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Bigwave101
06-28-2012, 11:08 AM
I am thinking of getting a Pono acacia tenor. Any opinions on satin vs gloss? Mainly, does satin really sound better? does gloss really hold up better? Thanks

PhilUSAFRet
06-28-2012, 11:13 AM
Good luck at getting this debate settled. Short answer.....thickness of the finish more important than whether satin or gloss!

Hippie Dribble
06-28-2012, 11:15 AM
every uke is different, whether satin or gloss. Phil has it. Go with what you like best aesthetically is my advice.

SailingUke
06-28-2012, 11:17 AM
every uke is different, whether satin or gloss. Phil has it. Go with what you like best aesthetically is my advice.

They are both wrong, go with one of each !!!!

mo9090x
06-28-2012, 11:23 AM
I haven't had a gloss for a long time but I have had satin for about three years and I find that it holds up very well.

1931jim
06-28-2012, 11:25 AM
Thanks for this thread Bigwave101. It will be interesting to see the replies. Such as ""Gloss inhibits the tone, or Satin is marked and scuffed up more easily, or Gloss brings out the beautiful wood textures, while Satin brings out the nuances....etc."" A fella has to watch out when the nuances come out. HaHa!!

Tudorp
06-28-2012, 12:05 PM
Like em both for different reasons. I find satin doesn't tend to wear or dull out like gloss sometimes. But then again, I find satin will gloss out when rubbed in high wear areas.. So, just go with what ya like, pros and cons to either.. ;)

nohoval_turrets
06-28-2012, 12:22 PM
Satin will definitely get glossy patches on contact points. Adds character if you ask me - reminds you of the happy hours playing.

Gloss will look newer longer. Dings are more obvious.

As for the effect on tone, only the luthiers can really answer that one.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-28-2012, 01:16 PM
Good luck at getting this debate settled. Short answer.....thickness of the finish more important than whether satin or gloss!

In the hands of a worthy luthier, both satin and gloss will be the same thickness.
Different types of finishes (lacquer, urethane, oil, French polish) may require different thicknesses. In the end, thinner is usually better as long as it can withstand wear!
If you are talking about a highly figured wood, glossy will always make the grain "pop" more.

sukie
06-28-2012, 01:20 PM
What do YOU like and want? That's the most important thing.


I love glossy. I'm not a fan of a satin finish at all. I'd never buy a satin finish whether it sounded better or not. I'm not that good of a player to notice the difference anyway.

wickedwahine11
06-28-2012, 02:20 PM
I have both gloss and satin ukes, and definitely prefer gloss. As sukie noted, I am not good enough to notice a tonal difference but I definitely prefer the way gloss brings out the wood grain pattern.

pulelehua
06-29-2012, 05:31 AM
I was about to start a similar thread, but with a slightly different purpose. I have a ukulele with a K&K passive pickup. It's great at picking up body percussion (golpes, etc.), but it also picks up a lot of surface contact sounds. The oiled finish on my ukulele feels a bit... not rough, but there is a definite texture there.

Does anyone have experience: does a gloss finish make for a more friction-free surface, and therefore for less surface noise?

(sorry for the minor hijacking! ;) )

PoiDog
06-29-2012, 05:43 AM
Satin or gloss? Both are nice. I had one of each, but my preference tends toward satin. Aside from not being a fan of playing a mirror, I also find that the texture of satin is closer to real wood than gloss, so when I'm playing the instrument there is one less layer of separation between me and the wood. And it just seems that having that closer connection to the instrument is important. But then, I am a native Californian, so all that weird far out mumbo-jumbo about vibes and other metaphysical stuff is a part of my nature.

beautifulsoup
06-29-2012, 05:56 AM
Question for the luthiers regarding gloss finish: Does it make repairing cracks more difficult/labor-intensive? I would think so....

Dan Uke
06-29-2012, 06:05 AM
I would go gloss as I like the glass like feel and like Chuck said, it really brings out the grain in the wood. I would pay more for the gloss if I had a choice in the uke.

Mandarb
06-29-2012, 06:22 AM
Gloss - makes the wood "pop" like Chuck said and I think it adds a little better protection. But it is all personal preference - it is your uke, get what you want.

coolkayaker1
06-29-2012, 07:39 AM
I own a Pono Acacia Concert from HMS. It's gloss, and there's no loss in sound compared to other ukuleles that I own in satin.

Satin shows strum marks, forearm dirt and sweat from where the arm rests o the soundboard. I much prefer gloss.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-29-2012, 08:02 AM
Question for the luthiers regarding gloss finish: Does it make repairing cracks more difficult/labor-intensive? I would think so....

A satin finish will hide many construction flaws. Imperfections often won't show up until the ukulele progresses in the finishing process to the glossy stage. A glossy finish will show every flaw, mistake and imperfection in the wood. For this reason glossy finishes can be much harder to repair damage than satin finishes. If a glossy finish is done poorly it will often look much worse than a satin one.
With lacquer (and many other finishes) , satin is achieved in one of two ways. Usually, a flattening agent is added to the lacquer to reduce the sheen. In fewer cases it can be done mechanically by knocking back the sheen with something like steel wool or a scuffing pad.
There are also big differences between glossy finishes too. On most inexpensive and many production instruments, glossy lacquer is simply shot on the instrument and left to dry. These finishes will sometimes be pore filled but more than likely not, leaving the finish looking a bit rough but shiny upon very close inspection. If a mirror finish is the objective, then many more steps are involved including pore filling and multiple sanding and buffing steps. This process is very time consuming and can add considerably to the cost of the instrument.

beautifulsoup
06-29-2012, 08:52 AM
A satin finish will hide many construction flaws. Imperfections often won't show up until the ukulele progresses in the finishing process to the glossy stage. A glossy finish will show every flaw, mistake and imperfection in the wood. For this reason glossy finishes can be much harder to repair damage than satin finishes. If a glossy finish is done poorly it will often look much worse than a satin one.
With lacquer (and many other finishes) , satin is achieved in one of two ways. Usually, a flattening agent is added to the lacquer to reduce the sheen. In fewer cases it can be done mechanically by knocking back the sheen with something like steel wool or a scuffing pad.
There are also big differences between glossy finishes too. On most inexpensive and many production instruments, glossy lacquer is simply shot on the instrument and left to dry. These finishes will sometimes be pore filled but more than likely not, leaving the finish looking a bit rough but shiny upon very close inspection. If a mirror finish is the objective, then many more steps are involved including pore filling and multiple sanding and buffing steps. This process is very time consuming and can add considerably to the cost of the instrument.

Thank you for the detailed reply; most helpful. Makes me almost want to buy matte for my next solid wood uke, although I prefer the look of gloss. (I'll be humidifying, of course, but still. I'm new to this solid wood stuff).

Dan Uke
06-29-2012, 09:18 AM
A satin finish will hide many construction flaws. Imperfections often won't show up until the ukulele progresses in the finishing process to the glossy stage. A glossy finish will show every flaw, mistake and imperfection in the wood. For this reason glossy finishes can be much harder to repair damage than satin finishes. If a glossy finish is done poorly it will often look much worse than a satin one.
With lacquer (and many other finishes) , satin is achieved in one of two ways. Usually, a flattening agent is added to the lacquer to reduce the sheen. In fewer cases it can be done mechanically by knocking back the sheen with something like steel wool or a scuffing pad.
There are also big differences between glossy finishes too. On most inexpensive and many production instruments, glossy lacquer is simply shot on the instrument and left to dry. These finishes will sometimes be pore filled but more than likely not, leaving the finish looking a bit rough but shiny upon very close inspection. If a mirror finish is the objective, then many more steps are involved including pore filling and multiple sanding and buffing steps. This process is very time consuming and can add considerably to the cost of the instrument.

Thanks Chuck

Check out Luthier Lounge and see how many hours are put into the finish alone. You'll be amazed and appreciate the hard work these luthiers put into your instrument. Of course, you get what you pay for so if you want the mirror finish, be ready to pay.

mikelz777
06-29-2012, 09:22 AM
I tend to lean toward a satin finish. The glossy will show finger/hand prints much more readily and will look smeary unless you carefully and thoroughly wipe the skin oils off. I prefer the more natural wood feel of a satin finish. For me, the matte/satin finish also has a warmer, more comforting look than the shiny/glossy.

kvehe
06-29-2012, 09:32 AM
I tend to lean toward a satin finish. The glossy will show finger/hand prints much more readily and will look smeary unless you carefully and thoroughly wipe the skin oils off. I prefer the more natural wood feel of a satin finish. For me, the matte/satin finish also has a warmer, more comforting look than the shiny/glossy.

:agree::agree:

Yes, exactly what mikelz777 said.

Some prefer gloss, some prefer satin, as you have seen; I have both, and am firmly in the satin camp.

Kathryn

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-29-2012, 11:00 AM
There's a reason why Taylor and Martin Guitars sell far many more of their glossy models than their satin ones. It just looks better to most of their customers. In my narrow and biased opinion, glossy will always look better over nice wood. I used to offer a satin finish on my ukuleles at a reduced price. Guess how many I sold? Yep, none!

Tootler
06-29-2012, 11:45 AM
I can't comment on your specific ukes but one downside I've found with gloss finish is they tend to slip more when you're playing, especially when playing standing up. I have stuck a little square of velcro on the back on the one I have with gloss finish which helps. Otherwise, as far as I can see the difference is purely cosmetic and is a matter of what you prefer.

mo9090x
06-29-2012, 01:36 PM
Lol! Likely this thread could go on forever (as some have already noted). I like satin to play and gloss to look at. :p

southcoastukes
06-30-2012, 07:01 AM
It doesn't have to be an either / or. We do something roughly in between. Maybe you could call it a polished satin. Nice clarity, nice feel, and with a violin varnish style base, it has a soft old glow.

1931jim
06-30-2012, 07:21 AM
My old girl friend drank some of that violin varnish. She had an ugly death but a beautiful finish. Sorry Dirk. I'll get some new jokes.