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uke2020
04-14-2012, 01:46 PM
Hi, quick question... specifically for a tenor, are there any tonal differences (or other significant differences) between the standard KoAloha with rosewood fretboard and the 100% koa KoAloha with koa fretboard (the blond looking fretboard, which I think is koa)?

dnewton2
04-14-2012, 01:51 PM
I don't know from Koaloha but have heard the fretboard material has no tonal affects. I could be wrong ( it happened once:) ) if some one believes otherwise please correct.

Tigeralum2001
04-14-2012, 02:00 PM
Hi, quick question... specifically for a tenor, are there any tonal differences (or other significant differences) between the standard KoAloha with rosewood fretboard and the 100% koa KoAloha with koa fretboard (the blond looking fretboard, which I think is koa)?

I have heard people say that fretboard material does impact the tone and volume of a ukulele. This may contribute to some ukes sounding duller or brighter than others. That said, I have not experienced any noticeable differences with KoAlohas. Both of my KoAlohas have Koa fretboards, but I have played their rosewood models. All sound about the same to me. That said, KoAloha is noted for how consistent their sound is across their models.

Best advice is to play before you buy. If you can't then ask the sales person his or her opinion. You will be satisfied with either, though.

stevepetergal
04-14-2012, 04:02 PM
If you hear a difference between two Koaloha tenors, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fretboard material.

weerpool
04-14-2012, 04:22 PM
the type of fretboard use is completely irrelevant IMO. its all cosmetics. maybe 1.5% impact the overall "tone". i think youre question should be, which is more comfortable to play , now thats a wjhole another ballgame.

benjoeuke
04-14-2012, 05:23 PM
fretboard material has a pretty big impact on guitar tone, so maybe less on a shorter neck like a soprano uke, maybe slightly more on a tenor... but ya, it does do something even if not noticeable to most people.

markallen
04-14-2012, 06:11 PM
If you hear a difference between two Koaloha tenors, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fretboard material.

+1 on this. The string rests on the metal fret. It does not come in contact with the fretboard.

benjoeuke
04-14-2012, 06:17 PM
the string is also tied to the bridge and has no contact with the soundboard... just saying ;)
(ducking to avoid thrown objects)

consitter
04-14-2012, 07:08 PM
the string is also tied to the bridge and has no contact with the soundboard... just saying ;)
(ducking to avoid thrown objects)

Whoa! Good point!! (Think I'll duck too)

kapahulu50
04-14-2012, 07:09 PM
I read on a guitar forum that harder woods for fretboard can increase sustain. Not sure how much of a factor it is though compared to all the other factors affecting sustain.

consitter
04-14-2012, 07:17 PM
36357Truthfully, though, I don't think fretboard material has much to do with tonal quality. A good example is my Koaloha custom. The fretboard is made of milo wood, but the biggest part of it is inlay made from river rock, a man made material. It makes no difference that I can tell. I also have a KoAloha concert and a KoAloha soprano that have koa fretboards.

My belief is that if fretboard material made THAT much of a difference, you would be told by the maker of the uke how it would effect the sound. Paul Okami discussed soundboard and neck about tonal qualities at length, but never said anything about the fretboard in any of our exchanges. I think that is probably a pretty good indicator that it is a non-issue when it comes to tonal quality. The reason I say this is he was concerned about differences in tone when it came to my choice of neck (koa), but never mentioned a thing when I made my choice for fretboard material. Also the inlay was completely his idea, and I don't think he would take it lightly if it would change the tone. I hope this helps.

stevepetergal
04-14-2012, 07:27 PM
the string is also tied to the bridge and has no contact with the soundboard... just saying ;)
(ducking to avoid thrown objects)

The soundboard is the vibrating part of the instrument. It is what you hear. The fretboard is completely stable, unless the neck has come loose. Just throwin' it out there.

benjoeuke
04-15-2012, 05:53 AM
It's been my experience that ebony, rosewood, and maple all have distinct tonal qualities on the same electric guitar... I mean the very same guitar, swapping the necks on a strat body. Acoustic guitars... well I notice different tonal qualities in these too, but then I never swapped the necks on any single body... and acoust guitars are well... all different even when they are the same :)
If anyone thinks the neck does not vibrate along with the instrument and affect the sound, try this experiment at home:
1. hold uke between thumb and finger at 12 fret sides of neck
2. strum open strings and grab uke body with other hand and release repeatedly
3. now strum and grab headstock and realease repeatedly
hear a difference? No? I sure do... :)

AncientMatingCalls
04-15-2012, 06:12 AM
It amazes me how much focus can be put on such seemingly menial aspects of instrument construction. Id say that a much larger part of the tone has to do with how well the uke is played. I see numerous gear forums in which some folks put time and money into every part of an instrument and when it comes time to play, they are still disappointed with how it sounds. If you can't play with a certain amount of confidence you're likely not taking advantage of the small tonal nuances that are affected by such things as what kind of wood the fretboard is made of.

Sorry everybody, I'm not singling anyone out. I was just making a general observation about the world of stringed instruments.

benjoeuke
04-15-2012, 06:30 AM
well, my point is just that it does actually make a difference, not good or bad, not saying something is better or something else should be avoided, just different.
I settled on maple neck for my strat, just personal preference.
On most acoustic instruments I was never 100% happy with ebony fingerboards but that could have just been coincidence because acoustics are all... well, different... even when they are the same ;)
Again, I think the difference is way less noticeable on a little short necked instrument like an ukulele and it probably shouldn't be considered a deciding factor when choosing your uke, go with a material you like the look of... as for feel, ya maybe that too... look and feel

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-15-2012, 07:25 AM
It's pretty well known in the lutherie world that the fret board material does have an impact on the tonal qualities of an instrument. It may however be too insignificant to be an issue on an ukulele for many people. (I think everything is an issue--it all adds up.) I'm convinced that a hard, dense (ebony) fretboard increases sustain and may add clarity. But it also depends upon what the neck is made of. If the neck is sapele or African mahogany, it may be of less importance than if it were Spanish cedar for instance. Think about what happens when you hit a baseball with a bat. The density of the bat makes you really feel it in your hands.

Mandarb
04-15-2012, 08:06 AM
It's pretty well known in the lutherie world that the fret board material does have an impact on the tonal qualities of an instrument. It may however be too insignificant to be an issue on an ukulele for many people. (I think everything is an issue--it all adds up.) I'm convinced that a hard, dense (ebony) fretboard increases sustain and may add clarity. But it also depends upon what the neck is made of. If the neck is sapele or African mahogany, it may be of less importance than if it were Spanish cedar for instance. Think about what happens when you hit a baseball with a bat. The density of the bat makes you really feel it in your hands.

Chuck - how would a mahogany neck affect things differently than a Spanish cedar neck? Is the Spanish cedar a lighter or less dense material?

benjoeuke
04-15-2012, 08:10 AM
...fret board material does have an impact on the tonal qualities... everything is an issue--it all adds up...
Ya, what he said :)
(grabbing thrown object out of the air and throwing it back) ;)

1931jim
04-15-2012, 10:50 AM
My neighbour is a classical guitarist with a few expensive instruments. He also has an inexpensive Green Mahalo baritone uke with a plywood fretboard stained black. You can see the three plys if you look across the soundhole.
Whenever I sit across the room and listen to him play the Mahalo, with my eyes closed, it has the most wonderful tone. I think it is the player moreso than the plywood or ebony or maple or or or. "A good player with an inexpensive fretboard will always sound better than a bad player with an expensive fretboard."

weerpool
04-15-2012, 11:53 AM
My neighbour is a classical guitarist with a few expensive instruments. He also has an inexpensive Green Mahalo baritone uke with a plywood fretboard stained black. You can see the three plys if you look across the soundhole.
Whenever I sit across the room and listen to him play the Mahalo, with my eyes closed, it has the most wonderful tone. I think it is the player moreso than the plywood or ebony or maple or or or. "A good player with an inexpensive fretboard will always sound better than a bad player with an expensive fretboard."

AMEN!!! this is what ive been trying to tell everyone. a $16,000 Name brand uke will sound just as shitty $14 ABC souvenir Uke with a so-so player. everything's all Hyped -up in this community.

BlackBearUkes
04-15-2012, 12:18 PM
AMEN!!! this is what ive been trying to tell everyone. a $16,000 Name brand uke will sound just as shitty $14 ABC souvenir Uke with a so-so player. everything's all Hyped -up in this community.

We are not talking about the player, we're talking about the uke fret board. Talking about the player is not relevant. If the guy playing the expensive guitars is so great he can make a Mahalo baritone sound so nice, why does he own expensive guitars? Its because the expensive guitars sound better. If this guitar player were to really take the uke seriously, do you think he would stick with the Mahalo?

Also, if the fret board material does not make a difference, plywood would be the standard. We use nice materials for a reason like Chuck says. Although for some I will say, plywood is good enough. If you really can't hear the difference in good materials, then stay with what works for you.

weerpool
04-15-2012, 05:02 PM
sorry to come off like a jerk and dont mean to disrespect ,but i guess what i was trying to get across was, learn the craft first before worrying about the little details i.e fretboard material etc. but then again that was just my opinon. i understand that sometimes we get so excited about whats "in" or "hip" at the moment that we oversee the things that really matters. if buying a super expensive instrument makes one happy then by all means go for it. we cant all be jumping on ships if say, a very reputable luthier says that a certain type of wood sounds like a slice of heaven and we all buy it without any discretions. again, just an opinion
We are not talking about the player, we're talking about the uke fret board. Talking about the player is not relevant. If the guy playing the expensive guitars is so great he can make a Mahalo baritone sound so nice, why does he own expensive guitars? Its because the expensive guitars sound better. If this guitar player were to really take the uke seriously, do you think he would stick with the Mahalo?

Also, if the fret board material does not make a difference, plywood would be the standard. We use nice materials for a reason like Chuck says. Although for some I will say, plywood is good enough. If you really can't hear the difference in good materials, then stay with what works for you.