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Thread: UK tonewood - using guitar sets for ukes

  1. #1
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    Default UK tonewood - using guitar sets for ukes

    When I made my guitar a couple of years ago I got my wood from David Dyke. His workshop was amazing and he was a really nice guy but its a bit of a drive for me to get there (a return visit is tempting tho).

    Do you guys (UK-based) ever buy your wood online. A lot of the websites I've found have either no photos or bad photos and seem quite expensive. There also seems to be very little specifically for ukuleles, although I guess wood is wood right?

    From my calculations it seems that I could buy guitar sets and trim it down for ukes:

    One set of dreadnaught back and sides seems to potentially be enough for 4 soprano ukuleles. One bass guitar fretboard is enough for many uke fingerboards. Is there any good reason not to do this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stompfrog View Post
    When I made my guitar a couple of years ago I got my wood from David Dyke. His workshop was amazing and he was a really nice guy but its a bit of a drive for me to get there (a return visit is tempting tho).

    Do you guys (UK-based) ever buy your wood online. A lot of the websites I've found have either no photos or bad photos and seem quite expensive. There also seems to be very little specifically for ukuleles, although I guess wood is wood right?

    From my calculations it seems that I could buy guitar sets and trim it down for ukes:

    One set of dreadnaught back and sides seems to potentially be enough for 4 soprano ukuleles. One bass guitar fretboard is enough for many uke fingerboards. Is there any good reason not to do this?
    No. it makes good sense, especially since the variety of guitar woods is so much greater.

  3. #3
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    Shhh, don't tell the secret.
    Often guitar sets yield multiple ukulele sets at a lower price "per set" than buying uke specific wood.
    Sellers may have premium "orphan" guitar sides at a very low price that are perfect for ukes.
    Have Courage!
    Guitar & ukulele building, repairs also, 38 yrs. in business.
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/repairs/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
    Shhh, don't tell the secret.
    Haha, when I speak to the wood merchant do I have to pretend that I am making a guitar and not mention the "U" word

    Are you guys generally comfortable buying wood blind online or do you always go to the place in person?

  5. #5
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    I don't mind buying wood blind if I'm buying from a trusted dealer.
    Often I find they will cherry-pick for me, if I DON'T ask for cherry-picking, especially if I'm ordering any quantity.

    Don't be afraid to buy from a new seller, if they have at least some good feedback. They will always pick out something nice for a new buyer, in hopes of return business.
    Last edited by David Newton; 09-14-2013 at 11:24 AM.
    Have Courage!
    Guitar & ukulele building, repairs also, 38 yrs. in business.
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/repairs/

  6. #6
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    The trouble with cutting down guitar sets is, you're paying for expensive re-sawn wood that's too thick for ukuleles, so you end up reducing most of what you've bought into dust. That's OK if it's low-priced wood to start with, but it makes no sense if you're buying costly exotic or figured woods. Also if you're going to make a mix of different sized ukes, then you need to plan carefully or you'll find that much of your guitar back+side set ends up cut into pieces that are annoyingly just too small for your needs.

    Having said that, Madinter have decent stock - their exotic woods are legitimately sourced and are cost-effective if you purchase enough to justify the shipping fees. They post decent pics of their high-end sets, but the generic stuff just has a "sample" pic. Buy violin fingerboard blanks for a couple of pounds and slice them up to yield three tenor-sized ebony fretboards.

    Do you know what you're after? I have loads of interesting stuff in stock. I may be able to help you out...

    Best wishes,
    Rob.

  7. #7
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    "Ukulele" is to some wood sellers what "Wedding" is to hair dressers

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-C View Post
    Do you know what you're after? I have loads of interesting stuff in stock. I may be able to help you out...
    That is a very good question and the short answer is that I'm not entirely sure.

    This is my first attempt at an acoustic instrument so i'm open to suggestions. The plan is to make 4 or 5 soprano ukes. One for myself and the others as gifts for some musical friends. Hopefully by the end of this process I will have a much better idea of what I am doing and I may try making some to sell.

    I'd like to try and make some of them a bit different so that I learn more. I think it would be really interesting to learn first hand the differences in tone/volume/bendability/cutability of rosewood vs ebony fingerboard or spruce vs mahogany top. However... I have no intention of jumping straight into a set of curly koa or attempting a PRS-esque dragon inlay up the neck (yet).

    Im using the Grellier plans which suggest mahogany and rosewood which certainly seems reasonable. I think I'd like to try at least one ebony fingerboard and at least one spruce top as well.

    Does that sound like a good starting point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau
    "Ukulele" is to some wood sellers what "Wedding" is to hair dressers
    Haha, love it, wise words indeed!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob-C View Post
    Having said that, Madinter have decent stock
    I just googled Madinter, I had never heard of them. Excellent website, this is just what I was looking for! Thank you so much

    I have now been on quite the shopping spree

    I take it you have ordered from them before, do you remember how long shipping took?

  10. #10
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    The wood is on it's way from Madinter, its got as far as Stanstead airport so far

    What is the best way to make use of the guitar top? One piece tops? Or lots of mini-bookmatched sets?

    Is this purely a cosmetic decision or would the bookmatched top more stable?


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