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Thread: NUD: Covered Bridge Cuatro Pineapple

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,543

    Default NUD: Covered Bridge Cuatro Pineapple

    Americans may have a seen a TV commercial where a couple takes a kitchen faucet to an architect and says "design us a house around this". A ridiculous notion, but that's kinda what I did with this uke, only I started with a set of strings and said "design me a uke around these" - specifically, the Southcoast XLL set with cuatro first string. This is a "low reentrant" set where the tuning for tenor scale works out to Bb3 Eb4 G4 C4. In other words, it is a linear Eb tuning except the first string is an octave lower than normal. Note that the pitch range (Bb3 to G4) is exactly the same as a reentrant Bb tuning (f4 Bb4 D4 G4) which I prefer over standard gCEA, especially for tenor scale. But the "low reentrant" vs "high reentrant" gives rise to really different sounds when strumming or arpeggiating standard chord shapes. I tried this on my laminate Ohana and liked it enough that I wanted this setup in a better package.

    My first thought was to just get an "off the shelf" tenor and have it setup (especially the nut) for the cuatro string set. After exchanging emails with Mim, she had quite a few options that would have worked, and I was starting to lean towards the Pono mango pineapple. But after exchanging emails with Perry Bullinger, I decided to go more upscale with a Covered Bridge custom build. With the end goal in mind, here were the primary design specifications:

    1. Body shape - concert pineapple - for some reason, I really like pineapples. My main tenor is essentially a pineapple (Iriguchi keystone) and I have a KPK super soprano tuned low-GCEA. Since the lowest pitch for the cuatro set is just a step below middle C, the concert body should have plenty of resonance for a warm, full sound.
    2. Woods - Port Orford Cedar top/Claro walnut back/sides - with the goal being that warm, full sound, one option that has worked really well for Covered Bridge is a western red cedar top with Oregon myrtle back/sides. That happens to be the combo on my Ono baritone from another Oregon builder David Ingalls, and that is probably my favorite sounding uke if I had to choose just one. But since I do have that combo, I asked Perry if he had a recommendation that would get in the same tonal ballpark but have a bit different aesthetic. Neither walnut nor POC was on my radar screen, but after watching some videos and considering it, I realized Perry was on to something and gave the green light.
    3. Side port - I have this feature on the Iriguchi and Ono. Being completely honest, I'm not sure it does *that* much for me, but it's a reasonable upcharge and can't hurt, so decided to go with it here as well.


    And that's it. I figured the rest would have no effect on the goal and entrusted Perry (and Terry I presume but all my interaction was with Perry) to basically "do what you do" and let me know if any input was needed. There wasn't any input needed until it came time for the string up and we had to double check those funky pitches. (But there were several build updates in the form of Facebook posts which was a very nice touch and much appreciated.) Overall it was right at three months from first contact to finished uke (with an added week of compulsively checking FedEx tracking ). Extremely reasonable, especially considering this included the holiday season.

    With that, here are the remaining specs:
    • mahogany neck
    • ebony fretboard and bridge
    • curly western maple binding
    • walnut head plate and rosette
    • varnish over a pore fill finish
    • string through bridge
    • side and front fret markers
    • 1.5" nut width (uh-oh - all my others are 1-3/8". Will I like this?)
    • Peghed (4:1 ratio, planetary geared) tuners
    • extra nut for reentrant gCEA tuning


    The last was a very nice surprise and not mentioned at all along the way. I was concerned they just hated the cuatro tuning, but Perry assured me it sounded good either way and just wanted to provide this an an option in case I ever wanted to experiment with other strings. Plus "for some reason if you ever sell it. It may make it easier " Very thoughtful.

    Doh! I totally forgot to ask for a strap button. Oh well, I'll use the standard UkeLeash until I get up the nerve to install one.

    Actual NUD was Saturday but we had a full house with kids down from college, etc. so didn't get a chance to really play it except for some very quiet strumming in the evening. First impression is that I am quite impressed with the build. Light, very "clean", very "smooth" finish. The finish is "varnish over a pore fill" - not a gloss but not "dull" at all and very smooth to the touch even on the neck. Setup feels good. I didn't specify an action height but it seems around the 2.5mm area like my others. So far I'm not noticing a huge difference with the 1.5" neck but I'll need to compare back-to-back with some others. I don't think it's going to be an issue one way or the other.

    Sunday I got a few more minutes with it and recorded a sound sample with the iRig Acoustic. I'm not going to post it though as it doesn't sound like what I'm hearing acoustically - too bright and too much finger noise.

    Monday I got a quick sound sample made with a Blue Yeti USB mic that I think is a little more representative:
    https://clyp.it/g0k4sc0w

    Processing is minimal with just a high pass filter and overall level boost applied, no EQ or compression (except for what is applied with conversion to mp3). The finger noise is still too pronounced with the heavier strumming but the picking and lighter strumming seems close to what I'm hearing.

    I'm very pleased with the sound, but finding adjectives to describe tone is always difficult. I suppose "smooth" is a pretty good term for the tone as well. I would say that it accentuates the mid-range as it is not boomy at all and not what I would call bright either. More "cool" than "warm" if that makes sense. I'm curious to see how that assessment holds up in direct comparison against my other ukes, particularly the Iriguchi and Ono.

    A few pics next.
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 02-28-2017 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Added detail on the finish
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,543

    Default

    Not that great. iPhone 4s with flash:







    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,543

    Default

    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    915

    Default

    Haven't been on UU much lately, but I am glad I came on and saw your NUD Jim! When I was reading the post the Cuatro tuning had me a bit baffled, and frankly I wasn't sure what to think. The sound sample made quick work of converting me. As a songwriter I can definitely hear how the different voicing of familiar chords could lead to a lot of interesting ideas. Listening to your sound sample (nice playing), it sounds like a great instrument to sing over as well. Look forward to hearing more of it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cloverdale California
    Posts
    4,980

    Default

    What a beaut of an ukulele there! Solid win. Beautiful tone in Cuatro tuning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    NSW AUSTRALIA Post Ceiling 5,000
    Posts
    5,000

    Default

    Congratulations Jim, I'm thinking this little beauty is just about a perfect fit for you. When I listened to the 2nd section (fingerpicking) I immediately thought.... The Mystical Sounds of Jim Hanks, that tuning works really well, the note separation & clarity are amazing.
    All the best,
    Campbell


    YouTube Videos & Tabs
    https://www.youtube.com/user/camsuke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Orange county.
    Posts
    500

    Default

    Pineapple with a side port wow
    All for sale; pm me:


    Brand new Loprinzi Honduran mahogany soprano w new hardshell case. $350 -> 325

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hong Kong / Adelaide, South Australia
    Posts
    442

    Default

    Congratulations to you Jim, from another CB uke owner. I assume its tru-oil finish? The quality of craftsmanship is definitely getting higher. In your sound sample, it has the extra warmth from Cuatro tuning, nice one.
    Aloha~ I play a Covered Bridge Myrtle Tenor Uke. I apologize in advance for my broken English.
    I am learning everything about wood and ukulele for my ukulele building dream. It may take several decades
    Find me if you are visiting HK
    String Sound Samples
    | Covered Bridge Uke Group | Myrtle Wood Group | Blog

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,458

    Default

    Love the demo Jim. Sounds warm and full. Beautiful recording you captured. Congratulations brother. Plenty of resonance, the strings seem a perfect fit. You will get used to 1.5" no problem.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Salem,Oregon
    Posts
    1,265

    Default

    I have one of each size quatro tuned, try a C7 chord as 3433 F7 with a C sustain as 2313 and a g7 as 4535...whichyou can walk down to the F7. or raise a half stepback toG7. It is a great blues sound. Another fun tuning is gCEa to fCFa.

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