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Thread: Mahogany Versus Sitka Spruce??

  1. #1
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    Default Mahogany Versus Sitka Spruce??

    Hey All Uke Players-Just wondering what everyone prefers as far as tone woods go-(I know KOA is DA Bomb) I'm getting a batch of Moku Ukes in January (Both African Mahogany & Sitka Spruce tops)but wanted to know what everyone prefers for Tone woods. For the record I like the Sitka's tone-it's nice & bright -although the Mahogany does sound nice as well...
    Thoughts ??

  2. #2
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    Sitka is for those who SAY they are ukulele players and lovers but are really closet guitar players riding the band wagon

    Coda: I will now go to my shelter and put on my flame retardent suit...

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    Pete,
    I like your style.
    Beeru Onegashimasu.
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    I think there's room in this world for all the colours and sounds of the tonewood rainbow.
    Liam Ryan.
    Cairns, Australia.
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  5. #5
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    African and Honduran mahogany are two different animals for sure. I don't care for African for tops and wouldn't use it for that. Sitka is always good.

  6. #6
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    There are a lot of woods to choose from in the world. And different combinations will give different sounds.
    I prefer soft tops I think they give a more balanced sound. Just my
    Perry Bullinger
    Covered Bridge Ukuleles

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemulqueen View Post
    Hey All Uke Players-Just wondering what everyone prefers as far as tone woods go-(I know KOA is DA Bomb) I'm getting a batch of Moku Ukes in January (Both African Mahogany & Sitka Spruce tops)but wanted to know what everyone prefers for Tone woods. For the record I like the Sitka's tone-it's nice & bright -although the Mahogany does sound nice as well...
    Thoughts ??
    Koa is nice.....don't know about "da bomb" It's become the stereotypical "wood of choice" for what is perceived to be a "Hawaiian Instrument." Note all the quotes. Not sure if Koa is listed very highly on the world list of great tonewoods. It does give more of a "Hawaiian" sound and if that is your ideal, then it is "da bomb" to you and that's okay. It's just an opinion, nothing more. Trashing other tonewoods, to me, is a kind of "uke snobbery" that is similar to the anti-uke snobbery we criticize some guitar players for. A beautiful sounding uke is just that, regardless of tone wood. If I want that Hawaiian sound, I'll get a Hawaiian sounding uke (I have a Koa tenor) There are a lot of more "sustainable" great tonewoods out there. I love Koa, but I'm a uke lover first and will endeavor never to claim my "preferences" are better than yours. If it gives you the sound you love, go for it. Plenty of open minded ukers out there to buy them.

  8. #8
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    Open mind? Yeah I've got one of those that respects tradition. Spruce topping a very small instrument always changes its original characteristics hence my remark about guitarists. My harp uke design, because it has to cope with a wide range of frequencies is spruce topped,- those sub bass notes would be weak on a hardwood top. I also think that because the ukulele is a Hawaiian instrument it has earned the right to 'own' the traditionally accepted koa crown. I would very humbly suggest that spruce top instruments cater for a modern player who expects the more complex sound architecture created by this tonewood and driven, over the last 30 years by boutique guitar builders who have defined a vernacular for luthiers that embraces this wood. Sadly ukulele makers also buy into this stuff - best guitar I ever played was a red soruce top 1950's Martin 0018. The grain count per inch was 8 - 5 across the lower bout and it was wavey!!! No self respecting luthier today would use such a wood and yet this guitar had the most incredible projection and tone... from my experience playing many instruments pre war (both I and II), post war and modern, I'd say that ukulele luthiers today by the very nature using 'new' wood combinations are totally redefining the idea of that 'ukulele sound'.

  9. #9
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    Myself, I just finished a walnut and German spruce tenor that I’m in love with. It is just so bright and clear. Then again I also love the African mahogany tenor I made last year. The first koa tenor I made sounded like total doggy poo, but the one I completed for myself this past summer is da bomb! For traditional sound, nothing comes close to my koa soprano except for my Honduran Mahogany soprano.
    Last edited by Flyfish57; 11-17-2011 at 08:33 AM.

  10. #10
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    I am a spruce top player. my two main ukes are stika spruce, and I have Mahogany ones too. depends on my mood.
    I see it like this. People that like spruce tops are not traditional uke players (Being broad here) they tend to play more recent songs (1950-present). The people that like the Koa, mahogany tops seem to be more ragtime or hawaiian music players.
    Now cedar top players are just confused
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