Top layer of laminate.. any difference in sound?

socal16

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With same maker, does the sound differ with different laminate top layer (mahogany, mango, Koa etc) or is it just for aesthetics?
 

socal16

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These companies advertise “the beautiful sound of … fill in the name… on their laminate ukes. So is this just b.s.?
 

John Colter

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Either that or wishful thinking. Reads better than, "the beautiful sound of plywood".

John Colter

ps. having said that, I must add that some laminate ukes can sound very decent but it's more to do with the quality of the laminate material and the standard of construction.
 
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rustydusty

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I'm sure that the bottom layer material is just as important. Do they use a hardwood or a cheaper tone wood. Seems like they never mention the other layers...
 

Nickie

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I'm sure that the bottom layer material is just as important. Do they use a hardwood or a cheaper tone wood. Seems like they never mention the other layers...

A laminate built ukulele is just that, sides, back, front all laminate. Some have a solid wood top, it will be mentioned if they do.
Some are crap, some are pretty good. Watch Baz's videos in Got A Ukulele on YouTube.
 

kissing

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The logic thus far makes sense, but anecdotally I can't help but feel mahogany laminate ukes sound "mahogany like" and Koa laminates sound "koa like" and so on for spruce and other woods...

Like they're a slightly less clear and resonant version of the solid top counterparts.

Could be a placebo effect though.. :confused:
 

John Colter

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We have to be clear what we are talking about here. The word "laminate", used to describe the stuff from which a ukulele is made, is applied to both traditional plywood and to HPL - High Pressure Laminate. They are very different materials.

Traditional plywood is made from (usually) three thin slices of wood, while HPL might have little or no wood content.

Both can be used to make good ukuleles but finishing them with a representation of, say, koa or mahogany will not make them sound like those tonewoods.

FWIW I recently bought two sopranos direct from China. One is said to be traditional plywood with koa outer facing, the other is HPL tricked up to look like mahogany. The former cost twice as much as the latter, and both look very convincing, but I prefer the sound of the cheaper HPL uke.

John Colter