View Full Version : Kamaka HF-3 tenor or Pono AT5 - PC Acacia

12-20-2012, 03:43 AM
I am looking for a new instrument. I have been playing on a oscar schmit and it is time to move up. The oscar schmit sound is dull and the intonation was lacking. I have changed the string to Aquila and that offered a little improvement. I built my own compensating nut for it to fix some of the intonation problems.

I have played the Kamaka at a local dealer and find it to be a fine instrument with good sound and intonation.

I really like the look of the Pono and the idea of a truss rod. I have not had the opportunity to play one and am concerned about how the intonation is on these instruments.

I have been looking at as many videos as I can but as you know it is hard to tell.

If you have some first hand knowlege of both these instruments and would like to voice your opinion please chime in. If you would like to talk privetly you can reach me at dbarr15@aol.com Thanks Doug

12-20-2012, 05:53 AM
I've never played a Kamaka, but hear great things about them. However, I have a Pono ATD... not the pro-model, and the intonation is spot on! Not only that, the dynamics of the instrument are incredible. And another plus, you will not find any better customer service than Koolau / Pono provides. I don't have a lot of experience, but I doubt for the money you will find a better ukulele than the Pono... heck (my experience is limited), I doubt that you will find any better ukulele at any price than the Pono. I don't care if they are made in Indonesia. Just my opinion

12-20-2012, 07:16 AM
I sold my AT acacia Pono Tenor and replaced it with a Kamaka HF-3. The Kamaka looks, feels and sounds better to begin with, but since it is more expensive, thats to be expected.
The Pono I had was a regular AT model, not the AT5. If the AT5 is just an AT with bling, I would take a pass on it. Things like the tuners, nut, bridge etc are much higher quality on the Kamaka. If I played the Pono hard the A string would pop out. The tuners on the Pono felt cheap, especially after I had changed strings a few times.

The Kamaka case beats the tar out of the Kooalau hard case as well.

12-21-2012, 01:55 PM
I own Kamakas and my son has a Pono Soprano MS and the sound on the Pono is stellar. I highly recommend that you get one through HMS <Hawaii Music Supply>, they are very helpful and they have the "pick of the litter" as the owner is the son of the Ko'olau founder...they toon all the instruments they sell and will even string them for you high or low g...If you are familiar with some of the "k" ukuleles...KoAloha are typically the loudest...followed by the Kanile'as, Ko'olaus, and Kamakas <not necessarily in that order>. The Ponos are going to be like the Ko'olaus in design and sound and they are very rich, imho. I plan to own one of each <including a Pono or two>. Based on my previous survey, I have opted to get a KoAloha...and then start saving up for a Kanile'a or Ko'olau...and then buy the other one I do not have. I found a Kamaka HF-36 and a HF-38 for a smoking price...they were built on 9/2012 and 10/2012 and the price is really reasonable...but I am not gonna tell anyone so u go and steal my future inventory! :drool: