STEP 3 of 4
So far you have chosen a tenor ukulele with classic shape in an acoustic version.
In step 3 of the buyers guide you will learn about the wood types available to you in the tenor size.
You will need to make a decision on whether you choose a solid wood or a laminate wood. Lets get started.
The Decision - Solid Wood or Laminate Wood
It is important to understand the difference between the 2 types of wood so you can make a smart decision. Each has its benefits, you can't go wrong with either type of wood since we have picked only the best instruments to offer in our store.
Solid Wood = Best Quality
Solid wood means the ukulele is made from a piece of solid wood. This is expensive to make, but they look and sound extraordinary. Solid wood ukuleles are able to vibrate more freely, which gives them a nicer tone than the laminates in most cases. We have a bunch of exotic woods to choose from in this category.
Laminate Wood = Best Value
Laminate wood means the ukulele is made from "sheets" of wood. Laminate ukuleles are made extremely well these days and can sound just as good as the solid wood ukuleles, if not better. They have extremely good durability which makes them suitable for kids, first timers and those who want to take their ukulele on the road. Don't be fooled by the smaller price tag as many laminate ukes sound just as good as the solid wood ukuleles.
Solid Wood Ukulele Types
Solid wood ukuleles will often have a distinctive grain and will be 100% unique to any other ukulele in the world because they are made from a solid piece of timber. They will usually have a nicer tone than laminates and will appeal to those who want a unique looking instrument. Here are the woods available in the tenor classic shaped ukuleles:
Koa is a famous hawaiian wood which has been used for hundreds of years to make ukuleles. Koa produces a beautiful sound and many expensive ukuleles are made from this wood. Each instrument has a unique grainy appearance. Koa ukuleles are expensive but they are well worth the price.
There are many types of oak that can be used for ukuleles, they all produce a wonderful sound but vary in appearance. The oak ukuleles that we stock have a golden orange appearance and have stripes through the wood giving them a seriously striking appearance. The sound is really nice, it is bright and has an excellent sustain. Overall oak is a wonderful tone wood, we are big fans of this wood.
Mahogany is the most common wood used to make ukuleles. It produces a nice even tone for the ukulele without being too bright or mellow. It fits right in the middle of the spectrum which makes it suitable for most ukulele players. It's fairly similar in properties to Koa wood but at a much more affordable price range.
Cedar wood usually has subtle grains in the texture. The picture shown here is about an extreme as the grains will get. From a distance it will appear smooth but up close it has alot of character. Cedar produces a warm tone in ukuleles. If you are looking for something mellow, then Cedar is a great choice. It is lovely low to mid tones and has a nice sustain.
There are many types of maple such as spalted, flamed and curly. All maple woods are visually stunning. Spalted maple in particular is visually breath-taking. The textures on the wood are a result of natural decay of the wood, which makes the ukuleles 100% unique and one-of-a-kind instruments. Spalted maple is extremely rare as only a small portion of a tree will have a spalted pattern which is usable for an instrument.
Laminate Wood Ukulele Types
Ukuleles made from laminate woods look very nice, in the past they would all look the same and this is still true for most of the mahogany ukuleles. However there are countless models now which are made from laminate but the top layer of the wood has a unique grain. Woods such as ziricote, oak and bocote will be 100% unique! For most people, including beginners, they will be ecstatic with a laminate mahogany ukulele, as they are getting a good quality instrument without breaking the bank. Most beginners will start with a laminate wood ukulele. It is worth mentioning, you don’t have to pay a fortune to own a wonderful sounding ukulele.
Bondi Ukuleles and Kala Ukuleles are well known for having nice sounding laminate ukuleles. Many professional artists will gig with these instruments because they are extremely reliable, well setup and sound just as good as many solid wood ukuleles. If taken care of, these are lifetime instruments.
Mahogany(laminate) is the most common wood used to make ukuleles. It produces a nice even tone for the ukulele without being too bright or mellow. It fits right in the middle of the spectrum which makes it suitable for most ukulele players. It's fairly similar in properties to Koa wood but at a much more affordable price range.
A stunning wood that has recently been used to produce ukuleles. Visually it is the most spectacular wood that I have seen on any instrument in my lifetme. It is typically combined with a high gloss finish to bring out the rich colours of the wood. Ziricote produces a nice clear tone in a ukulele with good projection and stunning visuals.
Exotic Mahogany is identical in acoustic properties to standard mahogany wood. It is simply a different part of the tree which produces the flame figures through the wood. Visually its a stunning cut of wood and comes with all the excellent tonal qualities of Mahogany wood.