Body Depth

hoji

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I know this subject has been discussed at length for years... I'm curious about your current thoughts on body depth, specifically for tenor ukes, and how it affects sound and visual aesthetics.

I'm building a tenor now, of my own design, and looking at other plans for comparison it seems like 3 in. (76 mm) is typical. However that seems pretty deep to me, and I think I like the look of a more shallow instrument. I'm thinking around 2.38 in. at the tail tapering to 2.25 in. at the heel (57 -60 mm) looks good to me.

I wonder if anyone has come up with a formula for ideal depth based on the body width/length.... This one I'm making is 9 in. (228 mm) across at the lower bout, and 11.75 in (298 mm) long.
 

Jim Hanks

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I am not a builder, but as a player, I'm pretty confident you are not going to find an answer on "ideal". As with everything else, depth does have an effect but it is just one variable. I've heard and played instruments that were very thin (like an inch or less) and put out way more volume than expected.

Your dimensions are certainly within the realm of "normal" so I have no doubt they will "work".
 

Allen

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70mm deep at the butt, 60mm deep at the neck/heel block junction.
 

KohanMike

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A few people in my group use the Kala Travel thinline uke and I'm amazed at how much comes out of it, tenor, concert and soprano versions, with an arched back. I looked for a tenor cutaway for a while, but didn't find one, then came across a Lanikai Thinline Bacote/Butterfly Wood version with electronics for $329, a real beauty, very similar design with an arched back, plays very well, but doesn't have the projection of the Kala. I'm sure the difference is in the construction and bracing, though maybe the bacote is denser than the spruce of the Kala.

Lanikai Thinline Bocote.jpg



This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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greenscoe

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As a hobby maker I've been reading the posts on this forum every day for over 7yrs. The information that I have gleaned on this subject is that tenor bodies have become thinner without any loss of volume or tone. I know like me, you prefer to do your own thing. As with all other sizes of uke, I think the most important factor is the soundboard thickness and its bracing. I look forward to seeing the finished instrument-are you staying with an older style look or trying something modern?
 
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Timbuck

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Do not forget ..you have to find a case that fits it :) .. Or make a custom gig bag.
 

anthonyg

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My two bobs worth as someone who has played many different instruments is that an arch in the back is most important. I've played deep instruments that did nothing for me. Thin-line instruments sound OK and the arched back gives them punch although too thin and they do lack a little bass response. My favourite instruments are all of medium depth with a curved taper in their backs.
 

Alain Lambert

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The Helmholz frequency of the instrument is given by the sound hole diameter and the volume of the box.
Larger volume = lower frequency.
Larger sound hole = lower frequency.
So by making a thinner instrument you may have to enlarge the sound hole to keep the frequencies where you want it.
 

BuzzBD

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Alain, that is backwards. The larger the aperture, the higher the frequency. So at least in theory, a thinner body ukulele should have a smaller sound hole.
Brad
 

hoji

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As a hobby maker I've been reading the posts on this forum every day for over 7yrs. The information that I have gleaned on this subject is that tenor bodies have become thinner without any loss of volume or tone. I know like me, you prefer to do your own thing. As with all other sizes of uke, I think the most important factor is the soundboard thickness and its bracing. I look forward to seeing the finished instrument-are you staying with an older style look or trying something modern?

More modern. With cutaway and side sound port.


Interesting on the Helmholtz.... we'll see/hear what happens.
 
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Pete Howlett

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I've done it and.... well there are subtle differences that end up a matter of choice. I like thinner bodies..
 

Alain Lambert

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Alain, that is backwards. The larger the aperture, the higher the frequency. So at least in theory, a thinner body ukulele should have a smaller sound hole.
Brad

Yes ,sorry for that. Thanks for correcting, I always have it backward!