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Thread: Noob question: why not build a ukulele more like a violin

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    Question Noob question: why not build a ukulele more like a violin

    I have witnessed a few ukes that had a note that did not sound as good as the rest, often the F note on a soprano. This most likely was an issue with bracing and voicing.
    Opening up a violin to adjust bracing or address structural issues seems to be part of a violin’s maintenance over the years.
    Is it possible for the design of the ukulele to progress such that opening up the uke and making changes is not a drastic step and more common?
    Last edited by kerneltime; 05-10-2021 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Got cropped had to retype

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    Listen to a fiddle being plucked like an ukulele, and tell me that you think it sounds better. Violin based instruments are built to be bowed, although a double bass can sound really good plucked, if near a mic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    I have witnessed a few ukes that had a note that did not sound as good as the rest, often the F note on a soprano. This most likely was an issue with bracing and voicing.
    Opening up a violin to adjust bracing or address structural issues seems to be part of a violin’s maintenance over the years.
    Is it possible for the design of the ukulele to progress such that opening up the uke and making changes is not a drastic step and more common?
    Quality violins cost many times more than ukes. Hand made ukes that use hide glue can also be opened up for repairs or adjustments to bracing. However with the effort required a skilled luthier can just build a new one in the same time.

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    The whole issue with comparing violins to any fretted instruments, is the entirety of violin construction is based upon tradition (copying old instruments using old techniques and old materials) and the ability to completely disassemble the instrument. But to answer your question, yes it would be possible to construct a ukulele with top/back overhang (Which is one of the things that makes it so "easy" to take the top on and off of a violin) and to strictly use hot hide glue, and people have done this before, but it really doesn't look like a ukulele since you cant have binding without the top/back flush to the sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerneltime View Post
    I have witnessed a few ukes that had a note that did not sound as good as the rest, often the F note on a soprano.
    Most likely what you are hearing is an intonation issue and does not have anything to do with "voicing". Slightly "off" notes are what give the ukulele that off twangy note which I think can be part of its charm. It sounds like an ukulele, a humble instrument of the Hawaiian Islands. Off intonation is due to the reentrant tuning and a perpendicular saddle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    Most likely what you are hearing is an intonation issue and does not have anything to do with "voicing". Slightly "off" notes are what give the ukulele that off twangy note which I think can be part of its charm. It sounds like an ukulele, a humble instrument of the Hawaiian Islands. Off intonation is due to the reentrant tuning and a perpendicular saddle.
    I am not referring to intonation but the strength of the note. On the A string each note rings out with certain level of sustain except the F and F# note with G ringing out just as well as the E..

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    Anything is possible, yet historically a ukulele is a very simple instrument that uses simple construction techniques. Numerous master ukulele builders use a construction technique of a slightly arched top rather than the standard flat top yet just this alone requires a skilled/experienced builder to do.

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