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Rakelele
11-12-2017, 01:05 AM
Pono has shown a prototype of this new Master Series a while back, but now they're here and they are cooler than ever, I think:


https://vimeo.com/242284961
https://vimeo.com/theukulelesite/videos/search:-ms/sort:alphabetical/format:thumbnail

My wife and I couldn't resist, so we just went ahead and ordered one. I will report back with a brief review when it gets here.

Rakelele
11-12-2017, 02:59 AM
Anxiously awaiting a response from HMS if these will be available in the smaller scale...

Ha, I pretty much asked them the opposite question: wether they will incorporate these features on their bigger sizes. The answer was a definite maybe. ;)

DownUpDave
11-12-2017, 04:16 AM
Ha, I pretty much asked them the opposite question: wether they will incorporate these features on their bigger sizes. The answer was a definite maybe. ;)

Way to go Rainer, another first. They are very well thought out instruments and no doubt you will be very happy with your new addition.

Ukulele Eddie
11-12-2017, 05:13 AM
I owned four Pono's Pro Classics in the past and never really bonded with them. I always felt they did better with players with a stronger attack. In any event, I am impressed with how Pono keeps getting better and better no doubt thanks to Noa Bonk's input. They've improved the tone quality a lot to my ears over the last two years. These new Masters series sound very good.

I don't care for their neck profile as I find it too chunky for my liking, but I know many people like beefier necks. I haven't heard if they've modified the neck or not, so will be curious to your thoughts when you get yours.

Which one did you get? Again, congrats and look forward to hearing more!

Rakelele
11-13-2017, 12:09 AM
Eddie, perhaps you get to play some of the new models when you visit Hawaii. Would be interesting to hear your feedback on how they have improved from the ones you played earlier.

My wife and I have owned about eight Pono ukes, and we liked them better than the K brands and almost as much as our Moore Bettah. With their radius fretboard, and now a side sound port and a bevelled armrest, they several features we really appreciate, but that are hard to find and usually cost three or four times as much.

We got Cedar/Mahogany, because we liked the both the sound and looks best.

DownUpDave
11-13-2017, 12:21 AM
Eddie, perhaps you get to play some of the new models when you visit Hawaii. Would be interesting to hear your feedback on how they have improved from the ones you played earlier.

My wife and I have owned about eight Pono ukes, and we liked them better than the K brands and almost as much as our Moore Bettah. With their radius fretboard, and now a side sound port and a bevelled armrest, they several features we really appreciate, but that are hard to find and usually cost three or four times as much.

We got Cedar/Mahogany, because we liked the both the sound and looks best.

The cedar/mahogany was my hands down favorite as well. I would buy one except for the slotted headstock. The taper is too short and abrupt and I jam my hand into it when forming chords like E7. It is an issue that I have with my fretting hand fingers being curled up like a semi claw, not so much the instruments fault.

Lapyang
11-13-2017, 01:07 AM
Looking forward to your review. Absolutely love the videos of these. Radius fretboard, side soundport, bevel and slothead - I couldn't wish for more.

I have been searching for a long time for cedar concert. I am so fortunate to have ukes that I absolutely love - each different and unique, but I think a cedar top would provide that middle ground between mahogany and spruce. Anxiously awaiting a response from HMS if these will be available in the smaller scale......

I too, am waiting for the Concert size. I have a Pono PC with cedar and rosewood. It is absolutely fantastic. The sweet middle ground between mahogany and spruce.

Doc_J
11-13-2017, 01:42 AM
Interesting!

It’s great to see a brand continuing to refine their product. Their new “P” inlay logo looks very similar to Jerry Hoffmann’s Boat Paddle inlay logo. But Jerry is no longer making ukes under that logo.

The new Pono pricing is close to many custom builds. So I think one would have to consider similar priced custom builds as competition. These imports are in the same price ranges as Ono and Myamoe, to name two. Can’t wait to hear some reviews from new owners of these new Pono ukes.

Telperion
11-13-2017, 11:25 AM
Very intrigued by these and sorely tempted, but price is my reservation too. I've owned several Pro Classics in the past and thought they were very good for the money ($600 to $900 range). These new ones include some nice features like the satin finish on the neck (a la Ko'olau), arm bevel, and side port. They look a bit cleaner and have some high quality tops too. Price might be warranted. Looking forward to reviews, especially relative to Pro Classics.

-Steve

mds725
11-13-2017, 11:41 AM
Congratulations on the new ukulele. I'm looking forward to reading your impressions of it after you've had a chance to play it. I think it's a nice touch that Pono is using a more elegant logo (a stylized "P") on the headstocks of these Master Series ukes.

I didn't care for the neck thickness of a Pono baritone I bought some years ago, but early this year I bought one of those Pono octave mandolins (which, with steel strings and DGBE tuning, is essentially an 8-string tenor guitar) and I love how it feels, plays and sounds. Pono is definitely doing some really cool things.

Jim Hanks
11-13-2017, 01:37 PM
The new Pono pricing is close to many custom builds. So I think one would have to consider similar priced custom builds as competition. These imports are in the same price ranges as Ono and Myamoe, to name two.
Seems like they're pricing themselves out of their niche. $1200-1500 puts you in reach of many "k brand" models as well. Choosing between Pono and Ono for equal money, I'm pretty sure which one I'd pick every time.

sam13
11-14-2017, 01:32 PM
Seems like they're pricing themselves out of their niche. $1200-1500 puts you in reach of many "k brand" models as well. Choosing between Pono and Ono for equal money, I'm pretty sure which one I'd pick every time.

I have a Pono Pro Classic and if I didn't have a VERY GOOD one, I would have jumped on this as well. Congrats Rainer, I liked that one the best.

I guess we would differ ... as per your comment Jim.

I am a fan of Pono.

Rakelele
11-19-2017, 04:15 AM
I think the prices are still very good if you consider all the upgrades: soundboard selected by one of the top ukulele luthiers of the world, slotted headstock, radius fretboard, adjustable truss rod, reinforced side sound port, beveled armrest, high gloss finish in combination with a satin neck... There aren't many makers who offer all of these features, and those who do will easily cost three or four times as much, with each upgrade adding to the cost. To me, this makes for a very attractive value.

zcregle1
11-19-2017, 06:19 AM
I saw these come up on The Ukuele Site while I was at work and couldn't plug my headphones in fast enough to see which one I wanted to purchase. There were two listed that were one off customs that sounded incredible but just couldn't afford the extra couple hundred dollars over the "standard" limited run. So it was betweenthe acacia back and the mahogany back and went with the mahogany. I liked the tone more. A little more forward and punchy to my ears. Hopefully be receiving it within two weeks. The anticipation and excitment is at very high levels.

sam13
11-19-2017, 06:57 AM
I think the prices are still very good if you consider all the upgrades: soundboard selected by one of the top ukulele luthiers of the world, slotted headstock, radius fretboard, adjustable truss rod, reinforded side sound port, beveled armrest, high gloss finish in combination with a satin neck... There aren't many makers who offer all of these features, and those who do will easily cost three or four times as much, with each upgrade adding to the cost. To me, this makes for a very attractive value.

I agree with you Rainer. Great Ukes. More features. Years of enjoyment.

Rakelele
12-04-2017, 04:07 AM
Anyone received theirs yet? What are your thoughts?

After a painfully long wait in setup, mine was scheduled for delivery today, but now it's being held back at a remote DHL location for no obvious reason. I'll do a quick review when it finally gets here.

zcregle1
12-04-2017, 02:34 PM
I received mine a couple days ago (went with the expedited setup option) and I am incredibly pleased. It is my first tenor so nothing to compare it to but I am incredibly happy with it. The arm bevel makes it incredibly comfortable to play. The neck is a nice shape and feel. The satin makes moving up and down the neck effortless and the slightly deeper neck shape (at least feels deeper) fills the hand nicely but is not cumbersome. Still easy to fret chords, even the big stretch chords. Tone wise (for the cedar mahogany) is very sweet. Not very loud but a very nice warm well balanced tone. I currently have Mahalo all plain strings on it so that might be contributing to the softer sound. Chords and single note runs are both very clear with excellent note definition. The only expection is when playing an open C string and a note above the 10th fret on the A string. The C string will overpower it a bit. But that could just be my instrument on my playing style so not necessarily something everyone will notice. Fit and finish and very nice. Frets are dressed beautifully. No sharp ends. Nice shine to them. Gloss finish on the body is flawless. Overall an absolutely stunning uke and I could not be happier with the purchase. Definitely worth the investment. This is the most I’ve spent on a uke but I feel for what you get on this uke feature and tone wise it is definitely worth the price.

Ukulele Eddie
12-05-2017, 03:46 AM
For anyone considering getting one of these, or any other Pono, before year-end, The Ukulele Site is making a $40 donation to The Ukulele Kids Club for every Pono sale through year-end (this began in late Nov). That puts a uke into the hand of a child benefiting from music therapy to help battle a serious medical condition. As of last week, about 50 Pono were sold during this special incentive.

Rakelele
12-09-2017, 04:30 AM
Thanks for your detailed review zcregle, sounds like you're happy with your purchase.

Our Pono MTSH-C-MS has arrived a couple of days ago and we are really impressed by it. Holding it up against our customs, we think that the craftsmanship is right up there. All details such as the finish, binding and purfling lines are executed just as clean or even cleaner than on ukes that cost three or four times as much.

Most noticeable features, of course, are the beveled armrest and a side sound port. Along with the radius fretboard and smooth binding to cover the fret ends, these things really work for the player's comfort. Adding to this is the satin finished neck which many consider to be less sticky and therefore faster for sliding up and down. The neck might also be a tad thinner than on their previous models, but I'm not sure.

We really like the new visual concept that Pono has come up with. Because of new restrictions, they omitted all Abalone and Pearl and replaced it with a simplified logo, a wooden rosette, and no fretboard markers. This makes for an understated, but classy looking two-tone theme of Caramel and Chocolate, just the natural beauty of the woods shown off by a spectacular gloss finish on the body and the faceplate.

The only thing I would criticize are the strings - and that's certainly an easy fix. Still, I think the factory strings are not doing their instruments a favor. They sounded tinny and scratchy, so we quickly replaced them with Oasis Warm and a Thomastik-Infeld low G which provide a much fuller sound. Not quite as deep and rich as a custom Ko'olau, but you can definitely hear a resemblance.

All in all, I think the Master Series offers a great value with many features that can only be found in much more expensive instruments. With its arm bevel, side sound port, radius fretboard and a fast satin neck, it is extremely comfortable to play while at the same time just beautiful to look at. Now I just hope they will extend this new line to other models as well, especially their bigger sizes...

105197105198

SoloRule
12-09-2017, 07:05 AM
Look forward to playing it when I see you in Zurich ! Hopefully your custom Kiku is finished by then?

DownUpDave
12-09-2017, 07:25 AM
Look forward to playing it when I see you in Zurich ! Hopefully your custom Kiku is finished by then?

You better travel there with something nice to show Rainer as well:p

Congratulations on being smart enough to quickly buy this very uke that was in the video. I appreicate your respect for Pono and giving us such a good, thorough and concise review. It is beautiful indeed. Enjoy it................when and if the "boss" lets you play it.

Rakelele
12-09-2017, 09:53 PM
Look forward to playing it when I see you in Zurich ! Hopefully your custom Kiku is finished by then?

Brenda, not sure when my custom Kiku will be finished, I'm hoping sometime in spring. Will you bring yours along? Looking forward to our meeting, and to whatever instrument you'll bring along. :music:

Rakelele
12-09-2017, 10:10 PM
Congratulations on being smart enough to quickly buy this very uke that was in the video. I appreicate your respect for Pono and giving us such a good, thorough and concise review. It is beautiful indeed. Enjoy it................when and if the "boss" lets you play it.

Thanks, Dave. I'm a lucky fellow in that the "boss" provided the funds but lets me do most of the "work" of breaking it in, finding proper strings etc. :D

Ukulele Eddie
12-10-2017, 04:46 AM
Congrats again to @zcregle1 and @Rakelele on the Pono Masters!

j.roth
01-02-2018, 05:37 PM
I have the mahogany spruce tenor in this series. It is excellent in all aspects of sound, build, and playability. The only thing I do care for is changing strings on a slot head, but that is a me issue.

Theblackegg
01-02-2018, 06:04 PM
Anyone know if they’ll be releasing a Baritone scale version? And just how limited are they? They tick all my boxes. Glad to see companies moving away from Abalone.

j.roth
01-03-2018, 02:43 AM
They made 16 of each of the two models.

Rakelele
01-03-2018, 03:18 AM
Anyone know if they’ll be releasing a Baritone scale version? And just how limited are they? They tick all my boxes. Glad to see companies moving away from Abalone.

What they told me is that they are considering making the UL4N model with the Master Series upgrades. With a scale of 21.4", this model is only slightly bigger than a regular baritone. Perfect size for me, I will get one for sure.

Rakelele
01-03-2018, 03:22 AM
I have the mahogany spruce tenor in this series. It is excellent in all aspects of sound, build, and playability.

Congratulations, would love to see some pictures of yours. Is it Torrefied Spruce?

j.roth
01-03-2018, 03:11 PM
I am not sure if it is or not. The wood looks a little darker than my other spruce top. I heard the guy in the video from the Ukulele Site say something about that, but I think he was talking about future models.