View Full Version : Alternate side and back material

01-09-2009, 04:10 PM
Hello fellas, the plans for a soprano uku arrived today from Hanna Lima. I was looking around my shop for left-over scrap from when I had the bow business and it seems like I have all tropical hardwoods to work with. Is their any rule of thumb to follow when selecting wood for the sides and back or would most of them sound OK for a first time build. Thanks, Mike J

01-09-2009, 09:12 PM

Just about any good quality hardwood will do fine. The tone will definitely be subject to the type used, but different, not necessarily better or worse. I've used maple, ebony, cocobolo, milo, mahogany, and mango, to name a few. All of the ukulele sounded nice, but different.

What kind of tone are you looking for? Generally, the harder woods like ebony and rosewoods will give good fullness and sustain, while woods like mahogany and maple will tend to be more clear. Something softer like mango will be sweet.

What are you using for the sound board? Spruce will match nicely with a hard wood. If you do mahogany, I would go all mahogany, for the sides, back, and top. Not to say that mahogany doesn't sound good with a spruce top, I just prefer to do an all mahogany, if the build is leaning in that direction.


01-10-2009, 06:09 AM
Hello Paul, Thanks for the good explaination. I don't know what I am looking for when it comes to sound, partially because of my lack of experience. I feel like a preschooler in a land of Phd's. As I study the plans I think it's safe to say my first ukulele will be less than perfect. The woods I have are all perfect as grain is concerned and it would be nice if I could use it up and based on how you explained it I think i'll be ok, Thanks again, Mike J

01-10-2009, 06:37 AM
Based on your past experiences, I'm sure your kit will go together nicely. If you're like most people, you will probably want to build another. Just remember to change only one or two variables at a time. It's easier to isolate what adjustments you like and don't like.