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katysax
11-24-2014, 09:53 AM
The new Pono Baritone Nui model looks really interesting. As a long-time guitar player who has been playing mostly uke for the last couple of years, I've always thought a tenor guitar sized instrument tuned like the top four strings of a guitar would be great. However, I have generally not liked the Baritone ukulele. I've had a couple of them and they just have not been "right". The neck seems too short for the guitar scale. On the other hand, I've tried tuning a standard tenor guitar as a baritone uke and hated that too.

The Baritone Nui looks like something a lot of players would want, especially those who were or are guitar players who also play uke. I see there is now an acacia and a spruce topped Pro Classic. I listened to the demo cuts. These look like they have a lot of potential.

iDavid
11-24-2014, 03:40 PM
It was called a Tenor Guitar for a bit and now back to Nui.

Rakelele
11-24-2014, 09:25 PM
The new Pono Baritone Nui model looks really interesting. As a long-time guitar player who has been playing mostly uke for the last couple of years, I've always thought a tenor guitar sized instrument tuned like the top four strings of a guitar would be great.

That's exactly how I feel about mine. I have been playing my all acacia Pono BN-10D daily since I received it back in August and I really like it a lot. I have provided a short review here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100383-NUD-HUGE-Ukulele-from-Pono).

iDavid
11-25-2014, 12:32 AM
I've looked into them a lot and I think they are going to be fantastic. I think they fill a gap in the market.

southcoastukes
11-25-2014, 01:38 PM
I have not played one of these, but they're very similar to a model we've made (more are on the way). We call ours a "Classical Tenor Guitar".

Based on what ours do, I can say this class of instruments does indeed provide the "guitar sound" a lot of people have looked for in a Baritone Ukulele. We've applied a new/old tuning taken from the banjo called "Plectrum" tuning that gives an even deeper sound than the "Chicago" or standard Baritone tuning.

I've talked with Andrew at HMS about stringing for these instruments, and though our scales are just a little bit different, the same strings that work on ours should work on theirs. Those would be any of the HMLs, the HL-SW, the equivalent Open tuning sets (great Slack Key instruments) and of course the Plectrum set.

From what I understand their next order will be a bit larger (demand is growing so they must be pretty good) and it may even be in house now. One other thing different between our models and the Pono - while ours will have a few features you won't find on the Pono, the pricing on the Pono, as is the norm with those instruments, makes it a real bargain.

hammer40
11-25-2014, 09:47 PM
Interesting that they went with "Baritone" for the name when it was initially described as a tenor guitar. I see they don't list the scale length in the technical description either. At some point, if you are at (tenor) guitar scale lengths, why not just call it what it is? I guess it might be more attractive for Pono to market it as a "ukulele" as opposed to a tenor "guitar".

Don't get me wrong, I like it, and Pono, a lot. In fact, I have been shopping for a Tenor guitar for a little while now. I'm looking for steel strings though for now, so an Ibanez AVT1 is in my near future, and for a about a third of the price.

AndrewKuker
11-25-2014, 10:41 PM
Tenor guitar is braced for steel strings and traditionally tuned in 5ths CGDA. This Pono was built for nylon strings and to be tuned DGBE. So calling it a big baritone (baritone nui) seemed slightly more appropriate. It's a bit different from either really.

hammer40
11-25-2014, 11:49 PM
Tenor guitar is braced for steel strings and traditionally tuned in 5ths CGDA. This Pono was built for nylon strings and to be tuned DGBE. So calling it a big baritone (baritone nui) seemed slightly more appropriate. It's a bit different from either really.

I guess the lines do get blurred quite often. We do have "super" this and "baby" that, a concert scale long neck on a soprano body etc...

Gdansk
11-25-2014, 11:53 PM
We've applied a new/old tuning taken from the banjo called "Plectrum" tuning that gives an even deeper sound than the "Chicago" or standard Baritone tuning.

That's interesting. So the Plectrum tuning has the following intervals between the strings: a fifth, a regular third, a minor third. Plectrum guitar/banjo is usually tuned: C, G, B, D.

I wonder what the reasoning was (at the time, when plectrum banjos/guitars were more common) for this particular tuning, as it is completely different from banjo tuning, tenor guitar tuning, or mandolin tuning.

Rakelele
11-26-2014, 12:04 AM
I guess the lines do get blurred quite often. We do have "super" this and "baby" that, a concert scale long neck on a soprano body etc...

You're absolutely right. To me, this really is a crossover instrument that unites some of the advantages of both Ukulele and Guitar, and I enjoy playing it, no matter what it is called. I have mine tuned like a Baritone, and I guess I think of it and refer to it mostly as a "Big Baritone". But you could think of it as Nylon or "Classical" Tenor Guitar as well. That's the benefit of being in between: people can approach it from different angles and use it for several purposes.

mds725
11-26-2014, 12:24 AM
Interesting that they went with "Baritone" for the name when it was initially described as a tenor guitar. I see they don't list the scale length in the technical description either. At some point, if you are at (tenor) guitar scale lengths, why not just call it what it is? I guess it might be more attractive for Pono to market it as a "ukulele" as opposed to a tenor "guitar".

Don't get me wrong, I like it, and Pono, a lot. In fact, I have been shopping for a Tenor guitar for a little while now. I'm looking for steel strings though for now, so an Ibanez AVT1 is in my near future, and for a about a third of the price.

Rick Turner (among others) has said in other UU threads that he names an instrument by how it's tuned. So when he built me a steel string baritone tuned DGBE, he specifically said he did not consider it to be a tenor guitar because they're traditionally tuned differently (although DGBE tuning in the tenor guitar community is called "Chicago" tuning). naming any instrument that appears to have features of more than one instrument may lead to a philosophical discussion about on what characteristic (scale, thing, number of strings) the instrument should be named. Andrew's reason for calling the Pono instrument "baritone nui" makes as much sense as any. I have one, by the way, and really enjoy it.

AndrewKuker
11-26-2014, 12:40 AM
I just call it whatever they named it. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner because my dad's been all about tenor guitars tuned like baris for a long time.
15 maybe 20 years back this really amazing player Buddy Fo would come hang out at the the shop with my dad. This guy was unreal and always played a tenor guitar with nylon strings tuned like baritone. He was with Don Ho's band for years and always played that size body like a big baritone. The X brace had been scalloped to sound better. My dad got one and did the same thing and he made a few and now Pono has one dedicated to nylon string...
Anyway..a little background on how it came to be part of the line.

iDavid
11-26-2014, 12:50 AM
I love the name baritone nui! Hope they do well for Pono and HMS.

iDavid
11-26-2014, 01:10 AM
I have not played one of these, but they're very similar to a model we've made (more are on the way). We call ours a "Classical Tenor Guitar".

Based on what ours do, I can say this class of instruments does indeed provide the "guitar sound" a lot of people have looked for in a Baritone Ukulele. We've applied a new/old tuning taken from the banjo called "Plectrum" tuning that gives an even deeper sound than the "Chicago" or standard Baritone tuning.

I've talked with Andrew at HMS about stringing for these instruments, and though our scales are just a little bit different, the same strings that work on ours should work on theirs. Those would be any of the HMLs, the HL-SW, the equivalent Open tuning sets (great Slack Key instruments) and of course the Plectrum set.

From what I understand their next order will be a bit larger (demand is growing so they must be pretty good) and it may even be in house now. One other thing different between our models and the Pono - while ours will have a few features you won't find on the Pono, the pricing on the Pono, as is the norm with those instruments, makes it a real bargain.

Would any of your reentrant sets work?

What would be the lowest tension linear set be?

Thanks so much

southcoastukes
11-28-2014, 02:02 PM
Names are always challenging for new instrument designs, and while I think we'll continue to call ours "Classical Tenor Guitars", I also think Baritone Nui has got a great ring to it, especially for an Hawaiian Company.

Andrew mentioned the 5ths tuning - when you go "classical" that tuning pretty much goes by the wayside. Even with steel strings, traditional Tenor Guitar players always carry spare 1st strings. That a' note is awfully high on that scale and the string gets awfully thin as a result. When steel strings break a lot, with Classicals, they'll break all the time.


That's interesting. So the Plectrum tuning has the following intervals between the strings: a fifth, a regular third, a minor third. Plectrum guitar/banjo is usually tuned: C, G, B, D.

I wonder what the reasoning was (at the time, when plectrum banjos/guitars were more common) for this particular tuning, as it is completely different from banjo tuning, tenor guitar tuning, or mandolin tuning.

Actually, g' c g b d' was the original 5-string Banjo tuning. Now, of course, that c note is customarily up a step to d. Plectrum tuning just does away with the drone string from Classic tuning. What banjo players call "C tuning" or "Classic Banjo" tuning actually plays very nicely in the Key of C, so it usually works very nicely with the same progressions as a lot of modern Ukulele arrangements.

Besides the fact it just sounds great, the old Plectrum repertoire is absolutely incredible. A melding of Ragtime and Romantic era Classical styles. On our site, we have a "Tips" page, and there Archive #015 deals with these instruments in general as well as Plectrum tuning in particular. There's a beautiful sound sample of three pieces played by Rob MacKillop (on banjo, not Guitar or Nui).


Would any of your reentrant sets work?

What would be the lowest tension linear set be?

Thanks so much

You know, I hadn't thought about an Ukulele reentrant style set for these instruments - they wouldn't be at all traditional. But giving it some thought thanks to iDavid, these instruments, with a likely resonance of around c, would actually make great fully resonant "Octave (reentrant, that is) Ukuleles", with a tuning of g c e a (as opposed to the small line octave used on reentrant Ukuleles: g' c' e' a').

[U]Just[U] when I thought we had a string set for every practical use! Oh, well, another set coming.

iDavid
11-28-2014, 02:24 PM
FANTASTIC!

Would any of your sets work for a high-d? Love the octave idea!!!!

southcoastukes
11-28-2014, 03:16 PM
FANTASTIC!

Would any of your sets work for a high-d? Love the octave idea!!!!

Reentrant G, right? d' g b e'?

Having not tried it, I'd say the HMUs would give about the right tension - the problem is they'd be too short. In the past, we've made extra long sets for Banjo Players, however.

Just the same, I'm not sure you'd get the best projection from a tuning like that. These are big instruments - big soundboards to drive. With a resonance around a c note going up that far to a low note of g is a big step up. Reentrant G is a great tuning for a true Baritone, I'm not sure it works as well with a Nui.

iDavid
11-28-2014, 03:23 PM
I hear ya. I tried you Reentrant G on an old Pono and it sounded great. Like a fool I sold the uke to a friend and now need a new Bari. I am going back and forth between getting the Nui or a standard bari. I guess I "need" both..lol

Kimosabe
11-28-2014, 04:38 PM
I would buy one in a minute except for one small thing: my fingers are too small. I am sure the sound is deep and mellow, the sustain longer, but I can just manage a high d on a dm chord on a baritone. I'm sure a baritone nui would be too nui, alas. I'm just too menehune. I wish, I wish, I wish, but then that's why the ukulele has been so satisfying I can do big stretches on a smaller instrument.

Stuntman
11-29-2014, 12:25 AM
I have had my TG/Nui for some months now and have tried several string sets from the original set, some classical guitar sets and a number of sets from south coast. I feel like I can provide some feedback having had some time with a couple of different combinations.

First off my pono TG is spruce topped with acacia back and sides, and I'd class myself somewhere as an advanced beginner (I only picked up instruments 2 years ago) - and as I am also learning bass and dulcimer as well as uke, I am keeping it simple so the tunings are mostly Chicago or occasionally open G when I want to muck about with a slide.

For this little report I'll only consider the South Coast strings I have tried. These are my thoughts and feelings - you should do your own testing as strings can be incredibly personal.

The first set of southcoasts I tried were the HL-SW's tuned Chicago, and I played these the most. These strings were quite pleasant underhand and were nice and balanced in both feel and sound. I really like the treble strings. The wound strings were to my ear a little - how do I describe - a little metallic/brittle sounding maybe a bit bright. To my ear they got better with a bit of use and wear. Perhaps also because my instrument was new they were not quite hitting the sound I was chasing.

Next I changed to the HML-FW's. Tuned again to Chicago I really, really enjoyed the feel of these and the sound when strummed was beautiful - really nicely balanced. However when picked (acoustically) they didn't have the volume I was looking for. I think that amplified these would be superb strings for those looking for that flatwound sound. I enjoyed these when playing through the basic major pattern and variations of from Glen Rose's "Jazzy ukulele".

Next up was the plectrum set. I struggled to get to grips with the CGBD tuning generally, but in this tuning they sounded beautiful when strummed. Anyway I tuned these to Chicago - and wow - i really like these (same treble material as HL-SW's). They have volume, projection, and a great warm meaty deep sound. I really like these tuned to Chicago - just hope I am not taking that 4th string too high. I am also currently trying these cfad - super warm and mellow. I found the wounds a bit noisier than for the HM-SW's but otherwise I really dig these strings.

Down the track I would like to retry the string set that they are supplied with to hear how they sound again and also give the HM-SW's another go.

iDavid
11-30-2014, 01:31 AM
I've never played a baritone and liked the low-d, when I switch to a high-d, I really like baritones. I think the Nui can really handle the linear tuning and stays out because of it. In the long term, I plan to get both.... love the uke!

coolkayaker1
11-30-2014, 08:02 AM
NatalieS has one for sale in the UU Marketplace now.

southcoastukes
12-03-2014, 06:09 PM
I saw your reference to the sales thread, cool, but even though that thread talks about some of our strings, since it is a sales thread, I'd thought I'd address the string questions here.

I had mentioned earlier in this thread a list of strings that would work well on this class of instruments. What I may not have made clear, is that when I was referring to the HMLs and the HL-SW, is that on this size instrument, depending on your preference in tension, you'd use them for Chicago tuning: d g b e'.

One of the HMLs is the HML-CM, or Heavy Medium Linear with Classical Metals. If a "steel string" sound is what you're looking for, you can of course buy a traditional Tenor Guitar, but you get the same sort of flavor with the CMs. I personally feel our CMs give an even nicer sound. You get the light build response of an instrument designed for classical stringing and a lower tension than steel that many would find more comfortable. Not only do I like the response, but the sound of the three flat wound strings is smoother than you get with steel, while the thin, light steel 1st string gives it a bright finish. On top of that, this is a true "no noise" set under hand.

Stuntman, thanks for the review! One point I'd like to make is that the Plectrum set he currently has in Chicago tuning is made up of the same material in the HML-RW set. The difference is that there are slightly thinner gauges on the 4th & 1st strings with the HMLs, so if you want a bright classical sound in Chicago tuning, the HML-RWs will give it, but with more even tensions than you'd get re-tuning a Plectrum set.

What actually brought me back to this thread, however, was a sound sample I just received from a customer who has a Plectrum set. He uses it on a standard Baritone. The tension on the shorter scale wouldn't be ideal from our point of view, but he gets a very nice sound out of it nonetheless. I think this is the first time a Plectrum tuning has ever been recorded on a wooden-bodied instrument, and this recording gives a very nice profile of the tuning and the sound of chords (thanks, T!):

http://www.southcoastukes.com/sound/Baritone%20Plectrum.wav

p.d:

Oh, and yes, we will also put out an Eddie Freeman classical set for those who want a deep rhythm instrument in 5ths.

coolkayaker1
12-03-2014, 11:16 PM
They look, to me, like a thin uke neck and teensy uke bridge stuck on a guitar. Oddly off-kilter appearing, sort of like the guy two seats away on an airplane that looks a tad weird for some reason, then you finally put your finger on it in mid-flight: his head seems ever so slightly too small for his body, as if he stole it from a toddler.

iDavid
12-04-2014, 11:57 AM
I love the look of the Nui. I am more concerned with the strings. Baritones have pretty lose tension and I like that about them. If you put a "normal" bari set on the Nui it is going to be tighter. One of Dirk's sets would probably make a HUGE difference. Makes it difficult to purchase from the net. I hope to check one out in person at some point. If anyone wants to send me to check-out, just let me know!

Rakelele
01-11-2015, 02:12 AM
When I reviewed my Pono Baritone Nui here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100383-NUD-HUGE-Ukulele-from-Pono), I mentioned that tension might be too high on the Ko'olau Baritone strings that come with it. In fact, the third string broke a couple of times, so I finally took the time to change the whole set.

I asked Dirk from Southcoast, and he told me that an instrument of that scale length could be strung with the very same HML-RW set that I have on some of my Tenors. So I am using those now, and wow! The Baritone Nui was loud before, but now it really takes off.

I think the Ko'olau strings work well on a regular Baritone scale of some 19 to 21", but on the 23" scale of the Nui, they were so tight that they may have inhibited themselves from ringing. The Southcoast set does just that: It rings out forever with a very Guitar-ish tone. And it's a lot easier on the fingers.

I hope this may be helpful to others who consider getting a Nui. Thanks to Dirk for a great recommendation!

iDavid
01-11-2015, 02:56 AM
When I reviewed my Pono Baritone Nui here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100383-NUD-HUGE-Ukulele-from-Pono), I mentioned that tension might be too high on the Ko'olau Baritone strings that come with it. In fact, the third string broke a couple of times, so I finally took the time to change the whole set.

I asked Dirk from Southcoast, and he told me that an instrument of that scale length could be strung with the very same HML-RW set that I have on some of my Tenors. So I am using those now, and wow! The Baritone Nui was loud before, but now it really takes off.

I think the Ko'olau strings work well on a regular Baritone scale of some 19 to 21", but on the 23" scale of the Nui, they were so tight that they may have inhibited themselves from ringing. The Southcoast set does just that: It rings out forever with a very Guitar-ish tone. And it's a lot easier on the fingers.

I hope this may be helpful to others who consider getting a Nui. Thanks to Dirk for a great recommendation!

Do you have it tuned DGBE?

I find it very helpful, and thanks!

GASguy
01-11-2015, 03:29 AM
Do you have it tuned DGBE?

I have my rosewood / spruce Pono bari nui set up with the South Coast HML set tuned up Chicago style plus one semitone, i.e. D sharp / E flat, etc. The South Coast strings sound great and the Bari Nui sounds huge!

A big improvement over the stock strings IMHO.

Rakelele
01-11-2015, 09:44 PM
Do you have it tuned DGBE?

I find it very helpful, and thanks!

Yep, I have it tuned to DGBE = Chicago tuning, i.e. like a regular Baritone. While I was tuning up, I played it one full step down (CFAD) for a while, and that was very rich sounding, too.

How do you like your new Pono Mango Baritone, David?

iDavid
01-11-2015, 11:39 PM
Yep, I have it tuned to DGBE = Chicago tuning, i.e. like a regular Baritone. While I was tuning up, I played it one full step down (CFAD) for a while, and that was very rich sounding, too.

How do you like your new Pono Mango Baritone, David?

Is it unbelievable, it seems to defy the laws of physics. I never thought it would sound good with a Low-D, but it sounds VERY much like a guitar. The tension is nice and low, the set-up is amazing. I ordered a set of strings from Southcoast to try a high-g as well. I don't think you could get a better sounding Baritone with this scale.


I should do a full review, but I still need to review my Kinnard tenor...

Rakelele
01-12-2015, 02:09 AM
I should do a full review, but I still need to review my Kinnard tenor...

I'm glad to hear that your new Baritone is working out so well for you. Are you playing it with the factory set of Ko'olau strings?

Looking forward to a review of both your Pono Baritone and your Kinnard Tenor!

iDavid
01-12-2015, 09:07 PM
I'm glad to hear that your new Baritone is working out so well for you. Are you playing it with the factory set of Ko'olau strings?

Looking forward to a review of both your Pono Baritone and your Kinnard Tenor!

Yep, factory strings. Both ukes are great, but the Kinnard is amazing.

I didn't expect all that much from the Pono. I had a Pono Baritone in the past it was just Okay. They have really upped their game. I don't think there is a better baritone out there. I may switch it to a high-d and then get a Nui for the Low-d...

Stuntman
01-12-2015, 11:56 PM
Yep, I have it tuned to DGBE = Chicago tuning, i.e. like a regular Baritone. While I was tuning up, I played it one full step down (CFAD) for a while, and that was very rich sounding, too.

I quite like the CFAD tuning too. Beautiful sounding with lower tension. I switch between this and DGBE depending on my mood.