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Thread: Neck Shapes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    7,426

    Default Neck Shapes

    The woman who asked me to help her pick out a ukulele still hasn't decided. I thought she had settled on a Pono from HMS, but no.

    She asked her landlord, a percussionist, to listen to a Pono, Bonanza, and Martin online. He made the situation worse. He said the most important thing is how it feels in her hand. Really?! I don't give a second thought to the neck. I just pick it up and play it.

    Back in the early 20th century, when ukes were most popular, no one cared about the shape of the neck. They were all sopranos, and they all had the same neck. I have a Martin and a Bonanza, but there's no way I want her coming here and trying my ukes. She called a music store and left a message asking if they had those three ukes.

    Unbelievable!
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    4,128

    Default

    Boy, she's really prolonging the agony, and yours too!
    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Boy, she's really prolonging the agony, and yours too!
    Yes! She ended her last email, "Where can I go to try those ukes?" Not at my house! I think I've bought eight ukes while she's agonizing over one. I can guarantee that she will find problems with whichever one she finally buys.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    305

    Default

    This is funny. I do think that "neck feel" is actually good advice for both a beginner and non-beginner. A lot of the time, I find that that liking the feel of a neck contributes to how much I want to play a uke.

    I find that feel in general is often overlooked. If you have a uke where the neck feels right, you can take it for granted. If you have a uke where the neck doesn't feel right, it's easy to accidentally attribute that feeling to something else, like the sound, especially if you're a beginner.

    Anyway, I often give beginners that advice - that they shouldn't overlook how it feels in the hand and that's sometimes more important than sound (which beginners have a hard time judging anywa - plenty of ukes sound good when you play one chord but have mediocre sustain and mediocre tone when you're playing fast, and so on).

    At the same time, I can tell that this person is indeed going to agonize forever and then be disappointed with whatever she gets. I hope she at some point accepts that she might have to buy more than one uke, whether that means constantly buying and re-selling until she finds *the one* or just embracing UAS.
    current ukes:

    Kanile'a Oha Concert, Kanile'a Oha Baritone, Kala KA-ASZCT-ST Super Tenor, Islander MSC-4 Concert, Wunderkammer "Boswell" Tenor, Johnson UK-200 baritone

    sold ukes:

    Martin Tenor, Martin Oliver Ditson Dreadnought Soprano, Martin Baritone, Ohana SK-28, Ohana SK-25S, Favilla Baritone, Kala KA-FMBG, Luna Great Wave Concert, Mainland Red Cedar Baritone, Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor, Oscar Schmidt OU53, Oscar Schmidt OU57, Kiwaya Famous KTS-5 soprano, Ohana TK-38 tenor, Kiwaya Famous FLS-1G, Cordoba 24T,Keiki Kamaka Soprano, Dewdrop Concert

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New England, USA
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    Default

    Yeah, if she doesn't decide soon, her own neck shape may be changing, ha ha.
    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Yeah, if she doesn't decide soon, her own neck shape may be changing, ha ha.
    Ten!
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default

    I think at this point, I'd point her towards a Martin. If she can afford it, a mahogany one. If not, perhaps a made in Mexico one. They all have very good sound; played softly or loudly. The frets are nice. They are well-made. (Since they fixed that bridge problem.)

    The neck seems to be comfortable for almost every player. Tall, short, long fingers, short fingers. The sound is great and people will ooh and ah over it. Most ukers know the name and reputation. I've never gotten a bad comment about my 1T IZ.

    Otherwise, she'll love the one she decides on, until someone makes a negative comment, and then she'll be filled with doubt again.

    Can't go wrong with a Martin.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 11-24-2020 at 12:16 PM.
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    687

    Default

    Since the landlord overruled you, you should pass on giving her further advice. Beg out saying that it seems that the landlord (professional?) has ideas and that she should seek his help since you have taken her as far as you can. It is a little ironic that he mentioned neck shape since the Pono is one that apparently is thicker and occasionally mentioned as being uncomfortable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    777

    Default

    I do think the feel of the neck is quite important as a player knows what they like, but to a new beginner I think it is moot as they don’t know yet what they like and don’t like. Personally, I much prefer a Pono neck over a Martin neck. Someone else will prefer the reverse.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    105

    Default

    Man, if I were you (and based on this situation I'm glad I'm not ha ha), I would distance myself immediately. On the other hand seeing as how you're from NY, perhaps you should encourage her to take a vacation to Ohau to visit HMS in person and try out every uke they have. Then change your email, phone, address, etc. Just my $.02. Good Luck!
    Thanks


    Kala TEM
    Islander AT-4
    Flight Antonia T

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