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View Full Version : Mahogany, Cedar and Mango tonal differences.



The Big Kahuna
05-07-2012, 02:23 AM
What's the general consensus on the differences between these woods, assuming they are variations of the same instrument (I'm thinking particularly of the Mainland Tenors, but it could be any instrument) and solid rather than laminate.

Obviously strings make a difference, but I'm only really interested in the comparative differences between woods.

roxhum
05-07-2012, 03:16 AM
I have yet to experience mango but have had several Mainland mahogany's. It is very difficult to describe sound but I find mahogany to be a sweet mellow sound. My cedar Mainland is awesome too. Without being too bright or harsh it is louder and punchier. I think more note distinction. They both are great ukuleles.

Manalishi
05-07-2012, 04:02 AM
I bought a solid mango soprano for a pal,
and the word that comes to mind right away
is 'punchy'. It had bark! Yet it was nicely
mellow, if played that way too.
Had a solid mahogany soprano and it never
quite made it for me.Gentle,mellow but lacked
bite if needed somehow.
Cedar, I have no experience of.

BlackBearUkes
05-07-2012, 04:11 AM
There are too many variables to answer this correctly. In a blind listening test of these 3 ukes and any number of people, I'll bet no one would be able to pick which was which. I have done tests like this many times and the results was always the same, no one gets it right. Pick the one that appeals to you most, looks and sound.

The Big Kahuna
05-07-2012, 04:31 AM
Cheers fellas. I guess the main problem with trying your first Uke' out in a store is going to be the lack of repertoire. Ok, I can run all over the neck using guitar chords, but that will only really tell me what it sounds like compared to my guitar. I just detected a few erroneous statements in my lest sentence, but I know what I mean.

Uke Republic
05-07-2012, 07:54 AM
We sell all of the Mainland 3 you are looking at and I describe em this way
Mahogany- warm and rich,
Mango- similar to the mahogany but with plenty of sweet treble notes. Reminds me a bit like koa.
Cedar/rosewood- A little Spanish to it! Viva la musica!!! Great projection with heaps of volume and fast response.
Talisker Whisky- Smokey with a strong peaty odor, salt highlights and... Sorry :)

The Big Kahuna
05-07-2012, 08:04 AM
The more I read, the more I'm convinced I'm going to come back from Noo Yoik with a Mainland. After mailing most of the Manhattan stores, I'm pretty much going to limit my travels to a visit to Claude at EVM. When you consider the situation and criteria, I can't see anything else being in the running: first Uke'/$300 upper limit (self imposed, I should add).

So long as the action is relatively low, or inspection shows a reasonable expectation of being able to lower it and the intonation is BANG on, it really has to be a Mainland. And when you consider that a Mainland Mahogany Tenor is over $ 100 cheaper in the US than here in England...well, the phrase "no brainer" springs to mind.

OldePhart
05-07-2012, 08:21 AM
I have/have had Mainland tenors in all three, so I guess I'm qualified to try to quantify this. Of the three, mahogany is the darkest. It is the one uke that I actually like Aquila strings on. The mango is hands down the sweetest. It's got a nice chimey sound that is somewhat like Koa. On this one I like fluorocarbon strings or, currently and quite possibly forever foreward, Ko'Olau gold nylon strings. The cedar/rosewood I gave to my son-in-law. I never could warm to that uke, for some reason. I tried it both reentrant and low-g and there was nothing "wrong" with the way it sounded at all. In fact, of the three it was hands-down the loudest. However, it just came off as too "guitarish" sounding to me - possibly because I used to have a cedar-top guitar, I don't know. It probably fell between the mango and mahogany in terms of how bright/dark it sounded, but was way louder than either of them.

mds725
05-07-2012, 09:16 AM
Mya-Moe has a sound samples page (http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/audio.html). While the ukuleles may be different scales, the sound samples may give you an idea of how mahogany, cedar and mango sound compared to each other.

Jason Paul
05-07-2012, 04:21 PM
So, along these lines, would the mango be appropriate for jazzy, tin pan alley stuff?

I know the mahogany is the classic for that genre, but is it too muddy, lacking treble and note separation?

Also, can anyone comment on the sustain of the mango vs. mahogany? With that style of music, too much sustain isn't great.

I have a Mainland mahogany concert. I like it a lot, but I'd like a little more treble in the tone. I don't know if a mahogany soprano would gain that treble because of the smaller body size, or if mango would be better.

Thanks,
Jason

OldePhart
05-08-2012, 08:13 AM
So, along these lines, would the mango be appropriate for jazzy, tin pan alley stuff?

I know the mahogany is the classic for that genre, but is it too muddy, lacking treble and note separation?

Also, can anyone comment on the sustain of the mango vs. mahogany? With that style of music, too much sustain isn't great.

I have a Mainland mahogany concert. I like it a lot, but I'd like a little more treble in the tone. I don't know if a mahogany soprano would gain that treble because of the smaller body size, or if mango would be better.

Thanks,
Jason

My vote would be for the mango, then. THe smaller body size will make some difference but the mango has a much more jazzy, trebley tone, IMHO. Also, you probably will want to experiment with tuning. You may find that tuning it up a half step or a step will really brighten up a soprano. Unless you're playing with others there is no particular reason to stick to "standard" C tuning...

John

Uke Whisperer
05-08-2012, 08:17 AM
I know the mahogany is the classic for that genre, but is it too muddy, lacking treble and note separation?
,
Jason

Wow, now I know that instruments sound different to different people. Your description of Mahogany above is exactly how I would describe solid KOA when compared to solid Mahogany, especially ref the "muddy and lack of note separation parts, even though I like both.

The Big Kahuna
05-08-2012, 09:11 AM
My hearing is totally shot from years standing in front of Marshall stacks or demoing guitars in tiny soundproof booths to spotty 16 year old AC/DC fans. I doubt if I could tell Koa from Koala.

The Big Kahuna
05-08-2012, 09:12 AM
By the way, please don't try ordering a Koala top Uke'. That would just be wrong.

OldePhart
05-08-2012, 11:44 AM
My hearing is totally shot from years standing in front of Marshall stacks or demoing guitars in tiny soundproof booths to spotty 16 year old AC/DC fans. I doubt if I could tell Koa from Koala.

Heh, heh. I had a Lanikai 8-string acoustic electric that I've often described playing acoustically as having all the tone and volume of strumming a wet dog. I wish I'd been clever enough to say wet Koala, instead. LOL

John

barefootgypsy
05-08-2012, 12:03 PM
My hearing is totally shot from years standing in front of Marshall stacks or demoing guitars in tiny soundproof booths to spotty 16 year old AC/DC fans. I doubt if I could tell Koa from Koala.I can always rely on this Forum for a good belly-laugh before bedtime! :D Love it......