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Thread: Ukulele sustain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Default Ukulele sustain

    I have a Kala KAT which I love, no problem. Lately I have thought about learning to play fingerstyle a bit better, I was rubbish, and play with a low G string. Not wanting to change my Kala strings and not sure if I liked To carry on with it, I bought a Aklot tenor ukulele from Amazon for just over £50. Not the end of the world if I didnít carry on. The thing is itís got a better sustain than my Kala, solid top maybe instead of laminate. Standard strings as sold by them both not swopped strings yet. Kala bit better made plus lower action , but a fair bit more money. Love them both.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    There's more to a ukulele than sustain. If I ruled out ukes because they didn't have long sustain, I'd have very few. There are so many variables in uke construction, that sounds also vary infinitely. I'm sure that someone will suggest changing strings on you Kala or making some other change. Unless the Kala is "dead," just enjoy it. I have four Kalas, with no complaints about anything.

    Testing sustain would be very difficult. What string would you test, how much force would be applied, and how would you measure how long the note sounds?
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  3. #3
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    Jan 2020
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    I agree entirely , I’m very happy with my Kala and defiantly not complaining in any way. , sustain is only one thing out of many. I tried them by putting them side by side and played the open strings, the Kala had a bit shorter sustain and had a totally different sound. I agree different strings will alter things, but I was using the ones that came. I was just asking In general does a solid top ukulele have a longer sustain than a composite.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldden View Post
    I agree entirely , I’m very happy with my Kala and defiantly not complaining in any way. , sustain is only one thing out of many. I tried them by putting them side by side and played the open strings, the Kala had a bit shorter sustain and had a totally different sound. I agree different strings will alter things, but I was using the ones that came. I was just asking In general does a solid top ukulele have a longer sustain than a composite.
    Yes as a general rule of thumb a solid wood top will have more sustain then a laminate top. Spruce is also noted for long sustain among the softwood tops.
    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 walnut pineapple 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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    Aug 2017
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    Nakhonratchasima, Thailand
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    My Kala Baritone has a lot of sustain when plugged in to a small cheap amp I picked up to see how it sounded amplified. Most of my friends think it sounds as good as an electric guitar with only four strings. My tenor has a solid top made from acasia wood and it has a lot of sustain and is louder than my baritone.

  6. #6
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    If your Kala strings are over six months old, it may be time for a change.
    Then compare sustain.
    Keep Strummin'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    So many variables. Strings, set up, how ell strings fit in the nut slot. Too low action can choke sustain. Of course materials for construction make a big difference. Also, depending upon humidity and how often I play a certain Uke, can greatly effect the sound coming out of the Uke.
    I’m interested in trying one of the Aklot or Kala bamboo tenors. Most reports tht they are likely from the same Chinese factory. I hope to try one at some point because, I like the look of them. Too many ukes currently to just buy another. So many ukes to try and so little time......and money . Ha ha

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Honolulu
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    Most 'ukuleles have a short sustain compared to a guitar or piano. The more percussive nature of a short sustain is part of the 'ukulele's unique sound. My Kala doghair Elite and Koa custom Elite certainly have a shorter sustain my my Romero Creations instruments. I don't consider the short sustain a defect—it's just different. In fact, I find the shorter sustain ideal for certain styles of strumming whereas the longer more guitar like sustain of the RC instruments is ideal for playing lyric melodies with lots of vibrato. So it's all good!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    In addition to all the helpful information, something else to consider:

    Sometimes players look for instruments designed for shorter sustain, though that might not have been the intention when your Kala was made. Most seem to prefer longer sustain, but it isn't always considered better. It largely depends on what kind of music you're playing. In older jazz and swing for example, stringed instruments were built for loud, sharp tones with a quick decay. None of that may apply to you, I just thought you might consider that while most people seem to like longer sustain, it isn't necessarily a "more is better" feature, and isn't always an indicator of quality. You might like the shorter sustain for certain pieces or kinds of music.

    Edit: I see Peter has beat me to it.
    Last edited by snowdenn; 05-23-2020 at 01:10 PM.

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