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Thread: Solid wood improves with use??

  1. #1
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    Default Solid wood improves with use??

    So this has probably been asked before, but I wasn't sure how to phrase my question exactly....
    So, I've heard that solid wood instruments improve in sound quality the more they are played. Is this true?
    Or was it that the wood improves with time like wine?
    Now I can't remember.
    Love my Ohana SK-21M. Tortoises Rule!

  2. #2
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    Default

    I think both might contribute to a change in tone over time. Playing brings about vibrations which might have an effect on the wood. Time and fluctuations in temperature and humidity will also "season" the wood.
    As to how much of a difference it makes, I dunno.
    Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K, Mainland Mahogany Classic; Mainland Red Cedar; Ohana SK-28; Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's brand "Kolohe" concert; Cordoba 24T; Cordoba 30T; Kanilea Islander MST-4; Kiwaya KTT-2K; Cordoba 24B

  3. #3
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    I believe the folklore is that it improves with time.

    While it may be true, it's pretty hard to test as you can't play your brand new instrument side by side with the same one that's aged. If you made a high quality recording, you might be able to tell. Now I'm curious as to who here has done this. I'm sure there's someone out there who will put me in my place.
    sopranino/sopranos/baritone/ubass

  4. #4
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    Yes, you've heard of it...THE GRAND OPENING!

    Lotsa past threads on this in the past here, including this recent one:

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...ight=TONE+RITE

    I think instruments can sound better with lots of play time. Whether that's due to the instrument changing, my ears changing, or my playing adapting to the uke, that's open to debate, and there will be no shortage of opinions on it!
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 03-14-2019 at 09:06 AM.
    John

  5. #5
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    ... solid wood instruments improve in sound quality the more they are played
    Yeah, right ! Marketing gumph to convince you that the instrument you've just spent several weeks/months wages on will finally start to sound better (once the warranty has run out)

    If it doesn't sound good when you buy it, why buy it?

    If it sounds better after six months it's probably because you've learnt to play it to advantage.

    YMMV -
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  6. #6
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    Default

    I think this theory is highly subjective. It's hard to define what "opening up" or "sounding better" really means; it's in the ears of the beholder. I have solid wooden instruments, one of which is a pretty high-end double bass (aka string bass, upright bass) that I used mostly for playing classical music and some jazz. I don't believe its sound has changed in the years I've had it. Same with my guitars. My technique improved greatly over time, though. If you're hoping or counting on an instrument itself to sound better over time, my advice is don't count on it. Then, if tyou feel it has improved over time, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
    Kala tenor uke (currently tuned CGDA)
    Kala baritone uke (currently tuned DGBE)
    Various other stringed instruments

  7. #7
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    Mar 2018
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    I've noticed an opening of the wood on my violin and cello in the first year of play. This is something we expect of quality stringed instruments and it's simply a fact - a delightful one, for sure.

    I'm not sure if it applies to fretted instruments. I guess I'll have to practice more to see.....
    _________

    Loquax autem mutus es

    1920s Martin Style 2
    Anuenue Moon Bird Tenor
    Kanile'a K1T
    Pono Tenor Pro Classic (Macassar and Cedar)
    1923 Gibson tenor trap door banjo (ukefied)
    Kiwaya KSU-1L (long neck soprano)
    Flight TUS-35

  8. #8
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    Having played guitar for almost fifty years, then playing uke for the last five, and going through about twenty ukes in that time (now with nine), I had a custom made after my first year by Bruce Wei Arts in Vietnam to my specs; solid flame/curly maple top, solid Indian rosewood body, solid neck. When it arrived, I felt that it did not have enough projection and sustain as I like, but I decided to keep it when I read that it would open up after time.

    I played it off and on and also kept it in a humidified display case. After about three years, there is no doubt the projection and sustain improved, and being that I was already an accomplished guitar player who didn't take much to transition to ukulele, I can vouch first hand that the uke improved.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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    Last edited by kohanmike; 03-14-2019 at 10:25 PM.

  9. #9
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    If this concept of "improving with age" has any real science behind it, how come there aren't any manufacturers marketing "5-year aged" or "Stored 10 years in a humidified warehouse" premium-line instruments specifically aimed at the gullible?

    There are entrepreneurs out there who are usually willing to jump on any bandwagon where there's a few bucks to be made. How about buying a container-full of solid wood whatever's, stashing them away in a quiet corner for a few years, then slowly filtering these instruments out onto the marketplace at a significant mark-up?

    You heard it here first

    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default

    [QUOTE=kypfer;2136230]If this concept of "improving with age" has any real science behind it, how come there aren't any manufacturers marketing "5-year aged" or "Stored 10 years in a humidified warehouse" premium-line instruments specifically aimed at the gullible?

    There are entrepreneurs out there who are usually willing to jump on any bandwagon where there's a few bucks to be made. How about buying a container-full of solid wood whatever's, stashing them away in a quiet corner for a few years, then slowly filtering these instruments out onto the marketplace at a significant mark-up?”

    That’s what I think. There would be $ to get and people getting them.

    Also, why should a change be for the better and not worse?

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