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View Full Version : Pyrography(wood burning/engraving) on my Uke top?



str1pes
03-13-2014, 05:40 AM
I have purchased two Uke's in the last week and a half. Both are Kala KA-C models. I purchased one for my father-in-laws birthday. He is retiring and moving to the beach and has played guitar for many years. When I recieved his Uke, I liked it so much, that I ordered myself one a couple of days later after I gifted him with his.

My wife is pretty artistic and we wanted to make his Uke a personal gift so we googled wood burning (pyrography) then hit up radio shack and purchased a soldering iron and went to work on the back of his Uke, putting his musical "pseudonym" he goes by when he plays. It ended up turning out pretty darn nice.

I decided I want to do the same but I was thinking about putting my design on the front of the Uke.

A lot of people say the sound comes from the top of a guitar or Uke. That said, this is a laminate mahogany Uke. I was not worried about inscribing some of the back, but if I inscribe the front would that have any effect on sound? I got IMO a pretty stellar deal on both Uke's 67 each shipped new. So I wouldn't be out a ton, but at the same time I don't want to render my Uke's sound.

Also, steering away from the wood burning topic. My father in law's Uke was damn near perfect, but my Uke had some noticeable glue spots, slight staining probs (light in some areas) and...on both Ukes the what looks like painted fret dots on the top of the neck are off pretty bad on some frets. Can the dot's be removed? Anyone own a Kala KA series that has tried removal.....

Thanks!

RAB11
03-13-2014, 05:44 AM
I'm think of a KA-C myself in a month or two when I have the dosh... not good that they've got inconsistent production although I'd be picking mine up in-store so I can check that.

How do they play?

str1pes
03-13-2014, 05:59 AM
They are great Ukes...does kind of stink about the production line issues...but both Ukes sounded identical and very warm and sweet sounding. For the price I paid I have no regrets. If I would have paid full price I would have probably sent mine back for the light aesthetic issues and had them replace with another one, but again, I got a killer deal and for an instrument that I will be throwing in the back of the car or will be lying in the sand it's no biggie....

I feel that eventually if I really get into Ukeing I will spend 250-400 for a Uke, but in the meantime this Uke will suit me just fine. :)

RAB11
03-13-2014, 06:06 AM
They are great Ukes...does kind of stink about the production line issues...but both Ukes sounded identical and very warm and sweet sounding. For the price I paid I have no regrets. If I would have paid full price I would have probably sent mine back for the light aesthetic issues and had them replace with another one, but again, I got a killer deal and for an instrument that I will be throwing in the back of the car or will be lying in the sand it's no biggie....

I feel that eventually if I really get into Ukeing I will spend 250-400 for a Uke, but in the meantime this Uke will suit me just fine. :)


Nice one, cheers.

I'd need a significant increade in income and playing ability before I paid 250-400 on a uke. ;)

str1pes
03-13-2014, 06:16 AM
Nice one, cheers.

I'd need a significant increade in income and playing ability before I paid 250-400 on a uke. ;)



ha ha....i hear you. I'm no rich guy...I would save up...that said...coming from playing guitars (electric & acoustic)........ 250 - 400 for a uke is dimes compared to what it cost for a nice guitar.....It feels like bargain shopping! (lol)

RAB11
03-13-2014, 06:34 AM
Haha, yep know what you mean.

Got any pics of your father-in-law's uke with the engraving? A mate of mine got a tattoist to do something similar on his acoustic guitar but I honestly couldn't tell you how it affected the sound. I wouldn't have thought it would make too much a difference though, unless you're really gouging it. Just a hunch though so don't take my word for it.

str1pes
03-13-2014, 06:40 AM
Haha, yep know what you mean.

Got any pics of your father-in-law's uke with the engraving? A mate of mine got a tattoist to do something similar on his acoustic guitar but I honestly couldn't tell you how it affected the sound. I wouldn't have thought it would make too much a difference though, unless you're really gouging it. Just a hunch though so don't take my word for it.

No...I wish I did....I should have taken pics of the Uke after the engraving. Next time I visit I will take a pic with my phone. The engraving on the back of his did not affect his sound, that said was just worried about the top since that is supposedly where sound resonates? But I wouldn't think it would make that big of a difference.

actadh
03-13-2014, 07:22 PM
Take a look at the Luna line of ukuleles. The peace uke and others have an etched design on the top which don't affect the sound.

str1pes
03-14-2014, 04:10 AM
You only need to burn a small way into the wood, it does not gave to be deep. If you want to see what it will look like before burning, get some thin detailing tape and use it to make the design before burning. You may find you like the tape version and or you will see how you can improve the design. I would not think twice about decorating a low cost kala with pyro or paint. If you keep it shallow you are unlikely to notice any change to the sound.

Thanks! I think I'm going to attempt it this weekend. I might just make it something cheesy like adding beams to make it look like a sun around the soundhole. Who knows!

Ukejenny
03-14-2014, 04:23 AM
Very cool stuff. I hope you post some pics after you're done.

dickadcock
03-14-2014, 06:28 AM
Mike at Uke Republic did a demo of a Kala with laser etching a la Luna. Kala KA-15S Soprano Ukulele Demo: http://youtu.be/3vuDICDbiSw

I have it (pre-laser) as well as the tenor version of yours. If anything, they are over-built, so I say burn away! :)

Booli
03-14-2014, 06:36 AM
I I got IMO a pretty stellar deal on both Uke's 67 each shipped new.

Last April I got my first uke, the KA-T which is the tenor version of this model, at local retail for $119, they also had the KA-C for $109, which were the same prices as Amazon at the time.

Fit and finish was great, and with only minor setup, intonation is spot on. Now, 6 ukes later, I'm thinking to grab either the KA-C or the KA-CEM...

but if you would be willing to share the source of where you got yours for $67, then I'd like to consider that as an option...


so please, do tell where you bought it from.

Thanks!

-Booli

str1pes
03-14-2014, 08:57 AM
Hi Booli,

I saw that you wanted to know where I got my Kala's at at. I purchased them through ZZounds.com
I tried four different places and ended up doing a price-match through them because they were the only ones who would match (they beat the best price and drop 10% of the difference!)

Banjo.com was the competitor that was selling the KA-C for 69 bucks (they still are) and they had free shipping deal at when I ordered (no free shipping on the item now). Now Banjo.com is charging for shipping if item is under $199.

That said, you may take a try and see if ZZounds.com will honor free shipping still. (it's a gamble if they check if it is still free if you put zero. I leave that up to your conscience)


You price-match through the page of the item you want and click on "Seen it For Less - Request Lower Price"

http://www.zzounds.com/item--KALKAC

It will ask what competitor...choose "other" it will make a new blank space open up...in other competitor blank space copy and paste the following
"Banjo.com - Kala dealer http://www.kalabrand.com/dealers.html zipcode 30062 #4"

in the website link copy and paste
http://www.banjo.com/Kala_KA_C_Concert_Mahogany_Ukulele_p/2848.htm

in competitor promo code section, copy and paste "add to cart to get $69 price"

in the price request source box choose "web store"

make sure you give them a valid email address...they usually price-match within less than 2 hours.

Up to you about the shipping...you still might get away with "Free" but, if not I'm guessing shipped in the States altogether that KA-C will be around 80-85...without shipping cost it came out to $66.93. Good Luck!

Nickie
03-14-2014, 10:50 AM
you must be fearless! with my luck, I'd burn the house down....Luna does do a fine job with tattoo'd ukes...I bought one for my daughter, and she adores it!