PDA

View Full Version : Bushman vs. Pono tenor... need help



NatalieS
08-04-2008, 05:22 AM
Hi there everyone,

I'm a newbie here. I have one uke, a mango flea, and I'm ready to move up to a solid wood and I'd like to get a tenor. I've narrowed it down to two ukes:

1) Bushman Jenny Tenor, matte finish

or

2) Pono PTM Mango Tenor

I just can't make up my mind. When I factor in the price of a hard case, S&H, etc. the prices will be pretty much the same. As far as sound goes, I'd like something a bit mellow and warm, and I'm interested in both strumming and finger picking

My biggest issue is I am a girl with really small hands and short fingers. I've always experienced a lot of discomfort with guitar, and even my flea took some getting used to. I need a uke with a slimmer neck.

Thanks very much!

LoMa
08-04-2008, 05:42 AM
Well, I've only tried one Bushman Tenor and only one Pono.

I was not impressed by the Bushman, and it also had a pretty beefy neck. My main problem with the particular one I played was that it sounded very dull. It was also much heavier than the Pono and just felt clunky.

I used to have a Pono with a cedar top and mahognay back and sides with a gloss finish. Much nicer looking instrument than the Bushman and with a much slimmer neck. I honestly wasn;t cray about the Pono either - it had too mellow a tone for me, but it might be right up your alley! I had a friend who had an all mahogany Pono and I liked it better - still mellow in tone, but more responsive.

I'd try the Pono and pass on the Bushman.

Plainsong
08-04-2008, 06:52 AM
Have you thought about concert size? I'm a girl with fingers like you describe, and I find the concert size neck much easier to navigate than a tenor.

But having said that, I've not tried a Bushman, and I've only tried a Pono mahogany tenor, and it had a nice warm mellow sound. It was a bit too uncomfy to play though, which is why I think the concert size would solve your woes.

raindog
08-04-2008, 06:53 AM
If you have small hands and short fingers, why not get a concert or soprano rather than a tenor? Seems like that would solve your problem. Sopranos sound the best anyway. :D

SailQwest
08-04-2008, 07:05 AM
I haven't played a lot of other brands. Applause, Oscar Schmidt, Mitchell, Kala, Papa's Boxes, and one Kanilea. And I've never played a Pono.

But...we've been very happy with our Bushmans (we've purchased five of them). We currently have three on the boat, 2 concerts and a tenor. (The other two are in good hand-picked homes. They were both baritones and just too big and awkward for the boat.)

If I could get my hands on a koa Bushman (concert or tenor, or maybe even a soprano), I would be overcome with happiness.

NatalieS
08-04-2008, 07:19 AM
Thank you all for the suggestions. Hmm, now I'm thinking a concert might be better for me. I've been torn between the two sizes and the tenor appealed to me because of the slightly bigger sound.

If the Bushman has a thicker neck, I might need to avoid that too. Plainsong (the girl with small hands:) ) what kind of concert uke do you play and is the neck comfortable?

I'm open to suggestions other than the Jenny or Pono. I've liked the sound of pretty much all Ponos I've heard online, but unfortunately I don't have the chance to try out an instrument before I order it, as there are no uke dealers even close to where I live. I'd like to avoid going over $350 if possible, including hard case.

Thanks very much, you all are so helpful!

Kanaka916
08-04-2008, 07:40 AM
You might consider MGM (http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room_Cases_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ10247QQftidZ2 QQtZkm), he's a member as well as a vendor. He has a good size inventory of instruments to meet your needs and budget. Everyone who has ordered from him has received a quality instrument not to mention quick service and delivery. Send him an email or give him a call to see what he can do for you.

NatalieS
08-04-2008, 08:00 AM
You might consider MGM (http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room_Cases_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ10247QQftidZ2 QQtZkm), he's a member as well as a vendor. He has a good size inventory of instruments to meet your needs and budget. Everyone who has ordered from him has received a quality instrument not to mention quick service and delivery. Send him an email or give him a call to see what he can do for you.

Thanks, Kanaka! I've actually been looking at his ebay store selection for the past week or so. I'll send an email his way-- much appreciated!

berylbite
08-04-2008, 08:09 AM
I too own a Bushman. However it's a concert spruce top. It is the only ukulele I own, and I find it to be a great buy. never played the Pono but I did alot or research on them, when I was considering buying one. I found alot of unhappy customers, "check the forums". But I'm also told that Pono is the best budget uke on the market these days.

Plainsong
08-04-2008, 08:45 AM
The Flea's neck is on the thick side and there are times when my hands will cramp after playing tunes with bar chords. The action is slick though, it couldn't be slicker without creating problems.

I don't have a Pono concert, but I suspect that it would be fine. The tenor was so close, that the concert would probably have solved it for me. My favorite is one built by a luthier in the UK named Pete Howlett. He builds a custom that for him is a lot quicker to do called the Uklectic. That neck is just perfect for me.

Speaking of perfect necks, another nice once was on a G String custom that I got to try out, belonging the UU member Juha, but if the tenor Pono is an indication, the concert one would probably be fine.


Thank you all for the suggestions. Hmm, now I'm thinking a concert might be better for me. I've been torn between the two sizes and the tenor appealed to me because of the slightly bigger sound.

If the Bushman has a thicker neck, I might need to avoid that too. Plainsong (the girl with small hands:) ) what kind of concert uke do you play and is the neck comfortable?

I'm open to suggestions other than the Jenny or Pono. I've liked the sound of pretty much all Ponos I've heard online, but unfortunately I don't have the chance to try out an instrument before I order it, as there are no uke dealers even close to where I live. I'd like to avoid going over $350 if possible, including hard case.

Thanks very much, you all are so helpful!

Plainsong
08-04-2008, 08:50 AM
I don't know how well these pics work for reference, but here ya go. They're both concert sized:

http://plainsong.typepad.com/photos/uke_corner/dscn0702.png

http://plainsong.typepad.com/photos/uke_corner/dscn0685.png

http://plainsong.typepad.com/photos/uke_corner/dscn0675.png

rt1965
08-04-2008, 09:25 AM
I have an Ohana Tenor which I really like. They build Concert and Soprano sizes as well, and MGM carries all of their models. I would definately stay with an all mahogany uke if you prefer a warmer sound. Some Pono's come in all mahogany, and you might even look into the laminated Kiwayas. Great prices and I hear really good things about them as well. MGM will have all of these ukes available, or he can order if needed. Call him and talk to him about your concerns. He'll take good care of you.

NatalieS
08-04-2008, 09:44 AM
Plainsong, thank you for posting pics. (Nice flea!) It definitely helps to see neck comparisons.

And thanks for all the recommendations to MGM. I've emailed him and I'll let you know what I end up with!

Mahalo nui :)

Plainsong
08-04-2008, 09:53 AM
Awesome. MGM is the enabler for many of us. I also totally forgot about Ohana. Man, that 50g looks yum!

Boozelele
08-04-2008, 10:16 AM
Hey Plainsong, is that Flea Koa topped? That is one nice looking unit right there, rosewood and all? hmmmmm.:love:

Plainsong
08-04-2008, 12:14 PM
Yup, that's the koa Flea, and it's standard with the rosewood fretboard and bubinga bridge. It comes default with Aquilas but I like Worths ATM. I go back and forth in my string-changing cycles. :)

NatalieS
08-05-2008, 04:45 AM
I heard back from Mike this morning, and I didn't waste any time in making my decision. :)

He recommended Kala because they have a pretty thin neck, and said concert or tenor should work well. As far as wood, mango sounds a bit brighter than mahogany but not a big sound difference so I went with a Kala Mango Tenor. I can't stop looking at the pics of it! It's very pretty...

http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-MANGO-TENOR-UKULELE-W-CASE-PITCHPIPE-BOOK_W0QQitemZ230277450275QQihZ013QQcategoryZ16224 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I'll be sure to let you all know when I get it. Thanks so much for all the help.

And P.S. This probably says how much of a nerd I am, but when Mike was picking out uke models I somehow felt like I was having my wand chosen in Harry Potter. Haha! He's definitely a master.

h-drix
08-05-2008, 05:13 AM
I can't stop looking at the pics of it! It's very pretty...

http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-MANGO-TENOR-UKULELE-W-CASE-PITCHPIPE-BOOK_W0QQitemZ230277450275QQihZ013QQcategoryZ16224 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


Not to be crass, but your uke looks like sex. (thats a very very good thing) i hope you enjoy it. after my gstring comes in i think i found a third uke lol.

/hijack/

to plainsong: how does the uklectic play? how does it sound? my next (4th?) purchase i would really like an electric. besides an A/E uke my only other options are a bugsgear or uklectic

dnewton2
08-05-2008, 05:27 AM
He recommended Kala because they have a pretty thin neck, and said concert or tenor should work well. As far as wood, mango sounds a bit brighter than mahogany but not a big sound difference so I went with a Kala Mango Tenor. I can't stop looking at the pics of it! It's very pretty...

http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-MANGO-TENOR-UKULELE-W-CASE-PITCHPIPE-BOOK_W0QQitemZ230277450275QQihZ013QQcategoryZ16224 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



I have the same uke and am pleased with it so far. I noticed you wanted a solid uke and the Kala mangos are not solid wood. It has a decent sound though. The mangos are very pretty too. Hope you have fun with your new ukulele.

NatalieS
08-05-2008, 05:58 AM
I have the same uke and am pleased with it so far. I noticed you wanted a solid uke and the Kala mangos are not solid wood. It has a decent sound though. The mangos are very pretty too. Hope you have fun with your new ukulele.

Yeah unfortunately I chose to go for a pretty one, rather than pay the extra for solid wood, lol. If I like the tenor size I may upgrade in the future.

Glad to hear you're pleased with yours though. :)

Kanaka916
08-05-2008, 06:18 AM
I heard back from Mike this morning, and I didn't waste any time in making my decision. :)

He recommended Kala because they have a pretty thin neck, and said concert or tenor should work well. As far as wood, mango sounds a bit brighter than mahogany but not a big sound difference so I went with a Kala Mango Tenor. I can't stop looking at the pics of it! It's very pretty...

http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-MANGO-TENOR-UKULELE-W-CASE-PITCHPIPE-BOOK_W0QQitemZ230277450275QQihZ013QQcategoryZ16224 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I'll be sure to let you all know when I get it. Thanks so much for all the help.

And P.S. This probably says how much of a nerd I am, but when Mike was picking out uke models I somehow felt like I was having my wand chosen in Harry Potter. Haha! He's definitely a master.
Good choice, Natalie. Just have fun with it, you're definetly gonna enjoy playing it!

NatalieS
08-05-2008, 03:10 PM
Good choice, Natalie. Just have fun with it, you're definetly gonna enjoy playing it!

Thanks, I'm excited about it. :)

Plainsong
08-06-2008, 04:49 AM
Let us know how like it. I have problems with bar chords on my Kala tenor, but hopefully you have an easier time. It's not the setup though.

It is gorgeous though, and I'm always eager to hear about any tenor that will be easy for small stubby hands. :)

NatalieS
08-06-2008, 07:23 AM
Just a reference for how small my hands are... We had to special-order latex gloves for our surgery class at school and, in a class of 94, I had the smallest hands. I can barely reach an octave on the piano. :(

NatalieS
08-13-2008, 07:19 AM
I've been tracking my uke and it's supposed to deliver tomorrow! I'm hoping, though, that if it's delivered to my UPS facility today then maybe I can go pick it up. Time is standing still!

NatalieS
08-21-2008, 01:18 PM
Well the uke arrived about a week ago. It's really beautiful and sounds great, but I must admit so far it's uncomfortable for me to play. I'm hoping that's just because I'm used to soprano size, but the frets are definitely a bigger stretch for my fingers.

I do really like the tone and it's got Aquila Nylgut strings so I'm going to switch my flea over to some of those for sure (much better than the Hilos haha).

Anyways, I'm going to hang on to the tenor for a while longer and see if it gets more comfortable. If not, hmm, I may have to go in another direction...

tad
08-21-2008, 03:53 PM
This (http://item.express.ebay.com/Musical-Instruments__String-Instruments_Ohana-SOPRANINO-SK-21-GCEA-tuned-solid-Mahogany-Ukulele_W0QQitemZ230269641837QQihZ013QQptdnZString Q20InstrumentsQQddnZMusicalQ20InstrumentsQQptdiZ97 5QQddiZ1300QQcmdZExpressItem) should be your next uke.

Small is beautiful.

Gaby
09-08-2008, 04:21 AM
The Kala tenors have nice necks, but I don't like tenor sized ukes myself. So if you are looking at a concert uke next, you should indeed have a look at the solid Ohanas - I love their necks and projection (much louder than your mango uke) and they are nicely priced.