View Full Version : Looking for opinions: Mainland Red Cedar Sporano vs. Ohana SK-38

08-06-2011, 09:34 AM
I currently own two concerts, an Ohana CK-35G and a Koaloha Concert. Love them both. THey are completely different, but both are great in their own right. The Koaloha is bright and loud and just so9unds amazing, while the Ohana is quiter, mellow, but still sounds pretty darn good for a $200 instrument (and the fit and finish was great, too and out of the box it was set up close to perfect).

Now I am in the market for a sporano. Have sort of narrowed it down to the Ohana SK-38 and the Mainland Red Cedar Sporano (I'm not into flashy ukes with inlays, ornate rosettes, etc, and prefer a more subdued looking instrument thats of higher quality and solid wood over something more flashy and laminate). I unfortunately don't have the option to play either of these before I buy. I like the Ohana because it's going for that old martin look/sound. I like the Mainland simply because the two ukes I have are either solid mahogany or koa, and just thought it would be nice to have something totally different than the other two (the Mainland has a red cedar top and rosewood back and sides). I am guessing that fit and finish on both is probably similar. Most people on here rave about the quality of the mainlands ( I have never owned or played a mainland), but I can vouch for the Ohana. The minimal difference in price is not an issue. Just wondering how much brighter and/or louder the Mainland would be over the Ohana. Also, I seem to be gravitating more toward playing older tunes/Roy Smeck stuff, so the SK-38 seems more 'appropriate' for this, but part of me also wants to see what a cedar top and rosewood sides and back sounds like! Unfortunately I can't afford both at this time and will have to settle on one...

Your thoughts, opinions and recommendations are appreciated!

08-06-2011, 11:52 AM
I would personally go with the Ohana, I'm just a fan of their more traditional looks. I hear you completely and I'm not really a big fan of the rope binding either. IMO, you can't go wrong either way.

08-06-2011, 01:33 PM
I was actually considering going for that particular Mainland, but it was out of stock for far too long, and an opportunity to buy the SK-38 used came along. It's a neat little instrument. The action on the one I've got is relatively high, so if you prefer low action, it may be worth buying it from someone willing to set it up to your specifications. The sound is plunky and old-fashioned (with Aquila strings), plus quite loud. I like it a lot.

Regarding the Mainland rope binding: I do have this on a tenor, and it's really quite nice when you see it in person. It doesn't seem flashy at all.

08-09-2011, 03:19 PM
t love mainlands and can't wait to get my hands on a red cedar concert

08-09-2011, 04:16 PM
I have tried both of them in May. Both of them are very well made. However, their sounds are significantly different.
The mainland has more punchy sound and medium sound sustention while the ohana has a little vintage and short sound.
Consider your instrument list, I think you should go for the mainland. :D

Uke Republic
08-09-2011, 04:53 PM
They are two very different instruments
Finish- Mainland cedar-gloss Ohana 38 satin
Tone woods- Warm mahogany with the soprano bark 38 or briter snappiness of cedar and rosewood of Mainlands
The nut on the 38 is ebony, Mainlands is bone
Both are fine instruments so it comes down to your preference in sound and looks so really the best plan is to get both:)

08-09-2011, 05:43 PM
Red apples or Green apples? They're both apples, but they taste different.