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Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 07:06 AM
I know that this has been discussed before, but here goes...

I'm interested in picking up another soprano uke and I'm looking for a very specific sound... I'd like it to be warm and crisp, loud and very clear in tone.. This one is going to be a Mainland... BUT I can't decide on whether to get a Red Cedar or Mahogany model.

Any opinions? I know that Mahogany is more mellow and sweet sounding. It seems like the Red Cedar sounds somewhat thin in videos. Anyone own both?

Thanks!

hmgberg
08-14-2011, 10:06 AM
I think the cedar is more likely to meet your requirements than mahogany. I would think that spruce wold be even crisper and cleaner, but not warm. Mainland makes a spruce top, but I think it is only available as a concert. Not sure though. You really can't judge too accurately by videos.

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 10:13 AM
Exactly! I agree completely with not being able to judge by videos, I've come to rely on the input of the awesome UU community instead :D.

There are many unknown variables that come into play with recording a piece of music (i.e. the mic, strings used, etc;), it's certainly difficult to tell. I kind of had the same thought, that the red cedar might suit me the best..

I guess I have some thinking to do.

Thanks!

itsme
08-14-2011, 10:16 AM
Well, since you've narrowed it down, within your criteria I'd go for the cedar.

Otherwise I'd say look into the Kala thinline spruce top. My tenor is very loud, crisp and clear. :)

PhilUSAFRet
08-14-2011, 10:20 AM
FYI: There were some Kala Thinline travel sopranos with nice case on Ebay (they had 3) were demos at a festival somewhere for $125. Shipping $19.95 though.

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 10:20 AM
Well, since you've narrowed it down, within your criteria I'd go for the cedar.

Otherwise I'd say look into the Kala thinline spruce top. My tenor is very loud, crisp and clear. :)

I really like the look of that uke (the soprano version), but I find it almost impossible to play and do chord transitions without the headstock diving head-first to the ground. It sounds a bit thin tonally, but has a very unique and bright sound that I do enjoy. Did you replace the tuners? I'm sure that the issue isn't quite as bad on the tenor version though. Thanks for the suggestion!

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 10:30 AM
FYI: There were some Kala Thinline travel sopranos with nice case on Ebay (they had 3) were demos at a festival somewhere for $125. Shipping $19.95 though.

That's a great deal! I think it's a great size since I'm currently traveling between different countries and sacrificing weight is a good thing. I just can't imagine what Kala was thinking when they put sealed geared tuners on that model. IMO, some nice lightweight open-geared tuners would work just as well and save some of the weight. I don't think that friction pegs would look the part, they'd make the headstock thicker than the body.

itsme
08-14-2011, 10:32 AM
I really like the look of that uke (the soprano version), but I find it almost impossible to play and do chord transitions without the headstock diving head-first to the ground. It sounds a bit thin tonally, but has a very unique and bright sound that I do enjoy. Did you replace the tuners? I'm sure that the issue isn't quite as bad on the tenor version though. Thanks for the suggestion!
No, didn't replace the tuners and never really noticed an issue with weight. I suppose it's doable but beyond my capabilities, which pretty much stop with changing strings. :)

I also play sitting down with the uke braced on my leg, so that keeps it more stable. You might try a strap.

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 10:42 AM
Haha, I hear you there :D. I'm the same way, I've been playing guitar for over 7 years and uke for almost 1... The most that I ever learned to do as far as maintenance/ repair goes, is minor truss rod adjustments and string changes. I don't even feel comfortable with changing parts on my instruments, I prefer to keep the stock tuners on it and just play the damn thing.

joejeweler
08-14-2011, 11:22 AM
I think the cedar is more likely to meet your requirements than mahogany. I would think that spruce would be even crisper and cleaner, but not warm. Mainland makes a spruce top, but I think it is only available as a concert. Not sure though. You really can't judge too accurately by videos.

Yep,...you're right about the spruce top,.....crisp and clean of tone, but not especially warm. Nice tone, but a bit
different than you might expect from a cedar, or even some koa topped ukes.

My Ron Saul concert is lightly built with flame koa B/S, and a thin and lightly braced fine grain one piece spruce top.
The volumn is loud, with notes that jump out at you, (especially at the mid position frets where usually there is a noticable volumn drop off), and it plays really easy with it's 15-5/16" scale.

........just not as warm in tone as my all koa MB Soprano. Cedar top all the more so if you get the chance to play one.

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 11:27 AM
Wow! That is one beautiful soprano! :D. It's hard to believe what Chuck Moore is capable of, his instruments are just absolutely stunning. I can't wait to own one of his ukes someday.

joejeweler
08-14-2011, 11:29 AM
Haha, I hear you there :D. I'm the same way, I've been playing guitar for over 7 years and uke for almost 1... The most that I ever learned to do as far as maintenance/ repair goes, is minor truss rod adjustments and string changes. I don't even feel comfortable with changing parts on my instruments, I prefer to keep the stock tuners on it and just play the damn thing.

Doing repairs and tinkering come easy to me. I've even got what i think is a patent-able idea that i'm working on now that looks really promising, and should carry over to several types of stringed instruments. Can't say much more right now, .........if i did i'd have to kill ya! I'm going to send some paperwork to a patent attorney next week.

This vailed notice serves to set a time line, of sorts, and i think i will be naming it "TNT". Keep an eye out in a few months, hopefully.

Once i'm somewhat protected with patent-pending status i can get into it in more detail. :rotfl::uhoh::rotfl:

.....but it most certainly has not "all been done"!

However, i've been playing acoustic guitars on and off for 35 years,.....and very little over the last year or two. I picked up one of my guitars the other day, and wow,...did it feel fat and wide NECKED! All the ukulele playing over the last few months had really conditioned my hands and neuron control bank (ie,...brain) to a whole new neighborhood!

The guitars felt SO strange,.....so foreign,.......like i hadn't ever played! (sounded like it too for a little while. lol )

........it was an awful wake up call that i have to spend more time with my gee-tars!

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 11:46 AM
Same here! I was living in Saipan and my guitar got damaged while I was playing some music (strap broke), it left me without a guitar. The CNMI is also where I was introduced to playing the ukulele..

Well, I haven't been playing guitar since then. I love guitar, but it's not exactly easy to travel around the world with one.. let alone Taipei Shih, it's so busy here! Even something like the Baby Taylor is HUGE compared to a soprano uke. I picked up a 3/4ths travel guitar recently, and THAT felt huge.

Whatever you're working on, it sounds like something BIG! I wish you the best of luck on your pending patent and I'm happy you won't have to kill me because my ukes wouldn't know what to do without me.

rem50
08-14-2011, 11:59 AM
You might want to look at the sailor sopranos. I have a mahogany top with eucalyptus back and sides and it sounds just like the sound you said you were looking for. Pics of mine are on his facebook page. Just a thought.

joejeweler
08-14-2011, 12:02 PM
Same here! I was living in Saipan and my guitar got damaged while I was playing some music (strap broke), it left me without a guitar. The CNMI is also where I was introduced to playing the ukulele..

Well, I haven't been playing guitar since then. I love guitar, but it's not exactly easy to travel around the world with one.. let alone Taipei Shih, it's so busy here! Even something like the Baby Taylor is HUGE compared to a soprano uke. I picked up a 3/4ths travel guitar recently, and THAT felt huge.

Whatever you're working on, it sounds like something BIG! I wish you the best of luck on your pending patent and I'm happy you won't have to kill me because my ukes wouldn't know what to do without me.

Thanks,...and you're safe! (for now!!! :D)

......i believe it's something that most EVERY guitar (steel string and classical), ukulele, mandolin, and probably a few other instruments can benefit from. I'm hoping to strictly license it, however, to as many instrument makers as
possible. Don't need much per instrument for using the license either,....even $10 to $20 per instrument means a lot when you figure the huge numbers of just guitars that Martin, Taylor, and Gibson put out.

I read somewhere that Martin puts out maybe 75,000 guitars a year, Taylor 35-40,000, and Gibson much less in the
acoustic line. The license fees will be offset by savings in material and labor, so in effect the manufactures will be
getting it for FREE!

Then the smaller individual makers can get in there too. :shaka:

It'll be up to each maker how they want to specifically implement the changes. I'm sure a lot of R&D will be done
to optimize the basic methodology, .......but you have to start with a seed before you can grow the tree. :cheers:

delray48209
08-14-2011, 06:26 PM
Have you played an Ohana Vita? I think it might be what your looking for in sound.

http://www.ohana-music.com/conc/ckp70r/master.html

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 08:19 PM
You might want to look at the sailor sopranos. I have a mahogany top with eucalyptus back and sides and it sounds just like the sound you said you were looking for. Pics of mine are on his facebook page. Just a thought.

Thanks for the suggestion! Mike is a great guy and the Sailor line of sopranos look like a great value. I had spoken with him about getting one with geared tuners or pegheds, but there's currently a bit of a wait and even the stock models are sold out. I need to purchase soon, so I'll probably be looking at a Mainland or something similar. My preference would be: soprano size, geared tuners, 15+ frets, all-solid, bone nut & saddle, under 420$ (with international shipping and a case)... That seems to pretty much describe the Mainlands lol.

Ataraxia
08-14-2011, 08:20 PM
Have you played an Ohana Vita? I think it might be what your looking for in sound.

http://www.ohana-music.com/conc/ckp70r/master.html

I'm not a fan of the look, but I'm going to check out some videos! I bet it has a really interesting and unique sound due to the shape/ sound hole design.

rem50
08-16-2011, 03:26 PM
Thanks for the suggestion! Mike is a great guy and the Sailor line of sopranos look like a great value. I had spoken with him about getting one with geared tuners or pegheds, but there's currently a bit of a wait and even the stock models are sold out. I need to purchase soon, so I'll probably be looking at a Mainland or something similar. My preference would be: soprano size, geared tuners, 15+ frets, all-solid, bone nut & saddle, under 420$ (with international shipping and a case)... That seems to pretty much describe the Mainlands lol.
If you are that hungry then feed the need:) There is a wait. I waited 12 weeks for mine but there were complications I heard and I had inlaying being done. It was well worth the wait though!