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whepper
07-09-2012, 04:49 AM
Ok, till now I only played tenors. Why? Because I liked their looks... they look like little guitars, only the size of everything is much more balanced.

I was already the proud owner of a WW all koa tenor and a Kala ASAC-T. Both have a very different sound.

What I was missing was a soprano. I already figured that if I wanted a soprano, that mahogany would be the best choice for me. First I was looking into buying a vintage soprano, possibly a Gibson Uke-1, but 2 weeks ago I was one of the persons who acquired one of the Pono factory seconds, because it was such an amazing deal.

The Pono MS soprano sounds superb. It has a very ukish warm sound, a nice full tonal range and it plays great because of its low action. It's volume is comparable to my Kala and it's louder than my WW Tenor. And because it's so small it's always sitting on my sofa, ready for another round.

Yesterday I was playing my 2 tenors and the soprano to test which one sounded better, but the soprano won whatever type of music I played.

I'm confused right now. It it it's size? The playability? The wood: mahogany? Or are my tenors not that good?

What do you guys think? Who has had the same experience? The only size I haven't tried yet is a concert...

Another small question: my Pono has a very slight deformation of the top, causing it to belly very slightly. I've read that a little deformation is quite normal. I keep it properly humidified (50%). Who can confirm this?

Thanks!

PoiDog
07-09-2012, 05:07 AM
I'm confused right now. It it it's size? The playability? The wood: mahogany? Or are my tenors not that good?


Thanks!

Well, if you have a WW custom tenor, the difference in sound is absolutely NOT because your tenors are not any good. Well, the WW anyway, the Kala may not be as good as the Pono ...

Other than that, it can be anything from the size to the strings to the difference in how you play each. I've played both mahogany and koa ukes, and both sound great, but I prefer koa. Certainly, that's subjective, and perhaps your ear prefers the sound of 'hog over koa. And, you may also just be enamored with the soprano sound right now because you haven't heard it, and it sounds more like you expect an 'ukulele to sound.

Overall, though, rather than sit around pondering why there is a difference in sound, you ought to just enjoy the variety. And, if it happens that you end up not liking one of another of your ukes, punt it off to someone who may like it more.

whepper
07-09-2012, 06:01 AM
Sound is definitely subjective. My WW tenor is extremely bright & punchy sounding and has a good sustain, but with no deep tones at all. I think it would be a perfect uke for a pickup (not fitted with one right now). It's a good uke for sure which has it's own very unique 'signature' sound. But at the moment I'm in love with the sound of the Pono, and that confuses me.

OldePhart
07-09-2012, 06:17 AM
Heh, heh, well, I could make some smarmy remark about you're finally discovering the distance in sound between a "real" ukulele and your "small guitars" - but I'm a nice guy so I'll refrain.

Seriously, though, the soprano body size has always sounded more like a "real" uke to me than a tenor which is why I played longneck (concert scale) sopranos until recently even though I had a couple of nice tenors. I finally got over the "cramped" think and actually love my regular scale sopranos now - but the tenors still pretty much only get played if I need a pickup.

Sound is very subjective, though, and there isn't anything "wrong" with tenors - they're just going to sound different than sopranos.

John

SailingUke
07-09-2012, 07:04 AM
I really enjoy the sound of a soprano ukulele.
They do seem to have that "real" ukulele sound we have heard through the years.
I play mostly tenors because I believe they make a better instrument for to sing with.
Sound is all so very subjective, I really don't believe there is one BEST for all of us.

mm stan
07-09-2012, 07:19 AM
I guess you discover new things as you go into your ukulele journey and go through stages...I like all sizes of my ukes and play them all.. they are as individual as people in their
voices and personalities..yes the soprano has that traditional sound I like too....I even have my go to soprano rogue right by my computer...it's not what it costs or who made it
you will soon realize....it's the fun you get out of it.....people tease me with fun about my rogue, but I can say it is my go to fav uke....Happy Strummings...
I learned it's not how many ukes you have or how expensive some are, it is when you connect with them...that counts...

RichM
07-09-2012, 08:58 AM
First of all, you got a good soprano. So I'm not surprised it sounds good.

Second, you're used to the sounds of a tenor. So a soprano is a new color in your tonal palette.

And third, the small size of a soprano tends to give it kind of a laser focus that cuts through in ensembles and is really pleasing to the ear. A good soprano has presence because it tends to emphasize treble tones. A tenor tends to have more balance, as it tends to emphasize midrange tones. One isn't better than the other, but they are definitely different. I think that's mostly what you're hearing.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-09-2012, 09:15 AM
My guess is your tenors may have been built a little on the heavy side. The fact that your soprano shows signs of top deformation leads me to believe it was built very lightly. A lightly built instrument will always sound better than a heavily built one.

whepper
07-09-2012, 02:13 PM
Thanks for all your insightful comments! :) The suggestion that it's lightly build in comparison with my tenors is probably true. That combined with the (for me) new sound of the soprano and mahogany makes it a great sounding uke. I'm glad I bought it and I've played both my WW tenor and the Pono MS tonight. For now it's the Pono, but let's see when the tenor vibe kicks in again!

1300cc
07-09-2012, 02:45 PM
Wait till you played more some soprano brand, im convinced that soprano sound is better specially when playing instrumental solo.

webby
07-09-2012, 02:55 PM
You need a Concert sized uke now, best of both worlds.

Not that I want to encourage an addiction :)

whepper
07-09-2012, 11:15 PM
You need a Concert sized uke now, best of both worlds.

Not that I want to encourage an addiction :)

Haha, I probably should. I can play some chords like the E on my soprano that I couldn't reach on my tenor. It's a little cramped, but at least I can play those chords now. Maybe a concert is the trade off I need, but that's something for the future... :)

Goal: 1 soprano, 1 concert & 1 tenor.. sort of... that means that in the near future I will probably sell my Kala tenor.

guitharsis
07-09-2012, 11:54 PM
Concert is my favorite size and what I play mostly. When I play one of my sopranos, have a KoAloha and a Kamaka, do appreciate the smaller size, the playability and portability. They sound great too!

PhilUSAFRet
07-10-2012, 12:11 AM
Tenor may need different strings, especially if your ear is becomming "fine tuned."
Careful comparing apples and oranges. Enjoy each of them for what they are and how they sound.

ChrisRCovington
07-10-2012, 01:32 AM
I love soprano. It is the original ukulele size and still probably the most commonly seen size. I played a tenor at the store yesterday and I just can't get into it. I have a hard time reaching frets I use all the time on soprano. Concerts are better for me but I still love soprano. Since I play alone on my sofa most of the time I don't need a booming instrument that can be heard over other players or other instruments. I am still flirting with the idea of getting a tenor to play once in a while and to push me beyond my comfort but there are too many nice soprano sized ukes I need to get first lol.

As for mahogany I love it, too. I've played different spruce tops, redwood tops, koa, maple, etc. and so far mahogany has them all beat. I like other woods don't get me wrong but there is a soft place in my heart for mahogany. It just sounds right to me. I think part of that is because when I think ukulele I think old Martins that were made of mahogany. Island made koa ukes are great and if such a thing can be said they are more authentic but just not the same to me.

Pukulele Pete
07-10-2012, 01:44 AM
The only real ukulele is the soprano , anything larger is cheating .

nohoval_turrets
07-10-2012, 03:28 AM
The only real ukulele is the soprano , anything larger is cheating .

Why do I feel like a bear being poked with a stick?

PoiDog
07-10-2012, 04:41 AM
The only real ukulele is the soprano , anything larger is cheating .

Yeah, I see what you did there.

Of course, you have to add that the only real 'ukulele is the one made from koa, as well. I mean, anything else just isn't legit ...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-10-2012, 04:48 AM
Yeah, I see what you did there.

Of course, you have to add that the only real 'ukulele is the one made from koa, as well. I mean, anything else just isn't legit ...

And made in Hawaii of course.

TG&Y
07-10-2012, 05:40 AM
I guess you discover new things as you go into your ukulele journey and go through stages...I like all sizes of my ukes and play them all.. they are as individual as people in their
voices and personalities..yes the soprano has that traditional sound I like too....I even have my go to soprano rogue right by my computer...it's not what it costs or who made it
you will soon realize....it's the fun you get out of it.....people tease me with fun about my rogue, but I can say it is my go to fav uke....Happy Strummings...
I learned it's not how many ukes you have or how expensive some are, it is when you connect with them...that counts...

My sentiments exactly. I like Jake just fine but give me a good dose of Gus and Fin and plastic ukes too. Talk about connecting!

Sound is a funny thing. Sometimes it's the soprano that sounds most alive in my hands and sometimes it's the tenor or concert that ring. Funny thing, sound.

kissing
07-10-2012, 05:56 AM
They do have different sounds.
You shouldn't be amazed, since no "size" per se should be ever assumed to be superior to begin with.

Tenor is popular because it is larger, and it comes with a deeper sound.
However, you lose the bright punchiness that is characteristic of the ukulele.
Some would even say that Tenors tend to sound "muddy" or "heavy", which is not very ukulele-esque.

whepper
07-10-2012, 01:43 PM
Thanks for all your personal opinions and advise. They were really helpful, interesting and sometimes pure fun to read!!! :shaka:

Dan Uke
07-10-2012, 03:07 PM
Depends on the songs you play...When I want to play Five Foot Two or some Hawaiian song, I grab my soprano...When I play anything else, I grab the tenor.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
07-12-2012, 08:41 AM
Yeah, I see what you did there.

Of course, you have to add that the only real 'ukulele is the one made from koa, as well. I mean, anything else just isn't legit ...


And made in Hawaii of course.

Cough cough... :shaka: