View Full Version : Question about ukulele volume

shane v
03-02-2011, 02:48 PM
I recently bought a mahogany Pono tenor (mt-e). I love the tone of the uke, but it doesn't have that much volume acoustically. It sounds great through an amp... This may be a stupid question, but is there anything I can do to increase the volume?..I've tried changing the strings. Started with Worth clears and switched to Aquila's. Didn't seem to increase the volume much...any ideas? Thanks

p.s. also, does anyone know of a good tenor uke with good acoustic volume ?..I was thinking of getting a mahogany tenor Fluke...any advice?

03-02-2011, 02:53 PM
Hmm, I'm not sure what your reference point is, but of course, an ukulele is going to have less volume than an acoustic guitar. I've had no problem w the voume on my Pono PKT when I had it, esp after Aquilas. However, I will agree that it isn't optimized for volume like a KoAloha Tenor.

I think the Flukes with Aquilas can get pretty loud. Definitely try it out, b/c Flukes are cool. :)

shane v
03-02-2011, 02:55 PM
Well, I had a Mainland mahogany tenor before the Pono, and it seemed quite a bit louder....

03-02-2011, 06:22 PM
I think it has a lot to do with the type of wood and the amount of bracing. My loudest uke is a Ohana cedar/rosewood with less bracing than my other ukes. The Ponos I've seen have quite "heavy" internal bracing.
Strum on

03-03-2011, 02:52 AM
Yeah, the lightest built uke I have by a mile is the Howlett Helsinki Uke, and it's by a mile the loudest I have. It's also the smallest. The quietest uke I ever played was this POS generic one in a music store, and the quietest ukes I ever had were a Pono PTO and PCO.

Helsinki Uke: Loudest
Flea: Louder
Mainland concert: Louder
Kanile'a superconcert: Loud
Kala jazz tenor: Just about silent right now until new PU gets here
Eleuke: Quietest until plugged in

All my ukes but the jazz tenor (which isn't fair because it's not intended to be loud unplugged) are loud enough. I weeded out the more silent voices. :)

03-03-2011, 04:11 AM
Your uke "is what it is" so nothing you can do physically to change that.

What is your strumming style like (and how long and tough are your fingernails) - you will get more volume strumming with strong nails and adapting your "attack"

Ukulele JJ
03-03-2011, 06:53 AM
You can also try holding the uke a bit more "away" from your body--or at the very least, not pressing it up against your chest too firmly.


03-03-2011, 08:22 AM
p.s. also, does anyone know of a good tenor uke with good acoustic volume ?..I was thinking of getting a mahogany tenor Fluke...any advice?

My Kala thinline travel tenor with Aquila strings is loud. Fleas and flukes are also loud.

shane v
03-03-2011, 08:29 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions and info guys! I really appreciate it...I'll give them a try..

@pauljmuk...I've started to let my index finger nail grow out, so hopefully that will add a little volume...thanks!

03-03-2011, 12:38 PM
I have a Y2K 100% koa Standard KoAloha. Several months ago, I restrung it with Worth Brown Mediums. Took a long time for those strings to settle in. Nonetheless, the sound is amazing--especially when it's in tune (ha ha!). Volume and tone seem off the charts! Almost shrill, but not really that bad. Might even call it "intense."

When it comes to strumming style, I agree with Pauljmuk on the matter of fingernails and attack. You will get more volume. Oh, don't limit yourself to growing only your index finger nail. A four-finger rake attack will generate tons of volume--especially if you're jamming on reggae tunes.

03-03-2011, 02:14 PM
I had read the comment about someone's electric ukulele being soft when it isn't plugged in as being tongue-in-cheek. It's definitely difficult to convey subtle forms of humor in writing over the Internet.