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View Full Version : Pono PTM-E (Solid Mango Tenor) Review



psesinkclee
08-25-2009, 03:52 AM
Features

Made on the island of Java and finished on Ohau. This uke has 14 frets to the body, extending to 19 over the top with pearl markers on 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15. Is has solid Mango wood top, sides, back and neck and bone nut and saddle. The tope has a simple rope rosette inlay. The fingerboard and tie-bar style bridge are made of ebony. It has Grover open-back tuners with chrome finish and small buttons. It also came with an included Ko'olau deluxe case that fits very well and is extremely sturdy.


Sound

It suits my music style very well since I normally play acoustically. With those Ko'olau gold strings it has a 'boom' when you strum hard that fills the room. When I do plug it in I play it through a Behringer Ultracoustic ACX450 and it sounds great without a preamp. It has a full rich mellow sound without losing volume.


Action, Fit & Finish

Factory set up was superb. The frets are smooth with no sharp edges. I see no excess glue on the inside of the body. The action is nice and low far up the neck and plays very easily. The front and back are nicely book-matched with an amazing looking grain. There are no problems with this ukulele straight out of the box. I was nervous with some things I've read about people's Pono ukuleles being poor quality, but this one is a gem.


Reliability/Durability

This will be my main gigging uke from now on. It feels really sturdy, and all the hardware is held on fuss and doesn't seem like it will fall off any time soon. I wish it came with a second strap button, but I've yet to see a production uke that has this feature.


Customer Support

The uke is under warranty for 5 years after its purchase and covers things that happen to the uke due to its construction. I sent an email to Pono's generic customer support email address asking why they have the same model with some being a tie-bar bridge and others using bridge pins. John Kitakis himself emailed me back after only a few hours explaining that they swapped over to the tie-bar bridge because people had trouble with the pins shooting out all over the place because of string tension.


Overall Rating
I've been playing for just over 2 years and have played guitar and piano for going on 12 years now. I own ukuleles from Kala, Ohana, Cordoba, Waverly Street Ukes, Flea, and Lankikai. If this uke were lost or stolen I would buy a new one of the same type in a heartbeat. One of its most striking features is the grain of the wood, and its cool to know that other ukes have completely different looks because of the grain of the mango wood; with hues of brown, yellow, and amber throughout. As someone living on the east coast, I had to order it online as there are no stores nearby that keep high quality ukuleles, so I purchased this on the sound bits I've heard online and the assurance of the seller (Mike of UkeRepublic.com).


Last but not least.... PICTURES!

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2525/3856142876_dc391f51b3.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3546/3856143100_569536698c.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3498/3856143330_f98d25154a.jpg

psesinkclee
08-25-2009, 03:53 AM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2523/3856143534_070ca3a657.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2668/3855354563_9bce425228.jpg

ukerazy
08-25-2009, 03:58 AM
B-E-A-utiful, I have one (PMT) and i love it! Enjoy it!

jdbuddha
08-25-2009, 05:42 AM
Thanks for the great review and the attached pics, I might have to get one myself now!

keithy351
08-27-2009, 10:31 PM
thanks heaps for the review, i have been searching for a while for a review on this uke as i love the mangos and the look is fantastic, thanks again, keep a look out, over the next few months i will be getting the exact same model :p

ichadwick
10-28-2009, 09:13 AM
I also have this uke and it's a beauty to behold. The mango wood is very nice eye candy.

I replaced the original saddle with a Tusq saddle to brighten the sound and replaced the strings with a set of Aquila high-G. That really made the sound stand out more.

Kanaka916
10-28-2009, 09:20 AM
How would you rate each of the categories on a scale of 1-10? Also what overall rating would you give the PTM-E?

haolejohn
10-28-2009, 11:26 AM
I also have this uke and it's a beauty to behold. The mango wood is very nice eye candy.

I replaced the original saddle with a Tusq saddle to brighten the sound and replaced the strings with a set of Aquila high-G. That really made the sound stand out more.

Do you like the aquilas more than the koolau golds?

GrumpyCoyote
10-28-2009, 11:27 AM
Great review...

I've had mine for over a year now and it's still my "workhorse" uke.

A couple of things though from my POV...
- For me, the pickup was tottaly unusable and unbalanced - so much so that I had to have it replaced (after seemingly endless tweaking on my part to try to get it to work properly).

- Fit and finish are fair, but some of the fret dressing and seating are below expectations for the price of this uke. Not "send it back" bad - but I had to have them worked on.

- Phantom buzz, not your average beast. Every now and again, from somewhere on the underside of the sound-board, the most elusive, yet annoying buzz known to man. It's random, rare, and not related to strings, nut, bridge, saddle, action, frets, tuners, or weather. I've had several pro's go over this thing with a fine-tooth comb and I have personally gone at it with dental mirrors and surgical quality cameras - can't find the little devil. It's only about once a week or so, and it makes me crazy. It nearly made my tech jump off a bridge - we still can't find the source. His quote was “get this #$%^@&* haunted azz uke out of here before I smash it…”

Overall, even though I use it daily, and love the look and tone - I would not make the purchase again.

ichadwick
10-30-2009, 10:01 AM
Do you like the aquilas more than the koolau golds?
Yes, I thought they added volume and brightness to the uke and, combined with the Tusq saddle, made this a regular player instead of a pretty case sculpture.

I tend to like them on most of my instruments, but not all.

jerickson
11-02-2009, 06:14 AM
Great review...

I've had mine for over a year now and it's still my "workhorse" uke.

A couple of things though from my POV...
- For me, the pickup was tottaly unusable and unbalanced - so much so that I had to have it replaced (after seemingly endless tweaking on my part to try to get it to work properly).

- Fit and finish are fair, but some of the fret dressing and seating are below expectations for the price of this uke. Not "send it back" bad - but I had to have them worked on.

- Phantom buzz, not your average beast. Every now and again, from somewhere on the underside of the sound-board, the most elusive, yet annoying buzz known to man. It's random, rare, and not related to strings, nut, bridge, saddle, action, frets, tuners, or weather. I've had several pro's go over this thing with a fine-tooth comb and I have personally gone at it with dental mirrors and surgical quality cameras - can't find the little devil. It's only about once a week or so, and it makes me crazy. It nearly made my tech jump off a bridge - we still can't find the source. His quote was “get this #$%^@&* haunted azz uke out of here before I smash it…”

Overall, even though I use it daily, and love the look and tone - I would not make the purchase again.

I have had the same "phantom buzz" on mine....I polished the saddle (it was really rough for some reason) and it seemed to help some. My frets are levelled and dressed fine, so its not that. Next string change, I'm going to just make a new saddle and nut...if thats not it, it'll have to be a loose brace under the soundboard. If that's it, I'll have a luthier friend with much smaller hands fix it.....The buzz is primarily on the C string for me...It is definitely frustrating for an otherwise awesome uke!

parker coleman
01-09-2010, 10:27 AM
I have a Pono PTS tenor, and I have to admit I am a little suprised at the lack of volume. Pono is a wonderful company and the workmanship is unsurpassable, but I am suprised at the lack of response... Anyone else having this issue?