Tuesday, November 14, 2006

the Plunk and the Thunk

It's night in Ukuleletown. In case you haven't guessed it's always night in Ukuleletown. I'm sitting at the luxurious horseshoe-shaped bar at the B-Side Lounge having my second Gimlet. Spunky is propped up in front of me against the egg-tray. Spunky don't drink.

Two stools away is a poor sod who has obviously been drinking his blues away all day. He's got a drink in front of him, a cigarette in the ashtray and he is leaning heavily on one hand, falling asleep. Every time he nods off into dreamland, his face slips off the prop of his hand and his head thunks against the wood of the bar.

He does this three or four times. Each time he does Spunky falls over and I have to right him. The sound of the guy's head hitting the bar is...almost musical, and I ask the bartender what the bar top is made of. He sets down the glass he's polishin' and says, "I wouldn't know somethin' like that ordinarily, but we had to replace a corner piece and the carpenter said it was an oak bar with a mahogany top."

Ah. I love the sound of mahogany. All my favorite ukuleles are mahogany. Some of my neighbors in Ukuleletown, however, prefer the plunk and bark of Koa. I know there are many other woods used in making ukuleles, but the two main ones are mahogany and koa. To my ear the koa has a loud plunk with a shorter sustain. While the mahogany has a satisfying thunk with a bit more, warmer sustain.

Kinda like my sleepy friend down the bar.

the top image is mahogany, the bottom, koa

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