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Thread: New player - Question on new ukulele sound

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    1

    Default New player - Question on new ukulele sound

    Hi all,

    I took our current shelter in place situation to finally sit down and learn to play my Kala KA-15S. After a few weeks, I decided to purchase a Concert Ukulele to see if I found it a bit easier with chords that required tight finger placement (like D).

    I ordered a Cordoba 15-CM. After receiving it, I find that it doesn't sound as "full" or resonant as the smaller (and cheaper) Kala. While I understand the preference in how an instrument sounds is going to be somewhat subjective, my wife has also agreed the Kala sounds richer or melodic.

    Assuming this is not just subjective judgement, is it possible this is a potential setup (or lack of setup) issue? How can I go about determining which is the case?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    4,957

    Default

    Many things can affect the sound of a uke from the woods used, the construction, etc. Even individual instruments of the same model can differ quite a bit. Setup is not likely to affect the tone of the uke, though a lack of setup can affect how easy it is to play, or how well in tune it plays as you go up the neck.

    If you're ok with the playability of the Córdoba, you can try to find a different/better sound by trying different strings. I'd suggest trying some fluorocarbon strings like Living Water, Uke Logic, or Martin M600s.

    As far as the D, you can also try the barre version 2225 instead of 2220.

    Welcome to UU!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
    Posts
    892

    Default

    It takes a while to get used to a new instrument particularly if it's a different size. Just keep playing it and eventually you will figure out how to make it sound its best. Check out where your right hand is strumming relative to the soundhole and make sure its in a similar position.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    st. paul, MN
    Posts
    734

    Default

    And... you also might be just be right about the sound.

    I have always found the Kala 15S to be a whole lotta bang for the buck. Sounded MUCH better than the more expensive concert Luna I bought for a neice.

    But to make sure you're comparing apples to apples, make sure Aquilas (Kala uses these) are installed on the Cordoba. Those are still my favorite strings on a laminate instrument.

    Then I recommend moving up to a Kala or Ohana with a solid top. Better sound, and worth a move to try some fluorcarbon strings...
    Tracie

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype sop, Peter Howlett #153
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Posts
    719

    Default

    I have played both models and would agree that the Kala is more resonant, possibly due to being more lightly built than the Cordoba.
    KoAloha KCM-00
    KoAloha Opio KCO-10
    Thormahlen Yew-kulele
    Kala KA-SLNG
    Flight TUS35

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,756

    Default

    2 things that I've found that made a big difference when I wanted a "better" (very subjective) sound from a ukulele:
    Different strings.
    Different tuning.

    Try dropping the tuning a little bit, for example, and see how that sounds to you.
    My favorite strings are Living Water strings, but not every ukulele sounds best with them, so sometimes you have to try a few different sets of strings to decide what works best for that particular ukulele.

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