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View Full Version : Pono Tenors vs. other Tenor Ukes



DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 03:35 PM
This is my first post, and I'm sure this has been bantered about to death (but I found no specific threads). I am a jazz guitarist that has caught the uke fever. I have a Cordoba 20TM electric and I know I can do better (intonation and tone). I am intrigued by the Ponos from all that I read (and I'm assuming they are an upgrade to my Cordoba). My question is this, how does a Pono MT compare tonewise and setup (mainly intonation) with everything else under a grand? Finish and bling are non-factors, I'm talking strictly player stuff. So, I'm trying to figure out if there are other makers ukes that I should seriously consider, or if stepping up the Pono ladder is worth the extra expenditure. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Although I live in the DFW area, with plenty of music stores, there are no Ponos to play. Best wishes from Texas.

Pueo
05-01-2013, 03:44 PM
I love my Pono. Is it important that your ukulele be made in Hawaii? Pono is the import brand from Ko`Olau, and I think they are great, but the ukuleles are not made in Hawaii. I think it would be a great choice for you. I am sure you are aware that everyone likes different things, so it is really difficult to make a blanket recommendation, but I guarantee you will like it much more than your Cordoba. There may be other ukuleles you like too though! Perhaps talk with Mim at www.mimsukes.com

Welcome to the forum!

CTurner
05-01-2013, 04:12 PM
I think a Pono is in the right (Koolau) family. You can get a fine tenor Pono uke. The ones I have played (and I have a basic concert model Pono) are all good players. I find them well made, really good intonation and easy playing (be sure where you buy from does a quality setup)
You might want to consider looking for a Koolau model: more money, but even a basic model would give you a step up in quality, if you wish. I also have a Koolau concert that I share with my wife and I would definitely say it is even better in fit/finish than the Pono, though it is also just a basic, flat finish uke that is a few years old we bought used. But there is no denying they are from the same family. : )
Incidentally, Paul Hemmings plays a Koolau ukulele and I think his jazz work is terrific. Maybe even write to him about his Koolau experience? http://www.uketet.com/index.htm

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:14 PM
I love my Pono. Is it important that your ukulele be made in Hawaii? Pono is the import brand from Ko`Olau, and I think they are great, but the ukuleles are not made in Hawaii. I think it would be a great choice for you. I am sure you are aware that everyone likes different things, so it is really difficult to make a blanket recommendation, but I guarantee you will like it much more than your Cordoba. There may be other ukuleles you like too though! Perhaps talk with Mim at www.mimsukes.com

Welcome to the forum!
Thanks for your thoughts. From what I've been reading, the Ponos seem to be very good in the under 1k price range, but I'm not reading anything to suggest that I should ponder other ukes. How do you suppose a Pono MT compares (tone wise and setup) to their Pro Classic? Is the PC really a better instrument?

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:18 PM
Are the Ponos not setup well from the factory ?
I think a Pono is in the right (Koolau) family. You can get a fine tenor Pono uke. The ones I have played (and I have a basic concert model Pono) are all good players. I find them well made, really good intonation and easy playing (be sure where you buy from does a quality setup)
You might want to consider looking for a Koolau model: more money, but even a basic model would give you a step up in quality, if you wish. I also have a Koolau concert that I share with my wife and I would definitely say it is even better in fit/finish than the Pono, though it is also just a basic, flat finish uke that is a few years old we bought used. But there is no denying they are from the same family. : )
Incidentally, Paul Hemmings plays a Koolau ukulele and I think his jazz work is terrific. Maybe even write to him about his Koolau experience? http://www.uketet.com/index.htm

Tigeralum2001
05-01-2013, 04:24 PM
Personally, I think Ponos are the best of the import ukes. When setup properly, they can hang with the "K" brands. They are very, very good.

I would need to know more about your price range and if you are willing to buy used before making a recommendation. Our UU Marketplace has some incredible deals in the ~1k range. However, if you say "I want a new tenor for about 1k" I would steer you to a KoAloha or a Pono and to HMS or Mim's ukes.

Welcome to UU, by the way!

Kanaka916
05-01-2013, 04:26 PM
I would seek the advice/recommendations of the vendors who frequent UU (HMS (http://www.theukulelesite.com/), Uke Republic (http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/category/tenor-ukuleles), Mim's (http://mimsukes.com/)). They'll be more than happy to provide you with info as well as answer questions you may have. You can even ask them to play a certain instrument for you so you can judge for yourself. I feel it's worth the time and effort to go this route. Here are some previous threads about the MT.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?43267-Pono-MT-review
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?58224-Pono-MT-vs-Islander-MST-4
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75585-New-Uke-Day-Pono-MT

bborzell
05-01-2013, 04:31 PM
I own a Pono ATDC (Acacia, Tenor, Deluxe, Cutaway). Even though I followed it with a custom build, the Pono is a keeper. The neck/fingerboard is well designed and I can play it endlessly with comfort. My guess is that most of the difference between mine and the Pro Classics could not be discerned in a blind test. In fact, the specs are the same as the much more expensive Koolau. But, there is no doubt that the Pro Classics are esthetically pleasing.

I play jazz with mine; great tone.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:32 PM
Personally, I think Ponos are the best of the import ukes. When setup properly, they can hang with the "K" brands. They are very, very good.

I would need to know more about your price range and if you are willing to buy used before making a recommendation. Our UU Marketplace has some incredible deals in the ~1k range. However, if you say "I want a new tenor for about 1k" I would steer you to a KoAloha or a Pono and to HMS or Mim's ukes.

Welcome to UU, by the way!

Thanks for your thoughts. So, comparing Ponos to Ponos, am I essentially just paying for bling when I move up from the MT?

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:37 PM
I would seek the advice/recommendations of the vendors who frequent UU (HMS (http://www.theukulelesite.com/), Uke Republic (http://cargo.ukerepublic.com/category/tenor-ukuleles), Mim's (http://mimsukes.com/)). They'll be more than happy to provide you with info as well as answer questions you may have. You can even ask them to play a certain instrument for you so you can judge for yourself. I feel it's worth the time and effort to go this route. Here are some previous threads about the MT.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?43267-Pono-MT-review
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?58224-Pono-MT-vs-Islander-MST-4
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75585-New-Uke-Day-Pono-MT
I think that's a good suggestion, but if it's like guitar salesmen, they'll be motivated by cranking more $$ out of my wallet. I most value players and owners who have firsthand experience with various ukes.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:38 PM
I own a Pono ATDC (Acacia, Tenor, Deluxe, Cutaway). Even though I followed it with a custom build, the Pono is a keeper. The neck/fingerboard is well designed and I can play it endlessly with comfort. My guess is that most of the difference between mine and the Pro Classics could not be discerned in a blind test. In fact, the specs are the same as the much more expensive Koolau. But, there is no doubt that the Pro Classics are esthetically pleasing.

I play jazz with mine; great tone.

Thanks for the input. This is the type of feedback I was fishing for.

Tigeralum2001
05-01-2013, 04:47 PM
I think that's a good suggestion, but if it's like guitar salesmen, they'll be motivated by cranking more $$ out of my wallet. I most value players and owners who have firsthand experience with various ukes.
What may come as a surprise is uke folks are very different from guitar folks. All of the businesses mentioned in this thread are more interested in earning your trust and long-term business than a sale. I've had one of these places talk me out of a sale because it was "the right thing" to do. Guess what, I respect them more for trying.

Uke folks are just way different. You will own multiple ukes, it is just a matter of when, not if.

Not sure of the differences with the MT, but I'm sure that is easy to find. Good luck with the purchase!

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 04:58 PM
What may come as a surprise is uke folks are very different from guitar folks. All of the businesses mentioned in this thread are more interested in earning your trust and long-term business than a sale. I've had one of these places talk me out of a sale because it was "the right thing" to do. Guess what, I respect them more for trying.

Uke folks are just way different. You will own multiple ukes, it is just a matter of when, not if.

Not sure of the differences with the MT, but I'm sure that is easy to find. Good luck with the purchase!

That's interesting, and refreshing. In the guitar world, Eastman Strings is my kind of company. Very, very good quality at a fraction of the price of their competitors, with quality that is often better. You guys be on the Lookout for Eastman's line of ukes they are releasing in June. If it's like their guitars, they will definitely be worth checking out. They look to be copy of Martins, and I'll wager that they will be better.

Kanaka916
05-01-2013, 05:01 PM
I think that's a good suggestion, but if it's like guitar salesmen, they'll be motivated by cranking more $$ out of my wallet. I most value players and owners who have firsthand experience with various ukes.
I'll have to disagree with you about their motivation. They've been helpful to a great number of the members here and they've never pushed a sale for the sake of a sale. As I said, it's worth the time to call and make inquires. I feel you'll come away with a different point of view. Just my dos centavos . . .

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 05:17 PM
I'll have to disagree with you about their motivation. They've been helpful to a great number of the members here and they've never pushed a sale for the sake of a sale. As I said, it's worth the time to call and make inquires. I feel you'll come away with a different point of view. Just my dos centavos . . .

Thanks, I guess I've had too many years of dealing with The Great Satan (Guitar Center) and I've become jaded and cynical..... :)

jjdejd
05-01-2013, 05:38 PM
I got my Pono MT-PC in February. It was my first uke. Played guitar for years. I love the ukulele more than my guitar. It's a easy instrument to learn after the guitar. I also had a couple of other tenors since. My only complaint was I felt my Pono was a little more difficult to play than the cheaper uke's. It came with two wound strings and two poly. I ordered it with a low G set up because I read several posts regarding tenors. I bought it from HMS and the set up was fantastic. It has a really low "action". I finally called HMS a few weeks back and spoke with Aaron. He said all Pono's are" high tension" uke's and since I ordered low G, it probably didn't help having the wound strings. He said they normally send them out with Mahana strings. They are a "tight-high tension" string. I really don't play much melody, I just like to strum songs. We decided I should change the strings to something with a little less tension. I got Worth clears and went back to standard high G tuning. It really made a difference. The low G made it sound more like a guitar. I have a few of those. LOL. Anyway, I think a ukulele should sound like a ukulele, not a guitar. As for the sound quality, I think everyone is right, mine has more "bling" but I'm sure the MT sounds the same. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your search.

PereBourik
05-01-2013, 05:38 PM
I have a Pono ATD. Acacia Tenor Deluxe. Major difference seems to be the closed tuners. It is a really good ukulele. The sound is big, the construction is sturdy, and the setup from Hawaii Music Supply is very good. They have online comparison videos to compare the mahogany and acacia versions. These people (HMS) are really interested in you getting a good ukulele, one of the best long-distance purchase experiences I have ever had. I've bought two ukes from them and have my eye on another.

SmilingPanda
05-01-2013, 05:55 PM
I would talk to Andrew at HMS. I got my Pono Pro Classic Maple Slothead Cutaway Tenor from them. Excellent setup and all through the inquiry process he was very straightforward in answering all my questions. He has even steered me away from ukes that were more expensive when he thought there were other ukes that would serve my needs better. The crew at HMS are real stand up people that just want to get you a great uke to play. If I recall correctly (and I may be recalling this wrong...) in addition to the added "bling" the pro classics are controlled a little bit more as far as which technicians/luthiers at Pono are allowed to work on them... or maybe that's only the 5 series... Talk to Andrew. You can email HMS or sometimes you can find him here on the forums. Great guy and won't steer you wrong. The HMS site is also great for comparing different Pono models. They generally have video sound samples of all the ukes they have for sale, so you can hear the ukes in question in action (well in a video at least) which is probably as good as it gets without actually being there. www.theukulelesite.com Really great info there.

As far as my Pono, I really like it. The intonation and playability are fantastic. The neck is a little thicker compared to some other brands I've played, but it's not a problem for my beefy hands, and I don't think it would cause problems for a guitar convert.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 06:00 PM
I got my Pono MT-PC in February. It was my first uke. Played guitar for years. I love the ukulele more than my guitar. It's a easy instrument to learn after the guitar. I also had a couple of other tenors since. My only complaint was I felt my Pono was a little more difficult to play than the cheaper uke's. It came with two wound strings and two poly. I ordered it with a low G set up because I read several posts regarding tenors. I bought it from HMS and the set up was fantastic. It has a really low "action". I finally called HMS a few weeks back and spoke with Aaron. He said all Pono's are" high tension" uke's and since I ordered low G, it probably didn't help having the wound strings. He said they normally send them out with Mahana strings. They are a "tight-high tension" string. I really don't play much melody, I just like to strum songs. We decided I should change the strings to something with a little less tension. I got Worth clears and went back to standard high G tuning. It really made a difference. The low G made it sound more like a guitar. I have a few of those. LOL. Anyway, I think a ukulele should sound like a ukulele, not a guitar. As for the sound quality, I think everyone is right, mine has more "bling" but I'm sure the MT sounds the same. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your search.

Thanks for your thoughts. I've wrestled with the low G concept, but I'm making sense of the high G, and I do think it is a part of the charm. I have way too many guitars, too.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 06:07 PM
I would talk to Andrew at HMS. I got my Pono Pro Classic Maple Slothead Cutaway Tenor from them. Excellent setup and all through the inquiry process he was very straightforward in answering all my questions. He has even steered me away from ukes that were more expensive when he thought there were other ukes that would serve my needs better. The crew at HMS are real stand up people that just want to get you a great uke to play. If I recall correctly (and I may be recalling this wrong...) in addition to the added "bling" the pro classics are controlled a little bit more as far as which technicians/luthiers at Pono are allowed to work on them... or maybe that's only the 5 series... Talk to Andrew. You can email HMS or sometimes you can find him here on the forums. Great guy and won't steer you wrong. The HMS site is also great for comparing different Pono models. They generally have video sound samples of all the ukes they have for sale, so you can hear the ukes in question in action (well in a video at least) which is probably as good as it gets without actually being there. www.theukulelesite.com Really great info there.

As far as my Pono, I really like it. The intonation and playability are fantastic. The neck is a little thicker compared to some other brands I've played, but it's not a problem for my beefy hands, and I don't think it would cause problems for a guitar convert.

Thanks for your thoughts on the Ponos. Man, a bigger neck would be nice (meaning wider) !!
I've certainly looked a lot at the HMS site, I've emailed several questions about ukes to them and gotten no reply, which honestly sits as a bit of a negative on the relationship building side, but their site boasts plenty of satisfied customers.

PereBourik
05-01-2013, 06:07 PM
Thanks for your thoughts. I've wrestled with the low G concept, but I'm making sense of the high G, and I do think it is a part of the charm. I have way too many guitars, too.

Just switched to Low G on my Pono tenor. Meh. It's a different sound, not quite a ukulele. Most likely I'll go back to High G soon. Either way, my Pono sings.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 06:10 PM
I have a Pono ATD. Acacia Tenor Deluxe. Major difference seems to be the closed tuners. It is a really good ukulele. The sound is big, the construction is sturdy, and the setup from Hawaii Music Supply is very good. They have online comparison videos to compare the mahogany and acacia versions. These people (HMS) are really interested in you getting a good ukulele, one of the best long-distance purchase experiences I have ever had. I've bought two ukes from them and have my eye on another.

Interesting about the closed tuners. Are you talking tuning stability or tone difference from the mass? I should probably contact HMS. I gotta say the distance is a bit unnerving, that, and the fact they haven't responded to initial emails.

ALing
05-01-2013, 06:12 PM
I wanted to buy a second ukulele (new to the instrument) and narrowed my choices to a Pono Acacia Tenor or a Big Island Traditional Koa Tenor.

Although I am a beginner, I found that both played well and sounded good. If I remember correctly, the Pono had a thicker neck and deeper body compared to the Big Island. The Pono had a wound C string and the Big Island had Aquila Nylgut with high G. The Pono had a satin finish while the Big Island had a high gloss finish.

The salesperson played both for me to help me decide. They were very, very close. At that point in time, I thought that the Big Island just barely edged out the Pono in terms of the sound that I liked. In the end, I chose the Big Island for that reason and also for the slightly smaller dimensions.

You can read a review of the Big Island Traditional Concert at the gotaukelele site.

Having said all that, I miss not having that Pono as well :->. I would have been just as happy with that one.

DBLtexas
05-01-2013, 06:13 PM
Thanks, I'll research the Big Island Traditional Koa Tenor. All this talk of bigger necks on the Ponos is sounding good to me.

jjdejd
05-01-2013, 06:15 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on the Ponos. Man, a bigger neck would be nice (meaning wider) !!
I've certainly looked a lot at the HMS site, I've emailed several questions about ukes to them and gotten no reply, which honestly sits as a bit of a negative on the relationship building side, but their site boasts plenty of satisfied customers.

Don't EMail them, call Andrew. There is something up with their email ???

Kanaka916
05-01-2013, 06:24 PM
Or if Andrew or MGM sees this post, they'll leave a reply.

PereBourik
05-01-2013, 06:44 PM
Interesting about the closed tuners. Are you talking tuning stability or tone difference from the mass? I should probably contact HMS. I gotta say the distance is a bit unnerving, that, and the fact they haven't responded to initial emails.

The "Contact Us" link hasn't worked for me. Andrew does have his email address on the site. Or you can private message him from UU. His username is AndrewKuker. They get busy with shows and other stuff.

Their site is extensive. But they're a storefront retailer on Oahu. Just a small bunch of guys trying to do the right thing well. It ain't Guitar Center.

Mim's Ukes also gets good reviews. She carries Pono and does good set ups. She'll do right by you too.

Mission Guitars
05-01-2013, 07:31 PM
I have 2 Ponos and can only say good things about them...great construction, much better than I would expect on an import. Set up was awesome too, but then again, I bought it from John at the Ko'olau factory...think he and Noa would let anything out of there that ISN'T awesome??? :)

SonSprinter
05-01-2013, 07:51 PM
If I am not mistaken, both ko olau and pono have that trust rod running down the neck.

AndrewKuker
05-01-2013, 08:57 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on the Ponos. Man, a bigger neck would be nice (meaning wider) !!
I've certainly looked a lot at the HMS site, I've emailed several questions about ukes to them and gotten no reply, which honestly sits as a bit of a negative on the relationship building side, but their site boasts plenty of satisfied customers.

Really? I answer emails all through the day. I recheck every hour. Sorry bout that DBL. Of course we'd love to help you or answer any questions.
andrew@theukulelesite.com (mailto:andrew@theukulelesite.com) (808)781-9168

Kanaka916
05-01-2013, 09:14 PM
Braddah, you one blessing in disguise. Always dea at da right time . . . Much Mahalos!

aquadan
05-02-2013, 02:06 AM
I think my pro classic sounds a bit better than the MT, but they are different woods, so it's not a 1 to 1 comparison. I think this video from HMS shows off the differences and similarities between the models.
http://theukulelereview.com/2013/03/10/hms-listening-booth-pono-tenor-in-various-tonewoods/

DBLtexas
05-02-2013, 02:16 AM
Really?
andrew@theukulelesite.com (mailto:andrew@theukulelesite.com) (808)781-9168

Andrew, honestly and truthfully. I emailed you guys twice in the last week or so. I first had a question regarding uke intonation up the neck and if they can ever be set-up true (for a fussy guitar player), then I tried again a few days later with some questions about the Pono models. I chose email, because, honestly, I'm not sure what time it is in Hawaii at any given time. It's all good, it prompted me to register at UU and get to know all the fine folks that hang out here. Best wishes.

DBLtexas
05-02-2013, 02:25 AM
I think my pro classic sounds a bit better than the MT, but they are different woods, so it's not a 1 to 1 comparison. I think this video from HMS shows off the differences and similarities between the models.
http://theukulelereview.com/2013/03/10/hms-listening-booth-pono-tenor-in-various-tonewoods/

Thanks, that is a very useful video. I think I actually like the mahogany best, and it also seems to show that the cutaway does take away some of the sound. All of them sound great. The cedar (or spruce) + rosewood has a somewhat guitar-like meatiness, but may not have some of the striking highs of the other woods. Certainly, when mixing woods, there may be more complexity of tone, but it may change how well it focuses. Recordings don't always convey the impact the sound has when you are holding it.

DBLtexas
05-02-2013, 03:07 AM
Guys, thanks for all your insights and hospitality. I just ordered a Pono MTD from Mims. Man, all the Pono models floating around are hard to keep up with. This one says to have an ebony fingerboard, but similar Deluxe models are rosewood fingerboards. Perhaps they are slightly different models that change a bit from year-to-years (?).

davidrboy
05-02-2013, 06:39 AM
Slightly off topic, anyone know how much discount gets applied to Pono seconds/blems?

Kanaka916
05-02-2013, 07:10 AM
Pretty sure it'll vary with the model and blemish. Best bet would be to contact the guys at HMS for availability and prices.

Pueo
05-02-2013, 08:23 AM
I think that's a good suggestion, but if it's like guitar salesmen, they'll be motivated by cranking more $$ out of my wallet. I most value players and owners who have firsthand experience with various ukes.
The refreshing thing about HMS and Mim is that you NEVER feel like they are trying to get more $ out of you. They just want to get you the best ukulele FOR YOU at your price point. Seriously. I have heard great things about Uke Republic as well, but I have not personally dealt with them.

Edited - just saw you made your order! Enjoy your new Ukulele!

PereBourik
05-02-2013, 09:05 AM
Guys, thanks for all your insights and hospitality. I just ordered a Pono MTD from Mims. Man, all the Pono models floating around are hard to keep up with. This one says to have an ebony fingerboard, but similar Deluxe models are rosewood fingerboards. Perhaps they are slightly different models that change a bit from year-to-years (?).

Good choice! I swung back & forth between MTD and ATD for a week before ordering my ATD. Sound samples were equal to my mind but my other uke was sapele (similar to mahogany) so I went for variety. Enjoy your new uke. I'm sure Mim will make you happy.

hawaii 50
05-02-2013, 07:40 PM
I have not read the whole thread but just wanted to add my 2 cents..

so many Pono's floating all over the place,,wow,,but you guys do know that Andrew(at HMS) is Pono right..haha

John,Andrews dad is Pono he flys out to the factory quite often to check on the Pono's before they are shipped

again just my 2 cents

bborzell
05-02-2013, 08:08 PM
Ok, now that the purchase decision has been made, let's get back to the important issue at hand. While you can certainly play jazz with a hi G string, I believe that a low G makes for better tone through jazz progressions. Obviously, people will have different impressions as to what sounds good, but the answer is both simple and cheap. If the new uke comes with hi G, get an extra lo G string and do sound tests between the two Gs with your favorite chords.

PTOEguy
05-02-2013, 08:18 PM
Thanks for your thoughts. I've wrestled with the low G concept, but I'm making sense of the high G, and I do think it is a part of the charm. I have way too many guitars, too.

I had to go through several string sets on my Pono MT until I found one I liked. I'm currently playing Southcoast strings and they are awesome.

wayfarer75
05-03-2013, 04:30 AM
Ok, now that the purchase decision has been made, let's get back to the important issue at hand. While you can certainly play jazz with a hi G string, I believe that a low G makes for better tone through jazz progressions. Obviously, people will have different impressions as to what sounds good, but the answer is both simple and cheap. If the new uke comes with hi G, get an extra lo G string and do sound tests between the two Gs with your favorite chords.

Funny, I just strung my Kelii concert with a low G Ko'olau Mahana set last night. (Bit the bullet!) It definitely sounds jazzy, really mellow, like a guitar. Now, I don't own any guitars, and since the OP is a jazz guitarist, maybe that's not the path he'd want to take with a uke.

But I like the low G a lot, and now I think I want another concert ukulele, or maybe a tenor. You know, to have one high G and one low G. *Sigh* It just doesn't end.

DBLtexas
05-03-2013, 03:23 PM
Ok, now that the purchase decision has been made, let's get back to the important issue at hand. While you can certainly play jazz with a hi G string, I believe that a low G makes for better tone through jazz progressions. Obviously, people will have different impressions as to what sounds good, but the answer is both simple and cheap. If the new uke comes with hi G, get an extra lo G string and do sound tests between the two Gs with your favorite chords.

Yes, I really knocked that low G issue around. I do believe that your point is very good. I went with the high G because I think the sound is cool, though it's limiting at the same time. It seems the problem would be that if I try low G I'd need to file the nut to accommodate it. I've been planning to go low G on my Cordoba and see which speaks to me more.

DBLtexas
05-03-2013, 03:25 PM
You see, I thought the same thing. Another uke purchase !!!!!

DBLtexas
05-03-2013, 03:31 PM
In the last year I've also acquired a Ramirez classical guitar, and the string issue with nylon string instruments is a major factor. Steel strings aren't so mojo laden. They tell me with classical guitars you don't really even know what you have until you've tried a LOT of different strings. I wll be doing my uke string research soon, but if it's like guitars, it may depend on the instrument and player.

jjdejd
05-05-2013, 03:30 AM
Guys, thanks for all your insights and hospitality. I just ordered a Pono MTD from Mims. Man, all the Pono models floating around are hard to keep up with. This one says to have an ebony fingerboard, but similar Deluxe models are rosewood fingerboards. Perhaps they are slightly different models that change a bit from year-to-years (?).

Do you know what brand strings they are supplying? Thanks.

DBLtexas
05-05-2013, 04:09 PM
Do you know what brand strings they are supplying? Thanks.

I'm not sure. I ordered it from Mims Ukes. She said that the strings would be settling in when it arrives, presumably she had restrung it, I guess. If there is no information with it, I'll email her and find out.

BBJohn
07-30-2013, 04:37 PM
Hi,
I have the Pono ATD, and I've tried Koolau Alohi, gold, mahana, Aquila, Aquila Red, worth Brown and worth clear( high density one ).
Among all these strings i found the Worth CH-LGHD the best on my Pono ATD. Excellent clarity, yet still brings out the sweetness of the acacia wood.

Leigh Coates
07-30-2013, 08:06 PM
I have a Pono MTD, and I finally settled on Worth Browns, the light ones. It really sounds great with those. I have tried lots of other strings, and even had it tuned to low G for a while, but went back to high G in the end. Wonderful ukulele!

ralphk
07-31-2013, 04:53 AM
My favorite tenor is an early Pono mahogany, and I settled on Worth browns, low g. A keeper.

jackwhale
07-31-2013, 10:11 AM
I'm another happy Pono owner. I love my Pono mahogany tenor which I purchased at gryphon strings last year. There were 3 in stocks and all sounded good...none were duds. I prefer Worth browns with this uke although Living Water strings are my new favorite on all my tenors. The cost was $220. Its not fragile and i can carry it everywhere. The neck is 'beefy' but easy to play.

bnolsen
07-31-2013, 10:27 AM
In the last year I've also acquired a Ramirez classical guitar, and the string issue with nylon string instruments is a major factor. Steel strings aren't so mojo laden. They tell me with classical guitars you don't really even know what you have until you've tried a LOT of different strings. I wll be doing my uke string research soon, but if it's like guitars, it may depend on the instrument and player.

That might explain why the small music shop down the street looked at me strangely when I asked if they had more than just the one brand/type of ukulele strings available. I didn't buy any there of course.

And with ukulele's it's not only nylon, but also fluorocarbons and then tons of sub formulations.

BBJohn
08-11-2013, 09:46 AM
Hi,
I have the Pono ATD, and I've tried Koolau Alohi, gold, mahana, Aquila, Aquila Red, worth Brown and worth clear( high density one ).
Among all these strings i found the Worth CH-LGHD the best on my Pono ATD. Excellent clarity, yet still brings out the sweetness of the acacia wood.

I post this like 2 weeks ago, but my new favorite string has changed.
Went to the ukulele shop and picked up a set of PHD string, and WOW they are fantastic!
From my personal opinion, i think they are brighter and offer a little more power on G, but no where as strong as the wound g, so don worry, they are not overpower.
PHD is now my favorite string and hope i find another new favorite soon :D

mm stan
08-11-2013, 12:54 PM
Aloha DBL,
Welcome to the UU forums...glad to have you here and posting....Pono's are great ukes, and they do sound good....getting into the 1000 range, you have many options...
second hand customs may fall into that catagory...you get a high end uke for a great price....take your time, do your homework and be patient for the right deal...and try to play before buying them....Oasis strings I like best....strings by mail have them..

Steedy
08-11-2013, 01:19 PM
Pono Tenors are magic. That's all there is to it.

Plus, HMS, Mim's Ukes, and Uke Republic are all top shelf sellers. Ya can't go wrong ordering from any of them.

PereBourik
08-11-2013, 03:36 PM
I have a Pono ATD. Its a wonderful 'ukulele. I have it strung with Kala Pearls and its a cannon. Rich tone, good intonation, limited bling. It's low g now but probably back to high g at next string change unless a miracle happens and I fall in love with low g.

BIGDB
08-11-2013, 04:09 PM
I'll give you all the info I can which is not very much. I played a pono soprano and I didnt like it at all. The Neck was thick the action was high it was a soprano so it could be different with the tenors. This one wasn't set up and that's probably why the action was so I high so if you get one order it from hms or somewhere that sets th up

GKK
08-12-2013, 07:38 AM
Pono Ukes are the Best in any price range, period!....

OK, I'm a little biased...:D

blue_knight_usa
08-13-2013, 04:08 PM
I concur. My first upgrade after my first uke (Lanikai that is still played by my daughter today) was a Pono MHT Deluxe. Beautiful finish and I put a MiSi in it and it played great. I sold it to get my first custom but it was a fantastic uke and if I had to suggest a nice upgrade for anyone wanting to spend in the range of the Pono's I think you would be very happy once you played some and found what grabbed you. Pono even sells some seconds I have seen that look so good, it is hard to tell but a blemish is worth hundreds off and it does not affect the sound at all (assuming your getting from an authorized Pono dealer). For 1kish, I would personally get a KoAloha or Kanilea and maybe save just a little more to get into those at a standard model. I own both K brands and play them both and they are fantastic. You can pick up a nice Pono for well under that.

Welcome to UU!


Personally, I think Ponos are the best of the import ukes. When setup properly, they can hang with the "K" brands. They are very, very good.

I would need to know more about your price range and if you are willing to buy used before making a recommendation. Our UU Marketplace has some incredible deals in the ~1k range. However, if you say "I want a new tenor for about 1k" I would steer you to a KoAloha or a Pono and to HMS or Mim's ukes.

Welcome to UU, by the way!

krstringrepair
12-03-2013, 10:13 AM
Hi I thought I would chime in here with my personal experience having worked at Koolau/Pono for many years, and also as a professional working musician. I ran the finish department at Koolau for several years, as well as the warranty and repair departments at Pono, and from a luthiers standpoint John Kitakis's standards regarding the quality of workmanship, materials selection and quality control has arguably set new standards industry wide for what ukuleles under 1k should offer. From a players standpoint, with the addition of a truss rod in all Pono models a few years back, all solid wood construction, highest quality tuning gears and individual set ups on each instrument (not to mention the recent addition of radiused fingerboards) the Pono in my opinion became the "go to" uke for gigging, touring musicians. I have always loved the pickup John designed with Dean Markley many years ago for its clarity and natural warmth. I remember John making a point of using four seperate Piezo crystals, one for each string as he felt that added note definition and balance to the ukes amplified sound.

As far as the MT versus the Pro classic line, in my opinion despite the obvious aesthetic differences the main difference to me is what the top is made out of. Cedar, Spruce and Mahogany or Acacia all have very unique and specific characteristics that one should consider related to your personal style. I always ask customers who are coming from a guitar background if they prefer Martin D-18s (Spruce and Mahogany) to D-28s (Spruce and Rosewood), or electric guitarists if they prefer Humbucking pickups (thick and fat) to Single coils (clear and light) and try to orient their ukulele purchase towards something with that as a frame of reference. If you are a jazz guitarist you might really enjoy the Koolau CE model, which is basically a little hollow body jazz uke that when plugged in can sound remarkably similar to flatwound strings on a ES-335, or with a little chorus like a mini me Bill Frissell.

Hope this helps! -Kilin Reece

Steedy
12-03-2013, 10:52 AM
^^^Great post, thanks for the info!

BTW, I recently bought a Pono ATD and I'm loving it! It plays great and really sings! :shaka:

dsummers
12-03-2013, 02:58 PM
Hi DBLtexas. I live in the DFW area also. If you haven't already done so, join the Dallas Ukulele Headquarters. If your into ukes and get togethers with the same like mindness you won't be disappointed.

Ukulele Eddie
12-03-2013, 05:06 PM
I'd also encourage you to check out the Cordoba 35TS, it is a tremendous value.

Teek
12-03-2013, 10:30 PM
I have actually purchased two Ponos from Kilin and been happy with both, most especially my Pro Classic, which I feel is really a cut above a more standard Pono. It's not just the abalone soundhole rosette and the slotted headstock low level "bling", the quality is getting into Ko'olau territory. I've had four Ponos and sold two, my six string is for sale now only because I need to sell something to help back-fund the Pro Classic, and decided to keep my Maui Music six awhile longer because it is more rare and I waited a long time to find a Peter Lieberman uke. The radiused fretboard on the Pro Classic makes a very big difference in comfort over any of my other ukes except my Donaldson custom, which also has a radius. I thought they were overrated until I got this tenor, they aren't. The necks are narrower but deeper and fit my hand better than anything I own and are on a par with my Martin baritone, they are sleek and very comfortable necks. If you want wider maybe Kamaka would be better. I'm a solid Pono fan, and I have had a lot of nice ukes and several just under $1K ukes, and my Pro Classic is my most expensive and my best so far.