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Thread: My Beansprout is ready!

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    141

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spieler View Post
    I'm not sure what else to ask at this point, other than: tell me about your Beansprout, whatever it is you'd love for someone else to know (especially someone who can't see or hear one in person).

    Or maybe, how much preference did you bring to bear at the onset, and where did Aaron take it from there?

    ~ S.
    If I had to describe it briefly, I'd say it's the perfect practice ukulele. The strings are nicely balanced and you can strum it heavily without losing its great tone separation. Also, due to the balanced strings it is quite "forgiving"; even if you pick or strum one string a bit harder than the other, it keeps sounding even. This makes it quite versatile and you can play quite a few different styles on it. I find myself more and more often choosing my Alto whenever I travel somewhere where I can bring only one ukulele.

    And: Although I usually prefer a way slimmer neck profile (Aaron's standard neck is quite chunky, I'd say), the setup on this is perfect. It plays like butter.

    About my communication with Aaron:
    All I asked for was an all Myrtle body (onepiece top and back) and a Douglas Fir neck. He offered me a few sets and I chose one. That's it!

  2. #32

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    Belated and ongoing thanks for everyone's input!
    I ended up snagging a build spot soon after first asking here, and am glad I did. One, because I'm way looking forward to this, and two, because within a week of my placing a deposit with a May ETA, the available slots moved to June, then quickly to July, and are now into August.

    I've pawed forwards and backwards through Beansprout's galleries (no doubt oohing and aahing at y'all's instruments along the way), saving pictures of elements that jump out at me, etc., and so love the variety of ways Aaron lets the wood speak, visually and sonically.

    The current forecast is to start talking specs/preferences this coming month (how can Monday be "February" already?!), locking in details in March, and then the glorious anticipation until it's done.

    ~ S.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    411

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    Can't wait to see what you and Aaron come up with.

    The wait is the hardest part, but it will go by faster than you might expect. And I suspect it will be worth the wait!
    Mainly a concert player.

    Beansprout alto (myrtle) | Martin Konter | Kala Elite Soprano | Rebel Double Cream mango concert
    KoAloha Silver concert | Blackbird Clara | Kamaka HF-2 (special) | Kanile'a K-1 C | Bruko #6
    Anuenue UC200 Moonbird Concert | UkeSA Pineapple Sunday concert (acacia) | Pop's Pineapple Sunday (koa)

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluze View Post
    Can't wait to see what you and Aaron come up with.

    The wait is the hardest part, but it will go by faster than you might expect. And I suspect it will be worth the wait!
    It's all true!

    I've had my Beansprout in my arms for just over two weeks now, and may never stop marveling that it's mine.

    I love how Aaron pulled everything together-- his eye is exquisite.

    I was especially looking forward to watching him handle the finished instrument and talk about it.
    So, here we go!





    Mine is #594, as seen here in the Beansprout Gallery:

    Beansprout #594

    The blue-stained Port Orford Cedar top was my starting point, and everything else built (har) from there.

    I asked/hoped for straighter walnut (I don't actually care for super-figured pieces), Fretboard/Headstock Drama [with tiny fret dots that didn't detract from the same, and which turned out to be brass -- way cool], and... rope binding. Because, Yes.

    A few highlights less obvious until up close:

    The top of the headstock is cut at an angle

    IMG_0743.jpg

    The rope binding is mirrored, ie, the slant angle moves outward from the headstock on each side vs. simply wrapping all the way around.

    IMG_0798.jpg

    The brass side markers are more subtle than I'd anticipated, but the distinctive pistachio grain at the fifth fret carries the day in lower-light situations.

    IMG_0801.jpg

    Ooh la, the old growth Douglas Fir compact growth lines

    IMG_0804.jpg

    Fretboard Drama, subtle and more obvious

    IMG_0805.jpg

    (I especially love the wispy whorl in the lighter portion.)

    The smell!

    The sound? Direct. Punchy, but not to degree of spruce. Resonant and ringy. [I have no ability to record in any way that would do the sound justice; Aaron's video above gives a good idea.]

    My Alto is a full-on sensory experience on 'most every level*, with the visual, tactile, aural, and olfactory working together so organically.

    *(It doesn't taste like much? )

    AND: it makes music. How great is that?!

    ~ S.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    525

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    It's gorgeous! What strings does he have on it?
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    aNueNue AMM3 mahogany tenor
    Romero Creations Tiny Tenor spalted mango
    Romero Creations SK koa soprano
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo 5 string tenor #28
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano
    Brad Donaldson cedar/rosewood custom tenor


  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadia View Post
    It's gorgeous! What strings does he have on it?
    Beansprout carries/installs branded GHS strings:
    IMG_4470.jpg

    From their store description:
    Based off of years of building instruments and performing live, these string sets reflect Aaron’s ideas about tone, playability and durability. GHS strings provides us with our custom gauges and materials so that your instrument is performing at its best. This set uses all fluorocarbon strings and can be used for Soprano, Concert, Alto or Tenor ukulele.

    String Gauges are:

    #1a: .022
    #2e: .026
    #3c: .030
    #4g: .022
    I was determined to play in and play out their chosen string set, but found myself arguing with the tension of the A string especially.

    (If I'm reading the chart @Ed1 has so helpfully provided correctly, the .022 A string is the same width/tension as that of the Fremont Hard set I like for my Sopranino tuned to C; at Concert scale the A is at highest tension of any of the strings I've tried.)

    I wanted to stick it out, but switched to my current go-to strings, a Uke Logic High G set (A string = .018).
    Uke Logics serve me well, including that they've pruned my String Decision Tree.*

    [*For now. Still would like to explore others, o'course, but... am grateful to no longer feel the need to choose/compare/decide Every Time. )

    I like the Uke Logics on this ukulele, and appreciated the difference right away-- I was instantly more relaxed. Plus, changing sooner than later helped settle that it *was* the string(s) and not neck shape and/or action that was initially throwing me off.

    Switching to Uke Logics also provides me with a more direct comparison to my AMM2 with the same strings-- a totally different animal otherwise!-- which I enjoy.

    ~ S.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Copenhagen, DK
    Posts
    64

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    I think we must have been back-and-forthing on Instagram about one of Aaron’s recent wood selection posts. Your alto looks amazing, I love the headplate in particular but the details are all awesome.

    I’m curious about your string change - I’ve basically only ever used Aaron’s GHS combo on a uke, and they seem fine but I should probably try a few things and see if anything speaks to me a bit more. I am pretty sure I don’t like Aquilas but that’s about it. My daughter’s soprano Ohana has Martins and they’re fine but a little loose at that scale. Then again, I am used to double bass strings where the tension and gauge is much higher.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark.T View Post
    I think we must have been back-and-forthing on Instagram about one of Aaron’s recent wood selection posts.
    Ah, yes! I've been meaning to double back to that (on Insta) since putting it together-- 517 being so distinctive(! -- as are they all, but: Wow).

    Your alto looks amazing, I love the headplate in particular but the details are all awesome.
    The headplate was actually a surprise, relative to the seemingly-final woods Aaron had shown me. I love it, too.

    I chose between these three pieces of wood...

    Mine Fretboard.jpg

    Aaron then showed me the cut pieces together:

    IMG_0529 (1).jpg

    I was wondering how he was going to move from fret board into head plate, and...a switcheroo kaPOW.

    Pistachio wood is a marvel, in its smooth density and wild visual character....

    IMG_0833.jpg

    I’m curious about your string change - I’ve basically only ever used Aaron’s GHS combo on a uke, and they seem fine but I should probably try a few things and see if anything speaks to me a bit more.
    As noted, my plan was to play the GHS combo exclusively at first, based on Aaron's implied recommendation and a desire to try things the way others prefer (and especially in this case, built-and-achieved-desired-outcomes-with-intended-strings) -- if that makes sense?

    I believe I can, and someday maybe will, get along with the GHS strings just fine-- the tone is great, it's the tension of the E and A strings (A, especially) I wasn't enjoying. Interestingly, the Uke Logic set's G and C strings are thicker/higher-tensioned than the GHS's, and that doesn't seem to register with me one way or another.... It was the A that just felt stiffer than my hand expected, again and again, and it bugged me.

    I decided to choose (and narrow) my immediate learning curve; with enough other variables at hand, literally and figuratively, in exploring this new instrument, I decided to take string tension out of the mix for now. I don't like changing strings piecemeal so swapped out the whole set, but I actually ordered a couple extra GHS/Beansprout sets with my Alto, so may try again wholesale, or sub in a different A only and see what I think of t'others.

    Sussing out the different variables in assembled string sets can become maddening and/or counterproductive for me-- like, how the individual strings of Living Water and Uke Logic and Worth Lights are almost all just the slightest oonch different from each other, sometimes heavier and sometimes lighter in width/tension. I have no idea how I'd remember if I liked any one combination more than another on a specific ukulele by the time I'd changed strings and they'd settled. So, I sat down at "Uke Logic" for now.

    [I don't need to try Martins again-- I found them slightly sloppy, too-- and dislike almost everything about Aquila save for the Sugars-- and those shredded on me in weeks, sadly.]

    I'd say if you're happy with the GHS strings, you're in a great place to just play.

    I am pretty sure I don’t like Aquilas but that’s about it. My daughter’s soprano Ohana has Martins and they’re fine but a little loose at that scale. Then again, I am used to double bass strings where the tension and gauge is much higher.
    I come from steel 6-string guitar, so am surprised tension 'tells' the way it does on me. But, now I know!

    Cheers.

    ~ S.

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