Almost NUD: Ohana CK-42 Sinker Redwood Concert

LorenFL

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Pulled the trigger on this a couple days ago. Mim just finished the setup on it and UPS says it will be here Saturday evening!

I recently played with Worth Brown strings and found I didn't like the Low G set. Too tight for my liking. But, I like the Worth Brown "Low Tension" set rearranged for Low G on my other Concert. So, that's what I asked for on this one. I'm expecting good things!

Everything I've read and viewed about Sinker Redwood instruments (ukuleles and guitars) seems to indicate that it should be somewhere between the loudness of Cedar and the punch of Spruce. And EVERYBODY says it's got unbelievable sustain. We shall see.
 

Joyful Uke

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I have a concert with a sinker redwood top, and it sounds amazing.
I hope that you enjoy yours!
Let us know what you think when it arrives.
 

Steedy

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A beautiful instrument that sounds awesome, you're gonna love it! I have a CK-42 that I ordered from Elderly a few years back, and liked it so much that I ordered a Tenor version (TK-40) from Mim. The Concert sounds sweet and clear, the Tenor is a cannon!

CK-42:
CK42_body-front.jpg
(photo by Elderly Instruments)

TK-40:
TK-40 001.jpg
(photo by Mim's Ukes)

Note: the TK-40 is just like the CK-42 and TK-42, except it has a regular solid Redwood top, not Sinker Redwood.
 
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LorenFL

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Mine showed up yesterday. Won't have a lot of time to mess with it seriously until next weekend.

I was disappointed the Mim strung it with the Worth Low G string set, which is not what I wanted. Instantly hated that. Just too much tension for my liking. Not bad for strumming, but I can't bend anything... and I like bending stuff.

So, I ditched the Low G string, rearranged the other 3 and put on the thinnest spare string I had for the A string. It's a pretty crappy string (there's a reason it was on my spare pile), squeaky to the touch, and tinny to the ear. I have a set of Worth BL strings on the way to give me a proper A string.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get those strings settled and get used to the sound of this thing. I'm not totally sold on it, which may ultimately mean that it's not "the one". I want to think that if it were "the one", I'd instantly know.

What I hear from it is not "bad", it's just not necessarily all of what I want to hear. Hard to explain, but I'm not looking for that traditional Hawaiian Uke sound.

First thing I noticed with this one is that while it sounded very good with the Worth Low G strings, it has a bit of a "banjo" sound to it. That seems to have lessened with lighter string tension, but is still there. Not crazy about that. I guess maybe that would be called "brightness" or something. What I wanted from redwood was "deep and mellow", not "bright".

It IS very resonant pretty much throughout the fretboard. I like that.

It seems like my cheap laminate Concert actually has a little more bottom end than this one, which surprised me. But, there are a couple things going on here. One is that the body of the Ohana is smaller than my Eastrock, even though they are both Concert scale. AND... the Ohana is a couple ounces heavier than the Eastrock... even though it's smaller. That tells me that my cheap Eastrock is actually a better instrument than I thought it was... for my purposes. Larger body should have lower range and lighter is always better.

I think the Ohana is definitely louder than the Eastrock, especially when strummed traditionally. (I tend to thumb-strum, where it doesn't seem to make as much difference)

The cool and "mystical" part is that the Ohana has a "chiminess" to it that the Eastrock absolutely does not have. There are overtones at work here, surely related to the outstanding resonance and sustain. I didn't notice it at first. It's sort of like an optical illusion. You have to listen just the right way to hear it. But, when you do hear it... you find that you can sort of "play the overtones" depending on the timing and direction of your strum. Several bars of the same chord... very different sounds coming from the uke. I very much like that, and I'm sure I'll like it more as I learn to "play it".

Once I get the new strings on and settled, maybe I'll try to do some demo and comparison videos between the $60 uke and the $400 uke. Let there be no mistake, if one sounds better than the other, it will be because of the instrument, NOT the player! :)
 

M3dicat3dV3t

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Ohana made three of these figured sinker redwoods. I have the only one released to the public.
 

Cadia

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Did Mim use Worth Browns? They have a nice warm tone. I don't find the tension to be hard on them all. I admit I've been intrigued with this uke myself, so I'm interested in how it sounds. My problem is that Ohanas in general seem to have a certain sound that is not what I'm looking for, and I'm not sure I want to take a chance on it. I like rich, deep, resonant and warm. Not necessarily the traditional Hawaiian sound - must be my tonal ear from my guitar-playing days. I've found that I've been liking ukes by Romero Creations, aNueNue, KoAloha, and Rebel, to name a few. I'm sure I'd like Petros and LFDM, but they're not realistically in the budget any time soon. :rolleyes:
 

LorenFL

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Did Mim use Worth Browns? They have a nice warm tone. I don't find the tension to be hard on them all.
Yes, Worth Brown Low G. Exactly what I asked her to NOT do because I knew they were too tight for my liking. Because I'd just tried them on my other Concert. This is ME, I'm talking about. Clearly, I'm not YOU. You might like those strings just fine, a lot of people do. I'm not one of them. They don't suit the way I like to play. I do like how they sound.

I like the Worth low-tension strings, which they call "BL". Rearrange them for Low G, and they're nice. Some would call them "floppy". And I'll admit that it IS very easy to pull them right off the edge of the fretboard with a bend. That's something I'm learning not to do. Aside from that, they're perfect for me. Nice "Worth Brown" sound (any Ween fans here?), and light, "very bendable" tension.

Side note: I always liked Aquila strings, too. But, never could find an Aquila A-string that was light enough. Aquilas are "fatter" in general.

I admit I've been intrigued with this uke myself, so I'm interested in how it sounds. My problem is that Ohanas in general seem to have a certain sound that is not what I'm looking for, and I'm not sure I want to take a chance on it. I like rich, deep, resonant and warm. Not necessarily the traditional Hawaiian sound - must be my tonal ear from my guitar-playing days. I've found that I've been liking ukes by Romero Creations, aNueNue, KoAloha, and Rebel, to name a few. I'm sure I'd like Petros and LFDM, but they're not realistically in the budget any time soon. :rolleyes:

Once I get strings on it that I like, and find some time, I'll try to do some demo videos to compare and contrast this Ohana with my cheap Eastrock. Both Concert scale, same strings. One cheap laminate... one expensive (to me) solid wood. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up reasonably useful sound with my phone.

BTW, I tuned this thing down a whole step last night. Still sounds good. That softened the oddball A-string that I have on it, got rid of more of that "banjo" twang. Sounds surprisingly good. (and, yes, that made the tension even less!)

Still playing with it... picking (blues solo style stuff) with a Wedgie pick, the resonance is so strong that it's almost like reverb. So cool!
 

merlin666

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Isn't a new uke not supposed to come with strings installed already? In most cases those are the ones that will fit the uke best. But it is not uncommon to not love a new instrument at first encounter as one has to learn to open it up first. Each uke needs slight adjustments in playing approach to sound its best, and when you are used to one uke and have adjusted to make it sound great this will not likely work on another. But over time as you play it more you will gradually learn how to get they best sound out of it. Professional demonstration players like Corey can do this within minutes, but for other people it can take weeks or months. So just play it and be patient.
 

vkuke

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I had BM-46 strings on my Ohana CK35 it does sound bright and twangy. Recently changed it to D'Addario EJ99sc it gave a new life and sound to the uke. loving it
 

LorenFL

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I feel like I'm slacking here. But, really busy with work lately... and currently have a Cat 1 hurricane about 50 miles from my house just off shore. (meh, 40 mph winds and some rain)

Anyhow, I finally got my new set of strings. Really just needed the A string. That's the Worth BL (low tension) 0.185" A string.

So, now I'm set up with a full set of Worth BL strings rearranged to Low G.

Before that, I had the same strings on there with a different A string (I don't remember which one, it's very thin, but much higher tension material), and they'd gotten settled in. That A string was a little tight and plinky, but otherwise... I was getting used to it.

So, with the proper Worth A string, I like it even more!

Weirdness:
Low G sounded pretty darned good, but the E and A strings had a banjo-ey twang to them. Tuning down a half step didn't make enough difference. Tuning down a whole step did. So, that's where I've been for a week or two. The string tension is really light, but I like that, too.

With the new A string, I tried Low G again... same experience. Slightly twangy, and just a little harder to bend things around like I want to. Set to Low F, it's just got the right touch for me. And less twangy.

More weirdness, and I just noticed this. This uke has a "sweet spot" for strumming. I tend to strum just up from the sound hole, it's just a natural place for me. Same with picking, I'm in that area. For fingerpicking (which I don't do much, but I'm trying), I like to be over the sound hole so my fingers don't interfere with the fretboard. But, the sweet spot... further up the neck! It sounds VERY different, much more chimey, when you strum a little further up. Not sure if that's because it's closer to the center of the string or not. It sounds "good" even strumming directly over the sound hole, or closer to the bridge, but it sounds "better" further up.

Once these strings are all settled, I'll try to find time to do some comparison sound sample videos between this uke and my cheapie. Not sure how well my phone mic will pick up the subtleties.