Looking for a uke with more projection...suggestions?

bunnyo

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Hi,

I'm thinking of looking for a uke with more projection, but with the warmth of a solid body koa. Probably a satin finish.

How can I find out which brands would fit the description?

Could anyone make a few recommendations?

Thanks so much,

Bunny
 
What brand/model ukulele (and the strings on it) are you playing now?
 
Mr. Mai M80, solid koa, gloss finish with uke logic strings.
 
Not to be self-serving necessarily, but I have a Kala all solid cedar/Pau Ferro tenor listed in the marketplace that is a cannon as far as projection, but warm and balanced tone-wise. I suspect build (bracing and soundboard thickness) has the most to do with projection, but the density of the tone wood is probably a close second, so rosewood, ebony, Pau Ferro, cocobolo, etc.
 
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In a simple sense, all other things equal, shallow bodies project more. They favor treble frequencies. Deep bodies are more bassy, warm. Don't know how you'll get much of both in one uke, meeting somewhere in between. Different woods and bracing?
 
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Resonators are loud if you like that sound. Ohana Vitas are supposedly projectors though I haven't played one or heard one in person.
 
Resonators are loud if you like that sound. Ohana Vitas are supposedly projectors though I haven't played one or heard one in person.
The Ohana Vita-Uke (Solid Spruce/Rosewood) is loud, but I would not call it warm as the OP requested. "Raw-cuss" is a better description, but they are fun if you're in that mood. I would describe it as the lows are not deep/rounded and highs are not sparkly/tinkly. However, it all comes from a cohesive midrange that makes it sound louder.

<edit> (For the whole story, search UU: Taming the Shrew with Sticky Putty.)
 
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I urge some caution here... Baz reviewed the Mr. Mai M80, and he described it as "superb volume and sustain".


So others will recommend some with good volume but it may or may not be more than your current one (Is projection the same as volume in this discussion?)
 
The Ohana Vita-Uke (Solid Spruce/Rosewood) is loud, but I would not call it warm as the OP requested. "Raw-cuss" is a better description, but they are fun if you're in that mood. I would describe it as the lows are not deep/rounded and highs are not sparkly/tinkly. However, it all comes from a cohesive midrange that makes it sounds louder.
I overlooked the part about warmth. The reso wouldn't really be warm either.
 
As oldjazznut said, thin bodied ukes generally have more projection. Trading sustain for volume.

Listen to a sample of the Pete Howlett Revelator, or really, any Howlett ukulele. They are generally a thinner bodied tenor with great warmth and projection. Though they are more than your target cost.

A Rebel Creme Brulee Mango or Acacia uke may be what you are looking for. The Creme Brulee is the thinner bodied instrument to the Double Creme. They also have a Cheesecake and Double Cheese, but they are spruce-topped. Great projection with any of these. The all-Mango or all-Acacia will be warmer than the spruce tops. With the mango being a bit warmer than the Acacia.

Nice used Rebels come up pretty often. The thin bodies don't seem to hold as much value as the thicker bodied ones.
 
Have you ever considered a guitar or a tenor guitar tuned like a baritone uke? Perhaps you're asking your ukuleles for something that isn't in their nature. Ukuleles are quirky and charming...as long as you're cool with what they provide. But if you want something that isn't within the uke's bailiwick, perhaps it would be easier to choose a different instrument. My tenor guitar is very loud. So loud that I tend not to play it as much as I should.
 
For the record, projection is not the same as loudness. It is the ability to be heard at the back of the music hall. It is an attribute especially prized in classical guitars, as they are commonly played unamplified in small venues. Lots of instruments are loud but do not project well. A good archtop ukulele would fit the bill but they are rare and difficult to find.
Brad
 
The Kala Travel thin body ukes have amazing projection/loudness. Since I now can only play thinline because neck spinal cord nerve damage, I've been looking for a Kala Travel tenor cutaway for months, finally found one from Thomann US.

 
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