Uke design/construction 'break throughs' ... what is next?

Gorgeous uke! How loud is it with these unconventional sound "vents"? The wood is so beautiful on this one.
I find it to be quite loud, in fact, the leader of my uke group said it almost sounds like it has a resonator, but I'm just happy it has such good projection. I wanted all spalted mango, but Bruce suggested using flame mango for the body to be more stable. I did have him use spalted mango for the binding.

BWA spalted end shot 800.JPG


I think Long Necks should be on the list too - soprano, concert, & tenor - & I think I heard of a baritone with a 23" scale. :)
The would be something I would convert to a bass uke, I find 23" scale to be my bass uke sweet-spot.
 
I am hopeful that the next generation will push the envelop on alternative materials that will produce an above average ukulele at an affordable price. The instrument just begs to be taken along anywhere into any environment.

John
 
They just barely got a mention here, but it seems to me that the

UBass and its followers are quite a breakthrough.

Very cool list. Great thread idea.
 
I think there are no more innovations possible. They have thought of everything! :)
 
I am hopeful that the next generation will push the envelop on alternative materials that will produce an above average ukulele at an affordable price. The instrument just begs to be taken along anywhere into any environment.

John

Definitely! Koa and other precious woods are expensive and more difficult to work than composites. HPL ukes are made from plant material so they are cheap and durable. These materials can easily be formed into any shape desired.
 
The next innovation is going to be Travel Ukes - you heard it here first! :D

Seriously, there is room for improvement on genuine travel ukes, & I foresee a hollow neck combined body of a very slim triangular shape, possibly 3D printed, at a generally modest price level.
All scales should be made available, so that everyone can benefit from the design, & it will sound really nice, because it will have quite a reasonably sized resonating chamber owing to the hollow neck. :)
 
As I posted before, you can start being innovative right now, just pick up your uke and start working on the music that is in your head or is all around you. Or pick up (a lower cost) uke and find out what happens when you put a different nut and bridge on it. You don't need to be waiting for someone else in a far distant land.

I read your earlier post, and I'm happy you found something that has inspired you. I did look into rhythm changes while I am not interested in pursuing it, I do play every day and add to my repertoire from time to time. For me playing the ukulele is just fun.

What I would like is a ukulele that sounds good and plays well when the humidity is so high the sweat from my arms could pool up on the bridge. Or park my car in 110 degree heat and not worry that the neck will have a bow in it or the soundboard will crack. At this point the completely molded outdoor uke doesn't get there for me.

John
 
Outdoor Ukulele has posted a plastic injection molded banjo uke design this morning it seems (6 hours ago from when I am typing).
The post says they want to take BUs to the next level. I have heard people ask the BU player to take it to the next level (in the building or public place where it can't be heard) before, but the design of the round bit of the OU banjo uke is very interesting. It is in a tenor size in the prototype, a soprano size BU may be easier to pack than a figure 8 and could be a great travel instrument, with enough noise volume to cut through the wind and rain noise.
It would definitely keep the dropbears at bay. Which is another innovative phenomena I noticed this morning, uke players are becoming Koalafied. I don't know what is next.
Sorry if my post seems a little bit silly, but the point is that there are people well known to many UU members who are not talking about innovation, they are actually doing it. Musically and in design and construction of instruments. As I posted before, you can start being innovative right now, just pick up your uke and start working on the music that is in your head or is all around you. Or pick up (a lower cost) uke and find out what happens when you put a different nut and bridge on it. You don't need to be waiting for someone else in a far distant land.

I'm pretty disappointed that they've decided to go with an 11" pot on the Outdoor Ukulele banjo uke. That's just too big.
 
There is the "Populele" bluetoothed enabled learning ukulele. It has a series of lighted diodes on the fretboard to show each chord shape as a song is learned. Now that is innovation and very different.

I would like to see a pickup system that is bluetoothed enabled so you can play through any bluetoothed enabled sound system, no cables requirred. How much fun would playing through your Bose speaker on the living room table. How about through your cars sound system!! You could play along to any song on the radio or have a cool tailgate uke jam party
 
I read your earlier post, and I'm happy you found something that has inspired you. I did look into rhythm changes while I am not interested in pursuing it, I do play every day and add to my repertoire from time to time. For me playing the ukulele is just fun.

What I would like is a ukulele that sounds good and plays well when the humidity is so high the sweat from my arms could pool up on the bridge. Or park my car in 110 degree heat and not worry that the neck will have a bow in it or the soundboard will crack. At this point the completely molded outdoor uke doesn't get there for me.

John

I have kept a concert scale Flea in my car for 3 years, after carrying it for a month on a 500 mile trek. I live in Kansas. Winter lows are below 0°. Summer highs reach 110°. Inside the car it gets much hotter. The only attention it has needed is to adjust the friction tuners so it will stay in tune. Strings are Martin M600. Sounds way better than an Outdoor Use to my ear. Handles the extremes well. Just a regular Flea: laminate top, plastic fretboard, and concert neck. They even sent me a replacement tuner for free after one was broken going through airport security.

There are two drawbacks to the Flea. The back can slip around a lot. The top is recessed into the molded back. The resulting edge can get uncomfortable pressing into your forearm.

It's not the best uke I own. It is the best one to leave in the car.
 
I have kept a concert scale Flea in my car for 3 years, after carrying it for a month on a 500 mile trek. I live in Kansas. Winter lows are below 0°. Summer highs reach 110°. Inside the car it gets much hotter. The only attention it has needed is to adjust the friction tuners so it will stay in tune. Strings are Martin M600. Sounds way better than an Outdoor Use to my ear. Handles the extremes well. Just a regular Flea: laminate top, plastic fretboard, and concert neck. They even sent me a replacement tuner for free after one was broken going through airport security.

There are two drawbacks to the Flea. The back can slip around a lot. The top is recessed into the molded back. The resulting edge can get uncomfortable pressing into your forearm.

It's not the best uke I own. It is the best one to leave in the car.

Thanks for the info.

John
 
There are two drawbacks to the Flea. The back can slip around a lot. The top is recessed into the molded back. The resulting edge can get uncomfortable pressing into your forearm.

For $5.00 you can get a pair of Grip Strips for the back of the Flea. I have them on a Flea and a Fluke. Just like the wooden fretboard, I wouldn't have a Flea or Fluke without them. They are black, so they are almost invisible on the uke.

http://www.magicfluke.com/product-p/gripstrips.htm
 
I had an idea yesterday. What we need is an electric uke with a headphone jack. When you play it, you hear your beautiful music, but those around you hear nothing. Although the strings are vibrating, I'm sure there's a way to prevent the sound from traveling. Maybe this exists already.
 
My Teton solid body also has a headphone jack and a line in. It is the perfect instrument to practice with for me. I can play along with a backing track and no one else has to hear it.

John
 
For $5.00 you can get a pair of Grip Strips for the back of the Flea. I have them on a Flea and a Fluke. Just like the wooden fretboard, I wouldn't have a Flea or Fluke without them. They are black, so they are almost invisible on the uke.

http://www.magicfluke.com/product-p/gripstrips.htm

Wooden fretboard? Yeah. No. Not for a car uke.

Grip strips? Again, car uke. I'm sitting down.
 
Here's the latest thing, done by a TBUS member whom I know. 3D printed uke.
3D uke.jpg
 
But the Blackbird is already on the list. Its the Blackbird that is the groundbreaking uke.

Its not carbon fiber like the KLOS. Its some sort of flax(?) based HPL epoxy sort of a thing. But the Blackbird is the one that successfully broke all the rules in construction and in design. KLOS simple made a traditional double bout out of a different material and marketed it to the same general crowd that buys durable ukuleles for use outside, which is why I think of it more as a something that follows the OUTDOOR UKULELE brand of ukes.

I'll give the KLOS credit for using carbon fiber, no argument from me on that point, and is is different than the OUTDOOR on many details but I see it as following others rather than doing something that is more ground breaking? Maybe I'm missing the point on the shift in materials to carbon fiber, maybe I should consider that more ground breaking?

Also, Blackbird has been making carbon fiber ukuleles and guitars for a number of years (it has discontinued its carbon fiber tenor ukulele). If building ukuleles out of carbon fiber is a breakthrough, it's not Klos's breakthrough.
 
Also, Blackbird has been making carbon fiber ukuleles and guitars for a number of years (it has discontinued its carbon fiber tenor ukulele). If building ukuleles out of carbon fiber is a breakthrough, it's not Klos's breakthrough.

I believe Blackbrd is now using an HPL material, derived from plant material.
 
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