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View Full Version : Whaddabout 'True' Archtops?



rabbit
05-10-2011, 05:40 AM
I did a lazy search for archtops & got Kala & Collings, and
the Kala isn't a 'true archtop.' So, shoot me if I'm wrong.

I'll bet a true archtop 'lele, with 'violin bridge' , 'trapeze' tailpiece
and everstuff would make a swell instrument.
Probably can be pressed & not carved to work just fine.

Comments from the cognoscenti?

Paul December
05-10-2011, 07:10 AM
:confused: The Kala is arched inside & out .... why not a "true" archtop?

rabbit
05-10-2011, 08:01 AM
Wrong bridge, no tailpiece. Sorry, different mechanics.

Teek
05-10-2011, 08:10 AM
I think rabbit means it should have a metal tailpiece for the strings and a floating bridge.

Check out Bradford's threads in the luthier forum about building (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?19423-Building-an-arch-top-ukulele&highlight=archtop) a true archtop (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?32134-Arch-top-soprano-for-Daniel&highlight=archtop) ukulele. It's very cool, and he does beautiful work. He's the guy to call for a spectacular archtop.

Tudorp
05-10-2011, 08:47 AM
Are ya asking opinions on archtops in general, or what our perception of one is?

I guess anything that has an arched top could be called one. But, when I hear the term, I think of a stringed instrument built like a traditional violin. Hollow bodied, steam curved, or carved top and/or bottom, tailpiece, floating fretboard.

Pippin
05-10-2011, 09:14 AM
"True" archtop ukes are very rare. In fact, historically, there were very few. So, I'd love to see some. The problem is hardware is tough to find in that size. It is hard enough to get for guitars, let alone ukes.

okie dokie
05-10-2011, 09:21 AM
I did a lazy search for archtops & got Kala & Collings, and
the Kala isn't a 'true archtop.' So, shoot me if I'm wrong.

I'll bet a true archtop 'lele, with 'violin bridge' , 'trapeze' tailpiece
and everstuff would make a swell instrument.
Probably can be pressed & not carved to work just fine.

Comments from the cognoscenti?

Does this qualify...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Solid-Wood-Arch-Top-Ukulele-Tenor-w-MOP-Inlay-UTT-71-/190531937413?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5c96a485

Tudorp
05-10-2011, 09:22 AM
Ironically, I will be adding one to my inventory soon. I plan to add the model to my lineup. Pretty nice, and can't wait to get it set up.

Pippin
05-10-2011, 09:27 AM
Does this qualify...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Solid-Wood-Arch-Top-Ukulele-Tenor-w-MOP-Inlay-UTT-71-/190531937413?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5c96a485

Well, yes it qualifies, but I'd be reluctant to buy given the source.

rabbit
05-10-2011, 09:47 AM
'Preciate the responses y'all.

Teek,
Thanks for the link, it'll take some time to glean.
'Floating Bridge' IS the correct term, I learned 'violin bridge' somewhere
tho' and it stuck; musical in a way.

okie dokie,
That is a beautiful example & I especially like the thin profile.
Certainly too rich for me, more on that below.
Thanks for the link.

Tudorp,
Glad you're adding one, I look forward to seeing it.

I guess I'm snooping around AND trying to raise the consciousness
of mass builders & marketers to my peculiar tastes.

Lessee, broader, thinner (nice under the arm, adequate internal volume,)
pressed top (more economical, possibly better if amplified) and a nice
back angle, radius & tall enough frets at a mass manufacture price.

I feel better already. Thank you, one & all.

allanr
05-10-2011, 11:09 AM
Hmmm.... I wonder what that archtop would sound like with steel strings and a coil pickup? Might be my next project.

brucemoffatt
05-10-2011, 11:29 AM
Hmmm.... I wonder what that archtop would sound like with steel strings and a coil pickup? Might be my next project.

Much like a four string mandolin I expect.

thejumpingflea
05-10-2011, 11:40 AM
Mike DaSilva has made a prototype (http://ukemaker.com/images/UkeGallery/239-CACustom-2048.jpg).

OldePhart
05-10-2011, 01:38 PM
Well, yes it qualifies, but I'd be reluctant to buy given the source.

Yeah, I'd say it qualifies as an archtop. I'm not so sure it qualifies as a ukulele, though! LOL

Bradford
05-10-2011, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the link to DaSilva's archtop, Mike has seen and played a couple of mine and that is a nice looking instrument. Here are a couple of comments on some of the posts in this thread and based on 27 years experience with carved top instruments including building close to one hundred mandolins, eleven guitars and six ukuleles so far. Making a good arch top instrument is both labor and materials intensive. Yes, you can steam and press a laminate into an arched shape, but they do not sound very good in my experience. The secret to making a good sounding arch top instrument is in the correct graduating of the thicknesses of the top and back. They are thicker in the middle than they are close to the edge, by about a ratio of two to one. The subtle carving of the recurve area has a large influence on how they vibrate. In the production of sound, the back is an equal partner with the top, and because it does not have any string tension to support and is often a harder wood, it is carved about 20% thinner. The ukuleles that I have made have been loud initially with less sustain than a flat top, just like an arch top jazz guitar. As has been pointed out, hardware for these is not readily available, so you need to fabricate or modify your own. In my experience so far, these are specialized instruments, not really suited to mass market appeal, but in the hands of the right player, are capable of marvelous expression.

Brad