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View Full Version : Birthday Uke is here! (re Best...wife...ever)



DougNC
04-08-2012, 08:59 PM
See my other post about my wife's surprise gift to me.

My Pono MPT arrived last Thursday (3 days ago) and I have been busy with it all weekend. Photos are attached. 3 are from the Pono website, included because of the quality and because mine looks exactly like it. The other is "proof" I have it as I included it with my Mainland Mango Soprano and Kala Solid Acacia Concert. Below are my comments about it so far.

Pros:
- First, this isn't a uke for everyone but it's perfect for me. Brings to the ukulele what I have missed from my Martin gutars: awesome clarity, sustain, tonal richness.
- Finish and build quality are simply excellent. It feels like silk in my hands.
- After just a few days, I feel like this uke is having a very positive influence on my ability. I'm rising to it's level, I think.

Cons (Note: Good thing I am not a perfectionist and don't mind making my own adjustments):
- Came with Ko'olau low-G strings (3rd & 4th wound). My fault for not specifying what I wanted. Replaced with high-G fluorocarbons right away, except...
- Nut was cut for the thicker Ko'olau strings and action was low, so all of my spare fluorocarbon sets had major string buzz. Saddle is also very low (but compensated).
- Attempted to adjust truss rod (yes! it comes with one!) but had trouble finding a hex wrench that would fit in the sound hole and couldn't get nut to turn. Still sorting this one out.
- Ended up filling the existing nut slots with bone dust, a drop of thin cyanoacrylate glue, and thinly recut slots.
- Found 3 frets that were set slightly lower than the rest. Not a big deal but I will be doing fret leveling and dressing at some point.
- Neck is beefier than other ukuleles, probably to accommodate truss rod. Hasn't bothered me at all but could bother others.
Some might be inclined to send it back, but everything else about the Pono screams high quality and the tone is to die for, so I don't mind doing these few things myself to have what I have.

I am really loving this Pono!

Doug
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ukulelecowboy
04-09-2012, 12:21 AM
Doug,

Congrats on the new Pono. It's beautiful. Just curious. Did it come with a hard case? The hex wrench for the truss rod is usually shipped in the pocket of the case. If not, you can contact John Kitakis at Ko'olau/Pono for a replacement. Although I'm sure that it's most likely a standard metric size. The truss rod really comes in handy for fine tuning adjustments, etc.

Enjoy the new uke!

DougNC
04-09-2012, 01:07 AM
Thanks for the info, Mike. I know they now come with a hard case, but this one apparently didn't. The truss rod takes a 4mm or 5/32" hex wrench. My problem was the only one I had in that size was part of an 8-piece set that all folded out of the same handle. I haven't tried a single L-shaped wrench yet to see if the short leg is long enough to reach the nut, but I will. Thanks to you I now know I can contact Ko'olau and possibly get one from them.

Doug

Trinimon
04-09-2012, 07:47 AM
Beautiful look'n Pono! Congrats!

bynapkinart
04-09-2012, 09:17 AM
Awesome! It really is beautiful!

bdukes
04-09-2012, 03:26 PM
Great uke! I use a 5/32" hex attached to a ratchet to adjust the truss rod. Works like a charm, plenty of leverage and fits nicely between the strings. I had to also make a small adjustment when moving from nylon to fluorocarbons to curb the buzz.

FWIW, as far as strings to make the maple and spruce combo sing, definitely try Worth Browns. Nothing comes close IMO and I've tried them all. My normal "goto" strings are Fremont Blacklines but they just didn't make the uke come alive like the Worth Browns. One of the cases where there might be a perfect string matched to a uke.

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whit
04-09-2012, 04:10 PM
FWIW, as far as strings to make the maple and spruce combo sing, definitely try Worth Browns. Nothing comes close IMO and I've tried them all. My normal "goto" strings are Fremont Blacklines but they just didn't make the uke come alive like the Worth Browns. One of the cases where there might be a perfect string matched to a uke.
36166

Did you need to adjust the nut at all, or did the Worth Browns go straight in?

bdukes
04-09-2012, 08:36 PM
I didn't have to adjust the nut. Just about a 1/2 turn on the truss rod worked for me.

DougNC
04-10-2012, 07:55 PM
Great uke! I use a 5/32" hex attached to a ratchet to adjust the truss rod. Works like a charm, plenty of leverage and fits nicely between the strings. I had to also make a small adjustment when moving from nylon to fluorocarbons to curb the buzz.

FWIW, as far as strings to make the maple and spruce combo sing, definitely try Worth Browns. Nothing comes close IMO and I've tried them all. My normal "goto" strings are Fremont Blacklines but they just didn't make the uke come alive like the Worth Browns. One of the cases where there might be a perfect string matched to a uke.


I wondered if a hex socket might work. Thanks for the tip.

I just changed the strings tonight to a mellower set. I totally agree that a mellower set of strings really improves the overall tone of this uke, but in my case I will always choose Southcoast. All I had at home is a light set, but I have mediums on order. This baby wants to be driven a little harder than my other ukes, so I'm thinking the mediums will suit it better than lights.

Interestingly, this Pono is my best sounding uke when played very softly, too. The clarity comes through there as well as when strummed hard.

Man, the last time I got blown away by a particular instrument was 5 years ago when I got my Martin HJ-38 guitar. Haven't even touched that since I started playing ukulele. I really need to come up with a suitable name for it.

Doug