Looking to know the best wood for ukulele? Ukulele is considered to be one of the best musical instruments for beginners. The struggle of finding the perfect wood, however, tags along the excitement of getting oneself a new instrument. You buy yourself a wooden happiness, rush home to try it out and get lost in your own world of creating melody. But it really is a killjoy when the wood isn’t right and it doesn’t sound the way you want it to.
If you’re among the beginner crowd and are spending nights doing research just to find your dream ukulele, you have caught the right train. The last thing on your list is to sabotage your music, so there are no way you want to go wrong with the wood.
During the construction of a ukulele, the woods used are either laminated (multiple sheets of wood glued together) or solid (built from a single piece of wood). The prices of the laminated woods are lower along with higher resistance, but the resonant is less with a poorer tone. Solid woods are therefore used for better quality ukuleles. Here’s how you can choose which wood is best for you.
Are You Familiar with Ukulele Tonewoods?
Before heading off to make a decision about the purchase of the instrument, let’s have a clear idea about the ukulele tonewoods first. Woods that is selected to build instruments, according to their influence on the sound of those instruments is termed as “tonewood”. For instance, some woods have better resonance than the others. Tones of the ukulele differ from wood to wood.
The wood used to make the instrument emphasizes different tones more, such as highs or lows, when the body of a stringed acoustic instrument resonates. In other words, know that the wood used to build your acoustic instrument determines its “voice
How to choose the best wood for your ukulele?
While making your ukulele purchase, there are many factors that need to be considered. These include the level of your skill, range of cost, and the way you want your instrument to look and feel.
The type of wood used in the making of the instrument is one of the most vital features that influence the price range, as well as, the quality of your instrument. The way your instrument will sounds is, therefore, also dependent on your budget. Keeping that in mind, the wood needs to be selected.
There are some ukuleles that is constructed with only one type of wood, while the others are put together from several types of wood. For example, your ukulele could be made up of a solid mahogany top and maple back and sides. The wood that the ukulele is built with also adds beautiful, natural patterns and colors to the ukulele. So select a ukulele that matches with the way you imagined your dream instrument would be.
Important elements to take into account while selecting woods:
While looks are valuable to give you a dreamy experience, while you delve into the world of music, it’s the sound that makes it perfect. Pay extra attention to the tone and resonance of the wood for selection. Solid wood is generally more preferable if high quality performances are intended, at least for the soundboard.
You should keep in mind what your level of application or usage will be. Laminated woods add more strength, therefore, are more preferable for regular use. If the instrument is used outdoor more than often and taken to different places, bottom and sides made of laminated wood would be preferable because of their strength.
Budget is a very crucial factor for selection for wood for your ukulele. Since solids woods make higher quality ukulele, they are more expensive than the laminated ones.
Types and characteristics of woods
Now that you’re well aware of the deciding factors to select the right wood for your ukulele, it’s time to take a tour around the woods and see which one you like best.
Mahogany typically has an aesthetic red color; which sometimes comes along with variable figures. It produces a sweet and soft sound. With a warm balance, it is focused on the mid frequencies. The wood is relatively light, but dense. It has a good resistance.
Rosewood is one of the most recognized tonal woods in the world. This bright wood is valuable and expensive (especially the Brazilian one) with much strength and weight. It produces a fully balanced, warm and rounded sound, along with accentuated highs and deep lows.
Remarkable looks with noticeable grain and brownish color makes this wood an admired one. The Indian rosewood is more available than the Brazilian one. It therefore has a lower price, but it is sonically equivalent or even superior to the Brazilian one. Increased porosity, darker color and less noticeable grain is what gives it a more even and parallel look.
Highly resonant, Spruce has a well-balanced and bright tone. It gives a consistent note articulation. With the change in spruce wood during the life of the instrument, the sound improves over the time with lots of bass response. This makes is an amazing choice for aggressive and dynamic strumming
Compared to Spruce, Cedar has a more rounded, softer and warmer sound. It offers a more opened and brighter tone, with more definition and loudness. But, it does not change with the passing of time, so the tonal qualities remain the same. This darker and reddish wood is especially useful for fingerstylists.
The exotic wood from Hawaii, Koa combines the sonic qualities of the mahogany and the rosewood, together with more brightness. This makes it is a good choice for high quality ukuleles. It produces a sweet, mellow and warm tone, with high end articulation and balanced midrange.
Ovangkols have qualities similar to Rosewood but with a focused midrange. It has a well-rounded sound suitable for all styles of play.
If you’re still stressing over which wood to go for, the very best is the one you like the sound of best. Your ukulele is a part of you, so select the wood carefully and create magic with your tunes.