View Full Version : Satin vs gloss

09-15-2008, 03:13 AM
What effect does it have on tone? On sustain? On volume?

I've no idea, but I like the look of gloss better. But, I'm already dreaming about what I'm going to buy with my graduation money (and am thinking about getting a custom uke), and really want to get the best sounding uke possible.

I know that it will probably come down to preference- but what about each do people like/ don't like?

09-15-2008, 03:49 AM
To me it goes

French Polish
Oil Finish

But I destroy French polish instruments, and I don't like the feel of Oil. Nitro is going to be way out of your price range and very hard to fault the UV on tone it just does not look traditional.

To say it another way ever uke that I have ordered custom has been UV or a varient of that, all my higher end ones that I did not wait on or bought used I go Nitro.

I woulld also say tha UV gives a better sustain and a better high tone sound, which is a pos/neg depending on what style of music you play.

09-15-2008, 04:41 AM
This is what I found playin the same Pono Mahogany Soprano's one satin and the other with what ever finish they use to make it look glossy.

Satin richer fuller sound/tone and carried longer.
Glossy duller/flatter.
The Glossy finish "looked" thicker and that maybe what was causing the change in sound.

Both sound good but I like the satin sound better.

09-15-2008, 05:49 AM
I found this on another site:

On a typical factory-made instrument, the only difference between a gloss finish and a satin finish is that the finish material (lacquer, poly, whatever) for the satin model has a "flattening agent", typically a powder like talc, added to it to flatten the gloss. Usually satin finishes are used on the less expensive models to reduce the labor involved in obtaining an adequately smooth surface. Surface imperfections show up more glaringly with a gloss finish. One "problem" with satin-finished instruments is that any part of the surface that is constantly rubbed during playing will eventually be polished to a gloss, and will stand out somewhat from the surrounding surfaces.

09-15-2008, 07:24 AM
So get a satin and rub it allllll over, all the time. Then you will have a nice glossy look, and a nice satin sound ;)


09-15-2008, 07:32 AM
So get a satin and rub it allllll over, all the time. Then you will have a nice glossy look, and a nice satin sound ;)


Remind me to never wear satin around you Dane. I don't want you getting me all glossy.

09-15-2008, 09:23 AM
Glossy instruments always seem muffled to me, and the necks feel sticky. Satin finishes might not be all shiny and reflective, but I think they do the job a little better.

09-18-2008, 11:38 PM
My 3 custom ukes have gloss nitrocellulose finishes and I love them for their looks, ease of cleaning, and durability. From what I've read, the bottom line to finish effects on sound is the thickness of the finish. A satin finish can be as thick or thicker than a gloss finish so it's hard to say if one is better sounding than the other. A thin finish may sound great but then you may run into durability issues in the long run. The thickness of finishes will vary from maker to maker, as is the type of finish used. I'm sure if you are spending bucks on a custom uke, you want both great sound, looks, and durability, not in that particular order. If you are going to lay down a grand or two, be particular on who you take advice from.

09-19-2008, 03:17 AM
From my experience in setting up hundreds of ukuleles for a fairly well known company,I'd say tone wise,it's impossible to say that a gloss finish muffles the sound(unless the uke has a real thick finish such as maybe Oscar's).If you put 100 visually identical ukuleles in a row,all from the same manufacturer,50 gloss,50 satin,you would fine that each ukulele has a different sound,some resonate sweeter and longer than others,some sound duller.The best out of the 100 ukes could be either gloss or satin,it seems to be more about the piece of wood itself.As for what people like,more people order gloss,but I prefer satin.