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Thread: Your favorite wood configuration for ‘ukulele

  1. #1
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    Default Your favorite wood configuration for ‘ukulele

    I’d love to learn what your favorite wood configuration is in an ‘ukulele and why you feel that way. I’m considering ordering a custom ‘ukulele; I have in mind a particular set of wood types that I’d want to use, but I want to expand my horizons and hear about what others would choose. Thank you for your input and for sharing! :-)

  2. #2
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    My favorite is London plane. Why? Because it is pretty. Let's face it, ukuleles are ukuleles. There isn't a lot of variation in sound. So you may as well get a beauty. People who obsess on the minute nuances between ukuleles say that London plane is rather warm and that it has a distinct voice. At this point, I couldn't comment because I have played it for so long that it is my default sound. Moreover I play in an altered tuning 100% of the time, so that I cannot even compare my uke to others.

    Another answer to "why" is that I had an idée fixe that the London plane addresses. Everyone is avid about attaining an island uke. So I bespoke an island uke--except the island isn't one of the sandwich islands but rather one of the "roast beef, yorkshire pudding, stilton cheese" islands. My uke is London plane, English walnut, viburnum, and cherry (all woods coming from Great Britian).

  3. #3
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    I hadn't heard of London plane. It is pretty.


    london plane.jpg

  4. #4
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    It is pretty. Here's a photo of the uke that the luthier took

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...5&d=1559332891

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    My uke is London plane, English walnut, viburnum, and cherry (all woods coming from Great Britian).
    I misread that as “vibranium”. I bet the Wakandan built ukes have a truly legendary sound!

    On topic, when I was able to A/B test a bunch of otherwise alike K-brand ukes in Hawaii a couple of years ago I liked the mango the best. The ones I wanted were well out of budget. Of the ukes I actually own (other non-laminated are ‘hog, acacia, and spruce top), I like the carbon fiber (Klos) and walnut (Bonanza). Both have some cool factor for me in being a bit different.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    It is pretty. Here's a photo of the uke that the luthier took

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...5&d=1559332891
    Wow, that is an absolutely stunning ‘ukulele! May I ask who the luthier is? Thanks for sharing your thoughts - I’d never heard of London plane before.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcy View Post
    I misread that as “vibranium”. I bet the Wakandan built ukes have a truly legendary sound!

    On topic, when I was able to A/B test a bunch of otherwise alike K-brand ukes in Hawaii a couple of years ago I liked the mango the best. The ones I wanted were well out of budget. Of the ukes I actually own (other non-laminated are ‘hog, acacia, and spruce top), I like the carbon fiber (Klos) and walnut (Bonanza). Both have some cool factor for me in being a bit different.
    Thanks, Arcy, for sharing your feedback. Years ago on the forum, someone posted pics of a beautiful custom tenor (or maybe it was a bari) walnut uke — I want to say it was made by John Kinnard, but I could be wrong. Ever since that time, walnut has been one of those woods on my radar as a possibility in a future custom build. I recently heard Corey play a gorgeous Steve Grimes custom uke on The Ukulele Review — it had a solid cedar top with walnut back and sides. Loved it. I have thought about Koa, too, as a potential wood as well. So many incredible woods to choose from...

  8. #8
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    I have two answers for this:

    One: I absolutely love the sound and look of Koa. However, I'm probably more traditionalist in that if I'm getting a Koa uke I want a Hawaiian ukulele maker (or another maker that's been making ukuleles for 100+ years)--you can see this evident in my signature block ukes. BUT.... that's KOA, which leads me to my next answer.

    Two: If I was getting a custom made, I would want the top to be cedar (or maybe sinker redwood). I love the look and sound--warm, but clear and articulate. Then, I'd ask for a good hardwood for the sides and back. My current reference is a cedar top with Indian rosewood back and sides, and I love that uke.

    FWIW, if I was ordering a custom, I'd also ask for a 14-fret-to-body neck (more room to play with and I think more power in the strings) and either a slot head or rear-facing peg/UPT tuners (no ears).
    Adam

    Kamaka HF-1L Long-neck Soprano | Martin C1K | Martin S1 | Kremona Coco Concert | Taconic Cigar Box Ukulele "Bolivar"
    Kala Solid Spruce / Pau Ferro / Mango Tenor (Low G) | Outdoor Blue Nickel Soprano | Kala Waterman

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hochapeafarm View Post
    I’d love to learn what your favorite wood configuration is in an ‘ukulele and why you feel that way. I’m considering ordering a custom ‘ukulele; I have in mind a particular set of wood types that I’d want to use, but I want to expand my horizons and hear about what others would choose. Thank you for your input and for sharing! :-)
    Let me pull out an old chestnut. Its not the wood, its the builder.

    My advice. Pick your builder, and then work with your builder. If your builder gives you options then discuss these options with your builder. Don't ask your builder to work with woods that he has never used before because you will become the "experiment".

    Having said all that, I'm kind of a traditionalist and I like instruments with the body built totally from one wood, be it Mahogany, Koa or Australian Blackwood. If however the builder is experienced and comfortable with Spruce tops then get a spruce top.
    The wood isn't the biggest factor here.

  10. #10

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    Because I like the way my Martin Style 0 soprano looks, feels, and sounds:

    Mahogany top, back, sides, neck, and bridge
    Rosewood fretboard
    Ebony nut and saddle

    My ukulele was rescued and repaired by PetalumaRescuke. If I were getting a brand new one, or a Timms custom, I would choose the classic Martin ukulele blend.

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