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Kaneohe til the end
09-29-2008, 09:35 PM
can someone describe the sounds made by different woods on 'ukulele? like for example; koa is yadda yadda, maple is yadda yadda etc.
off the top of my head i can think of koa, maple, spruce, redwood, mango, cedar. can anyone add to the list

Kekani
09-29-2008, 09:40 PM
John Kitakis has some good info on his site (Ko`olau). I know Breedlove used to as well, but I'm not sure anymore. Thanks to them, I like Myrtlewood.

-Aaron

grappler
09-29-2008, 09:46 PM
walnut, blackwood, mahogany, rosewood.
im sure theres more to add, but thats the only ones i can think of at the moment

seeso
09-29-2008, 10:00 PM
There's some useful information in this thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2404

The biggest impact on the sound of an ukulele is the soundboard. The other woods color the sound to a certain degree, but overall it's the soundboard that gives an ukulele its tone.

Generally, I've found that the lighter in color the wood is, the brighter the tone, and vice versa.

I think that spruce gives you a lively, bright sound, mahogany is mellow and warm, and koa gives an ukulele elements of both.

SamWise
09-29-2008, 10:02 PM
From what I know as a guitar reviewer, spruce is super bright for tops, mahogany has a darker sound, cedar a warmer sound - I don't know about Koa. Rosewood provides a strong bass response in backs and sides, mahogany a warmer mid. Again, koa and walnut I know less about. Here are some good pages:

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/features/tonewood.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonewood

this one has some Uke specific stuff:

http://www.jazzguitarresources.com/wood_ref.shtml

As a rule, you'll find what you want by searching for "tonewood"

david98116
09-29-2008, 10:07 PM
Koa and Mahogony are warm sounding woods. Spruce is very loud and bright.

BluesDrive
09-30-2008, 04:35 AM
Anybody have experience with the Beriba wood? I play capoeira and the berimbau is made using beriba wood, a dried out gourd, and a tire string. The beriba wood really resonates the sounds, and combined with the gourd, it's a pretty loud instrument.

Bamboo is a pretty bright/warm sound.

Sayyadina
09-30-2008, 05:24 AM
John Kitakis has some good info on his site (Ko`olau). I know Breedlove used to as well, but I'm not sure anymore. Thanks to them, I like Myrtlewood.

-Aaron

I am interested in how a Myrtlewood uke sounds. Do you by chance have a sound sample? Thanks.

Kekani
09-30-2008, 05:28 AM
One of the Myrtles went to Japan, and the other is in Waipio. Sorry, no sound samples.

To me, it has a little more balance than Maple, not quite as crisp, but, bright nevertheless. Great resonance, but not overpowering. Personally, Myrtle/Spruce is one of my favorite combinations for all around sound and tonal quality, second only to Milo/Spruce.

Because its not well known (and basically a West Coast wood), its not as popular. However, those that know about it, well, they know about it.

-Aaron

ke leo
09-30-2008, 08:27 AM
Each species has a different sound as well. For example, there is bearclaw spruce, swiss spruce, adirondack spruce - each having similar, but different tones. I found out last week from the friendly folks at Ko'olau about Hawaiian mahogany (I will post a pic if I can figure out how). Furthermore, when you combine them with different woods (sides and back), you will produce different tones. Then you have to factor in the builder and of course the player. TMI for this string perhaps, but hopefully helpful to anyone who is wrestling with what to buy next.

Sayyadina
09-30-2008, 09:09 AM
One of the Myrtles went to Japan, and the other is in Waipio. Sorry, no sound samples.

To me, it has a little more balance than Maple, not quite as crisp, but, bright nevertheless. Great resonance, but not overpowering. Personally, Myrtle/Spruce is one of my favorite combinations for all around sound and tonal quality, second only to Milo/Spruce.

Because its not well known (and basically a West Coast wood), its not as popular. However, those that know about it, well, they know about it.

-Aaron

Thank you, I think I can somehow imagine how it sounds now. I really envy you guys who have stores where they can go in and test all those different ukes. But as you all agree the builder and player make a lot of difference to the sound too, so I guess everybody has to more or less try out for themselves what works best.

For now I guess I couldn't be happier then I am with the koa/redwood uke I recently got. But somewhere in a (not too distant future) I can see UAS creeping back on me again and until then I am trying to gather all information on different woods, listen to sound samples and what's most important, improve my playing skills :)!

So thank all of you guys for the information provided here so far.

Sayyadina
10-08-2008, 10:45 PM
I found a nice link on the fleamarket board that I wanted to share with you guys: it is guitar related but it contains a lot of information about different woods and several terms like crips, bright, dark tone etc. are explained. I found it very interesting.

http://taylorguitars.com/news/community/ws_fall_2008.pdf

ichadwick
10-09-2008, 02:00 AM
My ukes (all tenors) have solid spruce, cedar, mango tops and the Fluke has a laminated pine top. To generalize my own experiences:

Spruce: Bright and crisp, great volume.
Cedar: Not quite as bright, slightly lower volume, but longer sustain.
Mango: Much more mellow, with lower sustain. Beautiful grain.
Mahogany: Bright but not as loud or crisp as spruce. I didn't care too much for the mahogany sound, so I traded the uke.

I have a Pono and Kala cedar, the latter satin finish, the former glossy. They are quite different in tone, possibly thanks to the finish, but the Pono has a wider tonal range with rich overtones. The Kala cedar is brighter and "woodier".

Laminates are harder to generalize because you don't know what's in the mix aside from the top wood. But overall, they don't share the same characteristics as solid woods.

See my ukulele page (http://www.ianchadwick.com/essays/ukuleles.htm) for my notes.

uluapoundr
10-09-2008, 10:03 AM
Here's my experiences with wood and sound:

My ukes with western red cedar tops, koa back and sides are really warm sounding with great sustain and adequate volume. I love this combination the best with bright strings like Savarez Alliance clasical guitar strings. One drawback with using a cedar top though is it's a soft wood and gouges quite easily.

My uke with a douglas fir top and koa back and sides was much more bright in sound, similar to a spruce top. On a concert size uke, perhaps too bright unless you desire an uke with minimal low end resonance.

Koa tends to vary a lot. I too have heard the color of the wood affects sound. In my experience, the lighter koa I have heard tends to be more bright in sound, whereas the darker koa has a much deeper (darker) sound. I don't think koa is as predictable as some of the other woods like spruce, which is probably why you can pick up a few ukes made by the same company like KK and hear so much variation in the sound. Some may question the consistency in the build, others may say it's actually the wood properties. If you talk to some custom builders, they will fine tune the soundboard and the bracing to get the sound they desire.