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Paul December
02-09-2009, 08:25 AM
No, not uke players... their instruments :D
I've read that some (most?) ukes' sound improves with age/use...
...can anyone explain why this is? Is it the aging process of the wood, the vibrations from playing, or something else completely?

cpatch
02-09-2009, 08:49 AM
Lots of theories on this...that the vibrations from playing affect properties of the wood over time, that with age the sap crystalizes and allows for more vibration, that finishes settle over time, etc. Some people believe that the only reason an instrument sounds better over time is because the owner has practiced!

Regardless of whether or not the quality of the wood does change, everyone agrees that it's only true of solid woods and not of laminates.

Paul December
02-09-2009, 09:17 AM
Regardless of whether or not the quality of the wood does change, everyone agrees that it's only true of solid woods and not of laminates.

Funny you mention that, because it was a claim about a laminate getting better with age that got me wondering.

Pippin
02-09-2009, 12:07 PM
Some laminated instruments sound better with age, too, but it depends a lot on bracing, perfing, and the thickness of the "plywood" used in the instrument. Laminated ukes do open-up, but they don't change nearly as much. The advantage of laminated ukes is that they are more dimensionally stable, and they are more durable. They stay in tune better assuming quality hardware is used. The advantage of solid-wood instruments is that they project sound better, they are more likely to have the subtle nuances that various tone-woods can produce. You really can hear the differences between various types of solid wood bodies when you play them and compare. You typically lose that with laminated woods.

Jimmy
02-09-2009, 12:28 PM
I've had my laminated koa Kala for maybe a year or so now and I reckon it's got better with age. But maybe that's just me getting used to this uke, finding it's sweet spot and stuff.

hoosierhiver
02-09-2009, 04:39 PM
Solids need to be cared for or they may be prone to split after time.I see alot of nice vintage ukes on ebay that have a crack from drying out or some other neglect.Laminates on the other hand are more apocalypse friendly.