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View Full Version : Just don't like the feel of GLOSS



stringy
06-10-2014, 11:39 AM
I just got back from my local music store. So many of you love your glossy finishes so I gave some high-end glossy finishes a try. euwww, just couldn't handle the look or unnatural feel.

I am in the process of gifting one of my ukes and I know for sure whatever I purchase to replace it will be a natural feeling matte or satin finish (sans bling).

From all that I played today it is hard to beat the sound of a 100% solid wood uke with a natural Spruce top, but I am undecided on the back and side wood. Is it just me or does the back and side wood not make much of a difference in the sound?

Koa or rosewood on the back sure drives up the price.

bborzell
06-10-2014, 11:48 AM
Try out a solid wood uke with a spruce top and koa or mahogany back and sides and then try one with spruce on top and maple back and sides. The maple that supports the sound board will make for a brighter sound. Works with guitars, mandolins and ukes.

I like gloss finishes.

stringy
06-10-2014, 11:49 AM
Thanks bborzell

KnowsPickin
06-10-2014, 12:41 PM
If you don't mind waiting in line for a uke, I have just the company for you: Mya Moe Ukuleles.
http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/

Gordon strongly prefers a Tru Oil finish (often used for gun stocks) for the look, feel and sound of the instrument. It is so light that it will not load the instrument and mute the sound. Of course, for a $400 premium he WILL put a gloss finish on it for you. But he'd rather leave it a nice natural matt finish.

I can't wait till I can manage the finances to order one myself.

Good luck.

Ukuleleblues
06-10-2014, 01:08 PM
I just got back from my local music store. So many of you love your glossy finishes so I gave some high-end glossy finishes a try. euwww, just couldn't handle the look or unnatural feel.

I am in the process of gifting one of my ukes and I know for sure whatever I purchase to replace it will be a natural feeling matte or satin finish (sans bling).
Back around 2004 I called a uke company that also did direct sales and asked if they had any specials/seconds. The owner said that did a big run of ukes and everyone told him satin was the only way to go, real ukes were satin, yada, yada. So he got a high percentage of satin on the run and then no one bought satin, just the glossy. I got a great deal.

I'm with you I like most everything wooden with a natural finish or one that compliments the grain. For me glossy can be too slippery with some fabrics. To me a real glossy finish looks like clear plastic. But to each their own.

stringy
06-10-2014, 01:12 PM
Thanks KnowsPickin

Wow, good advice. The Mya Moe looks exactly like what I am looking for. I checked out the website and I love that he is into the natural wood and sound.

KnowsPickin
06-10-2014, 01:23 PM
You will really enjoy the MM website. They have scads of great videos. One series I've gotten hooked on is the "Birth of a Mya Moe" series. He takes you through the entire process from ordering, wood selection etc. through the building and final finishing of the wood. They have just put on the first coat of Tru-Oil onto it. I can't wait for the last few videos. To watch the entire run will take a while. There is very little editing and there have been 84 episodes so far. But it is fascinating to watch.

Also enjoy the "Mya Moe Unscripted", which is a weekly VLOG that he as been doing for a couple of years that really goes into their philosophy and history as well as processes.

Let me know if you order one. Unfortunately it will take almost a year to get one from order till delivery. But, Lord, it will be worth it.

Bill

stringy
06-10-2014, 01:34 PM
I WILL be ordering one. I don't mind the wait, I just won't be gifting my old one as quickly. It gives me pleasure to order from someone who shares my tastes and philosophy. Some of my friends have expensive ukes that look and feel like they are coated in clear plastic.
Thanks again for the Mya Moe recommendation :)

bunnyf
06-10-2014, 03:13 PM
I'm with you. I do not like the feel of high gloss, especially in our hot humid Florida climate. Unfortunately my very best uke is high gloss. Wish I were more experienced before I made such a big purchase. Now I feel like I can't get rid of such a sweet well-crafted instrument, even though it doesn't really suit me. Probably at some point it will go on the chopping block.

Dane
06-10-2014, 03:43 PM
I don't mind high gloss on an instrument body, but it does annoy me on the neck. It makes me feel sweaty and sticky. Also, cheaper instruments have poorer quality finishes it seems. (sometimes excluding companies that have a cheaper, alternative, line of ukuleles)

Gloss instrument on a hot day, playing without a shirt on because it's just... that...friggin....hot.......... not the most pleasant playing experience.

haole
06-10-2014, 03:45 PM
I prefer satin finishes too. Gloss tends to feel kinda gross and sticky, and I've taken very fine sandpaper to quite a few necks!

Mya-Moe's oil finish is fantastic.

itsme
06-10-2014, 04:01 PM
The top wood will affect the sound more than the back/sides.

Personally, I prefer a satin or matte finish over gloss. Just seems more natural and less "look at me because I'm shiny."

That said, one of my favorites is a Mainland red cedar tenor with gloss and rope binding I won. I wouldn't have bought it because I don't care for that kind of look, but it's an amazing instrument. :)

Out of 10 ukes, though, I only have that one gloss.

Katz-in-Boots
06-10-2014, 04:59 PM
I definitely prefer satin finish. I think it comes from playing viola & then cello: in general, high gloss = cheap & nasty. Orchestral strings also don't have varnished necks - they are sanded & rubbed.
Give me the natural feel of wood any day.

Ukejenny
06-10-2014, 06:49 PM
Of my three, two are satin and one is gloss. The gloss is a solid cedar top, so I'm grateful for the extra protection, since that wood is softer. It is a cedar rosewood, so it is also my most "boomy" sounding ukulele. The only thing I notice is that it shows fingerprints more, so I wipe it down more often. As far as the glossy neck, I am used to keeping my hands dry for clarinet and flute and wipe them a lot when I'm playing, so it doesn't seem greasy to me. But I've also never played a set in a bar or outside either, so my conditions are limited.

Dane
06-10-2014, 07:01 PM
I prefer satin finishes too. Gloss tends to feel kinda gross and sticky, and I've taken very fine sandpaper to quite a few necks!

Mya-Moe's oil finish is fantastic.

How fine are we talking? I'd love a solution for one of my glossies.

stringy
06-10-2014, 07:39 PM
I definitely prefer satin finish. I think it comes from playing viola & then cello: in general, high gloss = cheap & nasty. Orchestral strings also don't have varnished necks - they are sanded & rubbed.
Give me the natural feel of wood any day.



ITA that it makes an ukulele look cheap.

Gloss= Gross

kohanmike
06-10-2014, 08:29 PM
My best uke is a Kala cedar/acacia koa gloss finish. I certainly like the gloss look, and have never had a problem playing it until Saturday night for an outside gig in Venice, CA near the ocean, the humid atmosphere definitely made it harder to slide around on the neck. I actually put a polish on my two hole all acacia koa satin finish not long ago, have to test it and my satin finishes in humid atmosphere.

chuck in ny
06-11-2014, 03:41 AM
How fine are we talking? I'd love a solution for one of my glossies.

i keep 1000/1500/2000 grit paper in the shop. at that level of fineness they are used for polishing finishes and bringing up high gloss.
600 grit paper is commonly available and would be considered ultra fine for scratching down high gloss. get the black stuff from the hardware store, wet/dry, and use it with water.

coolkayaker1
06-11-2014, 05:31 AM
I rub gloss instruments up and down my naked body at night.

aquadan
06-11-2014, 05:46 AM
I rub gloss instruments up and down my naked body at night.

That's going to affect the sale price next time you list one.

KoaDependent
06-11-2014, 06:04 AM
Yes indeed. Some are willing to pay a premium for that.

aquadan
06-11-2014, 06:07 AM
Yes indeed. Some are willing to pay a premium for that.

I was hoping someone would take it in that direction.

strumsilly
06-11-2014, 09:05 AM
for looks- gloss. it really brings out the grain, especially in koa
feel, satin. especially on the necks.

Dan Uke
06-11-2014, 09:15 AM
That's what's great about uke. We all have preferences and there are many ukes with different size, finish, wood, etc. to please all of us. :)

For me, there is nothing like glossy nitrocellulose finish.

stringy
06-11-2014, 11:41 AM
for looks- gloss. it really brings out the grain, especially in koa
feel, satin. especially on the necks.


I agree Gloss really brings out the grain of the wood, but I personally am not buying an ukulele to hang on the wall like a beautiful piece of art.

Icelander53
06-11-2014, 11:52 AM
I just got back from my local music store. So many of you love your glossy finishes so I gave some high-end glossy finishes a try. euwww, just couldn't handle the look or unnatural feel.

I am in the process of gifting one of my ukes and I know for sure whatever I purchase to replace it will be a natural feeling matte or satin finish (sans bling).

From all that I played today it is hard to beat the sound of a 100% solid wood uke with a natural Spruce top, but I am undecided on the back and side wood. Is it just me or does the back and side wood not make much of a difference in the sound?

Koa or rosewood on the back sure drives up the price.


I'm curious as to what exactly the point of this post is. Is it to edify us to some important issue we are missing out on. Is there something critical missing in our taste if we like a glossy instrument? Can this thread help us in some way?

I have two natural spruce top ukes in my life right now and neither take top billing in my world. Even though they are the two most expensive. What is wrong with my perceptions here and how can I correct them to be more in line with your views? Thanks in advance.


(just kidding, sort of)

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 12:21 PM
I prefer low-gloss finishes, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a strong preference - one of my favorite tenors is gloss and I have to admit it's pretty darn sharp looking. Also, on less expensive ukes it doesn't really have that much impact on sound, because their satin finishes tend to be as thick as gloss, just not as shiny. Poly is poly, as they say.

For that matter I can't prove that a low-gloss finish has better sound on high-end ukes but when I had my Boat Paddle tenor made I took no chances and spec'd the oil finish. Satin is pretty but I really like to feel the wood. A gloss finish probably would have been a little more durable and have had higher resale value...but I buy 'em to play not to look at or sell...

John

stevepetergal
06-11-2014, 12:28 PM
I rub gloss instruments up and down my naked body at night.

This at 10:30 a.m.

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 12:29 PM
I prefer satin finishes too. Gloss tends to feel kinda gross and sticky, and I've taken very fine sandpaper to quite a few necks!

Mya-Moe's oil finish is fantastic.

Just FYI you might want to try a very fine steel wool next time. There is less chance of rubbing completely through in spots.

BTW, there is one time when a really hard, thick, sound deadening, impervious to everything polyurethane gloss finish is nice to have...when you're at an outdoor festival with a mixture of sun block, insect repellent, and sweat on your arms! LOL

John

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 12:31 PM
I rub gloss instruments up and down my naked body at night.

So that was you I saw in the park last night!

stringy
06-11-2014, 12:35 PM
[QUOTE=Icelander53;1536560]


What is wrong with my perceptions here and how can I correct them to be more in line with your views?




Patience grasshopper, patience. It is an acquired taste.

Icelander53
06-11-2014, 01:56 PM
I'm in my 60s and like everything at this age I'm running out of it. :(

KnowsPickin
06-11-2014, 02:32 PM
I know one very accomplished professional musician who takes a new guitar and then uses rubbing compound to compound down the finish off the neck to give it a nice woody feel. This takes guts on a multi thousand dollar Martin guitar. But that is what he wants to feel when he plays.

Icelander53
06-11-2014, 03:29 PM
Why just the neck?

RichM
06-11-2014, 03:42 PM
It is actually not uncommon in the bluegrass mandolin community to sand all of the finish off a (often very expensive) mandolin neck. Sometimes called a "speed neck," many players believe the lack of finish on the neck helps them move around more quickly (and bluegrass playing requires some pretty stealthy hands). I never bought into it, but you'd be surprised how many do it.

KnowsPickin
06-11-2014, 04:07 PM
Why just the neck?

I assume because that is the part he feels most with his hand. You have some contact with the sound board, but not as much as with the neck.

Icelander53
06-11-2014, 04:07 PM
And here I thought I was just old, feeble and slow witted and all the time is was the fat sticky neck on my uke. By God, I learn something new here every day. :cool:

Icelander53
06-11-2014, 04:08 PM
But you could remove some of the shiny with that method for those that have an emo problem with shine?

OldePhart
06-11-2014, 04:40 PM
Yes, the back of the neck is very critical to playing fast (not that I'm a fast player). The ideal seems to be perfectly smooth but not really "glassy" or "greasy".

jackwhale
06-11-2014, 05:30 PM
OP: I like the quote about being 'shiny' in your signature. It seems your signature has waited the past couple of years for this topic to be mentioned.


And for the record, no way does a glossy uke = gross. I can see having a preference but....?

Ukejenny
06-11-2014, 06:14 PM
I will never be in danger of needing a fast neck. Nope. Just call me slow hands.

OldePhart
06-12-2014, 03:15 AM
OP: I like the quote about being 'shiny' in your signature. It seems your signature has waited the past couple of years for this topic to be mentioned.


Heh, I never even thought about that quote being in relation to glossy vs. satin but you're right, it looks like my sig has found a thread to call its own!

And, since I do change tag lines from time to time and we don't want some future reader to think we're both insane, this is what @jackwhale was talking about.

I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

OldePhart
06-12-2014, 03:21 AM
I will never be in danger of needing a fast neck. Nope. Just call me slow hands.

Eric already took that one (well, slowhand, singular, anyway). He got that nickname from his early habit of changing broken strings on stage.