Monday, February 03, 2014


Some ukulele stuff I found interesting.

 Before you watch the video, the set-up:

Wooden musical instruments are said to open up after they have been played for a while. Exactly why is open to debate, but the notion is that, over time, the wood and glue set, and some kind of mystical attunement of the wood from the vibrations of the music all come together to make the tone louder and more mellow.

The phenomenon seems to be real enough; recordings of new instruments compared to the same instruments played a year or ten down the line seem to sound noticeably different, at least some folks' ears. 

Some woods open up faster than others. With guitars and ukuleles, the soundboards are often made from spruce, which opens slower than, say, cedar or redwood, which is also used for those instruments.

So, there is one theory that goes with the vibrations, and to that end, there are gadgets that can be stuck into the sound hole of guitar that will allegedly help it open faster.

I hadn't seen one like the machine in this video before. The luthier's name is Ron Saul, and while the whole video is good for me, if you fast-forward to the 22:30 mark and play it from there, you might find this section interesting. 

Amazing what somebody with an idea and skill with machinery can do, he puts his mind to it ...

1 comment:

Mike Byers said...

Fascinating! The "uke plucker" machine is certainly something new, and what he says about its effect makes sense, too. I was surprised to hear he uses a wipe-on polyurethane finish, but I guess it works for him and is easier to apply than varnish or lacquer. Neat film; thanks for posting it.