View Full Version : First post and first buying dilemma - which Pono

01-26-2016, 04:26 PM
Please tolerate a first post and question about which Pono to buy. I'm a long time guitar player that's been bitten by the Uke bug after buying some cheap ones for my granddaughters this past Christmas. From my guitar background I feel adj. truss rod & radioused fret board might be an advantage so I settled on the Pono Pro Classic line in Tenor size. I've narrowed search to three models ATD-CR (cedar over acacia), RT-PC (cedar over rosewood), and MT-PC (cedar over mahogany). I'd welcome thoughts from anyone with personal experiance on these models. Also, if I wanted a "warmer" sound, should I go with Cedar or Spruce top as the models listed all come with spruce tops as well? Thanks

01-26-2016, 05:15 PM
My opinion- Cedar top and either mahogany or rosewood back and sides.

Jim Hanks
01-26-2016, 05:52 PM
I'd vote for cedar over mahogany for a warmer sound, but I'm betting the difference would be be fairly subtle between these three. Try going through some of the HMS sound sample videos and see what you think. Better yet, call HMS and see what they think, maybe ask them to pick out a "warm" one for you.

Bob Bledsoe
01-26-2016, 07:32 PM
Cedar for the warmer tone. I have a cedar over acacia tenor Pono and i love it. The cedar top vs spruce will probably make more difference in sound than your back and sides choice. I'd go by looks on your back and sides choice unless you have a chance to play them side by side. I'm sure someone with a better ear than mine will disagree with me though ;-)

01-26-2016, 08:37 PM
Personally, I'd go for Cedar with Rosewood (or even Ebony). Pono's Cedar tops are legendary for their warmth, and a dense, contrasting hardwood will add even more to it. I have their Ebony/Cedar Tenor and did get to try their Rosewood/Cedar Baritone; both are among my favorites, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one like that in a heartbeat.

01-26-2016, 10:47 PM
Rakelele above said it all. The warmth of a cedar top is really aided by a hardwood back like Rosewood. I have a Pono Pro Classic tenor in cedar and ebony so do two friends that I play with and they are fantastic instruments.

01-27-2016, 01:59 AM
It sure makes me feel good to read the love for the cedar/Macassar ponos - as I await the arrival of mine!

Good luck with your search. For me, the HMS videos, listening through good headphones, made it clear that the cedar top added the warmth I am seeking, and that the ebony b/s gave a clarity that other combos don't match.

That said, they all sounded very nice, and I'm sure I'd be pleased w any combo. Hope you find what you're looking for soon!

01-27-2016, 04:12 AM
I would also suggest that you talk to HMS as they can provide more information on the specific ukulele you are going to buy. Since you are coming from a guitar you probably have some experience with the different types of wood. I don't own a Pono, but I have found that for a ukulele, cedar is warmer than spruce but you also need a to be aware of how hard you attack the strings. I think cedar requires a little more more touch than spruce. Talk to HMS.


01-27-2016, 05:26 AM
I am a Pono Fan ... superb instruments and when I started playing Ukulele, I wanted the very best mid level instrument I could afford and IMHO it was a Pono, and definitely Pro Classic.

I have owned a Cedar top with Rosewood back and sides ... and found the sound was a little warm and didn't have the same level of sustain and harmonic colouring that I wanted.

Today, I own a Cedar top with Macassar Ebony B & Sides (ETSH% ... the one Kimo Hussey is playing in the HMS video) and really enjoy it either Low or High G. I find it warm with sustain and delicious overtones ... the top provides the colour and the B & Sides provide the sustain and in that also the harmonic colour. I use the Oasis Bright ... either High or L G.

But I also own 2 Spruce tops ... a RTSH and RTC both with Rosewood Back & Sides. I liked the tone so much on the first one that I bought a second ... one High G and one Low G. I use Oasis Warm strings with them.

I had all installed with pick ups.

What I have found is that your choice of string can colour the tone of a Uke. You will have a tone you are looking to achieve, and strings can make that happen.

With your guitar background, I am thinking you would like Cedar or Spruce with the right string and a pick up option.

01-27-2016, 03:01 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate your experiance and guidance. Spoke with HMS today and will most likely have one headed to TX shortly. However, I did locate a Koa Collings I need to play before I commit. It's more $ than I initially wanted to spend but bird in hand........... If any of you have any experiance with Collings, let me know what you think.

01-27-2016, 03:39 PM
Collings are awesome and made in Texas! And koa is my favorite...if you like it, it's a step (or two) above Pono.

Not to offend anyone, there's lots of Pono lovers around here (I have one myself)...