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View Full Version : NUD Tasmanian Blackwood Scott Wise Baritone - The Devil



Cornfield
07-08-2014, 09:30 AM
This arrived yesterday. I ordered it last November when I was in Australia. Scott is also shipping me a tenor.
I specified a wide nut since I have pretty large fingers.
Scott builds his ukes with rope binding, the following is taken from his web site: http://www.wiseukulele.com/index.html
"That diagonally laminated binding around the top edge of my ukuleles is called “rope” binding. You can see it on the fancier models of old Hawaiian ukuleles. At first appearance it is a nice “old school” decorative touch, but it is much more important than that.
I first saw it done in alternating pearl and ebony on very lightly built Neopolitan mandolins. Also on Latin American instruments - vihuelas, bajo sextos, mariachi basses etc. You can see great examples of it on the Ukulele Hall OF Fame’s excellent website. (see the Links page)
The first modern use of it I saw was in Bob Brozman’s Bear Creek Kona model guitar a few years ago. I figured out a way of making it by laminating poplar and rosewood strips and bounced my idea off Bill Hardin of Bear Creek Guitars. He was very helpful. I am forever grateful.
The principle behind rope binding is as old as wooden soundboards on stringed instruments. It protects the edge of the top from splitting and from knocks, and loosens up the edge of the soundboard to enchance vibration. That line of purfling around the edge of a violin sits right over the edge of the interior lining where the soundboard “hinges”. All the fancy abalone and purfling around the edge of expensive steel string guitars does the same thing. It is expensive and time consuming to do, but the reward is a better sounding instrument.
So... rope binding provides a flexible, shock absorbing chain of little diagonal grained patches which cross all the glue joints around the top of the ukulele. You can see a cross section of it below. Apart from all that I like the way it looks. In case you don’t like it, any of my ukuleles can be ordered with plain maple or rosewood binding."

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 09:33 AM
More from his site.

"Australian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon)
Just as the original Hawaiian makers were blessed with the extraordinary tonewood Acacia Koa, in Eastern Australia there grows Acacia Melanoxylon or Australian Blackwood, also called Tasmanian Blackwood, as it grows very well in that island state. However, variants of it grow all the way up the east of Australia into the tropical areas. It is a relatively short-lived tree, a legume, which re-colonises the ground after older trees have died and prepares the soil for the dominant forest trees. It has almost identical properties to its Hawaiian cousin, Koa. I use it for almost all my ukulele bodies - top, back and sides. It is a highly regarded tonewood for guitars as it sometimes has wonderful wavy, shimmering, dimpled and otherwise spectacular grain. (Only about 1% of trees show this figure) It also imparts a bright, rich tone when used in guitar back and sides, although I don’t favour it in guitars as much as other woods. I do prefer it to mahogany though. It really comes into its own when used in ukuleles however, when carefully shaved down to the very fine thicknesses I use and braced appropriately it has just the right combination of strength and flexibility to produce the rich full bodied tone I strive for. Straight grained, quartersawn blackwood is very stiff along the grain and produces a bright sound. The curly, figured blackwood has a stonger lower midrange component and a warmer sound. It has a good surface hardness and does not require a thick finish for protection from the various strumming techniques used by players. In fact, it is fine with no finish at all if you want, just a hard wax coating to seal the wood and protect against dirt will do. There is more about finishes under FINISHES.
In short, it looks great, a lot like the best Hawaiian Koa, sounds great, and is a sustainably harvested timber. What more could you want?"

Osprey
07-08-2014, 09:37 AM
Congratulations. It looks fantastic!
Cliff

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 09:39 AM
This ukulele is incredibly light. Much lighter than my Kamaka tenor ukulele. I passed it around at my uke club last night and everyone was surprised by the lack of heft.

"
Why so light?



When I had to put a new side in an old early 1920’s Kuamalae soprano many years ago, I marvelled at how lightly built it was. It had the wonderful full, loud sound I was finding elusive. It started me on the path ......
A few years of experience has taught me that ukuleles have the volume, the tonal complexity and warmth I like when they are made from koa or blackwood of the right thickness, with carefully shaved and tuned spruce braces. Violinmaking has taught me how robust very thin sides with hand bent solid linings are. Classical guitar making has taught me that an arch in the top below the soundhole enables a thinner, lighter, more responsive top and allows for a lower, lighter bridge. Without this arch I would not be able to make the instrument so light.
All this is only possible because the total tension on a ukulele string set is much lower than on most other instruments. Even with this low tension I reinforce and stabilise the neck block area of the back with an extra brace adjacent to the block, which distributes the torque from the strings to a wider area of the back. These ukuleles may be light and responsive, but they are built to last.
My ukulele bridges are very small. They have a small footprint with bamboo pins linking them through the top. Strings are anchored in the old Hawaiian style with knotted ends in sockets at the rear of the base of the bridge. No tie block, no bridge pins, no extra weight. The bottom of the bridge is curved to fit the top, which makes the whole thing stronger and resists warping.
Another advantage of the lighter build is that the instrument can be held easily in playing position for a long time without a strap. My friend Douglas Tolentino and his band Pa’ahana play 3 long sets, 3 nights a week at the beautiful “House Without A Key” restaurant at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki. Doug uses one of my tenor instruments without a strap, without a pickup, playing only near his vocal mic. Simple.....
"

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 09:41 AM
It is notably lacking in "bling". No Mastodon Ivory Tasmanian Devil's. I'm not a bling king. I'm not much of a ukulele player to be honest but like Dorian Gray said "I don't know much about art but I know what I like".

Doc_J
07-08-2014, 10:16 AM
Congratulations! Beautiful, John! A modern classic. The Wise tenor I had was crazy light. I imagine your Baritone is also similarly light.

Nickie
07-08-2014, 10:30 AM
Beautiful uke! congrats! I never knew that about rope binding...now I want one....I always wondered why all of Mainland's ukes have it!

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 11:35 AM
I'm extremely pleased with it. It vibrates against my chest like a cat in full purr.
This article tells a lot about Scott, an Australian luthier that is now well known here. http://elementsmargaretriver.com.au/scott-wise/

Ukejenny
07-08-2014, 12:54 PM
Looks beautiful and I'm glad it sounds beautiful too! Congratulations!

PhilUSAFRet
07-08-2014, 01:32 PM
Love it....understated elegance. I'll bet that lightweight really resonates. Let's hear it sometime.

Jim Hanks
07-08-2014, 01:39 PM
Ok, I'll bite. Why "The Devil"?

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 02:38 PM
Ok, I'll bite. Why "The Devil"?

Since the body is Tasmanian Blackwood it is named "The Devil"

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 02:39 PM
Ok, I'll bite. Why "The Devil"?

The tenor that is coming next week will be named the "Lil' Devil"

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 03:35 PM
Its probably too late, but Tasmanian Devils are actually Tasmanian, and Tasmania is an island thingy way across the other side of Australia in the dreaded Eastern States. When you mention devils and Tasmania, people are going to ask you whether Scott Wise has his workshop near Hobart or Launceston. Some names that reference the Margaret River locality could include Margarets (always with an s and no apostrophe), ukulup (place of the ukuleles), orchid, taj (burrows) etc. Unfortunately, It just goes encourages Tasmanians if you you mention Devils.
The species Acacia malanoxylon or Blackwood does actually grow in Western Australia where it is sometimes called Black Wattle, but alas you have to go to Tasmania and Victoria to find trees that are useful for timber. So we import it here.

I visited Scott in his shop before I ordered the ukes. Margaret River is WAYYYYYY on the other side on Australia. I also went to Tasmania and saw several devils in captivity that are being bred disease free.

Cornfield
07-08-2014, 03:38 PM
Beautiful uke John. Congratulations.

Don't wanna be a grammar Nazi exactly, but it's actually Tasmanian with an S, as in from the island of Tasmania. :)

Yes, you are correct about the spelling. I got it right in the spelling of the thread though......

armchair_spaceman
07-08-2014, 04:27 PM
Congrats...I played one of these Scott Wise Baris briefly at a shop here in Melbourne a couple of months ago. The tone and deep-in-the-guts resonance was amazing. And it was crazy light, flawless build and easy playing. The budget doesn't allow right now but a bucket-list Uke for sure.


edit: and while it's called "Tasmanian Blackwood" for the romance of the name, it's a species of Acacia that grows all the way up our East coast (including Tasmania ;) ) and in small pockets over West. I have owned two Australian-made Tas Blackwood ukes - not only is it a wonderful tonewood, it has warm, eye-pleasing red, yellow and orange highlights in it that really pop in the right light.

mm stan
07-08-2014, 05:21 PM
Congrats John, I love my tassie blackwood.... the tone is to die for....68686 something about the straight grain and golds and yellows and no black or grey stridations

pakhan
07-08-2014, 05:38 PM
congrats John,

Scott really builds some of the nicest sounding ukes out there

Cornfield
07-09-2014, 01:33 AM
I have to agree with pakhan.
But don't be afraid to ask Scott about some blingy things if you like that sort of thing. I have the three colour subtle wood binding on my three Wise ukes, but my classical guitar has some amazing green pattern, modelled after the surf at Margaret River.

Please post some photos of the ukes with three colour binding and the guitar

iamesperambient
07-09-2014, 06:24 AM
This arrived yesterday. I ordered it last November when I was in Australia. Scott is also shipping me a tenor.
I specified a wide nut since I have pretty large fingers.
Scott builds his ukes with rope binding, the following is taken from his web site: http://www.wiseukulele.com/index.html
"That diagonally laminated binding around the top edge of my ukuleles is called “rope” binding. You can see it on the fancier models of old Hawaiian ukuleles. At first appearance it is a nice “old school” decorative touch, but it is much more important than that.
I first saw it done in alternating pearl and ebony on very lightly built Neopolitan mandolins. Also on Latin American instruments - vihuelas, bajo sextos, mariachi basses etc. You can see great examples of it on the Ukulele Hall OF Fame’s excellent website. (see the Links page)
The first modern use of it I saw was in Bob Brozman’s Bear Creek Kona model guitar a few years ago. I figured out a way of making it by laminating poplar and rosewood strips and bounced my idea off Bill Hardin of Bear Creek Guitars. He was very helpful. I am forever grateful.
The principle behind rope binding is as old as wooden soundboards on stringed instruments. It protects the edge of the top from splitting and from knocks, and loosens up the edge of the soundboard to enchance vibration. That line of purfling around the edge of a violin sits right over the edge of the interior lining where the soundboard “hinges”. All the fancy abalone and purfling around the edge of expensive steel string guitars does the same thing. It is expensive and time consuming to do, but the reward is a better sounding instrument.
So... rope binding provides a flexible, shock absorbing chain of little diagonal grained patches which cross all the glue joints around the top of the ukulele. You can see a cross section of it below. Apart from all that I like the way it looks. In case you don’t like it, any of my ukuleles can be ordered with plain maple or rosewood binding."

really nice baritone looks amazing.

Cornfield
07-09-2014, 11:22 AM
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Here are some photos. When i looked at the concert and soprano, i realised that they have two colours, good to know after owning them for 8 years, but the baritone has three. The guitar is the green photo, it is hard to see but the binding has green in it. I think the photo of the back of the guitar, with the green stripe also got uploaded.
The soprano and baritone are blackwood and the the concert is jarrah.

Those are very nice. Thanks for posting them. Nice collection.

Nickie
07-09-2014, 02:54 PM
Wow, such lovley wood....love the binding!

Cornfield
07-14-2014, 08:11 AM
I played the baritone at a "talent show" last Saturday. The room was a banquet hall that could hold 700 diners, tables, chairs etc. The audience had about 200 people that were scattered around the room (it was late in the show). I had a vocal microphone, I didn't amplify the uke at all. People throughout the audience loved the sound of the instrument.

That is one of the reasons I ordered the ukuleles from Wise.