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u80
08-18-2009, 07:00 PM
hey everyone! im thinking of upgrading to a better uke. at the moment ive got a standard size yamaha yu-4. its laminated and im wanting something better. i want a concert and ive been looking at hawaiian brands like kamaka and koaloha but they all seem mega uber doublebackflip expensive. then i saw the pono mango series. i dont mind paying $500 as long as its a good uke (and it comes with a case). any advice or opinions on mangos out there please?

Teek
08-18-2009, 08:52 PM
Ponos are great but they seem to run a little on the quieter side. My Kamaka concert makes far more volume than my Pono solid koa tenor. For $500., maybe $600., you can often get a used "K" brand uke (Kamaka, KoAloha, Kanilea, Ko'olau) in nice condition, sometimes even with a case. It's better if you can do a hands on comparison of course.

As far as Pono the sound is generally really nice and the fit and finish very good. I'd surf YouTube (I did for months) and try to get an idea of the quality sound that you want. For example, the Pono mango concert pineapple on MGM's (MusicGuyMic) (http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room__W0QQ_armrsZ1QQ_fsubZQ2d999) channel is lovely to my ears, it has a ton of sustain if you like that. You can look at videos he's made of the Pono mangos if you haven't already, and then ask him to play something over the phone for you. He can sometimes do that, and he delivers on service and price. Check out his listings on eBay for prices and sizes.

If you want something louder and brighter, there are deals to be found on used KoAlohas. Haunt Flea Market Music's for sale board, the for sale postings here, and Craigslist in your area.

Good luck!

ukerazy
08-18-2009, 09:48 PM
Hey there, i have a Pono Mango Tenor and i love it! It sounds beautiful, but as teek says it is very mellow, then again thats what i wanted so its perfect for me. The sustain does last forever and it sings. The quality of the instrument is excellent as is the hardcase! I got the Pono knowing that in the not too distant future i would get a Koa hawaiian K brand so i knew what to expect and what i wanted out of the Pono. In my opinion if its the look of Mango you want (It is my favorite tone wood) the sound is just as beautiful.

I hope this helps, i submitted a review in the reviews section on the main page and theres also a thread about my uke which you could find my performing a search. Also theres some pictures in my profile albums, feel free to take a look.

deach
08-19-2009, 01:00 AM
I'm sure there are nice ones out there but in my experience, to put it bluntly, Ponos suck. I've owned two and played 10 different ones. Out of the dozen I've encountered only 1 one of them, a mango pineapple concert, was really nice. The ones I've played have had so many issues - finish, buzzing, dead sounding. At that price, I'd either save up a little more and get a better brand uke or buy a less expensive Kala and use the rest of the money for a lot of beer. and speaking of Kala, I owned a tenor mango and it was awesome. It was nicer than the Pono I compared it to and at half the price.

If you really want a Pono, do yourself a favor and make sure you play THE instrument and compare it to others before you actually buy it. Like I said earlier, there are nice ones out there, I just haven't found many of them.

TinyJim
08-19-2009, 01:18 AM
I bought a Pono mango tenor and had a few issues with it...a few buzzes, a loose pick-up, a-string breaking for no reason (twice in two days). I called Ko'Olau, spoke directly to John Kitakis, and he offered to refund or repair at his expense. I sent the uke back and decided to swap it for a spruce-top tenor, because I was not overly thrilled with the mango sound - it was too mellow and almost muffled, but the instrument itself was visually stunning. I love the spruce top sound, better volume and brighter as well. You can't go wrong with more traditional woods, but it all boils down to your personal preference. As far as Pono is concerned, you can at least be confident that their customer service is excellent.

u80
08-19-2009, 02:15 AM
thanks everyone. il do some more hands on research. ive been thinking about the hawaiian Koaloha KCM-00, but dont think im ready to fork out $700

Gaby
08-19-2009, 02:45 AM
To save yourself a few dollars, if you can't afford the concert body, have a look at the sorano long-neck Koaloha. Soprano body with concert scale neck makes for a fantastic uke, great sustain and generally a bit cheaper.

LameLefty
08-19-2009, 02:57 AM
Love, love, love my mango Glyph mezzo-soprano! Dave Means is an artist . . . I waited 22 months for it, and it was worth every second of the wait. :)

http://www.glyphukulele.com/files/hs065.jpg

Mango seems to combine the ring and presence of koa with a lot of the richness you get in a good mahogany uke.

Lanark
08-19-2009, 03:21 AM
My personal experience with my Pono is similar to Deach's. I picked up a solid koa soprano with a pickup as they were discontinuing the line and while it's absolutely gorgeous to look at, it's pretty lifeless to play. It has absolutely no resonance to it. It's like a wooden lump with strings in my arms. It really is a bit of a disappointment considering the price.

I've got a couple of Koaloha concerts though. Those sing. $700 is certainly a large chunk of change to drop on an instrument in one fell swoop, but you'll likely keep and play that one for a long long time. If you're committed and you're going to stick with playing the uke over the long haul it would certainly be a good investment. It's not going to be an instrument you'll outgrow any time soon, if ever. (I'm trying, but they're still waaaaaay ahead of me...)

You'd probably end up shelling out that much buying two or three less satisfying instruments over time before ending up buying one anyway. Just cut to the chase.

I also got both of my concerts as pretty decent used bargains from Ebay, so it can be worthwhile to keep your eyes out there. And I believe that someone fairly recently had a thread about calling Koaloha to find out about what they might have in the showroom as blemished factory seconds and getting a solid deal on an instrument with a few slight cosmetic issues. There are options if that's what you really want...

(why do I feel like an enabler after typing that?...:p)

Ukeffect
08-19-2009, 05:40 AM
Love, love, love my mango Glyph mezzo-soprano! Dave Means is an artist . . . I waited 22 months for it, and it was worth every second of the wait. :)

http://www.glyphukulele.com/files/hs065.jpg

Mango seems to combine the ring and presence of koa with a lot of the richness you get in a good mahogany uke.

You are Eeeeeevil! Showing us this delicious, ultra curly, shiiiiny...beauutifulllllllll...*mussst nooot buyses new ukuuuulele* Whimmmper...droool! We hates them forevereses...preciouuuus!

Dilphat
08-19-2009, 06:37 AM
Love, love, love my mango Glyph mezzo-soprano! Dave Means is an artist . . . I waited 22 months for it, and it was worth every second of the wait. :)

http://www.glyphukulele.com/files/hs065.jpg

Mango seems to combine the ring and presence of koa with a lot of the richness you get in a good mahogany uke.

why must one tempt us so much. so beautiful...i wants. lol

NatalieS
08-19-2009, 07:35 AM
Love, love, love my mango Glyph mezzo-soprano! Dave Means is an artist . . . I waited 22 months for it, and it was worth every second of the wait. :)

http://www.glyphukulele.com/files/hs065.jpg

Mango seems to combine the ring and presence of koa with a lot of the richness you get in a good mahogany uke.

That is GORGEOUS!!!!!! :eek::shaka:

LameLefty
08-19-2009, 08:01 AM
Thanks for the compliments on "The Goddess" - Dave picked out some incredible wood for her. Here's a few more pics of what mango done right can look like . . .

http://www.angryherb.net/misc/Glyph/images/DSC_3185.jpg

http://www.angryherb.net/misc/Glyph/images/DSC_3189.jpg

And here's a pic of "The Goddess" endpiece inlay, all hand-cut by Dave with a jeweler's saw. It's also a pretty good shot of the curly koa binding.

http://www.angryherb.net/misc/Glyph/images/DSC_3194.jpg

haolejohn
08-19-2009, 09:29 AM
I just bought a pono tenor 8 string mango and so far I have only played it once and I pick it up in a week or so. I got a great deal from www.ukerepublic.com and I sounded sweet. It was the best sounding pono i have ever heard and I'm not a big fan of pono before (prefer the Mele brand). FYI pono is discontinuing their spalted mango line temporarily.

ed531
08-19-2009, 10:33 AM
I purchased a Pono Tenor last week. I was really hesitant on buying it because of two reasons... 1. All of the bad reviews on the web by Pono owners and 2. It was the first uke that I would purchase without trying it out beforehand (online purchase). But I made the jump anyway and decided to get it, I will admit that I wasn't excited about getting it, but more curious what I was going to end up with. In the end, I'm glad that I bought it.

Unfortunately, ukes aren't the types of instruments that you can see hanging at any neighborhood music store and try out. The music store in my neighborhood has TWO concert ukes.

Although I haven't bought anything from him, my suggestion is buy from MGM. He youtubes all the ukes he sells and sets them up before shipping it out to you.

Lori
08-19-2009, 10:55 AM
I really like my Kala Mango Tenor. It sounds very different from the spruce top soprano I have, and the zebrawood, and the laminated mahogany Kiwi. If you play that mango next to my other ukes, it has a mellow, almost underwater quality. Playing it in isolation, it feels a lot like my classical guitar.

You might wait and see the new Mainland Ukulele Mangos when they become available. They are supposed to arrive "any day now", and I am so confident in the Mainland Ukulele Reputation for quality and service, I have pre-ordered a Mango in Concert size. I would prefer to buy in person, but that isn't always possible. And with Mango wood, there is such a wide range of grain patterns!

–Lori

DoodlesMcDeezleLippy
08-19-2009, 03:14 PM
When I was lookin for a new uke I looked at the Kala Mango Tenor alot and it definitely is a soft and sweet tone where the sounds all kind of meld into a single soothing sound, this makes it really different from woods like a maple or spruce where it louder and the sounds are all very distinct of each other. Go to "taylor guitars" website if you want more info on different tonewoods, but in the end it all about hwat your lookin for

DeG
08-19-2009, 03:16 PM
I'm sure there are nice ones out there but in my experience, to put it bluntly, Ponos suck. I've owned two and played 10 different ones. Out of the dozen I've encountered only 1 one of them, a mango pineapple concert, was really nice. The ones I've played have had so many issues - finish, buzzing, dead sounding. At that price, I'd either save up a little more and get a better brand uke or buy a less expensive Kala and use the rest of the money for a lot of beer. and speaking of Kala, I owned a tenor mango and it was awesome. It was nicer than the Pono I compared it to and at half the price.

If you really want a Pono, do yourself a favor and make sure you play THE instrument and compare it to others before you actually buy it. Like I said earlier, there are nice ones out there, I just haven't found many of them.

Now I'm paranoid, "Did Deach play my uke??" I don't think so, but I'm not sure, I passed it around some at UWC, Crap! Curse you moonshine!! I want my memory back!! ;)

deach
08-19-2009, 03:36 PM
Now I'm paranoid, "Did Deach play my uke??" I don't think so, but I'm not sure, I passed it around some at UWC, Crap! Curse you moonshine!! I want my memory back!! ;)

LOL Actually I did play yours, however, I didn't include it when I said I played a dozen or so Ponos. We were outside, it was dark, there was a lot of noise and the PBR was flowing so I really wasn't able to hear it or see it.

DeG
08-19-2009, 03:43 PM
Whew! What a relief! Actually, mine's a Ko'olau and I just put a Pono inlay on the headstock for when the tax collector comes around...

deach
08-19-2009, 03:46 PM
Whew! What a relief! Actually, mine's a Ko'olau and I just put a Pono inlay on the headstock for when the tax collector comes around...

tax collector = wife?

DeG
08-19-2009, 03:53 PM
What ? No? Why would you say such thing? She is wonderful, she will let me spend as much money on ukes as I want, she is... looking over my shoulder right now
The greatest!

:D

deach
08-19-2009, 03:56 PM
Great idea though.

***prints out "Mahalo" headstock stickers.

NatalieS
08-19-2009, 04:52 PM
I love the look of mango and would like to get a Pono mango pineapple sometime in the future. I have a baritone right now, which I bought used on ebay. It is beautiful but I've had quite a few issues with it. The D string has snapped twice due to a rough notch at the nut, and all four strings buzz frequently so I have to adjust the truss rod ALL the time. Still, when it's "on" it sounds great. It's just more of a high maintenance instrument than I thought it would be.

GrumpyCoyote
08-19-2009, 05:12 PM
Pono Mango owner here...

I'm with Deach. Although I do like the sound of mine, it has been a struggle to get it where I want it.

Check out most of my later vids (in my sig) for sound samples and low G tuning.

It's pretty, and I do love mine now, but I will not buy another Pono.

That said, the mango is a surprisingly good tone wood - my issues are with Pono construction, not the wood.

HoosierHiver is waiting for some Mango prototypes for his Mainland line... I'm looking forward to hearing those. Hard to go wrong with Mainland (yes, I'm biased... Hoosier is da bomb). Maybe he can shed some light on those for us.

For the record... my next uke is very likely a koaloha unless I just bite the bullet and get a custom.

deach
08-20-2009, 01:41 AM
....

For the record... my next uke is very likely a koaloha unless I just bite the bullet and get a custom.

Custom Koaloha!!!

ukuleG
08-20-2009, 04:05 AM
i am gonna buy a mango uke next week if my ebay sales rake in a bit more cash :). (dunno what brand yet as i don't know how much i will end up with :p), probs end up with a kala.

rossjr
08-20-2009, 07:31 AM
I have a Tangi Tenor Mango and I love the appearance and sound....

sukie
08-20-2009, 07:50 AM
Just to stick my nose in -- Call MGM and tell him what you want. Last year I ended up with a KoAloha concert for $600. I guess tenors are more, but it sure is a sweet ukulele. Listen to the UUers. They are here to help. They sure are not endorsing Ponos.

haolejohn
08-20-2009, 02:43 PM
The funny thing about Pono (I just got my first one after being anti pono before) is last year at this time there was a big push for pono here at UU. The Ohai wood has gotten some bad press and the mangos I know they are not making anymore because of cost. I just hope that my 8 string doesn't flame out on me. My initial session with it was pleasing but that could have been because it was new.

Be advised that the Kala mango is a great instrument but it is a laminate. I owned one of them as well but sold it when I got my last tenor.