes of the mahogany you know? you can tell it has a superiour cellular struture for carrying sound. I hope this makes sense as I really don't know what I'm talking about.
Poplar has a very nice tap tone but the fibers seem condensed.. it might take some real close obervations to bring out the best sound in poplar.

A soprano uke's mahogany sides top and back are .60 or less by the pros... i'm building my poplars around .65 and feathering on the edges but they don't sound near as loud or deep by the tap tone... should I try going .60-.55 or so?

I'm kinda bummed out by my obeservations... I think I'll try to go thinner and brace better. But don't get me wrong... poplar has a sweet tone. The necks I've mad from poplar feel slick and evenly weighted in my hand.. It just feels and sounds real nice, I just gotta make it loud.

08-28-2010, 08:41 AM
Where are you? Maple and cherry are normally plentiful and are such great sounding timbers for small instruments that here is no reason to use Poplar, which I think is a nice timber but not that great for ukes. (I use true poplar on my kanteles for its sound absorbsion properties, but here in the UK American poplar gets used in harpsichords in lieu of real Poplar)

Vic D
08-28-2010, 08:43 AM
Yep, I'm gonna do some maple soon. I guess I'm gonna have to hear a cherry uke up close and personal, but from what I've heard through recordings... I hate to say it but I'm not impressed at all. It's like when a dog hears a sound that irritates his ears and he howls, that's my reaction to cherry ukes, but the cherry Martin guitars sound great, maybe cherry needs to be treated different when bracing... I much prefer the sound of poplar over cherry. These questions I've pretty much already answered, what I don't understand is how I can even type after 15 beers...

"luvs you peeps" lol... I'm a mess.

08-28-2010, 03:11 PM
Try walnut. If you ever want to drive an hour west, I can get you up close and personal with a walnut, mahogany and rosewood uke for side by side comparison. I will be heading out to my local mill to pickup some 8/4 walnut in the next week or so if you want a chunk. I love it.

If you are wanting to be "green" then I can suggest a plaque manufacturer locally that sells reject mahogany plaques for a couple bucks per board. I go out there every so often and run through his stack to find a dozen or so boards. He'll cut them up for firewood if he doesn't sell them right off.