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Thread: Whats wrong with a laminate ukulele

  1. #1
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    Default Whats wrong with a laminate ukulele

    why are people so down on a laminate ukulele ? my first uke was a laminate Oscar smite soprano , and it still plays great , only reason i ever wanted another one is i want a size or 2 bigger . im looking for more of a explanation , is it purely sound and if so its it a Huge difference ? or is it sturdiness ? etc . all input is VERY welcome.
    Thank you

  2. #2
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    There is nothing "wrong" with them, generally speaking solid wood just sounds better.
    Laminates do have an advantage of being resistant to cracking.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/hoosierhiver

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    Ukes questions should be emailed to mike@mainlandukes.com

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  3. #3
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    Solid woods usually sound better, but it's not a universal rule. Some laminates sound great, some solids sound dull.
    Laminates are sturdier though and suffer less from variations in humidity and temperature.
    Plus and cons for both IMO.

  4. #4
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    Laminates are less expensive. For many people, this implies lower quality.

    As many people here will tell you, some laminate ukes can sound wonderful, and some solid ukes can sound bad. A company that uses laminates is possibly more likely to be concerned about cost than quality.

    The only way you can tell how good a uke will sound is to pick it up and play it!
    A hui hou!

  5. #5
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    There is NOTHING wrong with a well made laminate.
    Wood as gotten to be expensive, laminates are a way to reduce the cost of the raw material.
    Solid wood instruments tend to change tonally with age, most laminates will be the same as they age.
    Keep Strummin'

  6. #6
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    My Kala with a laminate back and sides and a solid spruce top was one of my best sounding ukes. I'm sorry I sold it. All of the ukes I've had with solid tops have sounded better than laminate tops.. I'm not so sure that having a solid back and sides matters as much. but then all laminates are not created equal. I,ve never played one of the Kiwaya lams, but many people like them.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by SailingUke View Post
    Solid wood instruments tend to change tonally with age, most laminates will be the same as they age.
    Don't folks usually say they sound better with age?

    I've never owned a solid wood instrument yet, so I have no personal experience.

  8. #8
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    My daughter's laminate ukulele is the loudest and crispest sounding uke I have ever heard.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by modern day ukuleleist View Post
    Don't folks usually say they sound better with age?

    I've never owned a solid wood instrument yet, so I have no personal experience.
    "Better" is purely subjective.
    Solid wood instruments change and most of us think for the better.
    Keep Strummin'

  10. #10
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    Like everyone else here has said, there is nothing inherently wrong with laminate at all. Many sound fantastic, and they are considerably less expensive than solids.

    But, a quality solid will simply sound and age better than a laminate, despite how good that laminate is. There are properties of solid wood in regards to vibration and resonance that laminates simply can't duplicate because laminates don't have uniform grain, structure, etc. Of course, the type of wood and the quality of construction are critical, but all things being equal, solid wood adds texture and character to the sound that laminates (by their nature) are incapable of.

    It's like anything else where one can compare. A Honda Civic is a fine car, but it isn't a Lexus iS or an Infinity G35. A DVD is a great way to watch movies, but it isn't as good as a Blu-Ray. The old PS2 is a really cool gaming console, but it isn't as awesome as the PS3.

    So, when people go on about solids, it isn't meant to imply that laminates suck, but that solids are (usually) just better.
    I got my wife, my dogs, and my Kanile'a. What else would I need?

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