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GreyPoupon
02-11-2010, 05:41 AM
I've now had the chance to play two mango ukes and I have to say I am at a lost why anyone would choose it for making an uke.

They just sound so muted and stuck.

Mahagony sounds wonderfully deep and full - koa has that awesome bark - spruce a clear sounding tone - but the mango is leaving me cold.

Anyone care to point out what charms of mango I am failing to appreciate?

(Besides the fact that it does look totally awesome...)

MGM
02-11-2010, 05:45 AM
You falied to mention the maker of the mango ukes you tried i Have heard great ones and some real duds depending on build and bracing....One of the best i have heard have been kanileas or Mya-,oes....Some of the worst Lanikais overbraced and over finished

ukecantdothat
02-11-2010, 05:51 AM
I have yet to play one myself. The looks are a big part, I suspect, particularly the spalted variety. The only time I've seen spalted mango was in art school many years ago, where it was favored for hand crafted bowls and plates, etc. The patterns produced by the fungus in the wood can be very dramatic, indeed. I would love to play one to hear what you are talking about, but around here they are hard to come by. I look forward to some expert opinions on this topic.

csibona
02-11-2010, 05:56 AM
I tried two different Mya-Moe ukuleles at the Denver Ukefest - the mango and the koa. The mango was part of their tradition series and the koa their classic series - so they are different models and different price points. But I found the mango to be muted compared to the koa. Again, not a fair comparison head-to-head. And, I have to add the caveats that I just started to play the ukulele in January, I have no ear, I was testing the ukuleles out in a noisy environment. It could just be that I liked the koa over the mango because I could hear it...

EDW
02-11-2010, 06:12 AM
I have played some great Mangos., including one by Dave Means. The Mya-Moes in these clips sound pretty nice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d_f_C7FsIM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ37dzgLYHY&feature=fvw

I am sure that a lot depends on who builds them and taste

portlandjosh
02-11-2010, 06:32 AM
I have a Kala mango concert, and really enjoy it. Having said that, I upgraded from a ridiculously cheap soprano, so it wouldn't be hard to impress me! It is lovely. Kala doesn't do the spalted version of the mango, which isn't as wild looking as the Lanikai spalted but I still think it's got a great look.

Russell T
02-11-2010, 06:45 AM
I got a Mainland Soprano Mango for Christmas. From the first strum on it's been night an day compared to my older uke. It has a awesome solid punch but doesn't have that usual "plastic" sound most ukuleles I pick up have. I plan on buying a tenor mango soon.

dkcrown
02-11-2010, 07:08 AM
I have a Pono mango concert pineapple that is stunning in appearance, spalted and curly, but definately muted. I have just installed a Misi pickup so I can amplify it

csibona
02-11-2010, 07:17 AM
Right, I just want to be clear that some people may like the intonation of mango and others may like other woods. It's not to say that mango sounds "bad" but that, in my humble opinion, it sounds muted in comparison to koa in my not so head-to-head comparison.

GreyPoupon
02-11-2010, 07:57 AM
Yes - Mango looks awesome. No doubt. And some of the spalted mango is just stunning.

But is there any one here who has tried high end mahogany and/or high end koa and has said "Wow! I just prefer the sound of mango!" ?

I know there are mahogany and koa devotees - but was curious if someone could argue for the special charm of mango.

The mango ukes I tried were from very high end makers who I will not name here. I've now tried 10 or so ukuleles for extended periods, and the mangos both were considerably just duller next to the others.

Also, note that the mangos playing in the videos in this thread are being amplified, which is a big game changer.

Am I on to something here? Or did I just stumble across two duds?

GrumpyCoyote
02-11-2010, 07:57 AM
I'm not sure I would use the term "muted" personally, that implies volume and projection. My Pono mango is a warmer tone, but projection is just fine. Mango is not a "bright" tonewood in my opinion. Even my mahogany uke is brighter...

Not much "bark" - mello and warm with a big bottom-end (kind of like my first girl-friend). Not to imply quiet - it's loud as hell (so was she... but I digress...).

I will say that mango in my experience is less stable - and more prone to warping and splitting. That could just be a Pono quality issue, but I suspect it has as much to do with the wood itself...

haolejohn
02-11-2010, 08:20 AM
I'm not sure I would use the term "muted" personally, that implies volume and projection. My Pono mango is a warmer tone, but projection is just fine. Mango is not a "bright" tonewood in my opinion. Even my mahogany uke is brighter...

Not much "bark" - mello and warm with a big bottom-end (kind of like my first girl-friend). Not to imply quiet - it's loud as hell (so was she... but I digress...).

I will say that mango in my experience is less stable - and more prone to warping and splitting. That could just be a Pono quality issue, but I suspect it has as much to do with the wood itself...

I like these comparisons.
I have owned two mangos. A pono eight string and a kala 4 string. Both were tenors. I have a video using the pono on my YT page. I sold the kala and traded the pono. I thought that my pono was a little more quiet than my mahaghany and koa ukes and it did sound good. It was also just starting to open up. I didn't really give it a chance to open up.

King FarUke
02-11-2010, 08:20 AM
I have a solid spalted mango concert Lanikai with a passive pickup. It does not project loud at all and has a very flat, sound. It sounds a little better amplified. It is extremely attractive and solidly built (heavy) with a high gloss finish. It apparently came with Aquila strings but it is difficult to tell for sure. It is possible the strings may be affecting the sound since I have not changed out the strings since it was purchased and I am not sure how long the strings were on the uke before purchase. Due to the flat sound I have not played it often enough to justify changing the strings. When I get motivated I will change the strings to see if there is a sound difference. I am keeping it just for the looks!

Uke Republic
02-11-2010, 08:21 AM
We have had Mainland's mango series come through the doors and they have sounded great with no muting going on. Pono's tenors have plenty of depth and tone of the all the one's we had . I really like mango but I'm sure each maker, species of mango wood, strings and time to open up will change how that tone is persieved. Kala is a laminate but they sound rite on too.

casarole45
02-11-2010, 08:40 AM
I've now had the chance to play two mango ukes and I have to say I am at a lost why anyone would choose it for making an uke.

They just sound so muted and stuck.

Mahagony sounds wonderfully deep and full - koa has that awesome bark - spruce a clear sounding tone - but the mango is leaving me cold.

Anyone care to point out what charms of mango I am failing to appreciate?

(Besides the fact that it does look totally awesome...)

Have to say I felt exactly the same, I really wanted spalted mango to sound amazing because its beautiful and I wanted one badly but from every vid I've seen (which I know is a bad way but where I live its the only way) I had the very same impressions and it wasn't a maybe, they definately sounded the way you describe them to my ears.

Lori
02-11-2010, 09:47 AM
I wouldn't necessarily describe the mango as muted really. More "rounded" or less harsh on the treble end of things. It has an interesting depth to the sound, kind of dream-like. It leans a bit more toward the guitar sound on a tenor.

–Lori

thejumpingflea
02-11-2010, 09:54 AM
My Mango Kanile'a is far from "muted".

SuperSecretBETA
02-11-2010, 11:38 AM
The mango ukes I tried were from very high end makers who I will not name here. I've now tried 10 or so ukuleles for extended periods, and the mangos both were considerably just duller next to the others.

Very high end makers? What exactly do you mean by that? Price-wise? Country-wise? I just want to make sure it's the right term since you won't name the makers.

If you're simply making a statement about the wood used, I don't think there's a problem naming names. I doubt it would make any huge impact. After all, you're not the expert; you're the inquirer, right?

GreyPoupon
02-11-2010, 11:45 AM
High end in reputation and $. Not willing to go further then that in a public forum. The workmanship seemed superb. The sound of the wood did not.

NatalieS
02-11-2010, 03:23 PM
I have a Pono mango baritone (tuned DGBE) and I think it has some of the sweetest, most beautiful tones I've ever heard. I would never ever part with this instrument (despite the fact that its wound strings continue to snap on a regular basis-- argh!) It is also incredibly beautiful.

That being said, I've never played any mango in GCEA. Maybe the deeper notes of baritone tuning just go well with mango?

haolejohn
02-11-2010, 03:57 PM
I have a Pono mango baritone (tuned DGBE) and I think it has some of the sweetest, most beautiful tones I've ever heard. I would never ever part with this instrument (despite the fact that its wound strings continue to snap on a regular basis-- argh!) It is also incredibly beautiful.

That being said, I've never played any mango in GCEA. Maybe the deeper notes of baritone tuning just go well with mango?

Here is my video of the 8 string. I think it was strung low g with koolau golds on it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcVET3c9p1s&feature=related

Most folks thought it sounded similiar to a mandolin. I didnt think so but that is just me. I did another of the ukulele with a comparison between koa/mahaghany/mango but that video would never upload to YT. Dunno why either.

SuperSecretBETA
02-11-2010, 08:05 PM
(despite the fact that its wound strings continue to snap on a regular basis-- argh!)

Where does it break? Near the head? Maybe we can help you fix that. I had a PTM-CE which had a microscopic sharp edge or a burr in a tuning peg. I had a shop file the burr down, and the first string stopped snapping.

NatalieS
02-12-2010, 03:05 AM
Where does it break? Near the head? Maybe we can help you fix that. I had a PTM-CE which had a microscopic sharp edge or a burr in a tuning peg. I had a shop file the burr down, and the first string stopped snapping.

I have already filed down the nut which helped with the snapping occurring there. Now what's happening is the very end of the string slowly unwinds until at some point it gives and the end snaps for good. This last string lasted a few months.

HaileISela
02-12-2010, 04:28 AM
I love the sound of my Pono Mango Tenor.

Here's an example of its sound without any effects:

http://www.box.net/shared/8k0ihq6epf

GreyPoupon
02-12-2010, 05:23 AM
I love the sound of my Pono Mango Tenor.

Here's an example of its sound without any effects:

http://www.box.net/shared/8k0ihq6epf


This is very beautiful! I've played it over a few times now. Thank you for sharing!

And I do hear that 'under water' mango thing going on in the sound as well....

OK, my mind is now officially a little more open to the mango thing...

HaileISela
02-12-2010, 05:30 AM
This is very beautiful! I've played it over a few times now. Thank you for sharing!

And I do hear that 'under water' mango thing going on in the sound as well....

OK, my mind is now officially a little more open to the mango thing...

whatever you mean with "underwater thing", I'm glad I could help!

UKISOCIETY
02-12-2010, 05:37 AM
High end in reputation and $. Not willing to go further then that in a public forum. The workmanship seemed superb. The sound of the wood did not.

ehhhhh, I think it's acceptible to mention the brands. It would help me to know, since mango is very high on my list as a great wood for ukes. The Mainland concert mango I own is now in my top 5 fav ukes to play. If I spy another Mango uke from another brand, I might jump at it.

Perhaps you could PM those who are interested in knowing the brands, like me.

MartinLil
02-12-2010, 05:52 AM
ehhhhh, I think it's acceptible to mention the brands. It would help me to know, since mango is very high on my list as a great wood for ukes. The Mainland concert mango I own is now in my top 5 fav ukes to play. If I spy another Mango uke from another brand, I might jump at it.

Perhaps you could PM those who are interested in knowing the brands, like me.

I would be very interested to know as well!! I have been looking around at custom ukes and mango has been something that I had considered. This information would be very helpful!

csibona
02-12-2010, 07:22 AM
Well, I think the original poster may feel that mango has a certain characteristic tone - that doesn't mean that you won't like it...

Skitzic
02-12-2010, 07:29 AM
I would be interested to know the brands as well. I've been looking for a nice mango.

ukecantdothat
02-12-2010, 08:30 AM
I would be interested to know the brands as well. I've been looking for a nice mango.

Then there's the question of spalted vs unspalted. Does anyone know if the fugus in the spalted does anything to further soften the tone, or is it just a cosmetic thing? Does it make the wood harder to work with for the builder?

Ledhand75
02-14-2010, 07:08 AM
I have a Lymana tenor with Curly Mango back and sides, and Engleman Spruce top. In my 30 years of playing Classical Guitar, and more recently, Ukulele, this is undoubtedly the finest instrument that I have played. The sound is incredibly deep, clear and rich, with ringing, harplike tones. I don't believe that you can generalize about the qualities of a specific tone wood, as much has to do with the skill of the builder. Lyman told me that many potential customers have commented similarly about not caring for Mango, but were blown away by the sound of the instrument he had built for them. Mine is cut from the same piece of wood as the instrument that he build for the legendary Bill Tapia. I've read that Uncle Bill claims it is the best instrument he has played in his 101 years.

Illustrating the point about the skill of the builder, however, check out this link referencing the Pallet guitar built by Taylor many years ago. Yes, it was literally built from shipping pallets, and said to sound fantastic (Still, I'll stick with Mango, given that choice).

http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3157/Taylor_Custom_Shop_Pallet.htm

Apparently, the supply of Koa is becoming endangered. In the future it will become more common to see instruments from Mango, and other indigenous Hawaiian tone woods.

I tried to post photos of my Lymana, but couldn't figure out how. I think that I managed to get them posted to an album under my profile.

clayton56
02-14-2010, 07:40 AM
if it has a spruce top, that's a whole different thing. He's talking about an instrument with a mango top.

luvdat
02-14-2010, 07:45 AM
The notion that mango is a good option among "other indigenous Hawaiian tonewoods" is another example of "the idea of things" that frequently gets challenged by reality. The notion that design and construction can somehow compensate for every building material can also get overstated. For me, that is what this excellent thread is all about.

Is the reason mango is being used now simply because koa is becoming more rare? Why wasn't it an option earlier among mahogany, koa and even spruce tops? Perhaps prior potential luthiers noted how easily infested mango is. Palette wood and plastic are not.

Mango grows in a lot of places; koa does not. There is nothing uniquely Hawaiian about mango.

I think in some respects. the "mellow" quality of mango serves as a respite for those whose nerves may be slightly shot from playing bright, barky or bajoey ukuleles...this also, I believe is part of the marketing strategy..."Hey, this one's really different." Yeah, it ranges from "mellow" to indeed "underwater."

haolejohn
02-14-2010, 07:53 AM
The notion that mango is a good option among "other indigenous Hawaiian tonewoods" is another example of "the idea of things" that frequently gets challenged by reality. The notion that design and construction can somehow compensate for every building material can also get overstated. For me, that is what this excellent thread is all about.

Is the reason mango is being used now simply because koa is becoming more rare? Why wasn't it an option earlier among mahogany, koa and even spruce tops?

Mango grows in a lot of places; koa does not. There is nothing uniquely Hawaiian about mango.

I think in some respects. the "mellow" quality of mango serves as a respite for those whose nerves may be slightly shot from playing bright, barky or bajoey sopranos...this also, I believe is part of the marketing strategy..."Hey, this one's really different." Yeah, it ranges from "mellow" to indeed "underwater."
This is a great point. why just now?

I know one builder that refuses to build with it. I was told there were too many quality control issues and the wood can be spotty. I liked my Pono but it was quiet.

luvdat
02-14-2010, 08:01 AM
This is a great point. why just now?

I know one builder that refuses to build with it. I was told there were too many quality control issues and the wood can be spotty. I liked my Pono but it was quiet.

Nor will you find many raving glowing reviews among "satisfied customers." Like a mango ukuele itself, the reviews themselves seem somewhat "guarded." Among the truly rabid fanbase of mango are insects and fungus.

pdxuke
02-14-2010, 08:06 AM
Okay, I'll be unguarded.;) I departed from my normal purchase of mahogany ukes and got the mango pineapple Mainland. It is neither muted nor underwater. It is a pleasant sound that I enjoy very much. It is different from mahogany, but it is not inferior. It is..mango. And I like it.

Now, having been unguarded, I would have to say that I don't need another mango uke. But i do need more mahogany ones!

luvdat
02-14-2010, 08:11 AM
Okay, I'll be unguarded.;) I departed from my normal purchase of mahogany ukes and got the mango pineapple Mainland. It is neither muted nor underwater. It is a pleasant sound that I enjoy very much. It is different from mahogany, but it is not inferior. It is..mango. And I like it.

Now, having been unguarded, I would have to say that I don't need another mango uke. But i do need more mahogany ones!

pdx, I've been there, not with mango but other choices I made with musical instruments mostly guitars. Sometimes we have to stray...

and yes on the spectrum, "pleasant" is close to the "mellow" end...and why not enjoy it then? The gloss is workin' for ya'.

haolejohn
02-14-2010, 08:13 AM
Okay, I'll be unguarded.;) I departed from my normal purchase of mahogany ukes and got the mango pineapple Mainland. It is neither muted nor underwater. It is a pleasant sound that I enjoy very much. It is different from mahogany, but it is not inferior. It is..mango. And I like it.

Now, having been unguarded, I would have to say that I don't need another mango uke. But i do need more mahogany ones!

Them mainland mango sounded so much better than my pono. I think it has to do with the gloss or the spalted/unspalted wood type. My mango sounded clear and nice but it was just dead. It was drowned out by my double puka and an 8 string isn't supposed to be drowned out. Of course I didn't have it long enough to let it open up and I wished that I have been able to hear it after it opened up. I prefer mahaghany \'s sound over even koa. Mango is mango. It is its own wood and has its own sound.

luvdat
02-14-2010, 08:16 AM
Them mainland mango sounded so much better than my pono. I think it has to do with the gloss or the spalted/unspalted wood type. My mango sounded clear and nice but it was just dead. It was drowned out by my double puka and an 8 string isn't supposed to be drowned out. Of course I didn't have it long enough to let it open up and I wished that I have been able to hear it after it opened up. I prefer mahaghany \'s sound over even koa. Mango is mango. It is its own wood and has its own sound.

Amen to the gloss. That was going to be my next post. I also think the gloss on the Curly Mango (lam) Kala works better. Matte on mango...closer to doormat sometimes.

I too prefer mahog over koa...right now I prefer plastic and pine and maple...my Mango Flea over a lot of everything...I am in love.

pdxuke
02-14-2010, 08:25 AM
Amen to the gloss. That was going to be my next post. I also think the gloss on the Curly Mango (lam) Kala works better. Matte on mango...closer to doormat sometimes.

I too prefer mahog over koa...right now I prefer plastic and pine and maple...my Mango Flea over a lot of everything...I am in love.

But again, not on my Mainland. Nothing muted about it, and it's a matte finish. And see, I didn't enjoy my Flea. So that's the great thing about being in love--the eye of the beholder.

Enjoy the long weekend with that new uke!

Chris Tarman
02-14-2010, 08:31 AM
I have already filed down the nut which helped with the snapping occurring there. Now what's happening is the very end of the string slowly unwinds until at some point it gives and the end snaps for good. This last string lasted a few months.
I put a set of Aquila baritone strings with a High UNWOUND D string on my Islander Baritone and they are GREAT.

luvdat
02-14-2010, 08:32 AM
But again, not on my Mainland. Nothing muted about it, and it's a matte finish. And see, I didn't enjoy my Flea. So that's the great thing about being in love--the eye of the beholder.

Enjoy the long weekend with that new uke!

Hey, I did say "sometimes." But apology due.

And yes, I think the OTHER great point of this thread is precisely what you're saying: the eye or ear or hands of the beholder...what inspires you or someone to make the best and the most music.

"Perfection" aside from not existing rarely inspires the best lovemaking...(PG-13 rating on Valentine's Day).

BTW, the notion that "handmade instruments" are "perfect" is a myth and not desirable, at least for me.

honube
02-22-2010, 06:55 PM
You falied to mention the maker of the mango ukes you tried i Have heard great ones and some real duds depending on build and bracing....One of the best i have heard have been kanileas or Mya-,oes....Some of the worst Lanikais overbraced and over finished

Mike,
Your ads had me interested in the new Lanakai SM-C. Are you saying that their sound is not good due to overbracing and overfinishing.....or were you talking about a different Lanakai?

byjimini
04-19-2010, 06:15 AM
I'd love a spalted mango uke, but not from Lanikai. People seem to rave about them, but I've never got on with them.

fhorndog
04-20-2010, 05:44 PM
My favorite uke in my group is my S and J Emil Bader solid mango Concert. It has a nice round tone. But---it's just my opinion. I own three mangos with no complaints!