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  #1  
Old 11-18-2017, 08:36 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Default 'ukulele Tonewood

Still on the search for the right tenor 'uke. There are no decent ‘ukes in my area to try. I’m not sure what tonewood to choose. I’ve played some ‘hog guitars, but I have no idea about mango or acacia. I really like the warm mellow sound of redwood and western red cedar on my mandolins, mandola, mandocello and hardanger fiddle. I prefer a warm woody tone over a loud cutting sound. Any generalizations about tonewood? Is the acacia they mention in some ads similar to koa? What wood would you recommend to someone desiring a warm woody tone? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2017, 10:57 PM
Ceabeceabe Ceabeceabe is offline
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What is your price range?


This might give you some ideas re tonewoods

http://koolauukulele.com/woods/

And


http://www.theukulelereview.com/2012...t-for-ukulele/

And

http://www.ukulelemag.com/stories/ex...lele-tonewoods
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Old 11-19-2017, 06:44 AM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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I've spent hours wearing headphones and listening to the videos on The Ukulele Site. I love it that most of their recordings are clean samples, which allows you to hear the different ukuleles and not the amplifier's special effects.

I'm probably not telling you anything new, but just in case... try The Ukulele Site.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:29 PM
lfoo6952 lfoo6952 is offline
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Mandobart

Koa is a type of acacia. The tree is called Acacia Koa. I have an all koa ukulele and it is quite mellow.

I also own a mango ukulele, back and sides, with a cedar top. Mango also tends to be warm, but as with guitars, much depends upon the builder.

So I guess tonewood tendencies are the same as in guitars.

Luke
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:24 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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FWIW, I own ukulele made from: koa, mango, mahogany, and laminated Australian pine tops (Fluke and Flea). They all have strengths and weaknesses tonally, just like guitars made from different woods. If you really cannot try in person, it is hard to go wrong with either koa or mahogany. My current favorite uke is an all-koa Big Island Ukulele Company "Honu" model tenor. My wife has a hand-made Mya Moe tenor in all mahogany.

If left with only one choice, I would probably go for koa -- Hawaiian instrument, use Hawaiian wood. But don't expect to get into one of those for less than $500 these days, even with imports, and often used. Probably not real helpful, but it would take a whole page trying to describe the comparative tone. IMO string choice and playing technique would still have nearly as much influence on the tone in the end as wood choice.

BTW, acacia koa is a distinct species that only grows on Hawaii Island. Acacia of other varieties grows in New Zealand, Indonesia and other places around the Pacific Rim. It is similar to Hawaiian koa (although usually not as highly figured) and is most often found on sub-$250 instruments that use "acacia". Think of acacia versus true koa in the same way you might think of sapele or khaya wood versus genuine Honduran mahogany on a guitar.
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Old 11-21-2017, 06:32 PM
GGinMP GGinMP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Still on the search for the right tenor 'uke. There are no decent ‘ukes in my area to try. I’m not sure what tonewood to choose. I’ve played some ‘hog guitars, but I have no idea about mango or acacia. I really like the warm mellow sound of redwood and western red cedar on my mandolins, mandola, mandocello and hardanger fiddle. I prefer a warm woody tone over a loud cutting sound. Any generalizations about tonewood? Is the acacia they mention in some ads similar to koa? What wood would you recommend to someone desiring a warm woody tone? Thanks!
I love the look of Koa, but when I test-drove a bunch of tenor ukes, I ended up with an all mahogany one (Pohaku).
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:06 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Koa bright, Mahogany mellow, everything else, not a uke.
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:02 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I love the look of Koa...I just can't gel with the tone. It's a gorgeous wood to look at...but I find it to be tonally very 2-dimensional.

When I bought a uke (concert) I tried a handful of them and ended up with an ebony uke.

My son tested several different ukes when we bought him his own and he chose a walnut uke.

Not sure if that helps.
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:38 PM
Mahoganymadness Mahoganymadness is offline
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I recently bought a baritone ukulele with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. In between the scale length, tuning (DGBE) and tone woods, it almost has more of a small nylon guitar timbre and playability. The bottom 4 strings that is
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:13 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Koa bright, Mahogany mellow, everything else, not a uke.
Well said though MyaMoe had some spectacular alternatives. But they are pretty much done I think. I tend to avoid the mass produced substitute woods.
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:18 PM
Paraclete Paraclete is offline
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Honestly, when it comes to Koa, or any wood for that matter, it depends on the quality of the wood and the luthier. I’ve played Koa ukes that were very ordinary and paled in comparison to a Moore Bettah in 4A master grade Koa. I had a solid acacia uke that was horrible in comparison to a basic laminate Kala. You really have to sit down and play. I prefer all solid Koa. Mahogany is decent too, depending on the make.

And strings do make a difference. For example, nylgut Aquilas were horribly bright and loud and kind of mushy sounding on my soprano Keli’i. Brown tenor Worths gave it a crisper, woodier sound...that particular uke, by the way is solid koa top, mahogany back and sides.

One more thing.... beware of ukes advertised as “Koa acacia” as many of them particularly if they are coming out of anywhere but Hawai’i are actually not Koa but a different type of acacia. Botanically close, but not the same.
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2017, 09:34 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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I have a vintage baritone that is all Mahogany. The newer ones seem to be Mahogany. A friend has just finished a build of flamed Koa 8 string. Sadly, the bridge cracked when he tuned it for the first time.

His repair work is on hiatus since he lives in the hills above the Santa Barbara mission. He had to leave due to the terrible air. Seems the fire stopped 1.5 miles from his house.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2017, 12:12 AM
Mezcalero63 Mezcalero63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGinMP View Post
I love the look of Koa, but when I test-drove a bunch of tenor ukes, I ended up with an all mahogany one (Pohaku).
Based on OP's description, I think all Mahogany would be a good fit. I have a Koa Back/Sides with Cedar top that I like a lot as well, but this combo will be harder to find. The other one (Mya Moe) I had but sold was all Myrtle, and it was kind of in between all Koa and all Mahogany to my ears.
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