View Full Version : Veneer type on a laminate

08-13-2013, 04:48 PM
Does the type of veneer wood on a laminate have any influence on the sound of a ukulele (that is, compared to a different veneer wood)? For example: will an Islander (Kanilea) tenor sound any different with mahogany ( http://www.theukulelesite.com/islander-by-kanile-a-mt-4-mahogany-tenor-ukulele.html), flame maple ( http://www.theukulelesite.com/islander-mapg-4-t-flame-maple-gloss-tenor.html ), or bamboo ( http://www.theukulelesite.com/islander-mapg-4-t-flame-maple-gloss-tenor-1095.html ), as the veneer?

I own a mahogany, so I know how mine sounds. The others sound different, but I hear that it's difficult (impossible?) to keep all other variables the same in making a sound sample.

If the veneer wood makes a difference, how much difference would that be?

If not . . . I guess it's the look you want?

Thanks for your help.

08-14-2013, 01:46 AM
As I understand it, the thickness of the laminate has more to do with sound than the veneer. It would seem that a harder or softer veneer would play some role in sound, but I'm wondering if the glue between the laminates would negate that effect. In my experience, you would want the thinnest laminate you can get. Some of the best laminate ukes sound nearly as good as a so so quality solid uke, or better even.

08-14-2013, 02:06 AM
I directly compared an Islander in Mahogany against an Acacia and there was a difference. The Mahogany sounded more bassy. Whether that was anything to do with the difference in laminates who knows but there was a difference.

08-15-2013, 04:11 AM
Thanks for your input, Phil and kerley. I'll call HMS to see if they can/will offer an opinion, but I wanted to hear from the consumer side. My mahogany Islander laminate definitely is "bassy," which I'm not sure is a good match for a laminate (because "bassy" is kind of "muddy" to me, which I believe is a laminate tendency – although I think it's a nice uke, especially plugged in). I'm interested in the Flame Maple or Bamboo because they sound brighter . . . online, at least.

mm stan
08-15-2013, 05:24 AM
I believe the build is just as important as the type of materials...if you really want to change the voice, to a brighter tone, try to put on thinner strings...worths light aquilas living water southcoast lights
to acheive what you are looking for too.....

Radio Flyer
08-15-2013, 05:25 AM
isn't it the top that really matters? laminate back and sides have less to do with the sound than the solid top.

mm stan
08-15-2013, 05:40 AM
Yes different laminates mostly sound the same or close, kiwayas may have perfected the process of fnding the right combination or found a good supplier or who makes them to their specs...

Pukulele Pete
08-15-2013, 07:31 AM
I have a " Hawaiian Souvenir " uke , it says Hawaiin Souvenir across the front like the Duke komonawhatshisname ukuleles. I believe it is made from Koa laminate and it sounds great. My Brother in Law likes the sound better than my Martin. I think he just prefers the Koa sound over the Mahogony? sound. I can't be sure but I think the top is solid. Great sounding ukulele. I have another uke with laminate sides and back and solid top and it sounds like a toy uke , not good at all , but it looks nice.
If you can , try out a Martin OXK , its a great ukulele.

Liam Ryan
08-15-2013, 04:59 PM
(99% of the time) if two laminate top instruments sound different to each other it is not because of the top most veneer in the laminate, it's because of other factors.