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View Full Version : Ohai pono: The verdict



vahn
06-25-2009, 07:31 AM
So for fathers day my children and their mother gave me "$200 towards a musical instrument", knowing my Love for music but not knowing specifically what to get me. So, since my birthday is coming up I thought I could apply my money those funds and potential birthday money for another low-mid range uke, with my hopes high about those Acacia Kalas.

After my quad-weekly inspection of da MusicGuyMic's ebay store (http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room__W0QQ_armrsZ1) I got seriously interested in the Ohai A/E Tenor Ponos. They sounded truly beatiful in his youtube vid.

Previously I had (briefly) purchased a PKT1-CE Pono Koa Tenor Cutaway Electric. Unfortunately, I had to return it and wasnt able to get another because they were discontinued (I ended up getting instead my 1/4 size classical guitar [guitalale] and solidbody concert electric uke) My time with the Uke does give me a good model to compare the Ohai to.

First off: It sounds great. Solid Ohai w/ a satin finish. Excellent build quality (the issue I had w/ the koa) Frets are well dressed.

The tone is exceedingly similar to the Koas (much more similar to koa than mahogany, spruce or cedar), if just a bit thinner. I do have the stock strings on the Ohai vs Aquilas on the Koa, i dont know how big of a factor that is. Looks wise its pretty much identical looking to koa, gorgeous wood.

One thing I dislike about the Ohai vs the Koa, the top and back are split (I could tell this by the pics, so I knew that going in) they are bookmatched (terminology?) perfectly so that you almost can't tell but I'm unsure how that impacts the tone and if it is part of the reason why it sounds just a bit thinner than the koa.

The pickup is identical in either, no preamp. Initially with the koa i disliked this (my lanakai has a preamp and I am constantly tone adjusting) but that was in part because I liked to occasionally use effects. Now, If I'm going to use guitar pedals/effects on Uke there is no way I wouldnt use my solidbody, so for just the acoustic stuff the Ohai is just fine with the passive pickup. In fact I'm able to get a plunkiness on the Ohai that no fiddling with the tonenob on my (sporadicly functional) lanikai preamp can seem to match.

It came with a really really awesome Pono gigbag, vs the Ko'olau hardshell case with the Koa, but what do you expect at the pricepoints?

I paid $575 + shipping for the Koa so over $600 but I did get that righteous ko'oalau case.

I paid $311 for the Ohai shipped to my door.

I would highly highly reccommend this uke for anyone thats looking at higher end lanikais or kalas, this is pretty much the perfect mid-range uke for anyone on a budget.

Also, this is my first time doing business with MusicGuyMic, and I was simply shocked at how fast it got here. Maybe because it's not a heavy shipping period but I paid for it I think Monday evening, and it arrived Thursday Morning, From Hawaii to Wisconsin.

The only downside is that this uke is so good, I really don't need anymore ukes untill im ready to move up to the 700+ range... Which surprisingly, is fine, as my UAS is completely and utterly satisfied right now (blasphemy)

With Ukes the saying has been proven true many times that you get what you pay for, but for once in this case it isn't true, in the absolutely best possible way.

bt93
06-25-2009, 07:43 AM
any videos?

Spooner
06-25-2009, 07:45 AM
Nice review! Thank you for it!

MGM is a fast shipper no matter what time of year. He is awesome to do business with!!!

Bookmatching is pretty much the norm with ukes. Custom builders do it and it seems like more and more of the production companies are switching their practices to be more like a custom build...doing away with laminates, adding in "customization" options, etc.

As for effects and preamps...I prefer to leave my uke as is. The purity of the ukulele sound is one I have come to love and I do not like altering it with gizmos. That's just me.

Conga rats on your new uke! Enjoy it!!! :shaka:

Boozelele
06-25-2009, 10:32 AM
Argh! I was seriously thinking about getting one of these, even though I can't really justify buying another uke. It would have been much easier if you said "they suck, don't buy one". I'm afraid there is no way out now.....:mad:

Gcow55
06-25-2009, 01:01 PM
Nice review. I would love to see a video to get a closer look at it and hear how it sounds.

What are you using to amplify it? Is the pickup balanced?

vahn
06-25-2009, 02:35 PM
Nice review. I would love to see a video to get a closer look at it and hear how it sounds.

What are you using to amplify it? Is the pickup balanced?

Here is MusicGuyMics sample vid of the model (but not my specific uke)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjtz6nZKD8A

Mine sounds just as good.

As for amplification I'm not using an acoustic amp or anything, just my little Fender frontman guitar amp that came with my Squier Stratocaster starter set. Amplified, It sounds gigworthy, though for recording I would definately use a room mike to capture the sweetness of it.

The pickup is, for the most part, well balanced. Maybe a bit hot; if it had a preamp I would turn the tone down a touch to give it more of a guitar sound. But to be honest, I feel it gives it the ukulele its trademark "plunkiness" so I like it.

cocohonk
06-25-2009, 05:18 PM
Great review! Glad to hear you're enjoying your new uke. Are you using the original gold strings?

I love my pono ohai (though, concert) too, and surprisingly, I quite like the original strings that came with it.

UkeNinja
06-25-2009, 05:44 PM
The only downside is that this uke is so good, I really don't need anymore ukes untill im ready to move up to the 700+ range...
Without realizing it, you are saying one of the most sensible things I have read in the last weeks here. Unfortunately, and this is not in any way accountable to you, computer keyboards tend to go into "blind mode" when you visit UU due to a small script on the website, and those with ukulele fever will not be able to benefit from your wise words because the text will not be visible to them.

How was I able to read it you say? Well, I was on the wife's computer so I caught your true intention there.

It is nice to read that you have found a good match in your Pono, now don't worry about scratches but enjoy it to its fullest potential :music:

vahn
06-25-2009, 06:14 PM
Great review! Glad to hear you're enjoying your new uke. Are you using the original gold strings?

I love my pono ohai (though, concert) too, and surprisingly, I quite like the original strings that came with it.

I wanted to check it out with aquilas (i had my koa pono strung w/aquilas and loved it) so at the moment I have the original G and C wound Golds, with Aquila E and A. I think I am going to switch out the C for an unwound aquila but I prefer the Wound Gold low G over the wound Aquila.

Boozelele
06-26-2009, 12:16 PM
I'm afraid once the seed was planted it was out of my hands....and since I have absolutely NO self control, I had to buy one too. It ships today. :p

vahn
06-26-2009, 02:10 PM
I'm afraid once the seed was planted it was out of my hands....and since I have absolutely NO self control, I had to buy one too. It ships today. :p

HA awesome congratulations! If anyone else is curious as to the sound with aquilas it definately gives it a sweeter tone, though I will admit the golds sound excellent giving it a richer deeper tone also so really its really a matter of preference and at the moment I am enjoying the aquilas (though I prefer the wound low G gold and kept in on with the 3 unwound aquilas)

cocohonk
06-26-2009, 06:53 PM
I wanted to check it out with aquilas (i had my koa pono strung w/aquilas and loved it) so at the moment I have the original G and C wound Golds, with Aquila E and A. I think I am going to switch out the C for an unwound aquila but I prefer the Wound Gold low G over the wound Aquila.

Neat. I've got an extra pack of Aguilas (I have a concert, so no wound strings), so I will definitely try those out after I'm done enjoying the golds.