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Thread: Do Uke's open up over time like guitars?

  1. #1

    Default Do Uke's open up over time like guitars?

    Curious if anyone's old old Uke's have opened up or not.

  2. #2
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    define open up. if you mean like split at the seams, sometimes if you dont take care of them and let them go to Sh*t. proper humidifying and care can stop the woods from bowing and splitting.

    if you mean open up by like enriching tone and such, yes to put it bluntly. But again this is also with the correct care and such.

    hope this helps
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  3. #3
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    you could prevent anything from opening up, either way, if you take good care of it.

    Living in Australia, its like 40 degrees in summer and pretty hot in winter (although it isnt now) when you buy an ukulele off MGM does it come with humidifier?? because my uke would get pretty warm

  4. #4
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    i dotn believe MGM sends ukes with humdifiers in them, granted he does sell them in his store... i guess you could talk him into filling it and putting it in the case when you order both at the same time... but that might be a bit much.

    Edit: i just looked at mgm's store and could not find the humidifier he used to stock... perchance its just out of stock at the moment...
    Last edited by Bassukuguy; 07-31-2008 at 08:59 PM.
    Mainland Tenor Mahogany"Riker"
    Mainland Long Neck Tenor Pineapple "Geoffery"
    Kala KA-C"Kalina" *On Loan*
    50's Barclay Soprano"Beater"
    ---------------------------------------------------
    http://www.facebook.com/bassmanspiff
    http://www.twitter.com/bassmanspiff
    http://www.youtube.com/bassmanspiff1
    ---------------------------------------------------
    UWC has kicked my butt 8 years running.

  5. #5
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    "Open up" is too ambigious. What exactly do you mean?


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bassukuguy View Post
    i dotn believe MGM sends ukes with humdifiers in them, granted he does sell them in his store... i guess you could talk him into filling it and putting it in the case when you order both at the same time... but that might be a bit much.

    Edit: i just looked at mgm's store and could not find the humidifier he used to stock... perchance its just out of stock at the moment...
    alright thanks...
    are all humidifiers the same or are some heaps better etc?? because humidifiers seem like a pen... its the same thing just more expensive. or whats a good one to buy?

  7. #7
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    I will assume that you mean in tone and quality and answer "yes". I just talked to my local ukulele expert today about this subject. We played a K3 that he told me took a year to "open up". It sounded super warm now. Keep playing and taking good care of your ukulele!
    God first, family second, ukulele third!

  8. #8
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    I think the OP is looking for whether or not an ukulele's tone matures over time, like a guitar's tone. Guitars almost always improve and settle in with the passing of time (if they are properly maintained). My one acoustic, a Taylor, sounds better all the time. This only happens to solid wood instruments, really. Maybe not always, but it is teh maturing o fthe solid wood after years of playing that give them their character...teh wood changes a lot over time. Laminates are less prone to changing (which is their strength in my opinion! I like a laminate uke for the humid evenings out on the deck!)

    Ukes do open up over time, my Kanile'a is 1 year old and sounds more rich and full than when I got it. That said, the reduced surface area of the soundboard means that there is really less movement in the top of an ukulele than in a guitar, so the effect, in my experience, has been present, but less pronounced.
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  9. #9
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    In my experience, yes, ukuleles do open up, similar to guitars. And can do so quite significantly too.

    Most of my ukes have been spruce top ones though, so that might expalin it. I have a mahogany Larrivee soprano with a spruce top that started out nice, but now after several years is a totally fantastic uke with incredible resonance and sustain. Lots and lots of overtones for a really fat, rich tone. This thing is alive, mon!

    Spruce is a wood that often has to learn how to vibrate, so it really benefits from lots of playing. Spruce also has a bad memory - if you put that uke away for a year or two, it has to learn all over again, although it tends to learn faster. Cedar, on the other hand, doesn't change that much, and it also doesn't seem to have the memory probelm that spruce has.

    Mahogany is another wood that can mature, in my experience. I suspect that age with lots of playing is why many vintage Martin ukes sound so fat and rich too. But I've had new all mahogany ukes that seemed to get richer in tone with playing.

    I've also had some ukues that sounded great out-of-the-box, so to speak, that really didn't change with time and play. I've also had a couple of ukes that sounded kinda dead when new, and stayed that way.

    Note that laminated ukes don't change. If it's got a solid top though, it is possible that its tone will mature with lots of playing...

  10. #10
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    Hell yes they do! A good friend of mine has an old KaLai pineapple his grandfather bought in 1939, and from what I understand gramps played the snot out of it (took it everywhere etc). My friend brought it to me because it needed new strings and the tuners need to be replaced, but otherwise it is in great shape. We were able to sneak a little more time out of the tuners and put some new strings on it -- WOW -- what a beautiful sounding uke! The volume and depth from this little guy just plain dropped my jaw. It was not until then that I really got an understanding of why these vintage ukes are so sought after. I play it every chance I get.

    KaLai was a 'budget' line of ukes built in the Kamaka factory for another company.


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