PDA

View Full Version : wood selection



carpekd
12-07-2008, 04:16 PM
I am about to buy a my second uke (i'm wanting to move up to a tenor w/ electric pickup), and I was wondering which wood to go with with.

I've heard that the mahogany bodies have a nice tone, but I've also heard good things about the koa wood and spruce. I'm looking for a "fuller" tone, but I'm clueless as to how each wood resonates and effects the sound

Any advice?

haole
12-07-2008, 04:24 PM
Anything with solid wood will have a fuller tone than one with laminates. :3

In general, mahogany is dark and warm sounding. Koa is similar but a little brighter and punchier. Spruce tops add more brightness and clarity. But there is still a lot of room for variation between two ukes that are made out of the same type of wood, so it's hard to say if the type of wood makes THAT much of a difference. Once you're in solid-wood territory, you'll get a deep, full tone out of almost anything (especially if it's bigger). Be prepared to pay a lot more for a solid koa instrument.

uluapoundr
12-07-2008, 04:55 PM
Carpekd,
What's your price range? Like Haole said, solid wood, especially for the top is a good start. Laminate wood tends to have less volume and less depth to sound because it tends to move a lot less than a solid wood top. Read up on woods for classical guitars, there's a ton of information there. I tend to like cedar tops as they tend to have a more open sound compared to wood say spruce.

If you are on a tight budget, then perhaps a mahogany body would be cheaper than say a koa body. Koa tends to vary quite a bit. Some even feel there is a difference between the darker and lighter colored koa, but I'll let the luthiers give their opinions on that.

Once you have your uke, strings can also make a big difference. There are strings that tend to be brighter and strings that sound a bit more warm. Stringing with a low G and/or a low C is another option to get a warmer tone. And like Haole said, the bigger instruments like Tenor or Baritone tend to have a fuller sound, if that's what you are looking for.

Here's a link that explains wood selection http://www.jemsite.com/jem/wood.htm

Kanaka916
12-07-2008, 05:25 PM
Here are a couple of threads about woods. . .
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7161
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5944
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1113

haolejohn
12-07-2008, 05:31 PM
I have to agree with everyone else on here. I have two solid wood ukes. One is all mahaghany (sounds the best) and the other is a koa top mahaghany back and sides (looks better and sounds good too). IMO mahaghany sounds warmer especially with a low g. Uluapounder have you any experience with both a low g and low c at the same time?

carpekd
12-07-2008, 05:35 PM
My budget is around $400. I don't want to go to the baritone due to the tuning.
I think I'm gonna go with mohogany.

haole
12-07-2008, 06:04 PM
Give this one a look:
Kala KA-ASMT-C (http://cgi.ebay.com/SOLID-KALA-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270313739425QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262)

I'm sure Pono makes something similar in your price range as well.

uluapoundr
12-07-2008, 08:08 PM
MGM has a Pono with Mahogany body and cedar top for $419. It sounds like a good combination and a decent price with Koolau case. It comes with Koolau Gold strings which are suppose to be warm in tone. I changed out strings on my Pono for better clarity and intonation but you'll have to make that choice if you purchase this uke. If you do purchase it, please do a review, I'm curious.

BluesDrive
12-07-2008, 09:36 PM
I was actually just talking to MGM through ebay messages and it's led me to the Pono tenor that's like that but is all mahogany. I'm actually looking for a tenor with a pickup as well, but I'm specifically looking for a low G tenor.

carpekd
12-08-2008, 02:21 PM
I was actually just talking to MGM through ebay messages and it's led me to the Pono tenor that's like that but is all mahogany. I'm actually looking for a tenor with a pickup as well, but I'm specifically looking for a low G tenor.

Can't you turn any tenor into a low G by just changing out the string?

carpekd
12-08-2008, 02:27 PM
Give this one a look:
Kala KA-ASMT-C (http://cgi.ebay.com/SOLID-KALA-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270313739425QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262)

I'm sure Pono makes something similar in your price range as well.

That's actually exactly what I'm looking for - thanks!
I will check out the Pono also.

Do the ukes similar to the kala above sound good with an effects pedal?
Some songs I am planning to record have some effects in them (not like heavy metal distortion, but lighter effects)

Thanks for all the help guys

-carp

haole
12-09-2008, 05:40 PM
That particular Kala has active electronics, which makes it even sweeter. Most uke players who plug in a lot and use effects prefer active electronics, because there's a lot more you can tweak.