View Poll Results: Do you like rope binding?

99. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, love it!

    25 25.25%
  • I dislike rope binding.

    44 44.44%
  • I am neutral towards rope binding. I neither lover or hate it.

    30 30.30%
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Thread: Am I the only one who dislikes rope binding?

  1. #1

    Default Am I the only one who dislikes rope binding?

    The title is self explanatory. Am I the only one who dislikes rope binding? I don't dislike binding or purfling in general, particularly discrete binding or purfling, although I tend to dislike too much bling. Rope binding is not too blingy, but I still find it to be a bit of an eyesore.

    Do you dislike rope binding or are you in love with it?

    Opinions, impressions, thrown rotten eggs and tomatoes welcome!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Michigan, USA


    I wouldn't say I am overly for or against it, to tell the truth. I would say that I like it "sometimes."

    I know that sounds like dodging the question, but let me explain. I like it on certain instruments, with certain woods. I think it is overused sometimes, maybe a little cliche at times. But there are certain instruments where it just looks "right."

    The best example I can think of is the Kamaka HB-2D Ohta San. Something about that body shape, the layout of the woods and the fretboard, it just looks right. It all fits together in a way that is pleasing. If you will excuse the expression, the rope binding just ties it together. :-)

    But it is telling that when I ordered a custom instrument from Aaron Keim at Beansprout, I told him to do whatever he felt the wood was telling him to do for binding, but don't make it a rope binding! He opted for a simple binding that really complimented the wood, and it looks great!
    Mainly a concert player.

    Beansprout alto (myrtle) | Martin Konter | Kala Elite Soprano
    KoAloha Silver concert | Blackbird Clara | Kamaka HF-2A | KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (acacia) | KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (spruce top)
    Anuenue UC200 Moonbird Concert | UkeSA Pineapple Sunday concert (acacia) | Pop's Pineapple Sunday (koa)

  3. #3


    Oops, a slight typo with option 3; it should say "love" rather than "lover". I am not sure how to edit the spelling in the poll, if it is at all possible.

  4. #4


    I largely agree with Cluze. I don't often care for rope binding, but it works occasionally on ukuleles and guitars. It's nearly always an eyesore on mandolins. The wood dictates the binding that works best with it, imo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    MN metro area


    I voted that I disliked rope binding even though I own and very much like a uke that has rope binding. It is the one thing that I wish I could have changed about it but in its defense, it's a slightly muted version of rope binding. It's not as garish as a lot of the rope binding I've seen. I don't love it but overall, the look works for me.

    Ohana CK-42R - not my actual uke but a fairly representative facsimile. The binding on mine isn't as light/white as the pictured uke. It's more of a light brown/tan color and matches the lighter of the two colors in the rope binding.

    CK 42.jpg
    Last edited by mikelz777; 04-29-2020 at 05:05 PM.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Not a huge fan, but it sometimes looks ok to my eye, depending on colors, and how thick it is. The more subtle, the better. Here's a Mainland on the left, Ohana on the right. The Ohana looks much more subtle and natural to me. YMMV. Plus, a bright white binding really makes the rope purfling seem to pop out more.

    Rope-Mainland vs Ohana.jpg
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 04-29-2020 at 06:31 PM.

  7. #7


    I'm not a fan at all. In fact, (I hate to say this), but that's one of the reasons that I went with the Ohana TK-50G over the Mainland cedar/rosewood combo when choosing years ago. I wish I could have heard both before buying, but it wasn't an option. So looks definitely played into it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    North East


    I'm not usually a fan,and if i was having a uke custom built i certainly wouldn't ask for it in my specifications,but two of the best ukes i have ever played both had rope binding,one was a Kenny Hill,and the other which i own is an anniversary Kamaka concert,which to be fair is quite subtle,as it ages,so it wouldn't be a deal breaker,for the right instrument

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019


    One more for sometimes, depending on the instrument. I tend to prefer less to more bling. Usually I don't find purfling attractive. And if done correctly, no binding looks slightly better to me.

    Sometimes binding looks nice, but it's not automatic. It needs to compliment the rest of the design. More so for rope binding/purfling. It's better when it's subtle. Trying to think of what conditions it works best in, but I'm not sure. Seems to go better with satin than gloss finishes. Maybe it's better for ukes that look a bit more rustic or old, Hawaiianish.

    I agree it fits an Ohta San better than a Mainland. Actually, Mainland's rope binding is one of the worst looks for me, partly because of the headstock. They look like they belong in Toy Story. Which is unfortunate because I think their ukes are otherwise some of the best in their price range. I would probably have owned a Mainland or two had it not been for their rope purfling/binding.

  10. #10


    I think it’s a tricky thing because it’s easy to go too big with it and the body size needs to be factored in. Usually, I’d say it’s too much for my taste, but Pono’s recent ukes with rope binding look gorgeous because it’s only obvious from probably six feet away. Past that it just looks like solid purfling.

    That’s the sweet spot for me. ;-)

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