PDA

View Full Version : Please lets survey just how flat the tops are on your ukulele's.



anthonyg
08-12-2013, 11:16 PM
Following on from the debate in another thread lets do a survey.

I'm just not going to classify a ukulele with a belly(bridge higher than the sides) as a fault that needs to be fixed.

Anyway. If your brave enough please put a straight edge across your ukulele just behind the bridge and see if its dead flat, if the bridge is a little higher than the edges of it the bridge is a little lower than the edges.

Again I'm not going to classify any of these conditions as a fault but if we get enough response we will have a good sample to see what's "Normal".

Out of 12 acoustic ukuleles.

6, had the bridge higher than the edges
4, had the bridge lower than the edges
2, dead flat.

Of the 2 that were dead flat 1 has a top that is just WAY too thick. The other has a VERY heavy bridge.

The 4 that were lower than the edges had a wave like shape. High edges, curves down and then raises again for the bridge.

Lets see where the truth lies.

Thanks, Anthony

ukantor
08-13-2013, 12:39 AM
I have just examined sixteen sopranos. All are well used, and fourteen of them are mine. I was looking at the dip between the bridge and the sound hole in response to string tension.

I've classified them as follows:-

Dead flat - 0

Light (when you peer at them closely, it is easily visible) - 5

Medium (Not immediately obvious but plain to see) - 8

Marked (Conspicuous) - 3

The three with marked dishing are a Red Mahalo, an Ohana SK35, and a Martin Style 1. All sixteen ukes sound good to excellent. The Martin is best of all.

My results prove nothing on their own. I hope they might contribute to the bigger picture.

John Colter.

anthonyg
08-13-2013, 12:51 AM
Thanks for checking.

Yes I'm interested in the totals and just how many dead flat tops there are. I don't think there will be many at all.

EDIT: ukanator has measured things the opposite to me but its fine. Its telling the same thing just the other way around. It is easier to put your straight edge outside the strings, up against the bridge and see if the straight edge rocks from side to side or not. If it doesn't rock from side to side have a look to see if there is a gap under the straight edge.

Anthony

BlackBearUkes
08-13-2013, 04:10 AM
Thanks for checking.

Yes I'm interested in the totals and just how many dead flat tops there are. I don't think there will be many at all.

EDIT: ukanator has measured things the opposite to me but its fine. Its telling the same thing just the other way around. It is easier to put your straight edge outside the strings, up against the bridge and see if the straight edge rocks from side to side or not. If it doesn't rock from side to side have a look to see if there is a gap under the straight edge.

Anthony

One of the big problems with this kind of survey, that most builders today build with a curved or domed top to keep the top plate from dipping in front of the bridge, so a truely flat top isn't there from the beginning. The uke isn't flat, but it isn't bellied or dipping either.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-13-2013, 04:21 AM
I personally wouldn't buy or build an uke with a dead flat top.

NewKid
08-13-2013, 05:38 AM
I have seven ukuleles and none of them have dishing - including my 51-year old Favilla baritone. Hope that helps.

If you have a great sounding ukulele with dishing and don't mind it, what does it matter what other people think?

wayfarer75
08-13-2013, 05:50 AM
If you have a great sounding ukulele with dishing and don't mind it, what does it matter what other people think?

:agree:

Everyone has their own opinions of what constitutes a defect. UUers here have returned ukes for what I would consider minor issues that I wouldn't consider a problem. But it's not my uke, and it's not my money. So what do I care what another player thinks?

I think some people on UU spend too much effort trying to impress people with their ukulele collections when they should be trying to impress people with their ukulele playing. I'm not directing that comment at anyone in particular, but it does seem to be a phenomenon on these boards. I'm guilty of it myself.

hawaii 50
08-13-2013, 06:03 AM
:agree:

Everyone has their own opinions of what constitutes a defect. UUers here have returned ukes for what I would consider minor issues that I wouldn't consider a problem. But it's not my uke, and it's not my money. So what do I care what another player thinks?

I think some people on UU spend too much effort trying to impress people with their ukulele collections when they should be trying to impress people with their ukulele playing. I'm not directing that comment at anyone in particular, but it does seem to be a phenomenon on these boards. I'm guilty of it myself.

I started playing the uke a year and a half ago...to do give me something to do as a hobby...then I took a right turn and started on my UAS journey...

I am almost done with it,,,and now trying to do what I intended too...play the Ukulele the best I can...

I get what you are saying...need to spend time practicing not talking about it...haha
good luck and have fun...that was the goal at the beginning right?

btw..most of my ukes are not completely flat...a lot have a domed top...I agree with what Chuck says...

MGM
08-13-2013, 06:24 AM
Funny seems everytime I grab a uke it comes with a flat top
57157

hawaii 50
08-13-2013, 06:26 AM
Hey Mike...Good morning

looks like you feeling well this morning...you are funny man! haha

good one!

David Newton
08-13-2013, 07:34 AM
"Belly" and "dish" are two different things, and calling them "the same thing the other way around" is not accurate.

I, and many builders, build with an arch, or crowned or radiused top, and it can be measured behind the bridge.
It is designed to resist sinking before the bridge, and to generally strengthen the top.

A "belly" is a deformation of the top, behind the bridge, over time.
"Dishing" or sinking of the top before the bridge, or sinking at the sound hole, is deformation of the top accompanied by the rotation of the bridge, a rotation of the neck block, or both.

If you are polling to pick up future problems, dishing, or sound hole sinking, is what you should be polling, not belly, because belly could be an arched top unaccompanied by dishing.

ryanshanabarger
08-13-2013, 07:59 AM
Well as they said, we should only be looking at dishing since a perfectly flat top is not always the design. This is the "radius" some of the luthiers were talking about in the 'other thread' i think.

I've had 6 ukuleles, 1 with dishing.

NewKid
08-13-2013, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the information David! This is what makes this forum cool.

Aaron@Randees
08-13-2013, 08:33 AM
I personally wouldn't buy or build an uke with a dead flat top.

As Norman Blake once said "Never trust a guitar," or a uke, "if it doesn't have a belly."

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-13-2013, 08:41 AM
Bucky Fuller, the Romans and I have all discovered that a spherical surface is much stronger than a flat one. That (amongst obvious painful reasons) is why chickens don't lay square eggs. A radiussed (or arched) top can be built much lighter and stronger without having to make the top thick or add heavy braces.
I have an old Kamaka that has dished so badly you could serve guacamole on it. The action is still good and it sounds great.

anthonyg
08-13-2013, 12:35 PM
My working hypotheses is that there will be VERY few ukulele's with a dead flat top. I agree that an arch is stronger and beneficial. If you want to measure the dip over the sound hole instead then lets do this.

If enough people respond then hopefully we can put to bed the idea that a dip over the sound hole is unusual and a fault that needs expensive repair. As chuck just said he has a Kamaka with a dish you could "serve guacamole on" yet the action is good and it sounds great. It isn't something to fear so lets see how many ukulele's have dips over the sound hole.

Anthony

ukantor
08-13-2013, 01:11 PM
We should specify which size of ukulele we mean. Sopranos and concerts are similar, but the tenor and baritone are very different in construction.

anthonyg
08-13-2013, 01:33 PM
Well I included all sizes and honestly I didn't see a particular trend.

I though about more categories and breaking it down into subsections but It would get out of hand. To start with the question is.

Is the top of your ukulele flat?

Measure it how you feel comfortable. And thanks.

Anthony

ryanshanabarger
08-13-2013, 01:34 PM
Make as many polls as you want. All it does is prove how many flat tops are owned by a biased group of respondents. What it does not prove is what SHOULD be the case, or what the average customer expects and average luthier intends.

So when some of the best Luthiers in the business are saying it's not normal, make as many polls as you like to try and prove them wrong lol. But it won't.

ryanshanabarger
08-13-2013, 01:36 PM
And to go back to my car analogy, this thread is like asking people "is the hood of your car perfectly flat" - when what you really want to know is "is it normal and acceptable for dents to develop in the hood of your car after a few years"? Pretty different questions. Dishing is a specific issue that has specific causes, you cant just ask about how 'flat' every uke from any maker is and expect to have a viable data pool upon which to base your answers.

lakesideglenn
08-13-2013, 02:25 PM
Now we have this stupid argument going on in three different threads. Enough already! Let it go and everybody go play your damn ukes, whether the tops are dished, bellied, flat, or have friggin feathers on them!

Hippie Dribble
08-13-2013, 08:01 PM
All this talk of dishes and big belly's is making me hungry. Eugenie, pass me my cake!

anthonyg
08-13-2013, 09:59 PM
I'm trying to take a somewhat scientific approach to the problem here.

In Science the very first step is, Observe. I have observed bellies on my ukulele's but the sample size is still small. I would like us to cooperate to create a larger sample.

We can argue until the cow's come home but if no one has observed first then it means nothing of consequence. It wasn't right to place this survey in the other thread.

You can give your data in whatever form works for you to start with. If we have enough dedicated people then maybe we can be a little more specific but to start with check for a dip, or check for a belly and lets see what we get.

Anthony

anthonyg
08-14-2013, 12:30 PM
There is strong interest in this thread judging by the view count. Some of you please be brave enough and put a straight edge across the tops of your ukulele's and see just how flat they are and let us know.

Here's an opportunity for experienced players and collectors to let newcomers know just what is "normal" for their ukulele's.

Anthony

Hammond
08-14-2013, 10:11 PM
My main uke has a slightly dished top (hard to see), this doesn't bother me at all. The top is thin, and is flexible enough.

I enjoy playing it and love its accompany.:)

anthonyg
08-15-2013, 02:04 AM
Thank you for your input.

Keep them coming. Before we descend into further argument on the subject lets get some data first.

Anthony

mm stan
08-15-2013, 04:41 AM
All this talk of dishes and big belly's is making me hungry. Eugenie, pass me my cake!

I agree Eugene but I pass on dessert....Please put a big steak and lobster on my dish....:)

Mandarb
08-15-2013, 04:47 AM
I agree Eugene but I pass on dessert....Please put a big steak and lobster on my dish....:)

Umm, steak....

bborzell
08-15-2013, 05:10 AM
Now we have this stupid argument going on in three different threads. Enough already! Let it go and everybody go play your damn ukes, whether the tops are dished, bellied, flat, or have friggin feathers on them!

Feathers would bad enough, but feathers actively engaged in friggin would not be tolerated on any of my uke tops.

Mandarb
08-15-2013, 05:15 AM
Feathers would bad enough....

True - they would be all over the place getting in you mouth and nose, blocking your vision....what a pain.

UkerDanno
08-15-2013, 10:35 AM
my Martin C1K has a slight "belly"...

Kayak Jim
08-15-2013, 11:37 AM
All four of my ukes have a belly behind the bridge and dishing between bridge and soundhole - one each of soprano, pineapple, concert and tenor.

anthonyg
08-16-2013, 10:02 PM
I've just visited a local music store with a decent display of ukulele's and measured them with the consent of the shop staff. As these were all brand new instruments I wasn't expecting to see much of a belly or dip in any of them and overall they were pretty flat. What I'm going to describe bellow is all pretty minor or slight.

Concert size: over sound hole/ bellow bridge.
1,.....................flat.................flat
2......................flat.................slight rise
3......................flat.................slight rise
4......................flat...................flat
5.......................flat..................flat
tenor size
6.............slight dip..................slight dip
7................flat.......................slight dip
8..............flat.......................slight rise
9..............flat.......................slight rise
10,,,,,,,,,,,slight dip...................flat
11...........slight dip..................slight dip (times 3)
14............flat,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,slight dip
15.........slight dip...................slight rise
16........slight dip....................flat
17.........slight dip...................slight dip
18.........flat.............................flat
19.........flat...........................slight rise
Baritone
20..........flat.........................slight rise
Bass Ukulele
21............flat.......................slight rise.

So there is a quick survey of brand new ukulele's in a shop ranging in price from $100 to $600

Only a few that you would really call flat. I wasn't expecting to see a lot of rise in them although I was a little surprised to see how many of them had the bridge just a tad lower than the sides. Any of them and probably all of them will move over time.

Anthony

armchair_spaceman
08-17-2013, 02:05 AM
I've had two ukes whose tops dished in front of the sound hole to what I decided was unacceptable degree...they each dished about 1/4" in a week or two from new with no sign of stabilising - tuning and intonation were adversely affected. The second was a warranty replacement for the first...I believe that they were from a poor batch from the manufacturer. I returned them both and I wasn't the only customer who did. The three ukes I currently have all exhibit a small amount of dishing, they're stable and play fine and I'm OK with it.

ryanshanabarger
08-17-2013, 05:15 AM
Nobody expects them to be perfectly flat. They are wooden, what kind of perfection can you expect?

I think when most of us talk about "dishing", we're talking about something visible with the naked eye. Pick it up, look closely. Is it obviously distorted? This is dishing. Nobody could expect these to be perfectly flat from the factory.