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2 ukes sound very different (Read 5449 times)
mblue
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2 ukes sound very different
Mar 15th, 2011 at 5:16am
 
I just finished my 2nd concert size ukulele. I feel that the first one sounds considerably better than the second one.
I am not a musician, however I can tell that the sustain is much less on the second uke. Especially on the G and A strings. On the first one the G string sounds clear and lasts for several seconds. On the second one the G sounds dull and muted, and the tone stops within a second.
The 2 were constructed almost exactly the same, except for 2 main differences.
1. Cedar top on the first, Spruce on the second.
2. I installed a carbon fiber rod in the neck on the second.
Things like size, shape and positioning of the braces and tonebars are the same on both.
I know that based on this limited information, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to say why these 2 are so different, however, any ideas would be greatly appreciated, because I do not want to start on number 3 until I figure this out. Thank you.
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unkabob
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Re: 2 ukes sound very different
Reply #1 - Mar 15th, 2011 at 3:15pm
 
mblue:
Did you use the same brand of strings on both? Strings can make a real difference.

Spruce should give you a louder and brighter sound than cedar.

The carbon fiber rod should have very little (no) effect on tone.

My best guess is that it is related to the string movement. Check the nut and saddle. I don't know what you should be looking for but that is where you are likely to find it.

I'm not that much help.

Bob Cool
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mblue
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Re: 2 ukes sound very different
Reply #2 - Mar 16th, 2011 at 6:07am
 
Thank you, Bob. I really hope it is something directly related to the strings, nut, or bridge. I will go over these this evening.
Also, I should have said that the strings are a different brand.
(update): I just remembered that the first one has Martin brand clear fluorocarbon strings, and the second has Hilo Black Tynex strings.
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« Last Edit: Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:14am by mblue »  
 
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unkabob
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Re: 2 ukes sound very different
Reply #3 - Mar 16th, 2011 at 5:47pm
 
mblue:
Your problem sounds to me like the strings. I don't want to sound like a salesman but all my ukes are strung with Aquila strings. I like their tone and in ukulele shops in Hawaii, the ukes that I liked seemed to be strung with them. I have been told that Worth's are very good but I have never tried them. Martins seem bright but Hilo's are considered "cheap". Strings are a matter of personal taste but they do make a difference to the tone of a ukulele.

Just my personal prejudices.

Bob Cool
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mblue
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Re: 2 ukes sound very different
Reply #4 - Mar 17th, 2011 at 9:26am
 
I got some of the Martin fluorocarbon strings at Best Buy last night and restrung the second uke with them. I think it made an improvement.
A couple of acoustic guitar players where I work said that both ukes sound good, just different..
Of course, if the thought they sounded bad, they probably would not say that to me.
I just thought of another variable that I am not sure about, and that is soundboard thickness.
Because there is not a huge amount of posting at this time, I will start a new thread.
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Hana Lima Ia
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Re: 2 ukes sound very different
Reply #5 - Mar 17th, 2011 at 12:25pm
 
unkabob wrote on Mar 16th, 2011 at 5:47pm:
mblue:
Your problem sounds to me like the strings. I don't want to sound like a salesman but all my ukes are strung with Aquila strings. I like their tone and in ukulele shops in Hawaii, the ukes that I liked seemed to be strung with them. I have been told that Worth's are very good but I have never tried them. Martins seem bright but Hilo's are considered "cheap". Strings are a matter of personal taste but they do make a difference to the tone of a ukulele.

Just my personal prejudices.

Bob Cool



The biggest difference in string sets (besides price) are the tensions while tuned.  Aquila's tune at a higher tension than Hilo's.  (they are also higher-priced)  There is no noticeable difference in quality.

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