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tnfishdaddy
01-04-2012, 06:57 AM
I am picking up a tenor this week and I am having trouble making up my mind. Figured I would see what everyone else thinks who is much more experienced than myself. Here are my choices.

Kala KA-SMHT with hard case and wooden stand for $300

Pono MT by itself for $300

Makai Mango series M-K90 with padded bag for $249

Being relatively new, I look forward to seeing what others would choose. Thanks.

JamieFromOntario
01-04-2012, 07:10 AM
These are all good, reputable brands - you should be happy with any of them. I don't have experience with any of these models - though i'm sure that someone else will chime in.

That being said, you need to be careful where you buy them. Make sure that you buy from a place that does a proper set up, or you'll be looking to spend another $25-50 on getting work done (if you can find somewhere nearby who is able to do the work).


Look at these places if you want to buy a uke with a good set up:

Mim's Uke

Ukerepublic

mr moonlight
01-04-2012, 07:32 AM
I've never played a Makai uke, but I've played a few Kala's and have a Pono. Personally I'd opt for the Pono. Most mass produced ukes are made in one of the main Chinese factories. I think there are 2 of them. Pono hand picked a select few luthiers to build their uke's based closely on the specs that Ko'olau gives them. Then they are set up in Hawaii. Cases and stands you can always get later for cheap. Just use the shipping box until you can afford one or ask the store if they have any second hand or reject cases that you could get. Sometimes you can get a case that has a few issues but still offers good protection for a good price.

Drew Bear
01-04-2012, 08:28 AM
I am picking up a tenor this week...Does this mean you are buying from a local source where you get to inspect & play the uke first?

stevepetergal
01-04-2012, 08:35 AM
I like Drew Bear's response.
If you're playing these instruments first, get the one you like best. If not, good luck taking advice from dopes like me. I've bought five Kalas. Got really mad at myself every time. I hated every one. Played a couple of Ponos. Thought they were nice.

bonesigh
01-04-2012, 08:58 AM
Hmm, funny, I have several ukes and my favorite player uke is a Kala concert with aquila strings. Hardly ever goes out of tune. Sounds better and better as the years go on. Only problem is my husband has taken up the uke and stolen it from me. Now I mostly play my new Kanilea.

mds725
01-04-2012, 09:01 AM
Look at these places if you want to buy a uke with a good set up:

Mim's Uke

Ukerepublic

Here are some links.

Mim's Ukes
website: http://mimsukes.com/
eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/mimsukes

Uke Republic online store: http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/

Mim and Mike (Uke Republic) are both really nice. if you don't see something you like on the websites or if you want advice or have questions, just contact them.

tnfishdaddy
01-04-2012, 09:21 AM
Should have mentioned, these are coming from either Uke Republic or HMS. Both seem to have a good reputation on here. I will not be able to see any of them first. Just by looks, I like the look of the Pono the best. I like plain looking and it has the least amount of bling. I just want a good quality instrument that will last for many years and sounds good.

rem50
01-04-2012, 09:35 AM
I have soprano and tenor Kala (low end) and like them just fine. Have a Pono concert and like it even better. If you call mike at Uke Rep. I bet oyu can get him to play them for you so you can hear a bit.

Drew Bear
01-04-2012, 09:49 AM
Ah! In that case you're in good hands and should be happy with any choice. Of those you listed, I'd pick the Pono for the same reasons you listed. If HMS had them in stock, I'd probably pick the Islander MST-4. Still prefer the Pono appearance, but the Islander/Kanile'a sound is more to my liking. So much that I'd probably take a small risk and order from this authorized Kanile'a dealer (but unknown to UU) who quoted me shipping of $25. Their setup is probably not as thorough as HMS, but by many accounts the Islander comes straight from Kanile'a with excellent setup: http://www.acousticvibesmusic.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=170_173&products_id=1629

This hard case is still on sale for $30, but that could go back to $40 at any time: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/musicians-gear-tenor-ukulele-case/712792000001000

I bought this $7 guitar stand (holds a tenor uke perfectly) along with some strings to get pass the $29 free shipping threshold:
http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PGS1.htm

SailingUke
01-04-2012, 09:52 AM
I have played the KA-SMHT and really liked it, it is IMHO an undervalued instrument. Very plain looks like a Martin tenor.
Pono's have a great reputation. Go with the one you like the best, you won't go wrong with either.

PoiDog
01-04-2012, 10:15 AM
I've never played a Makai uke, but I've played a few Kala's and have a Pono. Personally I'd opt for the Pono. Most mass produced ukes are made in one of the main Chinese factories. I think there are 2 of them. Pono hand picked a select few luthiers to build their uke's based closely on the specs that Ko'olau gives them. Then they are set up in Hawaii. Cases and stands you can always get later for cheap. Just use the shipping box until you can afford one or ask the store if they have any second hand or reject cases that you could get. Sometimes you can get a case that has a few issues but still offers good protection for a good price.

I have to second this thought. I've never played any of these three models, but the fact that Kala is just pouring out the ukes means they have to be using some serious big-time factory to do so. That could lead to some considerable QA issues, and you playing roulette with your purchase. Pono, being less mass-produced means more hands-on work and more time to do QA. Add to that the fact that the Ko'olau name is behind it, and you get a company with a serious rep to protect. Kala makes Kala, but Ko'olau is a "K" brand.

No thought on the Makai, but I would guess it is more Kala than Pono, and that Pono is more K than either Kala or Makai.

tnfishdaddy
01-04-2012, 10:22 AM
You all are leading me in the direction I was leaning. The Pono was my first choice and with the links to the stands and cases at those prices, I think I am going to pull the trigger and order the Pono. Thanks everyone.

PhilUSAFRet
01-04-2012, 10:24 AM
Hmm, funny, I have several ukes and my favorite player uke is a Kala concert with aquila strings. Hardly ever goes out of tune. Sounds better and better as the years go on. Only problem is my husband has taken up the uke and stolen it from me. Now I mostly play my new Kanilea.

Hah! Payback is a .........you know! Success is the best revenge. Good for you.

rem50
01-04-2012, 10:24 AM
Be sure to post a video so we can see and hear it!

PhilUSAFRet
01-04-2012, 10:26 AM
You all are leading me in the direction I was leaning. The Pono was my first choice and with the links to the stands and cases at those prices, I think I am going to pull the trigger and order the Pono. Thanks everyone.

Haven't heard that Kala in person, but the one's I've heard online didn't impress me. I have a Pono concert with Ko'olau Alohi's on it and it is sweet.

tnfishdaddy
01-05-2012, 02:53 AM
Pono is ordered and hopefully on it's way soon. I will post it when it arrives. Thanks again everyone.

molokinirum
01-05-2012, 03:56 AM
Congratulations on the Pono...... that was my choice as well!!! Very nice ukes.