Please lets survey just how flat the tops are on your ukulele's.

anthonyg

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Following on from the debate in another thread lets do a survey.

I'm just not going to classify a ukulele with a belly(bridge higher than the sides) as a fault that needs to be fixed.

Anyway. If your brave enough please put a straight edge across your ukulele just behind the bridge and see if its dead flat, if the bridge is a little higher than the edges of it the bridge is a little lower than the edges.

Again I'm not going to classify any of these conditions as a fault but if we get enough response we will have a good sample to see what's "Normal".

Out of 12 acoustic ukuleles.

6, had the bridge higher than the edges
4, had the bridge lower than the edges
2, dead flat.

Of the 2 that were dead flat 1 has a top that is just WAY too thick. The other has a VERY heavy bridge.

The 4 that were lower than the edges had a wave like shape. High edges, curves down and then raises again for the bridge.

Lets see where the truth lies.

Thanks, Anthony
 
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John Colter

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I have just examined sixteen sopranos. All are well used, and fourteen of them are mine. I was looking at the dip between the bridge and the sound hole in response to string tension.

I've classified them as follows:-

Dead flat - 0

Light (when you peer at them closely, it is easily visible) - 5

Medium (Not immediately obvious but plain to see) - 8

Marked (Conspicuous) - 3

The three with marked dishing are a Red Mahalo, an Ohana SK35, and a Martin Style 1. All sixteen ukes sound good to excellent. The Martin is best of all.

My results prove nothing on their own. I hope they might contribute to the bigger picture.

John Colter.
 

anthonyg

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Thanks for checking.

Yes I'm interested in the totals and just how many dead flat tops there are. I don't think there will be many at all.

EDIT: ukanator has measured things the opposite to me but its fine. Its telling the same thing just the other way around. It is easier to put your straight edge outside the strings, up against the bridge and see if the straight edge rocks from side to side or not. If it doesn't rock from side to side have a look to see if there is a gap under the straight edge.

Anthony
 
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BlackBearUkes

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Thanks for checking.

Yes I'm interested in the totals and just how many dead flat tops there are. I don't think there will be many at all.

EDIT: ukanator has measured things the opposite to me but its fine. Its telling the same thing just the other way around. It is easier to put your straight edge outside the strings, up against the bridge and see if the straight edge rocks from side to side or not. If it doesn't rock from side to side have a look to see if there is a gap under the straight edge.

Anthony

One of the big problems with this kind of survey, that most builders today build with a curved or domed top to keep the top plate from dipping in front of the bridge, so a truely flat top isn't there from the beginning. The uke isn't flat, but it isn't bellied or dipping either.
 

NewKid

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I have seven ukuleles and none of them have dishing - including my 51-year old Favilla baritone. Hope that helps.

If you have a great sounding ukulele with dishing and don't mind it, what does it matter what other people think?
 

wayfarer75

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If you have a great sounding ukulele with dishing and don't mind it, what does it matter what other people think?

:agree:

Everyone has their own opinions of what constitutes a defect. UUers here have returned ukes for what I would consider minor issues that I wouldn't consider a problem. But it's not my uke, and it's not my money. So what do I care what another player thinks?

I think some people on UU spend too much effort trying to impress people with their ukulele collections when they should be trying to impress people with their ukulele playing. I'm not directing that comment at anyone in particular, but it does seem to be a phenomenon on these boards. I'm guilty of it myself.
 

hawaii 50

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:agree:

Everyone has their own opinions of what constitutes a defect. UUers here have returned ukes for what I would consider minor issues that I wouldn't consider a problem. But it's not my uke, and it's not my money. So what do I care what another player thinks?

I think some people on UU spend too much effort trying to impress people with their ukulele collections when they should be trying to impress people with their ukulele playing. I'm not directing that comment at anyone in particular, but it does seem to be a phenomenon on these boards. I'm guilty of it myself.

I started playing the uke a year and a half ago...to do give me something to do as a hobby...then I took a right turn and started on my UAS journey...

I am almost done with it,,,and now trying to do what I intended too...play the Ukulele the best I can...

I get what you are saying...need to spend time practicing not talking about it...haha
good luck and have fun...that was the goal at the beginning right?

btw..most of my ukes are not completely flat...a lot have a domed top...I agree with what Chuck says...
 
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MGM

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Funny seems everytime I grab a uke it comes with a flat top
flat top.jpg
 

hawaii 50

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Hey Mike...Good morning

looks like you feeling well this morning...you are funny man! haha

good one!
 

David Newton

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"Belly" and "dish" are two different things, and calling them "the same thing the other way around" is not accurate.

I, and many builders, build with an arch, or crowned or radiused top, and it can be measured behind the bridge.
It is designed to resist sinking before the bridge, and to generally strengthen the top.

A "belly" is a deformation of the top, behind the bridge, over time.
"Dishing" or sinking of the top before the bridge, or sinking at the sound hole, is deformation of the top accompanied by the rotation of the bridge, a rotation of the neck block, or both.

If you are polling to pick up future problems, dishing, or sound hole sinking, is what you should be polling, not belly, because belly could be an arched top unaccompanied by dishing.
 
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ryanshanabarger

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Well as they said, we should only be looking at dishing since a perfectly flat top is not always the design. This is the "radius" some of the luthiers were talking about in the 'other thread' i think.

I've had 6 ukuleles, 1 with dishing.
 

NewKid

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Thanks for the information David! This is what makes this forum cool.
 

Moore Bettah Ukuleles

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Bucky Fuller, the Romans and I have all discovered that a spherical surface is much stronger than a flat one. That (amongst obvious painful reasons) is why chickens don't lay square eggs. A radiussed (or arched) top can be built much lighter and stronger without having to make the top thick or add heavy braces.
I have an old Kamaka that has dished so badly you could serve guacamole on it. The action is still good and it sounds great.
 
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anthonyg

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My working hypotheses is that there will be VERY few ukulele's with a dead flat top. I agree that an arch is stronger and beneficial. If you want to measure the dip over the sound hole instead then lets do this.

If enough people respond then hopefully we can put to bed the idea that a dip over the sound hole is unusual and a fault that needs expensive repair. As chuck just said he has a Kamaka with a dish you could "serve guacamole on" yet the action is good and it sounds great. It isn't something to fear so lets see how many ukulele's have dips over the sound hole.

Anthony
 

John Colter

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We should specify which size of ukulele we mean. Sopranos and concerts are similar, but the tenor and baritone are very different in construction.
 

anthonyg

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Well I included all sizes and honestly I didn't see a particular trend.

I though about more categories and breaking it down into subsections but It would get out of hand. To start with the question is.

Is the top of your ukulele flat?

Measure it how you feel comfortable. And thanks.

Anthony
 

ryanshanabarger

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Make as many polls as you want. All it does is prove how many flat tops are owned by a biased group of respondents. What it does not prove is what SHOULD be the case, or what the average customer expects and average luthier intends.

So when some of the best Luthiers in the business are saying it's not normal, make as many polls as you like to try and prove them wrong lol. But it won't.
 

ryanshanabarger

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And to go back to my car analogy, this thread is like asking people "is the hood of your car perfectly flat" - when what you really want to know is "is it normal and acceptable for dents to develop in the hood of your car after a few years"? Pretty different questions. Dishing is a specific issue that has specific causes, you cant just ask about how 'flat' every uke from any maker is and expect to have a viable data pool upon which to base your answers.