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Thread: Things That Could Improve Sound of Any Ukulele

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kregger View Post
    BTW, I love the sound my KTM-00 produces, so I'm not looking for "maybe you should try a different uke." My question applies to all ukes: what could be done to improve the sound, even if by only .01%, of any uke?
    Literally anything. Which is probably why you're not getting the answers you're hoping for.

    The luthier could have added an extra drop of glue to a brace or bent the sides in a hurricane or used 200 grit for one pass when she meant to use 400 grit. Or all three. Etc, etc, etc...

    A handmade musical instrument is a collection of successes and errors (or "deviations", if you will). Either you like it enough to buy it or you don't. Simple as that. This is why it's important to try a uke in person before you buy it so you know exactly how it sounds.

    As somebody who's spent some time in the "anal tone zone," I would suggest that searching for .01% is bound to make you miserable and waste a lot of time. It's already been correctly suggested that playing technique makes way more of a difference.

    A more productive conversation would be "I'm super broke. A new uke is out of the question. How do I make my production-line Makala Dolphin sound better?" I've seen lots of things suggested over the years that could improve a crappy uke by leaps and bounds. But making a Kanile'a .01% better? Git practicin'!

    EDIT (saw your latest post): Keep practicin'! :-) And also, are you sure the Kanile'a is for you? It seems like you might be taking the long road to get to the conclusion that you might connect better with a different instrument. ??? Just putting it out there.
    Last edited by Brad Bordessa; 01-21-2021 at 12:55 PM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kregger View Post
    Just curious what players have tried in their endless pursuit of optimal sound.

    I've experimented with all brands/types of strings, raising/lowering action, etc., but these are all ordinary things. I'm wondering if there are any counter intuitive methods for enhancement. For example, I'm considering sanding the top down just a tiny bit to make my uke thinner and thus, produce greater vibrations. I probably won't do it, but I just say it as an example of something that COULD be done. I just want to optimize everything about my uke's sound...even if it's risky or makes it unsightly. Just want the best sound possible.

    BTW, I love the sound my KTM-00 produces, so I'm not looking for "maybe you should try a different uke." My question applies to all ukes: what could be done to improve the sound, even if by only .01%, of any uke?
    Is the KTM the uke you're looking to optimize? I ADORE my KTM-00, so I think this is a rather odd question. I feel that mine is optimized already, and I couldn't imagine doing anything that could make it better, short of a string change or action change, which are perfect for me as they are. Becoming a better player is the way to go, as I know I don't do this uke justice. I would love to hear it in the hands of a really, really good player. This reminds me of something that happened last year. I went into a uke shop to get a few things done on my Kanile'a (action lowered), and the owner brought out what he called his old "beater" uke, an old Kanile'a. It was a sight for sore eyes, really beat up. As a music instructor, he was VERY good, and the decrepit Kanile'a sounded marvelous - a real gem of a uke! I know my KTM will make the music I want to make, once (if!) I become proficient enough. If you are talking about playing around with a cheap uke which isn't already very finely made, well that is a different story.
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  3. #23
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    I just want to state for the record, in case any eyes come across this thread in the future, I would 100% buy the KTM-00 again. Nothing is wrong with my KTM-00. It sounds phenomenal and I'd readily choose it over the other K brands a thousand times over. If you're thinking about getting a KTM-00, don't let this thread deter you.

    Driver: "What can I do to make my race car even faster?"
    Crew: "Drive more."
    Driver: "Yeah, I get that, and I will, but I'm asking if there's anything I can modify on the car that'll make it even faster."
    Crew: "You have a fast car."
    Driver: "Yes, I know, and it's awesome and I win a races with it, but is there anything I can do to make it even faster?"
    Crew: "Have you tried other cars?"
    Driver: "I don't want another car. I just want to know if there's anything I can do to make it faster."

  4. #24
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    The answer to your question is no, there is nothing that can be done that would be guaranteed to make every ukulele sound better.

    Every ukulele is unique, so something that might help one would be detrimental to another. And two people can have different beliefs of if it’s better or worse.

    There are lots of things that can be done to make a ukulele sound or feel different, but there’s no way to know if you will think the result is better or worse. Because unlike the speed of a car, which can be objectively measured, the sound of a ukulele being good or bad is subjective.

  5. #25
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    I understand where you are coming from, we all what the holy grail of sound. Neil 0 did give you some constructive ideas. A few others are raise the saddle height, this usually increases volume. Have a luthier change the nut and saddle from the stock Tusc material to real bone. Have the bridge converted to string through instead of tie bar. Experimenting and I mean exhaustive experimenting with different strings, this gives the BIGGEST change in sound.

    At the end of the day these changes might make it sound different but possibly not better.
    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

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kregger View Post

    Driver: "What can I do to make my race car even faster?"
    Crew: "Drive more."
    Driver: "Yeah, I get that, and I will, but I'm asking if there's anything I can modify on the car that'll make it even faster."
    Crew: "You have a fast car."
    Driver: "Yes, I know, and it's awesome and I win a races with it, but is there anything I can do to make it even faster?"
    Crew: "Have you tried other cars?"
    Driver: "I don't want another car. I just want to know if there's anything I can do to make it faster."
    Crew: “This is the best car available anywhere, it’s perfection, it’s state of the art. If it were possible to make it faster then we’d have already done it, that’s our job and we’re ‘the best’. Wait a minute though, I’ve just got to find it, I know it’s around here somewhere; when I find my Wand I’ll turn you into Lewis Hamilton, that’ll make the car will go faster.”



    No offence intended, but I feel for the frustration of the crew.

    Perhaps what you’re really looking for are forms of customisation which make it possible for you to extract more from your instrument, but customisations are specific to the user and the device so effective customisations are somewhat difficult to identify without seeing and talking to you. Almost only conversations with a Luthier will help you.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 01-23-2021 at 12:04 AM.

  7. #27
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    Northern California
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    If you play without nails, you could try growing them out. I suppose it would depend on the type of music you play as well as many other factors, but after growing mine out, I felt like I had new instruments.
    I'Iwi Tenor
    Graziano Baritone
    Koaloha Concert
    Kamaka Pineapple

  8. #28
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    More for the theoretical discussion; Bigger or smaller frets, height and or width. I have a guitar that has jumbo frets. I cannot make it play the way I want yet, but it is a very different animal from the standard frets. On a medium-fret guitar, and all ukes I have played, my fingers are stopped from pressing down on the strings any further by contact with the fretboard. With my jumbo fret guitar, you will send the notes sharp if you do not press lightly on the strings. I guess I should also suggest fretboard scalloping, since I am enjoying this game.

    DownUpDave says: nut and saddle and extensive string comparisons. In that vein, a metal nut, roller nut or a zero fret might do something interesting to the open strings. Compensated saddle? I can't tell if they use one from the pictures.

    Some folks use different brands of strings for each position, so you might find a wolf-note-suppressing or otherwise enhancing combinations of different kinds of strings and fishing line. Gut strings?
    Too chicken to install strap buttons...

  9. #29
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    What is the KTM brand?

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    What is the KTM brand?
    Since it is a "KTM-00"; wouldn't that make it a KoAloha?

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