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View Full Version : 12 frets vs 14 frets to body



Tigeralum2001
02-01-2013, 07:06 PM
I have seen this discussed a little, but with no rationale. Which is better and why?

From what I understand 12 frets to the body has a better sound, while 14 frets to the body has more range. Is this wrong?

southcoastukes
02-01-2013, 08:04 PM
I have seen this discussed a little, but with no rationale. Which is better and why?

From what I understand 12 frets to the body has a better sound, while 14 frets to the body has more range. Is this wrong?

The reason that there's no rationale is that there's no right answer when you only take those parameters into account. Bridge placement is one of the keys to good sound, and without knowing what sort of design or shape you have for your body, the question has no good answer.

Folks who simply move the bridge up or down and don't change the shape of the body to give the bridge a proper placement simply don't know or don't care about getting good sound. In short, if it's done right, either way can be good. If it's done wrong, either way can be bad.

anthonyg
02-01-2013, 08:05 PM
Over-simplification leading you astray.

12 fret to body was traditional. What's important here is that it places the Bridge right at the widest part of the lower bout which means the strings vibrate the top with more energy than if the bridge wasn't right at the widest part. It leads to a deeper, richer sound usually.

One problem is that it restricts access to the higher frets.

14 fret to body makes ACCESS to the upper frets easier but the bridge also moves up and is no longer placed in the widest part of the lower bout of a TRADITIONAL design. As Dirk said its then up to designing the instrument as a whole.

Anthony

Dan Uke
02-01-2013, 08:10 PM
I personally don't like 12 frets to the body as I feel like it's restricting my reach. If someone made 12 frets but a cutaway, I would play it.

NewKid
02-02-2013, 12:54 AM
Collings tenors have 13 frets to the body and sound great!

Plainsong
02-02-2013, 01:17 AM
And let's not forget that those legendarily great Koaloha concerts.... have 13 frets to the body. I think Pohaku ukes does the same thing with his concerts. Of course there's other things going on with body shape, bracing, and bridge placement, but it doesn't seem 12 and 14 aren't the only choices.

pdxuke
02-02-2013, 05:19 AM
12 works for me because I don't venture past that very often anyway. It may depend on your playing style.

SweetWaterBlue
02-02-2013, 06:01 AM
I like 12 frets on a soprano because I can strum them more vigorously. When I compared my Ohana SK-35 to the SK-38, that was one of the things I liked a lot better about the SK-38, and why I don't really care for the SK-38A. With the extended fretboard, my fingers hit the side of the fretboard when I get vigorous.

Tim Mullins
02-02-2013, 06:05 AM
I have both 12-fret and 14-fret Martin tenors and prefer the sound and playability of the 14-fret. I like the extra room and there are 20 frets total instead of 18. Martin took the route of extending the neck and moving the bridge up, but they also moved the sound hole up about 7/16" and adjusted the bracing.

Rick Turner
02-02-2013, 07:06 AM
I build both and make the necessary design changes to optimize either. With our "traditional" shape and the changes we make, we can't tell the difference in sound; the feel is different, but the sound is pretty much the same; it only shifts the bridge by about 3/4", and we shift bracing and sound hole accordingly, and that seems to compensate quite well.

Note that many ukes have bridges way far away from optimal; I think a lot of the older designs might actually sound better with 14 fret necks.

PatriciaPDX
02-02-2013, 08:23 AM
My aNueNue has 14 frets to the body, whereas my other ukes have 12, and I have to say I do like the extra room; it encourages me to spend more time higher up on the neck.

bearbike137
02-02-2013, 09:40 AM
Collings tenors have 13 frets to the body and sound great!

I love everything about Collings tenors EXCEPT for the fact that they have 13 frets to the body. I found that too restrictive for the upper fretboard access I need. It is the primary reason I sold my Collings tenor.

Linho
02-03-2013, 12:29 PM
Hhm, thats the reason why I'll probably never own a Kamaka Concert. 12 fret join makes access to higher frets uncomfortable. If I ever buy a Concert K Brand i guess it's a Kanilea (already own a Tenor one). I need the higher frets. I trust, the luthiers of good ukulele know what to do for great Sound, depending on the bringe Position. ;)


Great Thread! :)

bearbike137
02-03-2013, 01:10 PM
Absolutely LOVE my Kamaka Long Neck Tenor which has 15 frets to the body. Never going back again...

Dan Uke
02-03-2013, 01:14 PM
Hhm, thats the reason why I'll probably never own a Kamaka Concert. 12 fret join makes access to higher frets uncomfortable. If I ever buy a Concert K Brand i guess it's a Kanilea (already own a Tenor one). I need the higher frets. I trust, the luthiers of good ukulele know what to do for great Sound, depending on the bringe Position. ;)



Great Thread! :)

Get the Kamaka long neck concert! Awesome