At Alvarez, when we use the name “Masterworks,” it means the instrument is made from all-solid wood—the top, back and sides. The same designation applies for our lovely Bamboo ukuleles. The wood is not solid in a way we determine mahogany or sprue because it’s made from smaller sections, as bamboo tress are slim. But they are solid pieces, not laminated, and certainly for a ukulele, solid bamboo sounds fantastic.
Bamboo is not a tonewood…it’s more a tone grass. Yes, Bamboo is a species of giant grass, which is why it grows so quickly and abundantly, and it has a completely different growing cycle and molecular makeup to hardwood or softwood trees.
It’s one of the world’s fastest-growing plants and some varieties can grow up to 4ft in a single day. However, after their initial 60-day growth period, the plant will never grow in height or diameter again; it stays at its original growth size. Then in each spring, new generations of the plant appear, and it is these plants that will be larger in diameter and height—but again, they will stop growing after their 60-day growth period and never become larger. Then another generation will come along which will be bigger again. This continues, until the Bamboo grove reaches its maturity in 7-10 years. So older generations of plant in that grove are the smaller ones, and younger generations are larger. (With trees, of course, generally the bigger the tree, the older it is.)
As the world becomes more aware of sustainability and the importance of continually looking after our planet through good forestry stewardship, materials like bamboo for more musical instruments and other applications become more and more important, and hopefully accepted.
We hope you get to try one of our MU55 Ukuleles; they have a beautifully warm, open tone and offer both sustain, and sustainability.