View Full Version : Body Shape?

Paul December
10-15-2011, 11:49 AM
I recently saw some vintage ukes and their upper and lower bouts were closer in size than what is usually done nowadays. I couldn't find pics, but noticed that Compass Rose does something similar. Does this shape have a name? Are there some disadvantages to explain why you don't see it too often? I kind of dig the looks, does anyone else make ukes this shape?

10-15-2011, 07:16 PM
Very good question!

First, as to advantages or disadvantages - I don't think it makes any difference as far as sound. There are some now who are attempting to get more out of the soundboard above the soundhole, but in tradtional designs, like the older models you refer to, this is pretty much a dead area - bigger or smaller wouldn't matter.

Second, as to the look - we may not like the idea of ukuleles as "little guitars", but ukulele form has always seemed to follow the example of guitars. The first ukuleles were around the end of the Romantic era in Europe. Dias, Nunes and those first Portugese-Hawaiian ukulele makers would have had those forms firmly in mind. They are indeed beautiful to behold, and were only a little larger than modern Baritone Ukuleles. That shape "scaled down" very nicely, and persisted in ukuleles for a good while after it died with guitars. Here's a nice link on those old Romantic 6-stringers:


As to who makes them now - can't help much on that, although a good custom builder would have no problem with the form. To sum up, it's just for looks, but they're very pretty - kind of "Romantic".

Paul December
10-15-2011, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the detailed answer :)