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View Full Version : Is the devil wearing ice skates? NUD: Pono MTD



johnson430
12-06-2015, 01:00 PM
Great news.
Although I have had the uke for about a month, I thought I was going to have to sell it. But...
My wife told me that because we already spent the money on the Pono MTD and I just recently paid off all her credit card debt that I can keep the uke if I want.
I will post a sound sample soon, as I am waiting on some PHD high G strings to be delivered. I have J71's on there now.
I never though she would allow this.
So happy.

The reason I got such a good deal(see close up photos):
It is a used Pono MTD, purchased by the original owner in April of 2014 from Mim's Ukes, and played almost daily for a year and half. It was sent to a professional luthier for all work done on the uke.
There are a few marks in the gloss near the bridge where some strings have scratched the surface during re-stringing or maybe even a string breaking and some small indentations show in a few places in the gloss on the soundboard. Which is similar to the marks I get on my gloss finished classical guitar but not on my satin/matte finished mango tenor.

The sound: I will let a sound sample settle that.
Perhaps I will do a recording of the J71's and the PHD's.

All in all it is in great condition and came with:
A lowered saddle(see photo); although, I recently purchased a new saddle from Kevin at HMS and returned it to a higher position.
A uke crazy case.
A strap and strap button.


I am also using the $1 Reverb tuner. Awesome score.

***SOUND SAMPLE ADDED:
D'addario J71 strings
https://soundcloud.com/jasonbjohnson/daddario-j71-stringspono-mtd-uke-sound-sample

cpmusic
12-06-2015, 01:10 PM
It's beautiful! I'm glad you can keep it.

spookelele
12-06-2015, 01:42 PM
Pono tenors have a truss rod.

You can change the action a good deal without grinding by bowing the neck or straightening it with the truss rod.
Once you get your new saddle, before you try to grind it down, (I think you shouldnt have to) try putting an allen key inside the sound hole and changing the amount of bow in the neck. There's a free spin bit in the middle, but if you keep turning in one direction or the other it will catch and start to bow or straighten. If its bending/unbending, you'll feel resistence. Also, in the free spinning bit in the middle, if thats where you want it, make it catch just a little bit so it doesn't buzz.

The truss rod is an awesome feature on pono tenors and bari's. I wish everyone did it.

johnson430
12-06-2015, 04:34 PM
Pono tenors have a truss rod.

You can change the action a good deal without grinding by bowing the neck or straightening it with the truss rod.
Once you get your new saddle, before you try to grind it down, (I think you shouldnt have to) try putting an allen key inside the sound hole and changing the amount of bow in the neck. There's a free spin bit in the middle, but if you keep turning in one direction or the other it will catch and start to bow or straighten. If its bending/unbending, you'll feel resistence. Also, in the free spinning bit in the middle, if thats where you want it, make it catch just a little bit so it doesn't buzz.

The truss rod is an awesome feature on pono tenors and bari's. I wish everyone did it.

Thanks for the information on the truss rod. Actually, I already shaped and installed the new saddle some weeks ago, shortly after I received the uke.
I have a Pono mango tenor but have yet to fiddle with the truss rod on either.

Camsuke
12-06-2015, 04:42 PM
Congratulations Johnson!

johnson430
12-06-2015, 04:45 PM
Congratulations Johnson!

Thanks Cambell. =)

ukuleleden
12-06-2015, 05:08 PM
Now have a world of fun and joy playing it every moment you can! Congrats!

UkieOkie
12-06-2015, 05:26 PM
Congrats. I hope it plays like a dream.

Booli
12-06-2015, 09:38 PM
Congrats on the happy outcome!

Those tiny marks would not bother me at all, especially if is SOUNDS and FEELS amazing to me.

Glad you got to keep it! :)

johnson430
12-07-2015, 06:50 AM
Now have a world of fun and joy playing it every moment you can! Congrats!

Thanks ukuleleden, I had to adjust to the sound (so much different than a mango flavor) but this uke is growing on me.

johnson430
12-07-2015, 07:00 AM
Congrats on the happy outcome!

Those tiny marks would not bother me at all, especially if is SOUNDS and FEELS amazing to me.

Glad you got to keep it! :)

It does feel amazing. I am still working out the right strings for me but I am very happy.
Those little marks let me know that the previous owner played this uke and had many sets of strings on there. He told me he played this one so often that he was wearing out the strings every month over a year and half period.

Surprisingly, I love the ebony fret board. I didn't think there would be that much difference but I can tell the ebony is a bit smoother than my rosewood on the mango tenor; although the rosewood is nothing to complain about.

The closed geared tuners on the mahogany are easier to turn than the open geared tuners on the mango as well.

All in all, it is nice to be able to see and feel the obvious differences between a Regular Pono and a Deluxe version.

One thing, the gloss appears to give the wood a more compressed sound but I am liking that quality more and more. The strong punchy attack seemed harsh to my ears at first as I was so used to the warm response I was getting from the satin/matte finished mango. But now I can appreciate the difference.

cpmusic
12-07-2015, 07:23 AM
Pono tenors have a truss rod.

You can change the action a good deal without grinding by bowing the neck or straightening it with the truss rod.

Respectfully, while turning the truss rod will have the effect of changing the action, it is there solely to adjust neck relief for different string tension and personal taste. In a professional setup where the rod exists, it will be adjusted first, followed by adjustment at the nut and saddle.

Also, a new saddle will almost never be a perfect fit, even when it's precision-cut from artificial material. The length and profile may be cut to fit a specific instrument's saddle slot, but saddles are delivered "tall" because wooden instruments are never completely uniform. The right height for my Pono tenor, for example, may be too tall or too short for someone else's Pono tenor.

Ukejenny
12-07-2015, 07:36 AM
Very, very nice!!!!

Surly-Mac
12-07-2015, 07:48 AM
That's a beauty - congratulations!

spookelele
12-07-2015, 09:04 AM
Respectfully, while turning the truss rod will have the effect of changing the action, it is there solely to adjust neck relief for different string tension and personal taste.

What's the difference between relief and action from a practical stand point?
If you dont have a neck with a truss, you will get relief when you bring the strings to tension, and that affects the action.
If you have a neck with a truss, there's really not alot of relief induced between the strung and unstrung. I just restrung my pono yesterday, and in doing some experimentation with the medium linear 1.5's I wanted to see what just the bass strings sounded like. So, I unstrung them. and yet the trebles stayed in tune even having lost tension on the 2 heaviest strings. So.. I think the truss is more for humidity swell compensation normally.

Whether you bring the action down by lowering the bridge, or straightening the neck to counter the relief with the truss you're still changing the action.
With a truss, you have the option. Without the truss you don't and the the only way to lower is the nut and the saddle.

Now, you can say if use the truss you could alter intonation, and you'd be right.
But if you alter the saddle and nut height, you're also changing the intonation as well because when you lower the saddle, you shorten the string length.

Anyway, with the stock saddle, and a truss, you shouldn't have to grind the saddle to change the action height if you've got a truss rod.

cpmusic
12-07-2015, 11:04 AM
What's the difference between relief and action from a practical stand point?
If you dont have a neck with a truss, you will get relief when you bring the strings to tension, and that affects the action.

There are several factors that affect action, neck relief among them. But when there's an adjustable truss rod, the neck relief is dialed in independent of the action, because the rod's only direct effect is between the nut and the body (the effect on action is indirect). Once relief is set to an ideal position, it shouldn't be necessary to change it unless you switch to strings of a lower or higher tension.

So you can adjust action with the rod, but the result is not the same as adjusting at the saddle. Using the rod to compensate for a tall or short saddle can have an adverse effect on playability, tone, and/or intonation, regardless of the action. Sanding a saddle takes longer, but it's easy and cheap, requiring only a saddle, a flat surface, and a sheet of sandpaper.

spookelele
12-07-2015, 12:23 PM
But when there's an adjustable truss rod, the neck relief is dialed in independent of the action,

I don't understand this assertion, to the point where I disagree with it.
Why would you grind the saddle when the same effect can be had with a 1/4 turn of the truss?

It's not like pono sent out the uke with some mongoloid huge saddle that's so far out that using the truss is going to throw out intonation to the point of unplayability. I will asset that whoever ground down the original saddle, did it, because they didn't know there was a truss, or they didn't understand it.

Nickie
12-07-2015, 01:33 PM
Are the Pono ukes on the heavy side because the truss rod is metal? Or are they made of lighter carbon material?

johnson430
12-07-2015, 02:03 PM
Are the Pono ukes on the heavy side because the truss rod is metal? Or are they made of lighter carbon material?


I do not think they are heavy but if you are not used to a metal truss rod in the neck then you will feel a difference.

But we are talking about a uke so it isn't that heavy and it is well balanced and well made; it is not "neck heavy" by any means.

Do I like having a truss rod in my ukes?
Yes.

johnson430
12-07-2015, 02:04 PM
***SOUND SAMPLE ADDED:
D'addario J71 strings

https://soundcloud.com/jasonbjohnson/daddario-j71-stringspono-mtd-uke-sound-sample

cpmusic
12-07-2015, 02:46 PM
I don't understand this assertion, to the point where I disagree with it.
Why would you grind the saddle when the same effect can be had with a 1/4 turn of the truss?

I do that because I want the relief to be constant regardless of the action.

Here's what Frank Ford, master luthier at Gryphon Music, has to say (from the page at http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/TrussRods/TrussRodAdj/tradj.html, which is worth the time to read):


"The single most common misconception is that truss rods are for adjusting action or intonation. While adjusting the truss rod does affect the playing action, that's a side effect and not the purpose for the adjustment. As a general rule, once the nut and truss rod are set, all action adjustment is done at the bridge, by raising or lowering the saddle. Intonation is affected by action, too, so correcting the action may improve intonation, but again, that's a side effect."

Granted, Frank is talking about guitars, but the principle is the same.

spookelele
12-07-2015, 03:16 PM
Constant to what though?

The idea that there is a correct relief doesn't make sense since its different from one uke to the next. From one month to the next if the humidity changes significantly. It's not even constant across the neck because the neck is tapered.

johnson430
12-07-2015, 03:44 PM
Very, very nice!!!!

Thank you.. =)

johnson430
12-07-2015, 03:44 PM
That's a beauty - congratulations!

Thanks Surly_Mac. =)

johnson430
12-07-2015, 03:52 PM
I don't understand this assertion, to the point where I disagree with it.
Why would you grind the saddle when the same effect can be had with a 1/4 turn of the truss?

It's not like pono sent out the uke with some mongoloid huge saddle that's so far out that using the truss is going to throw out intonation to the point of unplayability. I will asset that whoever ground down the original saddle, did it, because they didn't know there was a truss, or they didn't understand it.

Spook.
This was taken to a professional luthier. The saddle was lowered because the previous owner wanted the action lowered.
The luthier was fully aware of the truss rod. From my understanding, a truss rod is used to adjust the relief of the neck if it starts to move one way or the other for whatever reason: age, humidity, string tension, et al.
But action is adjusted by lowering the saddle and sometimes the nut. Right?


BTW, I added a sound sample in post #1. Check it out. =)

cpmusic
12-07-2015, 05:34 PM
Constant to what though?

Constant to the builder's and/or the player's specification. That's the point of having a truss rod that is adjustable.


The idea that there is a correct relief doesn't make sense since its different from one uke to the next. From one month to the next if the humidity changes significantly. It's not even constant across the neck because the neck is tapered.

There will be some minor differences between the individual blocks of wood that make up the necks, and humidity will have an effect on the wood itself. But the truss rod negates those changes by holding the neck steady, and adjustable rods allow adjustments to compensate for any differences among those blocks of wood. If the necks are made properly (and Pono necks are, from what I've seen) you should be able to dial in the same amount of relief in all of them.

Ukulele Eddie
12-07-2015, 06:50 PM
The luthier was fully aware of the truss rod. From my understanding, a truss rod is used to adjust the relief of the neck if it starts to move one way or the other....
But action is adjusted by lowering the saddle and sometimes the nut. Right?


This is correct. The truss rod will only ever be used in quite rare circumstances. It's a nice to have, but in most cases would never, ever be used.