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Thread: Cedar vs redwood

  1. #1
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    Default Cedar vs redwood

    Which one do you like? Which one do you prefer?
    There is no right answer just looking for anecdotal experience, biased opinions and tales..

  2. #2
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    I’ve had a couple redwood topped tenors, a concert and a baritone. All were sinker redwood, except for the concert which had just straight grained redwood and a tenor with super curly redwood. I prefer the sinker variety of redwood. The super curly top cracked right from builder ( builder had made less than 20 ukes, and this was his first super curly redwood).

    For cedar, I’ve had a few WR cedar topped tenors and a concert, a pencil cedar topped baritone, plus a tenor and a baritone out of Port Orford cedar. The WR cedar was a bit warmer than the POC. Love the smell of POC and Pencil cedar. The POC had a bit more clarity over the WRC. All the cedars were warmer, softer sounding than spruce. The redwoods were a nice middle between cedar and spruce.

    Overall the wood type for the top seems a distant second factor to the builder and his techniques.

    Just my thoughts. YMMV
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_J View Post
    I’ve had a couple redwood topped tenors, a concert and a baritone. All were sinker redwood, except for the concert which had just straight grained redwood and a tenor with super curly redwood. I prefer the sinker variety of redwood. The super curly top cracked right from builder ( builder had made less than 20 ukes, and this was his first super curly redwood).

    For cedar, I’ve had a few WR cedar topped tenors and a concert, a pencil cedar topped baritone, plus a tenor and a baritone out of Port Orford cedar. The WR cedar was a bit warmer than the POC. Love the smell of POC and Pencil cedar. The POC had a bit more clarity over the WRC. All the cedars were warmer, softer sounding than spruce. The redwoods were a nice middle between cedar and spruce.

    Overall the wood type for the top seems a distant second factor to the builder and his techniques.

    Just my thoughts. YMMV
    Thank you Doc_J, as always your opinion is highly valued! I think I know the make of the pencil cedar :-) I have one of those too.

  4. #4
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    I will echo the thoughts of Doc J. I’ve owned straight redwood and sinker, western red cedar and sinker cedar and Port Orford. Port Orford was the brightest of all three in two builds. The builder has so much influence on the tone. My I’iwi redwood/walnut is much brighter than my Kimo redwood/walnut.

    I love the smell of all the cedars and as you play the aroma seems to increase. I can’t pick a favorite but redwood seems to have a bit more sustain. Many have said redwood is sonically between spruce and red cedar.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  5. #5
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    I have tenors topped in both western red cedar and redwood. Both sound very warm and lush with overtones, but the redwood has a bit of that complex singing 'bite' to it like a spruce top whereas the cedar has none that I can discern.

    While I love both ukes, I'd take the redwood without reservation if I had to choose.

  6. #6
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    The sinker redwood has had some of the wood replaced with minerals from the waters. These make it a slightly harder (stiffer) material than it was originally.

    I think it sounds somewhere between spruce and cedar. I've never encountered sinker cedar.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  7. #7
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    I have some sinker Cedar that I bought for a future project. It has streaks of lighter colored wood from the minerals in the water. It also seems to be stiffer than the "normal" WR Cedar I'm using in a current build. As this is my first time using this wood, I can't compare the sound of the two yet.

  8. #8
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    Redwood and Cedar are both great options for a warm sounding instrument. But as others have mentioned, the builder (or even each individual instrument) probably make a bigger difference than the wood. I have a couple of Spruce topped ukes that feature all the tonal characteristics usually attributed to Cedar. On the other hand, I had one Cedar and one Redwood uke that were to bright/harsh for my liking.
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyturley View Post
    I have some sinker Cedar that I bought for a future project. It has streaks of lighter colored wood from the minerals in the water. It also seems to be stiffer than the "normal" WR Cedar I'm using in a current build. As this is my first time using this wood, I can't compare the sound of the two yet.
    I have a LfdM 19” super tenor that Luis built for me with a sinker cedar top. He had built a regular tenor the year before to go to HMS and I played it and loved the tone. I have mine paired with myrtle back and side.

    Luis had commented about the sinker cedar being stiffer, he had 4 tops. All of them I played including mine were brighter then your typical cedar. But still had that nice cedar warmth and deep resonance. The grain was very tight with nice cross silking, see pictures

    Good luck with your build and please let us know how it turned out and your thoughts on the tone.

    20181020_065502.jpg20181020_065448.jpg
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 12-06-2019 at 04:50 AM.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  10. #10
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    Thank you for the responses.
    I recently saw this http://www.kimoukulele.com/2019/03/1...tenor-ukulele/
    which refers to this wood https://alaskawoods.com/product/eart...cedar-ukulele/
    And it looks like an example of bright sounding Cedar!

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