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Thread: Things That Could Improve Sound of Any Ukulele

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cFloor View Post
    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 agree. Recently grew out my thumb nail and it makes the notes ring so much clearer & louder.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by clear View Post
    Since it is a "KTM-00"; wouldn't that make it a KoAloha?
    Thanks I didn't clue into that. I am a big KoAloha fan so not sure what improvement may be possible. However, sometimes they sound quite harsh and metallic in videos but you never know if it's playing style or recording equipment that may be the cause. But if they actually sound like that with a skilled player in natural setting my first suggestion of a remedy would be to use different strings. Not sure what else could be done to tone down excessive harshness.

  3. #33
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    I think the main thing that could improve any ukulele is to practice...

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    Thanks I didn't clue into that. I am a big KoAloha fan so not sure what improvement may be possible. However, sometimes they sound quite harsh and metallic in videos but you never know if it's playing style or recording equipment that may be the cause. But if they actually sound like that with a skilled player in natural setting my first suggestion of a remedy would be to use different strings. Not sure what else could be done to tone down excessive harshness.
    It is a KoAloha. Since it is handmade, each uke will be different, but mine is sweet and resonant, and anything but harsh or metallic. These are all koa, and have that sweet, warm, rich koa sound. Adding that mine is a 2020 model, so is the new KTM-00 design, which is supposed to sound different that the previous design. Since the OP says he is 99% happy, I'm wondering what is the 1% that you find lacking?
    "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

  5. #35
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    I think to make strides toward "optimal sound", one first needs to identify what part of the sound that they hear is NOT optimal. From there, you can work to improve things, if it is possible to do so.

    So, I'd start by doing a detailed check of intonation. Every note. Every string. Is it perfect? Of course it's not. How close to perfect is it? Can you make it better? Would it matter if you did? A lot of these questions only YOU can answer.

    Somebody linked to a DIY setup thread elsewhere in this thread. Good info there.

    Assuming intonation is close enough to perfect to suit you, and you don't have any buzzing or playability problems...

    Are you looking for more volume? Are you chasing wolf tones? Are you interested in the subjective nuances of "warmth", or "sweetness"? Do you want it to sound better to YOU, or better to an audience?

    Before you can solve the problem, you have to DEFINE the problem. Otherwise, you're just compiling a list of all the possible modifications/corrections you could do to a uke... maybe your uke needs some of them, maybe it doesn't?

    I know that if I had a good recording setup, I could record certain notes, chords on my uke and identify "that! That sound right there. How do I get rid of it?" I can't even describe some of the sounds... and much of what I hear is (wait for it...) definitely related to how *I* choose to play. So, that's a factor.

    To summarize... you're telling us that there's nothing wrong with your ukulele, and asking how to fix it. Tell us what's WRONG. What is it you'd like to improve? Then you'll surely get better answers.

    To relate this back to cars (I'm a car guy and into motorsports), I've SEEN people throw the catalog at a perfectly good car in the name of making it "faster" only to succeed in making it difficult to drive and ultimately slower. Where a REALLY GOOD DRIVER in the same car in unmodified form will blow them and everybody else away and make it look easy. "It's not the car, it's the driver." Yes, the really good driver will be even faster in a PROPERLY modified car... but, that doesn't mean just blindly throwing parts or modifications at the car. As above, you need to be able to identify exactly what the car NEEDS, and carefully fix those problems without creating other problems.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. #36
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    Add a passive pickup. Hook up to an amp. Play like there's no tomorrow.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  7. #37
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    I think I'll be going chime in here.

    I think it is not the ukulele that really affect the sound. I have own several ukuleles and tried many ukuleles. I have always wanted to hear the differences of the Hawaiian K Brands, and I did. Before the Covid-19 epidermic started, I sat down at Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach and tried 3 K Brands ukuleles. Kamaka, KoAloha, and Kanile'a. I played each ukuleles. They are all tenor-sized. I was surprised by how big the differences are on my comparison. The KoAloha, which I could describe as loud, clear, and bright. The Kamaka is warm, and soft, but also clear at the same time. The Kanile'a is actually a combination of both, it is soft, and mellow but also punchy and clear (I could hear each string very clearly when played). But at the same time, I remember I have long nails when I play. I always trim my left hand nails down when I am unable to play Fmaj7, but my right hand nails are moderate-long nails, just like classical guitar players. I am a jazz ukulele players, I prefer the clear sound but tends to stay on the soft and mellow side of the range. When I play a song, I play it differently than the last time I play it. So I suggest to observe each time you play and notice the small little details compared to the last time you play. Hear the embellishments, tweak/play with the sound to your liking.

    Benjamin
    Benjamin Bui
    theukulelerock@gmail.com
    Mahalo!

  8. #38
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    With a fine instrument, strings you like, and lots of practice, the only other thing you can do to improve sound quality is fine tuning. Until practiced for a while, about the best your ear can do is +-.5 cents. That may, or may not sound optimal, depending on where that +or- falls. Your ordinary electronic tuner isn't any better. But, years ago I spent the additional money and bought a Polytune Clip tuner that is accurate, in chromatic mode, to +-.03 cents. After a few months of careful use, my ear got better, and I can now hear discrepancies under the .5 cents mark. Between my ear, and the Polytune, I can get the strings to ring beautifully in sympathetic harmony. That gives the Uke more to work with, and resonance and volume are increased. It does improve the overall sound. Typically, I first tune with the Polytune, then make tiny adjustments, if necessary, by ear. Most often, I find a slight adjustment to the C string against the A third fret, sweetens it up.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  9. #39
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    This is fascinating VegasGeorge. I was just gifted a Petersen Stroboscopic tuner that promises sweetened tunings for various stringed instruments. I am sad that it is Monday (workday), as I'd like a few hours with my new hopefully accurate tuner and my ears to try to understand how the 'sweetened' tunings differ from the normal temperament I have always used.
    Too chicken to install strap buttons...

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_O View Post
    This is fascinating VegasGeorge. I was just gifted a Petersen Stroboscopic tuner that promises sweetened tunings for various stringed instruments. I am sad that it is Monday (workday), as I'd like a few hours with my new hopefully accurate tuner and my ears to try to understand how the 'sweetened' tunings differ from the normal temperament I have always used.
    The sweetened tunings are generally based on some type of just intonation, which means you can't transpose to different keys.

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