Moody "Ukulele?

PereBourik

Ukulele don't judge
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I've just been running through my songs on my three "players." I've noticed changes in their sounds as the weeks progress. Some of this is the opening up of the instruments; none of my 'ukes is a year old yet. in the last two weeks the pineapple has gone from brassy to balanced. The sapele concert has gone from muddy to mellow. The koa concert seems to be getting more bottom end.

All of this is subjective. All of this may be weather related as the Midwest moves into dry winter. (I keep humidifiers in all my cases and they are barely up to the task.) Any of this may be the strings finding their happy places. For now, though, they are strung with their stock strings and the strings have had plenty of time to settle.

So I've come to the conclusion that my 'ukulele have moods.

Does your 'ukulele have moods?
 

bborzell

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Mar 25, 2013
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Interesting question. While it is true that all wood "moves" with changes in temperature and humidity (particularly true when the wood is dimensioned for use as a top, side or back on a ukulele), and that movement can result in changes in physical characteristics affecting tone, my guess is that most of us do not keep our Ukes in environments that change drastically enough to result in obvious tonal changes.

My guess is that the single most important factor that results in the same Uke sounding different at different times is the fact that our hearing system is constantly being affected by the environmental conditions we live in. Things like fatigue, sinus inflammation, ear wax, headaches, situational tinnitus and our frame of mind all help determine how effective and accurate our perception of sound really is.

So, you don't necessarily need a new Uke; maybe just some olive oil in the old ear canal will be enough.
 

Preacher

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Pere, I probably live in a more drastic climate change area than you do so I will try to listen for it. I only have one uke so I can't compare between multiples. But I also don't think I have much of an "ear" for the changes. At least not yet. I close my eyes and listen to different ukes online but I rarely can tell the difference between woods or brands. Is this something that will come with time? Or am I simply going to be musically challenged because I wasn't born with that gift?
 

PereBourik

Ukulele don't judge
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Interesting question. While it is true that all wood "moves" with changes in temperature and humidity (particularly true when the wood is dimensioned for use as a top, side or back on a ukulele), and that movement can result in changes in physical characteristics affecting tone, my guess is that most of us do not keep our Ukes in environments that change drastically enough to result in obvious tonal changes.

My guess is that the single most important factor that results in the same Uke sounding different at different times is the fact that our hearing system is constantly being affected by the environmental conditions we live in. Things like fatigue, sinus inflammation, ear wax, headaches, situational tinnitus and our frame of mind all help determine how effective and accurate our perception of sound really is.

So, you don't necessarily need a new Uke; maybe just some olive oil in the old ear canal will be enough.

Who doesn't need a new 'uke?

Seriously, I have a few plenty good ones and I know that there are scads of variables both with the instrument and the listener. I am trying to get a steady sense of the voice of each of them to better match them to the songs I play. I'm lucky that all three of these concert-scale 'ukulele have distinctly different sounds. Just about the time I think I get them nailed down they seem to shift again.