View Full Version : Do certain Woods imply certain sounds?

11-12-2011, 02:50 PM
Just look at the title. I am a highschooler, but am hoping someday to buy a custom uke with my own money, and am wondering if two ukes with the exact same body shape and width...ext could sound very different with different woods. (I know that an oak ukulele would not make much of a sound in the first place.....;)


11-12-2011, 02:56 PM
The short answer is yes. Different tonewoods have different qualities. Koa is brighter than mahogany, for example.

As for a more detailed explanation, I'm sure one of the luthiers who post here will be happy to oblige :)

11-12-2011, 03:19 PM
YES :) different types of woods will drastically change the sound of your instrument. If you want to purchase a custom uke in the future, maybe try out different ukulele's with different woods "preferably the same size," and see which you prefer. Size will also play an impact in the sound, but yes the wood does make a huge difference :cool:

11-12-2011, 04:05 PM
Go to the Mya Moe website, they have a different woods and they rate them mellow to bright, and they have sound samples.

11-12-2011, 06:11 PM
Extremely yes.
Yes to the extent that it is the whole point different woods are chosen for instruments (aside from appearances and physical properties)

mm stan
11-12-2011, 06:18 PM
not only the same woods, but the same brand, maker, and model.......can sound completely different....

11-12-2011, 06:20 PM
Yes, it makes a huge difference especially the tops. The back also changes how it sounds. Here is an example : I have 2 custom tenor ukuleles. One is spruce-maple and the other redwood-Madagascar rosewood. They are two completely different instruments soundwise. Spruce-maple has a sharp attack, brighter sound and clear note definition. The redwood-Madagascar rosewood has a dark sound, extremely reactive to a soft touch and rich with overtones.

11-12-2011, 06:20 PM
Go to the Mya Moe website, they have a different woods and they rate them mellow to bright, and they have sound samples.

The mya-Moe website also has a video of Aaron Kiem playing the same tune on five different Mya-Moe tenors made of different tone woods. Theoretically, the tonewood is the only variable. You can also find this video on YouTube. (I woul post a link but I don't know how to do it from my phone.)

11-12-2011, 09:43 PM
You have a huge variation in the tone of an instrument not only from the wood species, but as well the particular piece selected as compared to another piece of the same species but a different log. How thin it has been made. The bracing pattern and how that particular instrument was voiced. Wether there has been a radius built into the top, and back for that matter. How the back was braced. How the sides are built. What the neck was made from. The fret board material. The size of the headstock. The tuners. Was CF reinforcements added to the neck. What sort of finish was used. And one of the very biggest ones that everyone seems to leave out of the equation. The strings.

It's a huge field of study and exploration that no luthier I know would ever be so bold to say that they have it all figured out. Even if I have another 50 years left of building....which would make me 100 would I ever think that I've got all the answers to what appears on the surface as a fairly simple question.