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View Full Version : Ko'olau T100 all Mahagony vs. Pono MTD



JustinJ
02-25-2015, 08:09 AM
I am considering getting another mahogany ukulele. Right now I have a Pono MTD, which I love. I play both high G and low G. I only have one ukulele right now. I am considering another ukulele so that I can have one for high G and one for low G or other alternative tunings.


I love the sound of my Pono MTD, but was thinking that I should buy a Pono MTSH with the radius fretboard or a Ko'olau T100 all Mahogany. I play mostly Jazz style with finger picking and bar chords up and down the neck.

I noticed that the Ko'olau T100 is about 1600 if I do a solid Mahogany body and top. After the bridge pins and radius fretboard, I m thinking that the Uke will be about 1800.

My question is the price to value on the Ko'olau. I'm wondering if the sound is that much better than the Pono MTD. Has anyone had a chance to compare a Pono MTD with an all mahogany Ko'olau T100 .




I found a video of a Ko'olau CS Deluxe Mahogany but the CS has a slightly different shape than the T100, which makes me think that it will have a different tone. Also I'm not sure of type of mahogany they use on the T100 vs. CS Deluxe . Here is the video if anyone is curious https://vimeo.com/99261170 I love the tone of this instrument but it is out of my price range.

Any help would be appreciated.

Pueo
02-25-2015, 08:33 AM
The MAIN difference between a Ko`olau and a Pono is where it is made, and by whom. Pono ukuleles are made in Asia, to their specs, and set up at the Ko`olau shop on Oahu.
Ko`olau ukuleles are all hand built on Oahu.
Price-to-value and sound are very hard to judge over the internet.
I love my Pono, and I would really like to buy a Ko`olau, but that is currently outside my budget.
I have loved every Ko`olau I have played. The construction is excellent. I know that you would be very happy with a Ko`olau, it is just difficult to be able to tell you if the sound is going to be "that much better" or what have you. You kind of need to make that decision yourself.
I have been to the Ko`olau shop, and met some of the guys there, and I do aspire to have one once I can afford it, until then I enjoy my Pono.

molokinirum
02-25-2015, 08:36 AM
Easy...go with the Ko'olau, hand made in Hawaii!!!!

katysax
02-25-2015, 08:53 AM
I have a Pono Pro Classic Mahogany/Cedar and a Pono Pro Classic Rosewood/Cedar. I have a Koolau CS Rosewood/Cedar and a Koolau Mahogany/Spruce. The order in which I like them is 1. Ko'olau Mahogany/Spruce, 2. Pro Pro Classic Mahogany/Cedar, 3. Pono Pro Classic Rosewood Cedar, and 4. Koolau CS Rosewood/Cedar.

There is no doubt from a construction standpoint, perfection of build and overall beauty, the Koolau CS is better than the other three. I am weirdly fond of the Ponos. I've grown to like the slotted headstocks. I like that I have two instruments that feel extremely similar, one strung low G and one high G. In terms of sound I'd rank them 1. Ko'olau Mahogany, 2. Ko'olau Rosewood, 3. Pono Mahogany and 4. Pono Rosewood. But I'd say that you would not be able to tell them apart in a blind test; they are all very close.

If you don't mind spending the money, don't mind the wait, and really want a Ko'olau, they are really nice instruments. It really just depends what you want.

If I were in your shoes I'd go with a Pono Mahogany Cedar Top and Slot head. I know you want all Mahogany, but I've played a number of Ponos, and I like the Cedar tops best by far. I like their Mahogany back and sides the best and their Mahogany tops the least. For all Mahogany I'd get a Martin or a Collings.

spookelele
02-25-2015, 10:07 AM
If I were in your shoes I'd go with a Pono Mahogany Cedar Top and Slot head. I know you want all Mahogany, but I've played a number of Ponos, and I like the Cedar tops best by far. I like their Mahogany back and sides the best and their Mahogany tops the least. For all Mahogany I'd get a Martin or a Collings.

If you wanted to go that route and aren't tied to the bling, you could save quite a bit by forgoing the slot head, and doing a mt-2. It's rosewood, instead of ebony, and the bindings/rosette are rope instead of mop. But you still get the radius fretboard, and it's 1/2 the cost of mtc-sh

http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mt2-cedar-top-mahogany-tenor.html

dsummers
02-25-2015, 10:52 AM
I have a custom Ko'olau 100 SP tenor? When I had it built I paid extra to have the wood upgraded (Nicely figured redwood top and walnut back and sides with a MISI pickup). Abosutlety beautiful and a great sound and great people to work with and superb set-up!

stevepetergal
02-25-2015, 12:13 PM
You should definitely buy both.

JustinJ
02-25-2015, 11:59 PM
Thank you everyone for your contribution. I have no places to try different ukulele models, so I have to go by what I hear on videos. Often times, the player or recording quality make a big difference. A good musician can make an average instrument sound good. And I think the opposite applies, a poor player can make a great instrument sound bad.

There have been several blind tests that were a surprise to me. I try to listen with my ears instead of listening with my eyes. It's not always easy. Also, it is hard to escape the bias that spending more money = a better sounding instrument. I was very surprised by how well my Pono sounded. I was not expecting this from an Indonesian made uke.

JustinJ
02-26-2015, 12:00 AM
If you wanted to go that route and aren't tied to the bling, you could save quite a bit by forgoing the slot head, and doing a mt-2. It's rosewood, instead of ebony, and the bindings/rosette are rope instead of mop. But you still get the radius fretboard, and it's 1/2 the cost of mtc-sh

http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mt2-cedar-top-mahogany-tenor.html


I had not noticed this model. Thank you for pointing it out. One nice thing about spending less, is that I have more money to buy a baritone in the future.

katysax
02-26-2015, 06:26 AM
As a general rule I have preferred paddle headstocks to slotted. But I do have to say that they are very nicely implemented on the Ponos and I really like the ones that I have. To me what is most cool about the Ponos is that you get the bling that normally you only get on a much more expensive instrument. The Pono Pro Classic is an every mans Koolau CS. I used to think that I didn't need or care about bling, but I really do like well-executed tasteful bling. It's fun to have.

sam13
02-26-2015, 11:36 AM
As a general rule I have preferred paddle headstocks to slotted. But I do have to say that they are very nicely implemented on the Ponos and I really like the ones that I have. To me what is most cool about the Ponos is that you get the bling that normally you only get on a much more expensive instrument. The Pono Pro Classic is an every mans Koolau CS. I used to think that I didn't need or care about bling, but I really do like well-executed tasteful bling. It's fun to have.

I agree with Katysax ... Two Tenors both of them are Pono Pro Classic Tenors: Low G both: Cedar/Macassar Ebony; Spruce/Rosewood. I like both for different songs.

I have just ordered a Pro Classic Spruce/Rosewood Cutaway to play re entrant and at Uke jams. I don't like playing a Linear Uke at a Jam ... can't hear, and when I can it sounds off against all of the re entrant Sopranos.

I prefer the Engelmann Spruce tops ...

pritch
02-26-2015, 11:47 AM
I love my Pono, and I would really like to buy a Ko`olau, but that is currently outside my budget.


I'll second that emotion.

Icelander53
02-26-2015, 01:50 PM
I have a Pono Pro Classic Mahogany/Cedar and a Pono Pro Classic Rosewood/Cedar. I have a Koolau CS Rosewood/Cedar and a Koolau Mahogany/Spruce. The order in which I like them is 1. Ko'olau Mahogany/Spruce, 2. Pro Pro Classic Mahogany/Cedar, 3. Pono Pro Classic Rosewood Cedar, and 4. Koolau CS Rosewood/Cedar.

There is no doubt from a construction standpoint, perfection of build and overall beauty, the Koolau CS is better than the other three. I am weirdly fond of the Ponos. I've grown to like the slotted headstocks. I like that I have two instruments that feel extremely similar, one strung low G and one high G. In terms of sound I'd rank them 1. Ko'olau Mahogany, 2. Ko'olau Rosewood, 3. Pono Mahogany and 4. Pono Rosewood. But I'd say that you would not be able to tell them apart in a blind test; they are all very close.

If you don't mind spending the money, don't mind the wait, and really want a Ko'olau, they are really nice instruments. It really just depends what you want.

If I were in your shoes I'd go with a Pono Mahogany Cedar Top and Slot head. I know you want all Mahogany, but I've played a number of Ponos, and I like the Cedar tops best by far. I like their Mahogany back and sides the best and their Mahogany tops the least. For all Mahogany I'd get a Martin or a Collings.

Cedar in Pono = perfection. I have a cedar/hog and a cedar/ebony and they sound wonderful. The Pono cedars really have won my heart. I bought the solid hog but returned it and never looked back. Not that it was a poor instrument, it was lovely, but not up to the sound of the Cedar/Ebony to my ear. Plus Andrew picked it out and told me it was one of the last of the best batch he'd ever heard in this model. So I feel very fortunate. Very.

sam13
02-26-2015, 03:51 PM
Cedar in Pono = perfection. I have a cedar/hog and a cedar/ebony and they sound wonderful. The Pono cedars really have won my heart. I bought the solid hog but returned it and never looked back. Not that it was a poor instrument, it was lovely, but not up to the sound of the Cedar/Ebony to my ear. Plus Andrew picked it out and told me it was one of the last of the best batch he'd ever heard in this model. So I feel very fortunate. Very.

Hey Wait a second ... that is what Andrew told me! :cool: