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View Full Version : What do you think the longevity of ekoa and flurocarbon materials will be?



Ukeukegjoob
06-29-2014, 06:30 PM
This may be a silly question but with the new Clara (ekoa) and Blackbird Tenor (fluorocarbon) ukes, what do you think the life span of the material will be and do you think the sound will improve or diminish over time?

Andy Chen
06-29-2014, 06:39 PM
Joe Luttwak of Blackbird visits this forum occasionally. He would be the best person to answer the question regarding Ekoa, since it's a proprietary material.

Re the carbon fibre which the Blackbird Tenor ukulele is made of: It is pretty much the same material used in many high-end sports cars these days, so I assume the strength and composition of the material should not deteriorate in any way over the years.

Floating around on YouTube somewhere is a video of a guitar made of carbon fibre (Composite Acoustics is the make, I think) which was found to be very playable when retrieved from among the ruins post-Katrina.

Ukeukegjoob
06-29-2014, 07:31 PM
Thank you. I realized I have been researching the incorrect material after posting this. I meant to ask about carbon fiber instead of fluorocarbon. I appreciate your help. Now can't decide on the Clara or the Blackbird Tenor. Oh, everyone should have these kinds of problems, eh?

Andy Chen
06-29-2014, 08:27 PM
Clara's material is very lightweight and extremely resonant. Structurally, it is probably not as tough as the carbon fibre of the tenor, which can be submerged in water with no harm done to the body (I'm serious!).

The tenor is also light and resonant and warmer than the Clara with the stock strings: Tenor uses D'Addario Pro Arte and Clara, Oasis fluorocarbons.

I have yet to change strings, but a friend of mine who has the tenor has changed his strings to Living Waters fluorocarbons and says it is extremely bright.

Ukulele Eddie
06-29-2014, 08:41 PM
Now can't decide on the Clara or the Blackbird Tenor.

They're both nice but quite different beasts altogether besides the obvious size difference. I've played both and own a Clara. The Tenor has incredible clarity and sustain but to my ear lacks a bit of depth in the lower registers. The Clara (a concert) also has excellent sustain but delivers more in the lower registers (which may be surprising since it's a concert-size) and offers more of a vintage-instrument type sound. At a uke retreat I attended quite a few people heard and tried the Clara and comments were extremely positive (and many were shocked how good it sounded).


Oh, everyone should have these kinds of problems, eh?

True dat. Good luck with your decision!

Andy Chen
06-29-2014, 08:44 PM
At a uke retreat I attended quite a few people heard and tried the Clara and comments were extremely positive (and many were shocked how good it sounded)

That tends to be the kind of reaction my Clara elicits too.

PhilUSAFRet
06-29-2014, 09:15 PM
I've only heard one online and I too am shocked at how good it sounds.

Skinny Money McGee
06-30-2014, 04:19 AM
This may be a silly question but with the new Clara (ekoa) and Blackbird Tenor (fluorocarbon) ukes, what do you think the life span of the material will be and do you think the sound will improve or diminish over time?

After total global Nuclear Holocaust, there will be too things left in this world. 1) Cockroaches, 2) Carbon Fiber ukes

but since cockroaches don't play ukes, we may never know the answer to the second part of your question

Pundabaya
06-30-2014, 12:18 PM
Oh, you think you can only get ukes in carbon fibre? http://www.luisandclark.com/shop/ There'll be whole orchestras of giant radioactive cockroaches and their carbon fibre instruments.

OldePhart
06-30-2014, 12:41 PM
Carbon fiber has potential to be an extraordinary material for acoustic instruments...but design and fabrication is absolutely critical. A properly designed and built carbon fiber uke should be far louder than an "equivalent" uke of wood.

Carbon fiber is extremely stable and the tone is unlikely to change with time and playing (frankly, most instruments of solid woods don't change a great deal after the glues and finishes cure completely - there are exceptions but in my experience they're quite rare).

So...if a carbon fiber uke sounds good when you first pick it up it should continue to sound good pretty much forever (assuming you change strings as needed and don't use it to support your car while you do an oil change...)

John

PereBourik
06-30-2014, 05:56 PM
I'm in the Bay Area for the week. I took my Clara into Blackbird to dress a few minor finish issues and get some care and feeding instructions. Took down the Tenor for a few strums. Man is it quiet next to Clara! YMMV.

itsme
06-30-2014, 06:03 PM
Oh, you think you can only get ukes in carbon fibre? http://www.luisandclark.com/shop/ There'll be whole orchestras of giant radioactive cockroaches and their carbon fibre instruments.
That's a scary thought, and those are some scary prices. :eek:

Ukejenny
06-30-2014, 06:03 PM
I want a Clara. I wonder how much less impervious is the Clara from the BB Tenor? If the tenor is a 10 on toughness, where does the Clara fall?

Andy Chen
06-30-2014, 06:56 PM
I want a Clara. I wonder how much less impervious is the Clara from the BB Tenor? If the tenor is a 10 on toughness, where does the Clara fall?

I can't answer this but this is what Blackbird emailed me: "We engineered the Clara to be humidity stable in conventional situations, including inclement weather, extreme humidity and temperature swings... The main body/neck/head component is super strong. The top is also strong but should be treated with a bit more care... The finish is a very tough natural bioresin."

Andy Chen
06-30-2014, 06:57 PM
Man is it quiet next to Clara! YMMV.

It could be partly because of the Pro Arte strings? When my friend changed the stock strings on the Blackbird tenor to Living Waters, he said it became much louder and brighter.

The Clara comes with Oasis.

PereBourik
06-30-2014, 07:30 PM
It could be partly because of the Pro Arte strings? When my friend changed the stock strings on the Blackbird tenor to Living Waters, he said it became much louder and brighter.

The Clara comes with Oasis.

Didn't think about the strings on the tenor. Thanks for that.

The Oasis were too bright for my taste. Using Fremont Blacklines. They are warmer. Next stop: Worth Browns.

Ukulele Eddie
06-30-2014, 08:11 PM
The Oasis were too bright for my taste. Using Fremont Blacklines. They are warmer.

I did not care for the stock strings either. Thought it was way too boomy (the G & C, that is). Plus, I play re-entrant so I needed to switch anyway. Switched to Aquila Reds. Love 'em. Gives it a real "vintage-y" flavor.

Andy Chen
06-30-2014, 09:36 PM
Great, I have both Fremonts and Aquila Reds. Shall try them eventually on the Clara.