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View Full Version : Circuit of Reviewers Tenor Uke - Poll #2 - Top Wood



DewGuitars
03-22-2013, 01:35 AM
Please choose! Multiple choices allowed.

Ken Middleton
03-22-2013, 03:09 AM
Please choose! Multiple choices allowed.

it has to depend on what the choice for the back and sides is.

DewGuitars
03-22-2013, 04:29 AM
it has to depend on what the choice for the back and sides is.

Do tell...

The point of this is to hear suggestions and preferences.

Thanks!

Ken Middleton
03-22-2013, 04:43 AM
Do tell...

The point of this is to hear suggestions and preferences.

Thanks!

For instance, some woods go together visually and some don't. Some colurs jar a little bit.

More importantly though, some wood combinations seem to work tonally better than others. I have never seen or played uke with a mahogany top and maple back and sides. There is probably good reason fro this: it could look horrible and maybe not sound so good either.

In my opinion (others may disagree), a spruce top really works well with koa or maple back and sides. A cedar or redwood top seems to work well with mahogany, myrtle or rosewood back and sides. Solid koa or solid mahogany are classic.

Just a few ideas.

DewGuitars
03-22-2013, 05:04 AM
Hi ken,

I hold to similar views, both with ukuleles and guitars. I've never been fond of maple with cedar or redwood, but with spruce it can shine. Cedar and mahogany really work well for me, as do redwood and mahogany. My personally experience with Koa is limited, as the supply here is pretty limited, or rather is right now. It's hard to get good Koa these days here. I have a supplier that I know has some, but I can't get responses or pictures from them to obtain some boards. I have a few guitar sets which will probably end up as uke sets. I can see cedar, spruce, or redwood with Koa easily working both from visual and sonic points of view.

since this uke is pretty much going to travel the globe for people to play and review, I'm hoping to pick the combination of all things that people seem to prefer. But as in all things....there are so many choices and preferences.

Ken Middleton
03-22-2013, 05:19 AM
Koa and high grade spruce can sound truly spectacular in a tenor body. I have tried several of the James Hill DaSilva ukes. James' own uke sounds great, but so does a newly built one straight from Mike's shop and I have tried one other owned by someone else, which also sounded wonderful.

chuck in ny
03-22-2013, 05:28 AM
i would like to hear about the properties of the different types of spruce. i'm a cabinetmaker too- but we stay away from the softwoods and know nothing about tonal qualities in instruments.
long history with the spruce top, probably older than stradivari's time. the maple back and sides were the ticket for the violins and all that stuff but i'm very glad we have wider choices in ukulele construction.

JamieFromOntario
03-22-2013, 05:41 AM
For instance, some woods go together visually and some don't. Some colurs jar a little bit.

More importantly though, some wood combinations seem to work tonally better than others. I have never seen or played uke with a mahogany top and maple back and sides. There is probably good reason fro this: it could look horrible and maybe not sound so good either.

In my opinion (others may disagree), a spruce top really works well with koa or maple back and sides. A cedar or redwood top seems to work well with mahogany, myrtle or rosewood back and sides. Solid koa or solid mahogany are classic.

Just a few ideas.

Here's a mahogany/maple combo for ya: http://www.boatpaddleukuleles.com/forsale.html

I always thought it was a little bit whacky, but Boatpaddles of all sorts certainly seem to get positive reviews.


For top wood on tenor, I like cedar. My understanding, though, is that softwoods don't typically produce the best sounds on smaller ukes. All my sopranos have been all mahogany or just laminates so I can say from personal experience.

Ken Middleton
03-22-2013, 06:03 AM
Here's a mahogany/maple combo for ya: http://www.boatpaddleukuleles.com/forsale.html

I always thought it was a little bit whacky, but Boatpaddles of all sorts certainly seem to get positive reviews.


For top wood on tenor, I like cedar. My understanding, though, is that softwoods don't typically produce the best sounds on smaller ukes. All my sopranos have been all mahogany or just laminates so I can say from personal experience.

One of the few ukes I have never tried. Looks very nice indeed.

DewGuitars
03-23-2013, 03:18 AM
Thanks all for your input. I actually have a few sets of wildly curly redwood that would look stunning against any of the back choices listed in the poll #1 for the back and side set. It would look pretty awesome with Koa as well. If anyone thinks that would be an attractive choice, please post here to let me know.

I'll be keeping these polls open for another week or so (I set it for 10 days) to get help me make some final decisions on the ukulele to travel across the planet for reviews.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-23-2013, 07:24 AM
Thanks all for your input. I actually have a few sets of wildly curly redwood that would look stunning against any of the back choices listed in the poll #1 for the back and side set. It would look pretty awesome with Koa as well. If anyone thinks that would be an attractive choice, please post here to let me know.

I'll be keeping these polls open for another week or so (I set it for 10 days) to get help me make some final decisions on the ukulele to travel across the planet for reviews.

Structural, some curly redwood can be problematic on an uke when it is sanded to the thickness required. Remember, the curl you see in wood is actually portions of end grain. (Think of curly grain as looking like a sound wave.) In one extreme case of failure that I've personally seen, the top failed when the bridge broke away, taking a large portion of the sound board with it. Choose your wood carefully, as I'm sure you would (or wood!)

hawaii 50
03-23-2013, 08:04 AM
Yeah I heard from Rick Turner that curly Redwood not very safe for a instrument top..could crack when trying to get it to the right thickness..

Btw where is Rick havn't seen him post lately..hope things going well..

DewGuitars
03-23-2013, 10:25 AM
Structural, some curly redwood can be problematic on an uke when it is sanded to the thickness required. Remember, the curl you see in wood is actually portions of end grain. (Think of curly grain as looking like a sound wave.) In one extreme case of failure that I've personally seen, the top failed when the bridge broke away, taking a large portion of the sound board with it. Choose your wood carefully, as I'm sure you would (or wood!)

Yes, I'm well aware that curly redwood is essentially a big mass of runout... If I were to use it, I'd have to find a way to anchor the bridge internally, and probably use a laminated top with a straight grained piece of redwood underneath in an epoxy lay-up. Not my favorite approach to building instruments at all, but possible. And the potential is there for success if engineered carefully. Many have tried and had it work successfully. I'm just not sure I want to do what is necessary... Some of what I have I would never trust on a top, but a couple pieces may have some potential. Still, I'm not sure it's worth the risk for an instrument that will end up in someone else's hands. More certainly...never on a steel-string instrument. I for one don't trust the stuff enough.
But it sho' is purrty.

BlackBearUkes
03-23-2013, 03:48 PM
Any curly wood can be problematic for steel string tops. I once had a blinged out 30's Martin guitar made of very curly Koa come into to my shop for some "adjustment" as they put it. The top was so far gone, I could serve soup from the dip in from of the bridge. It measured a good 3/4" in depth. The bridge was a whole !/8" tall with no saddle and the action was 1/2" above the 12th fret. I though I might have been able to re-brace the top but after looking inside, someone had already done it, very poorly. After quoting them a price for the repairs, they said thanks very much and walked out the door. I have to say, I was glad, what a nightmare. I know this is blasphemy, but I am beginning to hate the look of curly Koa. I like Koa, but the curly stuff is the sh--s. There, I said it!

DewGuitars
03-24-2013, 05:15 AM
Any curly wood can be problematic for steel string tops. I once had a blinged out 30's Martin guitar made of very curly Koa come into to my shop for some "adjustment" as they put it. The top was so far gone, I could serve soup from the dip in from of the bridge. It measured a good 3/4" in depth. The bridge was a whole !/8" tall with no saddle and the action was 1/2" above the 12th fret. I though I might have been able to re-brace the top but after looking inside, someone had already done it, very poorly. After quoting them a price for the repairs, they said thanks very much and walked out the door. I have to say, I was glad, what a nightmare. I know this is blasphemy, but I am beginning to hate the look of curly Koa. I like Koa, but the curly stuff is the sh--s. There, I said it!

Say it ain't so!

:D

molokinirum
03-24-2013, 08:34 AM
No Koa????

StoneMason
03-25-2013, 06:07 PM
I've owned a number of ukes and recently picked up a Oscar Schmidt spalted maple concert. Its much louder and resonant then my spruce top tenor Bolder Creek. So if you are looking for loud, try out the OU8's. The Bolder Creek tenor has a much better sound then a solid Acacia or laminated Koa top at the low end of the price spectrum, but for a uke, you gotta try the maple.

rubber necker
03-27-2013, 07:05 PM
Curly Koa is my choice