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bundy
12-11-2008, 06:45 PM
what does a solid spruce top do to the sound of a uke?
i cant decide whether to get a kala mahogany concert or the mahogany concert with the solid spruce top. anyone?

BTWriter
12-11-2008, 07:07 PM
I've heard some say it sounds too bright...but I'm not sure if that's a consensus opinion. I do know that I just got my Kala solid spruce top tenor a couple days ago, and am thoroughly loving the sound of it, so much that just typing this sentence makes me regret not spending that time playing it.

I aint no expert no how, but my understanding is that solid trumps laminate in almost every instance, in both tone and (I forget the word for how long it resonates.) This is the case in my limited experience. (Makala laminate concert to Kala solid spruce top tenor.)

That being said, a search on the term "spruce top" should yield oodles of information. Several oodles.

thejumpingflea
12-11-2008, 07:21 PM
Spruce has more volume and sustain than most wood tops. It really is an ideal wood for a uke as it gives off a lot of projection.

Yes it is bright, but it isn't overly bright. Try one out, I think it is better than mahogany as a top in most situations.

BluesDrive
12-11-2008, 07:37 PM
spruce tops are bright, but a lot of the times it's mixed with certain woods(for the back/sides) to even out the tone.

hawaiianmusiclover06
12-11-2008, 11:29 PM
I own a Kala Spruce top concert ukulele. I spend a lot of time playing it because I love the sound of it.

LoMa
12-12-2008, 06:50 AM
Spruce tends to give clarity and note separation (note separation is being able to hear the different notes being played in a chord - it's the opposite of muddy sounding chords). It also tends to bring out the high tones. Spruce also tends to give sustain rather than punch. Sustain means the notes keep on ringing rather than decay away quickly.

But these are tendencies. I've heard a number of spruce top ukes with the opposite qualities of these tendencies.

Also be aware that spruce tends to need time to open up and project. You kind of have to teach this wood to resonate. So it will tend to sound better after being played a lot up and down the fretboard, and at loud and soft volumes... You'll get better sustain and volume, and a broader tonal palette as you take the spruce through its teaching process...

Other woods tend to not need this teaching process...

Spruce is my favorite wood for uke tops (and guitar tops...).

Lawn Jockey
12-12-2008, 08:08 AM
Spruce tends to give clarity and note separation (note separation is being able to hear the different notes being played in a chord - it's the opposite of muddy sounding chords). It also tends to bring out the high tones. Spruce also tends to give sustain rather than punch. Sustain means the notes keep on ringing rahter than decay away quickly.

But these are tendencies. I've heard a number of spruce top ukes with the opposite qualities of these tendencies.

Also be aware that spruce tends to need time open up and project. You kind of have to teach this wood to resonate. So it will tend to sound better after being a lot up and down the fretboard, and at loud and soft volumes... You'll get better sustain and volume, and a broader toanl palette as you take the spruce through its teaching process...

Other woods tend to not need this teaching process...

Spruce is my favorite wood for uke tops (and guitar tops...).

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/images/smilies/iagree.gif

Ukuleleblues
12-12-2008, 12:37 PM
Spruce tends to give clarity and note separation (note separation is being able to hear the different notes being played in a chord - it's the opposite of muddy sounding chords). It also tends to bring out the high tones. Spruce also tends to give sustain rather than punch. Sustain means the notes keep on ringing rather than decay away quickly.

Also be aware that spruce tends to need time to open up and project. ).

I put a spruce top on a mahogany kit body just to see what the difference was. It was brighter. I had a pickup on it and was playing "the Wind cries Mary" through a buch of effects and I messed up and sat it down by the amp after turning it off, forgot to turn off the effects and when I cam back I flipped on the amp on and the uke was feeding back so bad it was juming around on the table. I swear it sounded better after that.

Pete Howlett
12-12-2008, 01:08 PM
Spruce is what I would call a 'new wave' material for ukes. In my professional opinion there are two types of sound. One is traditional in that the sound is bright with a quick decay from koa and a little more sustain with mahogany. The other is more 'modern' and suited to pickers which is where spruce comes in with its 'guitar-like' complexity of tone and sustain.

One of the best tenors I built had cherry back and sides and a spruce front. I am doing another such build in the new year...

Pharmaceutical.Bandit
12-12-2008, 02:10 PM
i've got the kala mohagany with solid spuce top concert. it sounds a lot cleaner than any of my friends' mohagany ukes of other brands. to me it's got a lot more volume to it and notes come out with clarity.

but i'm not expert. only been playin uke for about 3 1/2 months =D

bundy
12-12-2008, 03:04 PM
thanks for all the replies. sounds like i'll be picking up the spruce top.
but what exactly does "brighter" mean? lots of you guys say its sounds bright but what does that mean? tia.

ukulele_Freak
12-12-2008, 05:05 PM
When an instrument is brighter to me, that means its like the sound you get when you turn the treble up higher than the bass on your stereo. When a sound is warmer, it's like turning up the bass more past the treble or turning your treble down. I tend to like the traditional warmer sounding ukes. I have plenty of solid spruce top guitars around and just stick a capo on the 5th fret if Im looking for that sound. :D

UkEdman90
12-12-2008, 05:44 PM
i have the kala spruce top concert as well! the thing is here is that u need 2 find the right strings! yes the spruce makes it a bit brighter but man u find the right strings and you are in! i have tried every possible make of strings! and found that "TO ME" the pro arte d'adarios are SICK!

ukulele_Freak
12-12-2008, 05:50 PM
i have the kala spruce top concert as well! the thing is here is that u need 2 find the right strings! yes the spruce makes it a bit brighter but man u find the right strings and you are in! i have tried every possible make of strings! and found that "TO ME" the pro arte d'adarios are SICK!


Would you say the pro arte are better at providing a warm tone than the aquila or worth strings? Im still fairly new to the ukulele, and have only ever tried aquila strings on my oscar schmidt concert. Im getting ready to buy a lanikai ck-t koa tenor though, and Id like to get a set of strings to bring out a nice mellow sound with good overtones. I know the D'Addario pro artes are my go to strings for classical guitar even up against way more expensive strings.

UkEdman90
12-12-2008, 06:10 PM
Would you say the pro arte are better at providing a warm tone than the aquila or worth strings? Im still fairly new to the ukulele, and have only ever tried aquila strings on my oscar schmidt concert. Im getting ready to buy a lanikai ck-t koa tenor though, and Id like to get a set of strings to bring out a nice mellow sound with good overtones. I know the D'Addario pro artes are my go to strings for classical guitar even up against way more expensive strings.

the aquila strings are extremely BRIGHT! worth are below that then the pro arte. thats my ear!

Pharmaceutical.Bandit
12-12-2008, 07:05 PM
i have the kala spruce top concert as well! the thing is here is that u need 2 find the right strings! yes the spruce makes it a bit brighter but man u find the right strings and you are in! i have tried every possible make of strings! and found that "TO ME" the pro arte d'adarios are SICK!

i've only tried GHS strings that came with the uke and the aquilas that are on the kala spruce top right now. the aquilas were an amazing improvement over the crappy ones it came with. i'll be trying the d'addarios next time around. i haven't been able to find a local shop with worths in stock.

bundy
12-12-2008, 07:49 PM
thanks again to everyone who replied.
i guess im gonna be picking up a spruce top for christmas. :nana:

ukulele_Freak
12-12-2008, 08:13 PM
thanks again to everyone who replied.
i guess im gonna be picking up a spruce top for christmas. :nana:

Contrats man! Good luck with your new uke. Im sure you will have countless hours of enjoyment from it, and it pay for itself many times over! :music:

Craig
12-13-2008, 08:12 AM
what does a solid spruce top do to the sound of a uke?
i cant decide whether to get a kala mahogany concert or the mahogany concert with the solid spruce top. anyone?

I've found that the spruce allows for more of a "separation of sound." Meaning, I can hear each individual note of a chord, much clearer. With this said, Koa gives one that traditional Hawaiian sound - great warmth and great from strumming....IMO.

tad
12-13-2008, 09:03 AM
i've only tried GHS strings that came with the uke and the aquilas that are on the kala spruce top right now. the aquilas were an amazing improvement over the crappy ones it came with. i'll be trying the d'addarios next time around. i haven't been able to find a local shop with worths in stock.

You won't. Just order 'em through MGM.

nikolo727
12-13-2008, 10:47 AM
go to youtube and check out dominators spruce top. It is an amazing sounding uke and is kind of bright, but it is just a sound monster of a uke lol. Over time he said the sound would just get warmer and I think if you mix it with the right wood, say a spruce top, with brazillian rosewood sides and back, you will have a very nice sounding uke. A brilliant mix of mellow and brightness, if you will

bundy
12-13-2008, 05:35 PM
lasssttttt question.
does the lanikai sound the sameas the kala?
which one would you get?

gobes
01-14-2009, 02:33 PM
I'm also looking for a spruce top tenor. While I think that the kalas are pretty nice I don't like the narrow fretboard.
Does anybody know if the lanikais have a wider fretboard than the kalas?

Link
01-14-2009, 03:07 PM
Spruce tends to give clarity and note separation (note separation is being able to hear the different notes being played in a chord - it's the opposite of muddy sounding chords). It also tends to bring out the high tones. Spruce also tends to give sustain rather than punch. Sustain means the notes keep on ringing rather than decay away quickly.

But these are tendencies. I've heard a number of spruce top ukes with the opposite qualities of these tendencies.

Also be aware that spruce tends to need time to open up and project. You kind of have to teach this wood to resonate. So it will tend to sound better after being played a lot up and down the fretboard, and at loud and soft volumes... You'll get better sustain and volume, and a broader tonal palette as you take the spruce through its teaching process...

Other woods tend to not need this teaching process...

Spruce is my favorite wood for uke tops (and guitar tops...).
That was very informative. Thanks for that.

SuperSecretBETA
01-14-2009, 05:10 PM
For whatever reason, most ukuleles are all hardwood contruction. Spruce is a softwood. Most guitarists prefer softwood tops (predominantely spruce and cedar).

Also, remember that spruce supposedly sounds better as it ages. A 60 year old spruce top should sound better than it did when it was first made. If you like the sound when you got it new, just wait and see.

I'm not saying which is better, but I'm just throwing the information out there.

UkEdman90
01-14-2009, 07:03 PM
For whatever reason, most ukuleles are all hardwood contruction. Spruce is a softwood. Most guitarists prefer softwood tops (predominantely spruce and cedar).

Also, remember that spruce supposedly sounds better as it ages. A 60 year old spruce top should sound better than it did when it was first made. If you like the sound when you got it new, just wait and see.
.

this is true! it gets a warmer tone over time!

jimijUKEbox
02-19-2009, 12:16 PM
lasssttttt question.
does the lanikai sound the sameas the kala?
which one would you get?

sorry, old thread but I'm curious about this also? any difference between the two? spruce top lanikai vs. spruce top kala?