View Full Version : Sound board bowing inwards?

05-22-2013, 04:04 AM
Hi all,
I've had a spruce top Kala tenor (KA-STE-C) for not quite a month and I've noticed that the sound board is bowing slightly inwards and the bridge seems to be angling toward the sound hole. At first I thought it was a trick of the eyes because the uke has a cutaway but it seems to be growing more noticeable and if I lay a straight-edge across the body between bridge and sound hole there is almost 1/8" of clear space between the edge and the sound board. Surely this isn't normal...what are the consequences of this? Is it acceptable? Should I complain and return it to the seller (a reputable local shop)?

A couple pics below (strings were slacked off for the straight-edge one)


Skinny Money McGee
05-22-2013, 08:31 AM
Defective uke for sure.

Call Kala, they will replace it for you. Nice people over there. Send the tech your pictures you posted.

P.O. BOX 751149

1 877-853-3853
1 707-775-4073

05-22-2013, 08:55 AM

Armchair: here's an epic thread about dishing, or bellying, which is what you are experiencing. Fun reading this thread--sort of like reading Moby Dick. But, extremely pertinent to your question.

05-22-2013, 12:17 PM
I have several ukulele's that do this. I've showed them to a luthier. He stated that its reasonably common and he doesn't expect any of them to fail any time soon. Its more of an issue with steel stringed instruments because of their high string tension but with nylon stung ukulele's its not going to lead to failure.

Nominally the solution would be to thicken the top or use stronger bracing but that would also dampen the sound of the instrument and the whole thing with ukulele's is that they are of very light construction in order to get the volume.


Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-22-2013, 02:14 PM
A lot of things can cause this problem; top too thin, poor choice of wood, improper bracing, tension of strings too high to name a few. You see this frequently on imported, flat top ukes.
To prevent this from happening, many builders will incorporate a radius in the top. This allows for a soundboard that can be made thin enough to resonate well yet be very strong. The problem you're having is not uncommon with many flat top ukes but seldom seen in those with a radiused top. Even in the best instruments however some slight deformation is tolerated; an uke with absolutely none is probably over built. (Yours seems to be a bit extreme.)

05-23-2013, 12:20 AM
Thanks all, the epic dishing thread and your comments have certainly been instructive. This afternoon I took the Uke back to my friendly local Uke shop where I bought it, they agreed the dishing was "excessive". I left it with them and they will get the ball rolling with the OZ Kala distrib, I'll post the outcome when I know what it is.

05-23-2013, 05:00 PM
After reading this thread, I have checked my Kala tenor and I found it has the top bowed as well, but in a less degree. I hope you get a well fixed ukulele back.

Edit: In my town I have no chance to get my ukulele fixed as I don't see any luthier here. However it sounds nice and we live very well together.

05-24-2013, 03:38 PM
Replacement is on its way, no fuss, no questions asked.

05-25-2013, 05:30 AM
Replacement is on its way, no fuss, no questions asked.

Good to hear that, that means you will get it with nice flat soundboard.:D

06-06-2013, 03:06 AM
OK all thanks again for your posts and advice. I have the replacement Uke, picked it up yesterday. Thanks to the shop guys (Fretted Instruments) for sorting it all out and props to The local Kala distrib for backing the product. Fingers crossed that this new one will hold up.