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View Full Version : Pono Tenor owners - string suggestions?



bynapkinart
04-15-2012, 06:21 PM
I'm having a tough time settling on a string of choice for my PKT-1E. I first had it strung with Worths and didn't like the feel and sound; they had a boomy characteristic that I didn't really like at all. Next up were Ko'olau Golds that I liked quite a bit though they lacked the projection that the Worths had.

Aquilas had all kinds of projection but they were just so bright. They sounded better to my ears than the others but I think solid Koa is just not the wood for Aquila strings...I've used them before on Mahogany and have gotten fantastic results but I think Koa is too bright and the uke gets very brash and crazy loud very quickly.

The best strings were the most recent: D'addario J71's. They had great balance, great volume, and felt awesome. Problem is, the intonation up the neck went down the toilet. I need good intonation and I got it out of the other three, but for whatever reason the J71's didn't intonate well at all.

So I'm left at a crossroads and don't know what strings to settle on. I have a set of Southcoast strings on the way and I'm hoping that they do the trick, but I'm open to other suggestions.

Any PKT owners care to chime in? Any Pono owners?

whit
04-15-2012, 06:41 PM
I have 3 Pono tenors that I've been swapping strings on. The current line up is:

RTSH - Ko'olau Gold (re-entrant)
MT - Ko'olau Alohi (linear, wound G, C)
MPT - Ko'olau Alohi (re-entrant)

So far I've tried the default Ko'olau Mahanas that the MT came with, Worth Brown (re-entrant) and Worth Clears (linear). While I like the sound of the Worth treble strings, I'm not so fond of the bass strings, nor did I care for the feel of them. The double wound Alohi set is probably my favourite so far, but I also have some Southcoast strings on the way so that may change soon.

Dan Uke
04-15-2012, 07:05 PM
I had the PKT-2, which is the bling bling version and I loved the sound but it was too soft and heavy for me. It's a really good uke. I really like Savarez Alliance with koa. If the Southcoast doesn't work, try the Savarez.

jackwhale
04-15-2012, 07:07 PM
I have a mahogany Pono tenor. After many trials I've settled on Worth browns. I play with the fleshy part of my fingers and I like the mellow tone they produce. They also sound good at both low and high volume.

Teek
04-15-2012, 07:15 PM
I didn't like the sound on my Pono koa tenor until I put Worth Clears on, so I would say you might like the Southcoasts, they are one of my new fave strings for volume and clarity. I replaced the Pono with a Kanile'a which helped even more, but side by side they were pretty close. ;)

bynapkinart
04-15-2012, 07:37 PM
I had the PKT-2, which is the bling bling version and I loved the sound but it was too soft and heavy for me. I sold it for like $420 or something and the buyer flipped it for a nice profit. It's a really good uke. I really like Savarez Alliance with koa. If the Southcoast doesn't work, try the Savarez.

I was surprised by the weight of mine as well, and I thought that it might be why it sounded so mellow with the Worths I had on it, but then I played a couple of Kamaka tenors in St. Louis recently and they were the same weight and had roughly the same projection...they actually sounded a little less lively than the Pono. That got me thinking about how to push the most out of the Pono by using different strings.

The Ko'olau Golds are probably pretty old, I got them with the uke. I'll definitely try the Savarez if the Southcoasts don't wow me...but I'm hoping they do. I feel like this uke has a lot to give that the Golds and J71s can't quite get to.

I know that Pono discontinued their solid koa models because it was expensive and (especially at the time) the price point was approaching K-brand ukes...but man, this thing surprises me every day. I keep wanting to get a K-brand tenor, but every time I get the itch I play the Pono and it sounds every bit as good as every K brand I've heard. Finding the right strings should bring the most out of it, and then all I have to do is replace the passive pickup with an active one and this uke is good to go.

bynapkinart
04-15-2012, 07:40 PM
double post, sorry

coolkayaker1
04-16-2012, 04:24 AM
I have two Pono tenors and love them greatly.

On rosewood body and cedar sound board: Worth clears.

On Maple body and spruce soundboard: Worth browns to take a nip out of the brightness.

I have Southcoasts on my Kiwaya koa tenor, and they sound, to me, identical to Worth clears. Dirk from SC states that they have a more universal tension in all four strings than Worths, and that may be true. I can't gauge it.

Lancejt
04-16-2012, 04:51 AM
I like the Alohi's on my MHT. I'm using the all plain re-entrant atm, but I'm going back to the wound third pretty soon. I just prefer the sound with it.

bynapkinart
04-16-2012, 06:20 AM
I have two Pono tenors and love them greatly.

On rosewood body and cedar sound board: Worth clears.

On Maple body and spruce soundboard: Worth browns to take a nip out of the brightness.

I have Southcoasts on my Kiwaya koa tenor, and they sound, to me, identical to Worth clears. Dirk from SC states that they have a more universal tension in all four strings than Worths, and that may be true. I can't gauge it.

I hadn't even thought about trying the Browns. Do they project as well as the Clears, just with a mellower tone?

bynapkinart
04-16-2012, 06:22 AM
I like the Alohi's on my MHT. I'm using the all plain re-entrant atm, but I'm going back to the wound third pretty soon. I just prefer the sound with it.

I like the tone of the Golds with the wound C, but it does tend to overpower the nylon strings. That might be because the strings are getting old (this is the third time they've been put on since I got them). I'll keel the Alohi's in mind as well, the purple puts me off a bit on the Koa body but if it sounds perfect then I'm all for it!

ralphk
04-16-2012, 06:48 AM
After a lot of sampling, I settled on Worth Browns in low G for my mahogany PTE. I think it sounds very good -- no exceptional.