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Clobbersaurus
05-08-2011, 02:54 PM
I'm kind of confused about this. When I think of a laminated uke, I think of something very glossy. Is that correct? But what would a satin finish be? Do the majority of ukes have a finish, or are they just sanded smoothly?

Also, does something like a satin finish affect the sound like a laminate would?

If my thinking here is wrong, I apologize, I am just trying to learn. Thanks for any help.

-Jesse

SweetWaterBlue
05-08-2011, 03:05 PM
Laminated doesn't refer to the finish - it refers to whether the wood is solid or a laminate (basically a fancy plywood). You can buy solid wood ukes with gloss or matte finishes, and the same is true of laminate ukes. In general, solid wood ukes sound better, but are more expensive.

There are some that think matte finishes sound better, but my understanding is that modern finishes are so thin (if not overly applied) that it doesn't seem to make much difference.

kissing
05-08-2011, 06:40 PM
You must've been thinking of laminating paper, where you coat it in plastic.
Satin finish ukes, I believe, also have a thin layer of coating. I don't think there would be a uke that has no coating at all.

The type of wood, setup and strings are the big factors of the uke's overall sound, but the finish does make a difference too.
A satin uke *tends* sound a bit more open and crisp, whereas a gloss uke *tends* to sound a bit more rounded and mellow. However, difficult to generalise due to many factors.

GKK
05-08-2011, 07:28 PM
Laminate Uke's generally refer to the Body only (the figure 8 shaped part).

Most Laminate Uke's are made with an inexpensive thin plywood layer with a nicer looking layer of wood such as Mahogany bonded as the top layer that you see, which is usually descibed as a Laminate Mahogany, Laminate Koa, Laminate Cedar etc...

Some Uke's have a Solid Top only with Laminate sides and back. Described as, Solid Spruce top, Solid Cedar top, Solid Koa top etc...

Solid wood Uke's will be described as Solid Koa, Solid Mahogany, Solid Maple etc...

All uke's can have either a Gloss finish or Satin finish which doesn't affect the sound.

Pippin
05-08-2011, 10:32 PM
There are some very finely made laminated ukes where the outer layer is a very high-grade of wood, sometimes highly decorative. Some very nice laminated ukes are coming from Japan these days.

Clobbersaurus
05-09-2011, 09:00 AM
Thank you all so much for the replies. Just when I thought I knew enough to get going....

ichadwick
05-09-2011, 09:37 AM
...does something like a satin finish affect the sound like a laminate would?
Most urethane finishes are the same material - satin merely has some de-lusterizing chemical added. It's not the visual appearance that matters as much as the thickness of the finish. Any plastic finish constricts the movement of the top somewhat.

Lamination refers to the use of plywood in the top, back and sides, not the finish.

Tudorp
05-09-2011, 11:09 AM
Like said here. Laminate is basically "plywood". But, that does not nessisarily mean cheap. Plywood is just thin wood sheets glued together to make "plys" very similar as a "ply" in a tire. 4 ply tire just means it if 4 thin layers of rubber or other material fused together. Same as "Ply" wood. it simply refers to it being thin sheets laminated together to make a substrate. Plywood is better in more rugged conditions, because they make the grains of each sheet opposing each other, so there is less cracking invloved, or the risk of cracking. The qulaity of the laminated wood reflects the quality of the plywood. I mean, if you laminate exotic woods together, it is going to be pretty expensive. In instruments, they use lessor quality (as far as cosmetic) and the top sheet being very cosmetic because that is the layer seen, and will have the final finish on it. laminates is steriotyped as being cheap. But, it isn't always the case. Depends of the type of plywood used. There are some lams, more expensive, and just as nice as a solid wood.

Finish, is the coating on the wood. They all should have some sort of finish on it, to seal the wood, and the grain. Gloss, and satin is just the sheen of it. Some use a satin finish, some use a gloss. But, all guitars should have a finish on it. With guitars, I have known people to sand the finish off the neck because they thought it felt smoother for sliding up and down the neck and easier to "shred". Only to cry about it later, because their neck warped. It warped, because without the finish that sealed the wood, let the wood be more delicate to it's enviornment and humidity, or lack there of, making it go from extreamly dry, to extreamly moist. Not to meantion soaking in hand and finer oils, and bacterias. The wood needs to be sealed, and there are many finishes to do that with, even paint.

longboardsurfing
05-09-2011, 01:27 PM
As has been stated, there are many fine sounding laminated instruments. In fact, some of the finest arch top guitars ever made used laminated woods. The one thing with laminated woods though is that they do not mature and open up like solid woods. Solid instruments can continue to open up and sound better with play and age, where the tone of a laminated instrument when new is pretty much what you can expect it to sound like over time.

Finish thickness is the thing that most impacts tone, not gloss or matte.

Clobbersaurus
05-09-2011, 02:05 PM
Wow. There is so much to it. This with this and this but this. haha It's amazing.

Thank you, again, for these replies. It's incredible how something so small can be affected by so much.

Let me ask this: if I got a solid Acacia uke with a satin finish, what would be my concerns? Since it is a satin finish on solid Acacia, would this be a uke that I would have to worry about storing in a safe temperature? (I'm thinking yes, but I was off with all of this just yesterday, so I want to be sure).

Pippin
05-09-2011, 02:17 PM
Wow. There is so much to it. This with this and this but this. haha It's amazing.

Thank you, again, for these replies. It's incredible how something so small can be affected by so much.

Let me ask this: if I got a solid Acacia uke with a satin finish, what would be my concerns? Since it is a satin finish on solid Acacia, would this be a uke that I would have to worry about storing in a safe temperature? (I'm thinking yes, but I was off with all of this just yesterday, so I want to be sure).

If you live in high elevation or a dry climate, Acacia is known for cracking unless it is properly humidified. You would want to keep the instrument in about 50 percent relative humidity to keep it safe.

Tudorp
05-09-2011, 02:26 PM
Wow. There is so much to it. This with this and this but this. haha It's amazing.

Thank you, again, for these replies. It's incredible how something so small can be affected by so much.

Let me ask this: if I got a solid Acacia uke with a satin finish, what would be my concerns? Since it is a satin finish on solid Acacia, would this be a uke that I would have to worry about storing in a safe temperature? (I'm thinking yes, but I was off with all of this just yesterday, so I want to be sure).

ANY solid wood take much intricate care, and attention to heat, cold, but more critical humidity. If it goes through allot of extreme changes in temps and humidity, you have to worry about the wood splitting. Not such a worry with Lams. Satin, and Gloss makes no difference with that, it is only the sheen of the finish like I mentioned above. The sheen of it is purly cosmetic and subject to personal tastes in appearence. My personal is satin, but then again, I like the looks of a nice gloss as well. Again, that is purely cosmetic and up to personal choice.

Clobbersaurus
05-09-2011, 02:29 PM
If you live in high elevation or a dry climate, Acacia is known for cracking unless it is properly humidified. You would want to keep the instrument in about 50 percent relative humidity to keep it safe.

That kind of frightens me. I live in a bit high up in New Jersey where the weather is a mess so much of the time. Super high's and super low's. Should I not consider an Acacia because of this? This is going to be my first uke, and I don't know that much about taking extra care of one, let alone one that needs to be in a certain climate. I thought I saw a chart once of climates that were good for uke's, or did I dream it?

Tudorp
05-09-2011, 02:42 PM
That kind of frightens me. I live in a bit high up in New Jersey where the weather is a mess so much of the time. Super high's and super low's. Should I not consider an Acacia because of this? This is going to be my first uke, and I don't know that much about taking extra care of one, let alone one that needs to be in a certain climate. I thought I saw a chart once of climates that were good for uke's, or did I dream it?

if thats what ya want, then go for it. they are nice. Just know that they do take more care. If you are worried about it, go for something cheaper to learn on, or a lam. I like solids, but Lams are not a bad thing like some think. just get ya a humidifier and a gauge, and just keep up on it in the case. and keep it in the case when not playing it. after awhile, you will pretty much know when it is suffering, and it will be 2nd nature to care for it.
Dont rule it out, just be aware, and take percautions..