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View Full Version : solid body tenor Godin vs Pono



Icelander53
02-04-2015, 02:26 PM
Has anyone had a chance to compare?:drool: I'm thinking of springing for the solid electric and need a little advice. What's your pick and why? I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks. :

pritch
02-04-2015, 02:47 PM
There may not be too many qualified to answer. There will be a number who have one or the other but I suspect there will be few who have both.
For the record I have Pono withMiSi pickup and am happy with it. James Hill has what appears to be a Ko'Olau, similar but different.

Andy Chen
02-04-2015, 02:54 PM
I had asked this question just about a month ago: There were equal numbers of yay's for both Godin and Pono TE, and no nay's for either.

In the end, I went for the Pono cos I wanted something simple, which meant no needless tweaking of dials and knobs in order to get a good sound.

Having never laid hands on the Godin, I can say only that the Pono is simply great - literally, I plug in to my Yamaha THR5 amp and I get a good sound. Unplugged, it is plenty loud, enough for me to play along with my wife on piano (using soft pedals).

iDavid
02-04-2015, 04:15 PM
Played both back to back and bought the Godin.

Uncle Leroy
02-04-2015, 04:28 PM
I have a Godin and have owned a Koolau solid body. The Godin is chambered and to me sounds awesome plugged in. The Koolau not so much. Additionally, because it it is chambered it has quite a bit of volume unplugged as well.

kissing
02-04-2015, 09:18 PM
i used to have the Godin. The best electric uke I have ever played. The pickup system of the Godin is amazing and the Godin doubles as a decent (but not super loud) acoustic instrument.

The Godin is the more versatile out of the two; unless you want something that makes zero acoustic sound

Andy Chen
02-04-2015, 10:38 PM
Take a listen to them: http://www.theukulelereview.com/2013/06/14/20130614new-pono-ce-solid-body-tenor-review-comparison/

Btw, James Hill prefers the Koolau, which is like the Pono TE but made in Hawaii.

ichadwick
02-05-2015, 03:49 AM
Godin. Beautifully made, has fair uplugged volume, separate pickups for each string, and built-in equalizer... and sounds great plugged in.

Only thing I'd want is a separate volume control for each string to balance it even more finely.

coolkayaker1
02-05-2015, 04:46 AM
The KoOlau and Godin are both chambered-bodied instruments.

I agree, wholeheartedly, with both posts from Andy Chen below.

That said, I've never played a Godin chambered ukulele, and likely never will. Many reasons, one of which is the non-user-adjustable four-element saddle of the Godin (there have been threads, at least one here and many on the guitar forums, of the saddle adjustments, issues, etc. Strongly suggest a dedicated search on that saddle before buying Godin). Too complex for me--give me good old bone saddle with an under-saddle pickup made by a separate, dedicated pickup manufacturer. Plus, where the jack comes out on the Godin, knowing myself, I'd snap that baby off on my thigh in the first week; the Godin jack location is truly ideal for a player who stands and uses a strap. I much prefer the Pono jack location, which is more traditional for a ukulele.
75721

Here's the NAMM 2013 video from when Godin first introduced the Multi-uke 2-years ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY7lzuekvww

And the incomparable Pono TE (does Z sound like a young Dave Matthews, or what?). Watch entire video, and the Pono TE's details are discussed starting at 0:46 min. A great instrument.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUkZyDaAHzA

Bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQJXWOFRCFM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TpvFcFS7BA#t=13

wayward
02-05-2015, 05:20 AM
I preferred the Pono when I listened to them both played: when plugged in (without any effects) through a Roland AC33, it produced a sound which was closer to an acoustic ukulele, to my ear. If you want something versatile & are happy with the "electric" sound and heavier weight of the Godin, then it could have advantages ... but personally I have always preferred the tone of the Pono as a clean sound - both live & in every recording I've heard of them.

Edited to add... I've just clicked on the link to a video comparison of the Godin & Pono (+ a Ko'olau) Andy Chen posted above, and read the review with it: I should have read that first and just said "I agree"!

Icelander53
02-05-2015, 06:34 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I think both would be very nice. Almost a tossup. And what about the Teton Electric? Anyone feel it gets into the ballpark with these other two?

kissing
02-05-2015, 09:23 AM
They are inexpensive instruments Made in China. Not bad for their cost, but they aren't as useable as the Pono or the Godin, at least in a professional sense.

Fun instrument though.

Icelander53
02-05-2015, 01:38 PM
I'm not a pro by any means and it could be several decades before I'm stage ready (I'm 62). But if the sound is close in quality I do like the earphone jack on that guy and it's not bad looking. But if the PONO and GODIN sound a lot better than I'd go that route. At this moment I'm leaning toward Godin. They are (teton) around $300 and the others are about twice that.

Doc_J
02-05-2015, 02:22 PM
To confuse the issue, my favorite electric uke is a steel string Monkey Wrench with 2 humbuckers. I had a Pono CE with a MiSi, but sold it after I got the Monkey Wrench.

Icelander53
02-05-2015, 04:10 PM
Those are beautiful ukes. I would love to hear one.

coolkayaker1
02-05-2015, 04:41 PM
To confuse the issue, my favorite electric uke is a steel string Monkey Wrench with 2 humbuckers. I had a Pono CE with a MiSi, but sold it after I got the Monkey Wrench.

Hodge, please don;t throw a monkey wrench into the discussion. :D:p

kissing
02-05-2015, 09:09 PM
I'm not a pro by any means and it could be several decades before I'm stage ready (I'm 62). But if the sound is close in quality I do like the earphone jack on that guy and it's not bad looking. But if the PONO and GODIN sound a lot better than I'd go that route. At this moment I'm leaning toward Godin. They are (teton) around $300 and the others are about twice that.

I can assure you that the Pono and Godin will sound a LOT better than the Teton.
I've opened up Tetons and done a bit of DIY on them. Basically, while they're not necessarily badly put together, the parts they use are quite cheap.
Quality control is rather hit and miss too.

I have never really found headphone plugins useful on an electric instrument. If you want to play silently, just play the electric uke silently. You can hear it. The headphone tone is always brash and unpleasant anyway - no idea why someone would want to damage their hearing with such crappy sounds. And I don't see multitudes of electric guitars come with a headphone feature, so it's mostly a gimmick.

If you *really* want to use headphones, just plug a headphone into your amplifier, which everyone with an electric ukulele will have anyway. It will sound better too.

The Pono and Godin are worth what you pay for. In some ways, you are getting a bargain. You have to spend a lot more money to get the top, professional quality electric guitar. At least with ukulele, you are getting the best quality that money can buy for well under $1000. These are instruments that can last a lifetime, and there are options to re-sell later on if you find that it's not your cup of tea.

ichadwick
02-06-2015, 12:37 AM
Tthe non-user-adjustable four-element saddle of the Godin (there have been threads, at least one here and many on the guitar forums, of the saddle adjustments, issues, etc. Strongly suggest a dedicated search on that saddle before buying Godin).


Given the shortness of the scale compared with a guitar, this is really a non-issue. The likelihood that you will have to adjust the pre-set intonation is slight. And even if you did, the amount of adjustment would be tiny and likely not affect the intonation below the seventh or ninth fret.

The vast majority of ukuleles have a solid-bar, non-adjustable saddle. Do you refuse to own/play them? Godin's set up isn't any less adjustable.

I have never seen an adjustable saddle on nylon-stringed instruments, only metal-stringed. Has anyone got an example of this?

Andy Chen
02-06-2015, 12:46 AM
I think he's referring to the fact that it is probably a lot easier to file down a saddle or get a new one for something like the Pono.

sam13
02-06-2015, 04:36 AM
To confuse the issue, my favorite electric uke is a steel string Monkey Wrench with 2 humbuckers. I had a Pono CE with a MiSi, but sold it after I got the Monkey Wrench.

Hey Hodge,

Just hit their site ... those look really impressive ... thanks for the tip. Any chance for a sound sample?

coolkayaker1
02-06-2015, 07:43 AM
I think he's referring to the fact that it is probably a lot easier to file down a saddle or get a new one for something like the Pono.
Yep, that's what I meant.

That RmC saddle does have occasional issues, as I discovered when I considered the Godin initially. It'll take a web search by a prospective buyer to reveal them; I'm too tired to search, and too happy with Pono, to do it for you, Ice. Lol.

sam13
02-06-2015, 07:47 AM
I have played the Godin at a store locally and I was not impressed with the acoustic sound. However, Uke jam leaders locally have Godin's and love them ... just swear by them both the Spruce and Koa Tops.

Icelander53
02-06-2015, 07:55 AM
I'm not thrilled by any semi or solid ukes acoustic sound. This will be amp dedicated. I have lots of acoustics for acoustic playing.

Icelander53
02-06-2015, 09:25 AM
Yep, that's what I meant.

That RmC saddle does have occasional issues, as I discovered when I considered the Godin initially. It'll take a web search by a prospective buyer to reveal them; I'm too tired to search, and too happy with Pono, to do it for you, Ice. Lol.


I did a little searching and found nothing on major issues with this uke. Are you saying that a normal luthier wouldn't be able to address issues (the ones we've discussed) with this godin?

kissing
02-06-2015, 12:08 PM
Given the shortness of the scale compared with a guitar, this is really a non-issue. The likelihood that you will have to adjust the pre-set intonation is slight. And even if you did, the amount of adjustment would be tiny and likely not affect the intonation below the seventh or ninth fret.

The vast majority of ukuleles have a solid-bar, non-adjustable saddle. Do you refuse to own/play them? Godin's set up isn't any less adjustable.

I have never seen an adjustable saddle on nylon-stringed instruments, only metal-stringed. Has anyone got an example of this?


It is a bit of a nuisance of the Godin not having a saddle you can grind down.
However, this con comes with a great advantage. The individual pickups for each strings and the whole RMC system is what gives the Godin an amazing tone and balance that is lacking on an instrument that use a single piezo bar sitting under a traditional saddle.

Furthermore, the Godin has an adjustable truss rod and a bolt-on neck. In the right hands, you can have it setup to how you would like it.
I have heard that a luthier can unscrew the neck and adjust the tilt angle on the neck by shimming, etc.

The Godins come well setup from the company anyway.

coolkayaker1
02-06-2015, 01:36 PM
I did a little searching and found nothing on major issues with this uke. Are you saying that a normal luthier wouldn't be able to address issues (the ones we've discussed) with this godin?

Search the saddle and bridge, including guitar forums, Godin. RMC pickup. Here's just the first one that came up...one has to know how to do a thorough Internet search keyword search to find them. There are dozens of threads. I just didn't want the fixiness of it. But...
If you're willing to pay s luthier, nothing is a huge issue.
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1375242
Note: there are many, many threads touting the Godin pickup system.

Ponos have adjustable truss rods, too.

Ice, get the Godin. Ask Andrew, too, for his opinion, of course. It's like all choices that we make iin the world, incl. jobs, homes, and wives: one will never know what the other choice would bring. So buy it (either) and you'll love it, and that's great. I'm sure you want a change from Pono anyhow...how many you own...like four. Lol. You were Mr Pono,now good to change it up. Godspeed.

kissing
02-06-2015, 03:39 PM
No instrument company is issues-free.

You dig up on the internet looking for issues, you will find them. You will find people who have had issues with Gibsons, Fenders, and hell probably even Pono.

So you're saying that "There are few people on the internet who have had issues with Godin"?
That means nothing. Quality control is not flawless. That's why you have warranties and customer service from the place you buy things from.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 05:33 AM
I agree. However I'm not really any expert here so that doesn't mean much. Another poster said that the pick up system on the Godin is so unique that you'd have trouble finding a luthier that could work on them. I'm not so sure. What do you think?

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 05:39 AM
Search the saddle and bridge, including guitar forums, Godin. RMC pickup. Here's just the first one that came up...one has to know how to do a thorough Internet search keyword search to find them. There are dozens of threads. I just didn't want the fixiness of it. But...
If you're willing to pay s luthier, nothing is a huge issue.
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1375242
Note: there are many, many threads touting the Godin pickup system.

Ponos have adjustable truss rods, too.

Ice, get the Godin. Ask Andrew, too, for his opinion, of course. It's like all choices that we make iin the world, incl. jobs, homes, and wives: one will never know what the other choice would bring. So buy it (either) and you'll love it, and that's great. I'm sure you want a change from Pono anyhow...how many you own...like four. Lol. You were Mr Pono,now good to change it up. Godspeed.

I might just do that. I found a second at Godin that is a really good deal. I might just do that. If there's a problem I can use a luthier right? Frankly I've had most of my ukes in for tweaking at some point. The more complex the instrument the more is likely to go wrong. I've heard a lot of good things about the Godin and a search here has not shown issues with this uke. Not that I saw.

hawaii 50
02-07-2015, 06:07 AM
here is a Ko'olau with a slotted headstock...the Ko'Aloha was sold in a few hours.....:)


http://vimeo.com/118972246

http://vimeo.com/118949300

sam13
02-07-2015, 06:29 AM
I might just do that. I found a second at Godin that is a really good deal. I might just do that. If there's a problem I can use a luthier right? Frankly I've had most of my ukes in for tweaking at some point. The more complex the instrument the more is likely to go wrong. I've heard a lot of good things about the Godin and a search here has not shown issues with this uke. Not that I saw.

Andrew DOES like the Godin Uke and encouraged me to buy one at one point. Two local Uke jam leaders rave about their Godin Ukes: Sun Burst and Koa.

Spudman
02-07-2015, 08:13 AM
I have had the Godin for close to 2 years now without any issues. The intonation is still spot on. In fact, it is the uke I play about 95% of the time . It has a really good feel and sounds great unplugged ( for an electric ) Hope this helps!

Liquidayno
02-07-2015, 09:51 AM
I have enjoyed two different Godins, great sound and playability.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 11:44 AM
OK I sprung for a Godin. I found one from the Godin factory with a couple of tiny cosmetic flaws and got it for $463.20. Comes with full warranty.

sam13
02-07-2015, 12:01 PM
Great job, Islander. Let us know how you enjoy it.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 12:17 PM
Thanks. That's about my only job these days. Buying shit. :iwant:

Andy Chen
02-07-2015, 01:09 PM
Congrats! What finish is it? I've always liked the look of the sunburst.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 02:49 PM
Congrats! What finish is it? I've always liked the look of the sunburst.

TA DA! It is indeed the sunburst. You sir have good taste. :drool:

Icelander53
02-09-2015, 11:24 AM
Here's what Godin customer service said.



"Hi John,

The MultiUke is fitted with a high G. If you use a low G it will cause problems with the intonation.

Regards,

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars"

Uncle Leroy
02-09-2015, 12:28 PM
Hey all,
I have a Godin fitted with Low G Worth Clears. No intonation problems at all. I maybe got lucky and I like it like that.

Olarte
02-09-2015, 12:45 PM
Ditto I too have it with clears low G and have no issues at all. Love my sunburst godin :shaka:


Hey all,
I have a Godin fitted with Low G Worth Clears. No intonation problems at all. I maybe got lucky and I like it like that.

Icelander53
02-09-2015, 03:20 PM
"It was tested with a low G and we felt that the intonation was a bit off. Some players may have switched gauge and found a way to make it work."

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars


So do you get the impression that he didn't want to admit he might not know what he's talking about?

coolkayaker1
02-09-2015, 03:21 PM
Here's what Godin customer service said.



"Hi John,

The MultiUke is fitted with a high G. If you use a low G it will cause problems with the intonation.

Regards,

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars"

Deal-killer.

Olarte
02-09-2015, 03:30 PM
Not at all that goes for any uke depending on the nut and the type of strings you use. With wound low g strings you either need to widen the nut or it wil sit on top however nylon low strings such as worth clears or PHD work fine on my Ukes including the Godin


Deal-killer.

Icelander53
02-09-2015, 03:34 PM
Deal-killer.

Except I suspect that he's wrong. One of the great surprises in life is when you find out that the "experts" are often dead wrong.

iDavid
02-09-2015, 03:43 PM
Deal-killer.

It you use the correct gauge string, it will be spot-on

kissing
02-09-2015, 05:22 PM
A regular wound low-g (or classical guitar D) string will be just fine, without any modifications on the uke. I certainly had no trouble with that arrangement on my Godin.

Icelander53
02-10-2015, 03:36 AM
On Monday, February 9, 2015 6:22 PM, "info@godinguitars.com" <info@godinguitars.com> wrote:


If you go with a low G, let us know which strings you're using and if you're having problems with the intonation.

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars

coolkayaker1
02-10-2015, 09:36 AM
Except I suspect that he's wrong. One of the great surprises in life is when you find out that the "experts" are often dead wrong.

The expert works at Godin.

sam13
02-10-2015, 10:06 AM
"It was tested with a low G and we felt that the intonation was a bit off. Some players may have switched gauge and found a way to make it work."

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars


So do you get the impression that he didn't want to admit he might not know what he's talking about?

And yet both of the Uke Jam leaders have them and use them with Low G's without any issues ... not sure if they switched the strings or what ... but nice sound. Heard them last night.

sam13
02-10-2015, 10:08 AM
On Monday, February 9, 2015 6:22 PM, "info@godinguitars.com" <info@godinguitars.com> wrote:


If you go with a low G, let us know which strings you're using and if you're having problems with the intonation.

Michel Bélanger
Support Clients / Customer Support
Guitares Godin / Godin Guitars

Are you on Face Book?

Here is a local to me Uke Jam group on FB ... join and ask your questions ... you will get some honest responses. Look to find out from Paul and Matthew. Paul owns the Spruce top and Matthew owns the Koa top.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/scarboroughukes/449252785225956/?notif_t=group_activity

Icelander53
02-10-2015, 10:10 AM
what's "facebook"?

coolkayaker1
02-10-2015, 10:20 AM
what's "facebook"?

It's the message board where the experts at Godin post that an owner might have intonation issues with low G on their ukuleles, thus potentially losing sales to half the uke-playing population with the inflexibility of their patented pickups. Lol.

Icelander53
02-10-2015, 11:26 AM
That's what I said to the guy. You're gonna lose a lot of sales if you're sticking to that no Low G stuff. Seemed like a good guy though and seems like he's actually interested in getting more info so that's cool.

kissing
02-10-2015, 05:42 PM
Im pretty sure the Godin people are answering with lack of knowledge. They make a pretty good ukulele, but i don't think they are experts on ukuleles in general.

Besides, every ukulele is not 'designed' for low G. Compensated saddles are not common, nor usually necessary on an ukulele.

"Perfect" intonation is also often not a reasonable expectation on a uke.

Icelander53
02-13-2015, 10:37 AM
Godin showed today. Very beautiful, pretty solid weight which I actually like, plays very easy with a really nice low action. Sound, top notch. I really was impressed at this thing amped. However I've only had it for a couple of hours so this is all prelim but it looks and sounds like a winner.

It's got some light scratches on top edge that are there if you look for them, which happened at the Godin Factory supposedly. Has full warranty and $250 bucks off. Resale is not an issue for me so I don't need or even want a pristine instrument. I tend to fret then. :eek:

Olarte
02-13-2015, 10:44 AM
Awesome, would love to see pics and a sample. I love my Godin!

I find the spacing between the strings a bit wide but that's fine by me since I play all size ukes and classical guitar. ;-)


Godin showed today. Very beautiful, pretty solid weight which I actually like, plays very easy with a really nice low action. Sound, top notch. I really was impressed at this thing amped. However I've only had it for a couple of hours so this is all prelim but it looks and sounds like a winner.

It's got some light scratches on top edge that are there if you look for them, which happened at the Godin Factory supposedly. Has full warranty and $250 bucks off. Resale is not an issue for me so I don't need or even want a pristine instrument. I tend to fret then. :eek:

Icelander53
02-13-2015, 01:45 PM
Amped this uke is golden. Whatever pickup they are using is by far better than whatever they were using in my other electrics.

gregmchugh
02-13-2015, 07:38 PM
So, how do you go about finding factory seconds from Godin? I don't seem to find any info on their website...

Icelander53
02-14-2015, 03:21 AM
Ebay They have another two on the site right now. Or they did anyway. They had a good deal on a Koa top Godin for around $700 and the one like mine was about $430

Or just call Godin and ask. This is something companies don't advertise to often, likely because they don't want people thinking about quality control.

Icelander53
02-18-2015, 04:57 AM
UPDATE: Well an issue cropped up. As I played it more and more vigoriously I started to notice a bit of fuzz off the A string. Things looked ok from my amature view but I couldn't see anything so I took it to a luthier(two) who told me he thought that some of the wiring inside had come loose and just opening the thing up was going to be expensive.

The seller wasn't going to cover that of course so the only recourse was to return it as defective. We had a bit of a heated discussion about some of the shipping costs which was my fault really because I did not read the return policy which states defective or not I may be responsible for the costs of return shipping.

I felt that very unfair so over some time he agree to send a pickup tag which was very good of him and I appreciate it. I actually put a lot of my own effort going to see two separate luthiers to see if we could id the issue before starting repairs. Unfortunately it wasn't fun for either of us getting there but hey that's life and I never back away when I feel things are not fair or right. I also try to admit my errors. Sometimes I actually can. :p

So to wrap this up I don't think I'll buy another right away and not because I dont' think it's a amazing sounding uke. When I played amazing grace through my amp it sound sweeter and more bell toned than even my Ponos. However I feel it's a complex instrument and really beyond my capabilities as an owner at this time. Too much can go wrong and repairs are expensive and not everyone can work on them. I may just go get me that Vorson now and forget this whole affair and get back to my acoustics that are so good to me. The Vorson can be my "I'm a 70s rock star after all" mode that usually only lasts me about 20 minutes a couple times a week.

That's the story for now. My Verdict is that when in top playing condition the Godin is one amazingly sweet sounding ukulele and I can give it very high praise.

And also, the owner felt it likely that the freezing temps across the east and midwest caused the issue. I think that's likely and I do remember that Mim refused to ship me a uke I had bought until the weather warmed up.


I'm going to sit with this awhile and do some more research. I did like that Godin and of course there is still the PONO. Time to have a chat with Andrew.