But what I wanted to point out today is two new aspects of design that Chuck has recently implemented. I bet real MB fans can find one of them. Did you notice? This doesn’t have his normal tie bridge. It has what they call a string through bridge (a beautiful one I might add). I asked Chuck why he made the change and his reply was this.
The through-bridge string system is something I did many years ago. People weren’t used to it back then and were confused as to how to change strings so about 10 years ago I switched to the tie bridge. The string-through offers at least two advantages that I see. It puts no stress on the bridge itself and it also increases the string break angle over the saddle (exerting more downward force.) That’s the theory anyway, in practice I’m not sure it’s any better than the other kind, but it should be. It’s a cleaner look and I like not having all those fussy twisted and knotted strings showing on the bridge. In the last couple of years it seems to be a more accepted method of string attachment so I thought I’d reintroduce it on my ukes.
It has become more accepted and in fact Joel includes this type of bridge in his restringing tutorial found HERE so if you are wondering how this is restrung you can watch that video. There is another design change that you probably didn’t notice because it’s quite subtle, but the lower bout is now a bit over a 1/4″ wider. The classic MB tenor is a touch more slender than most but it’s now pretty much average for tenors (9″ wide). I won’t get scientific about these minor changes and how they can affect resonance, etc. I’ll just talk about what I know. This new Moore Bettah Koa tenor with the string through bridge and wider lower bout has an exceptional, full, warm tone, and doesn’t lose any of that unparalleled note clarity MB’s are known for.
Part of why I love Chuck is his humble attitude. The real geniuses are naturally humble. Aristotle said, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Or Socrates paradox, “I know one thing: that I know nothing”. But I’m not trying to get philosophical. My point is that the smartest people know that there is no end to understanding. There’s no end to learning and thinking and even rethinking what you previously concluded.
People commonly credit Chuck for making the absolute best ukulele money can buy. But he’s not sippin’ on Mai Tais rockin’ on the front porch with pride and contentment (I am presuming here). The thing is, he didn’t need to tweak his designs, make new moulds, jigs etc. But he’s constantly evolving and striving to give the world the best musical instrument that he can. That, along with his incredible skill, is why this ukulele is so extraordinary. And why those that are able to get an ukulele from him feel lucky. I know I do. And just like many times before, I had that sudden urge to keep this one as I first played it. But I would rather share it with those still awaiting a musical soul mate with the mana that these Big Island hand crafted works of musical art are. An aspiration for us that have the incurable lust for great ukuleles, not that there should be a cure. Personally, I believe in natural variation. Some people don’t share our passion, or value the art and music that bring us joy. But “those who feel it, know it”. A great ukulele like this is a rare treasure. An oasis of joy in an often crazy world. Mahalo for checkin’ out the review.
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Moore Bettah posts are like Christmas! It’s always a treat to see what Chuck has come up with next. It never gets old!