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Walden
07-14-2013, 01:52 AM
It seems to me like rope-style purfling or borders was a big part of the distinctive style in many of the early Hawaiian ukuleles. I wish more makers would build models in this style. I know some do. It is reminiscent of the roots of the instrument in a sailing society.

David Newton
07-14-2013, 09:14 AM
There are a couple of reasons you don't see it so much anymore.
A. It is quite a bit of work, so it makes a uke much more expensive.
2. The uke has changed so much from it's roots. They are quite the different instrument, compared to the simple little thing they used to be. Few players of today look for the traditional ukelele of the early days.

Telperion
07-14-2013, 09:55 AM
There are a couple of reasons ....

The uke has changed so much from it's roots. They are quite the different instrument, compared to the simple little thing they used to be. Few players of today look for the traditional ukelele of the early days.

I agree, David, but still like it. My Moore Bettah tenor has wonderful rope binding and rosette, looking classic and elegant at the same time. It's a serious instrument, but I still enjoy the 'tribute,' if you will, to the roots. I think the biggest reason for a decline in rope is your first reason - cost. Most of the mass produced ukes are done on the cheap. Mainland still does a lot of rope binding, though.

I'd like to add one other reason, coming from an older thread on this topic. From what I hear, it's not that difficult to do a rope binding, but it is difficult to do it right. If it's not done proper, it can look pretty bad. The bad stuff out there doesn't really even look like rope.

-Steve

BlackBearUkes
07-14-2013, 10:09 AM
It seems to me like rope-style purfling or borders was a big part of the distinctive style in many of the early Hawaiian ukuleles. I wish more makers would build models in this style. I know some do. It is reminiscent of the roots of the instrument in a sailing society.

Just to be clear, purfling and bindings are two different things. Binding is always on the outside edge, and purfling is installed between the binding and the top wood plate. As the others have stated, it does add to the uke's price but on older vintage looking ukes it can be quite beautiful.

OldePhart
07-14-2013, 10:43 AM
Some of the old ukes look nice with it but I'm not a big fan of it especially not on ukes with modern very high gloss finishes. It was really difficult for me to order my first Mainland because of the rope. I now own several of them because they're a great value but I'm still not a big fan of the rope. IMO it's only saving grace is that they generally don't look as gawdy in person as they do in most photographs. :) The rope does look better on my satin finished sopranos, but I'd still rather have the same ukes without the rope. Also, I think the bigger the body the less I like the rope - my Mainland mahogany baritone sounds great but IMO something that big just looks a bit goofy with that rope - just my opinion. Fortunately, I'm more into how something plays than how it looks - if a pink Dolphin with sequins turned out to be the best sounding uke I could afford I'd be playing a pink Dolphin with sequins.

Ironically, I was going to try one of the solid Ohana ukes when I was looking for a soprano specifically because I didn't want the rope...then I realized that the wood combination I wanted had...rope. :(

John

OldePhart
07-14-2013, 04:46 PM
@Bill1 - I think binding protects the somewhat fragile end-grain of the top (and back, if the back is bound) wood. Likewise, properly done bindings along the fret board can make the edge smoother and make it less likely to snag a fret end. I like bindings for that reason. Purfling doesn't really provide any protection that I'm aware of and for that reason I can take or leave it.

John

Johnny GDS
07-14-2013, 05:22 PM
This is a cool prototype uke from Ohana I saw at Summer NAMM. Thought you might get a kick out of the pic. I don't think they will be in full production for a while. Nice rope binding.

55895

This is a vintage uke with rope style binding that I snapped a pic of a few months back. I couldn't be sure of the brand, but I really like the look.

55896

pulelehua
07-14-2013, 10:27 PM
Some of the old ukes look nice with it but I'm not a big fan of it especially not on ukes with modern very high gloss finishes. It was really difficult for me to order my first Mainland because of the rope. I now own several of them because they're a great value but I'm still not a big fan of the rope. IMO it's only saving grace is that they generally don't look as gawdy in person as they do in most photographs. :) The rope does look better on my satin finished sopranos, but I'd still rather have the same ukes without the rope. Also, I think the bigger the body the less I like the rope - my Mainland mahogany baritone sounds great but IMO something that big just looks a bit goofy with that rope - just my opinion. Fortunately, I'm more into how something plays than how it looks - if a pink Dolphin with sequins turned out to be the best sounding uke I could afford I'd be playing a pink Dolphin with sequins.

Ironically, I was going to try one of the solid Ohana ukes when I was looking for a soprano specifically because I didn't want the rope...then I realized that the wood combination I wanted had...rope. :(

John

I got used to rope binding when I was in a mariachi band, and it was on the guitarron, which was ENORMOUS. So, for me it can work with different sizes. The eye of the beholder and all that...

Liam Ryan
07-15-2013, 01:48 AM
I'm a big fan of the look of rope bindings. I make my own to suit specific instruments that I build. While they are not hard to build they certainly are time consuming and very wasteful of the wood used.

As with all things. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

55909

55910

guitharsis
07-15-2013, 04:33 AM
Don't particularly care for the rope purfling and rope rosette on my Ohta San cedar top. Do love the looks of the curly koa headstock and back, and the beautiful grain and curl of the koa sides.