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Choweet
03-26-2012, 06:51 PM
I've seen many wood combinations in instruments already, but a uke/strung instrument made of bamboo I haven't had the privilege to hear in person. Anyone have any input on the tone of a solid bamboo instrument?

coolkayaker1
03-26-2012, 07:02 PM
http://ukeeku.com/?s=bamboo#

Ukeeku's take on it--each post has something to do with bamboo. And some with sound samples.

Hippie Dribble
03-26-2012, 07:18 PM
the worst aspects of maple, magnified. Dull, lifeless, no resonance or sustain and poor volume. Ouch!!!! Just my opinion though...

austin1
03-26-2012, 07:41 PM
I've also not heard such great things about bamboo ukes, I hear they have a tendency to crack a lot. I guess it's cool as a novelty, like, oh, hey, I have this uke made of panda food, but I don't think I'd ever actually own one.

Pippin
03-26-2012, 10:07 PM
I have not had a chance to review a bamboo uke, yet. But the people I know that have played them are not really impressed.

Jon Moody
03-27-2012, 12:08 AM
I have one of the Tall Grass bamboo ukes, and it's nice but you can definitely tell that tonally, it's nowhere near my other ukes. I feel the sound is squashed a little bit and doesn't resonate very well at all. For me, it sounds more like a toy than an instrument. So when my 1 year old sees me playing any of my other ones, I let her play the bamboo one (which is more of her holding it and snapping a string or two).

guitarsnrotts
03-27-2012, 05:17 AM
Played a Cordoba. Not impressed. Very thin and dull sounding.

Nickie
03-27-2012, 05:45 AM
Now I wonder why... is it because bamboo is so dense? Or not dense enough? Or am I too dense to understand?

gyosh
03-27-2012, 05:47 AM
I also have one of the ukes mentioned (feel bad naming them) and after about a week I put it back in its very nice case and that's where its stayed for nearly a year now. This summer I intend to try my hand at some repair work by attempting to remove the top and replace it with a spruce top or whatever I decide at the time. I'm pretty sure anything would be an improvement because to my ears the sound of the bamboo uke is schreechy (sp?)((is that a word??)).

coolkayaker1
03-27-2012, 05:54 AM
I learned a lot from this thread: bamboo ukes are worse than maple, schreechy, crack-prone disasters.

Thanks for schooling me.

PoiDog
03-27-2012, 06:33 AM
I have one of the Tall Grass bamboo ukes, and it's nice but you can definitely tell that tonally, it's nowhere near my other ukes. I feel the sound is squashed a little bit and doesn't resonate very well at all. For me, it sounds more like a toy than an instrument. So when my 1 year old sees me playing any of my other ones, I let her play the bamboo one (which is more of her holding it and snapping a string or two).

I had a Tall Grass as well (before gifting it to my nephew). The tone definitely isn't as clear or loud as a solid tonewood, but certainly on par with the majority of lams out there. One thing I noticed, though, is the top was thicker on the bamboo than with my koa. I'm not sure if that was a conscious choice on the part of the builder, or something that is a necessity because of using bamboo as the top, but certainly that thickness contributed to the sound differnece.

The one thing I would say is that proper strings could be a bit help. The Aquilas that came with it sounded a bit flat and uninspired. I put on a set of Worth clears and it did help a lot. Try different string types to find the one that really fits bamboo best.

MGM
03-27-2012, 07:11 AM
I have played many Bamboo ukes and they sounded fine. Most i played were made from solid bamboo flooring with are many small pieces glued together I remeber a Mike da silva bamboo that was outstanding...There is also Pono's bamboo model which is one of the few that doesn't use the florring thin strips to make there ukuleles.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-27-2012, 03:26 PM
I have a Paulele bamboo uke. It has great sustain. The tone can be a little harsh, though. There are about five or six notes (starting a step or so above A 440) that have a loud, I'd even go with "screechy", sound. The uke doesn't respond much to the soprano ukulele mid-range frequencies---I think that's why some some higher pitches don't sound mellow. The low range does sound nice, though, especially with that sustain.

To get the sweetest sound from this uke, I simply strum it softly, like so...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JXyUVI68Ak&feature=youtu.be

One more observation: this uke is more muted by my body than any other uke I've played, like lots of its sound is begin generated by its back instead of its top. (The back is arched and un-braced; maybe it acts like a little bamboo speaker.) Minimizing contact between the Paulele's back and my chest helps get the best possible sound out of this uke.

If sound is your top priority, there are many better-sounding ukes available at the same price. Of course, if you're simply smitten with bamboo-uke style---like me---you'll love it.

deach
03-27-2012, 03:42 PM
I've never played one that sounded good. Not saying there aren't good ones out there though.

strumsilly
03-27-2012, 04:31 PM
I bought a Paulele for my daughter, mainly because her boyfriend has a bamboo toothpick company and thought it would be cool for her. My impressions were that it looked kind of plain[it could have used some contrasting binding] and was well made.
It sounded fine, better than most lams, not quite as good as most solids. very bright with the Aquilas it came with. I didn't like it enough to add one to my stable though.

Nickie
03-27-2012, 05:46 PM
I've only played with one, it was a Pono, and it sounded just fine. I almost bought one. I love that bamboo is sustainable, it's the most earth friendly 'wood' there is. Its so strong, I can't believe it cracks. I guess it's just too hard.
I doubt if the search for playability, beauty, and sustainability is over...

Uke Republic
03-27-2012, 06:17 PM
Well done with the bamboo! Love that tune :) I've been selling the Paulele since they came out and have had no problems from any. I like the sound they produce. Nice arched back too
I have a Paulele bamboo uke. It has great sustain. The tone can be a little harsh, though. There are about five or six notes (starting a step or so above A 440) that have a loud, I'd even go with "screechy", sound. The uke doesn't respond much to the soprano ukulele mid-range frequencies---I think that's why some some higher pitches don't sound mellow. The low range does sound nice, though, especially with that sustain.

To get the sweetest sound from this uke, I simply strum it softly, like so...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JXyUVI68Ak&feature=youtu.be

One more observation: this uke is more muted by my body than any other uke I've played, like lots of its sound is begin generated by its back instead of its top. (The back is arched and un-braced; maybe it acts like a little bamboo speaker.) Minimizing contact between the Paulele's back and my chest helps get the best possible sound out of this uke.

If sound is your top priority, there are many better-sounding ukes available at the same price. Of course, if you're simply smitten with bamboo-uke style---like me---you'll love it.

ukunuke
03-27-2012, 06:46 PM
Love it. I'm holding out to buy my first panda food uke . . .


I've also not heard such great things about bamboo ukes, I hear they have a tendency to crack a lot. I guess it's cool as a novelty, like, oh, hey, I have this uke made of panda food, but I don't think I'd ever actually own one.

Mouthy1
03-28-2012, 07:26 AM
The Tall Grass uke was very well built BUT very overbuilt. REally thick top and I think that was truly the issue. Different strings made a big difference but a sander would have made a bigger difference. With that being said, it would have been the best travel uke option out there since it was nearly indestructable! The Paulele I played sounded pretty darn good too. Not great but good and I would have no problem owning one...I don't though so there you go!

austin1
03-28-2012, 12:25 PM
Love it. I'm holding out to buy my first panda food uke . . .

hahaha, I might have to buy one one day, JUST so I can introduce it to people as the panda food uke :D

sirant
04-29-2012, 10:15 AM
I picked one up for the first time the other day in a local shop in China. I was SOOOOO taken by the crisp tone and LOUDNESS of the little sucker I am bound and determined to go buy it today. One nice thing about buying here is the price. $75 before haggling, and I figure I can get it down to $50, for the same model I saw on Ebay for $320.....

Those weird U900's with the bear and rabbit are there too..... $40 before haggling....... Was a little iffy about the design, but based on other reviews here, might be picking up a couple more ukes today......