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View Full Version : New uke - go darker or brighter?



Tele295
06-24-2013, 06:16 AM
So, it's time for an upgrade. Went down to my local store, Anacapa Ukulele on Saturday, played a bunch, and had my daughter film them with my phone. Of course, these ukes sound different from an audience perspective than what the player hears.

The one I really liked was much brighter out front, maybe even clangy, while one that was just ok from the players seat sounded great on the video.

So is it easier/better to brighten up a dark uke or tame down a bright one? For reference, I'm trying to play modern finger style, going for something similar to Jake's clarity.

Thanks for your advice

Tootler
06-24-2013, 06:34 AM
For finger style, you want the strings to ring out so I'd go for brighter but I like bright sounding ukes anyway. In my view, darker or more mellow ukes sound better strummed.

mds725
06-24-2013, 06:49 AM
Strings make a difference. Do you know what strings were on the ukuleles you tested? Aquilas have a reputation for being bright (making them great for overbuilt or otherwise possibly quiet import ukuleles, while fluorocarbons (Worths, Living Water, PhD, to name a few) have a reputation for being warmer. A few years ago, I bought a used Kamaka from Gryphon Stringed Instruments that still had the Kamaka factory strings on it. I asked the people at Gryphon to put Worth clears on it and it made a huge difference -- much richer sound, in my opinion. I wouldn't buy an ukulele I didn't like the sound of in the hope that it'll sound better with different strings, but if you want to influence the sound of an ukulele, you can do that at least a little bit with the strings you use for it.

SailingUke
06-24-2013, 07:15 AM
So, it's time for an upgrade. Went down to my local store, Anacapa Ukulele on Saturday, played a bunch, and had my daughter film them with my phone. Of course, these ukes sound different from an audience perspective than what the player hears.

The one I really liked was much brighter out front, maybe even clangy, while one that was just ok from the players seat sounded great on the video.

So is it easier/better to brighten up a dark uke or tame down a bright one? For reference, I'm trying to play modern finger style, going for something similar to Jake's clarity.

Thanks for your advice

Talk with Brad at the shop. He is very knowledgeable about the ukuleles he sells and how different strings sound on them.
He has several of the same model ukulele strung with different strings so you can hear the differences as well.

Paul December
06-24-2013, 08:40 AM
For finger style, you want the strings to ring out so I'd go for brighter but I like bright sounding ukes anyway. In my view, darker or more mellow ukes sound better strummed.

+1 on that :)

Tele295
06-24-2013, 08:41 AM
Talk with Brad at the shop. He is very knowledgeable about the ukuleles he sells and how different strings sound on them.
He has several of the same model ukulele strung with different strings so you can hear the differences as well.

Brad and I talked for about an hour on Saturday about strings, etc. othe bight contender had Brown Worths and the darker one probably had Aquilas. I will probably switch out for PHDs whichever one I get

BIGDB
06-24-2013, 09:07 AM
I'm not sure what your current ukes are but I'd just get whatever you don't have. So if you have a dark ukulele I'd get a bright one unless of course you want to get a different size

Paul December
06-24-2013, 10:12 AM
Brad and I talked for about an hour on Saturday about strings, etc. othe bight contender had Brown Worths and the darker one probably had Aquilas. I will probably switch out for PHDs whichever one I get

Worth Browns are already on the warm side while you don't get much brighter than Aquilas. Are you sure you didn't reverse them? If not, I doubt string changes will help either.

Tele295
06-24-2013, 11:17 AM
I'm not sure what your current ukes are but I'd just get whatever you don't have. So if you have a dark ukulele I'd get a bright one unless of course you want to get a different size

My current uke is a junky Ovation/Applause soprano, I'm moving up in both size and quality to a tenor

mm stan
06-24-2013, 11:45 AM
Yes get a spruce top....and change the stock strings....sometimes going in a uke store and picking a uke is overwhelming and you get too excited to make a good choice ....
seems like the asthetics will grab you first....LOL what is your budget anyways.....a balanced tone custom may be quite expensive and very hard to find at a good price..

Nickie
06-24-2013, 02:02 PM
Yes get a spruce top....and change the stock strings....sometimes going in a uke store and picking a uke is overwhelming and you get too excited to make a good choice ....
seems like the asthetics will grab you first....LOL what is your budget anyways.....a balanced tone custom may be quite expensive and very hard to find at a good price..

If anyone knows how to pick out an ukulele, it's Stan!

bborzell
06-24-2013, 03:56 PM
+1 on that :)

+2 on that.

My MP (mango back/sides, cedar top) is strung with Southcoast linears and it is my favorite (brighter) for finger picking. I also have a Pono (acacia all around) strung with Living Waters. It is great for strumming (warmer)

fumanshu
06-24-2013, 04:31 PM
I tend to believe to try the tone of the uke that you like the most and from there, you can change it's tone by changing strings....but I think you really have to like the tone of the uke first....

I personally prefer darker-mellow uke and then strung them with my fav strings to have that crispy clear highs that I want.......


https://soundcloud.com/baouke/lady-standby-by-lotus-notes ......get to the funk.....

Tele295
07-23-2013, 01:45 PM
There was one that just lit me up, so my wife put a down payment on it as a birthday present