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Icelander53
07-12-2014, 05:20 AM
http://vimeo.com/86688623

I don't have the capacity to put up a video or sound sample but I can tell you the sound sample above is dead on accurate to what was delivered to my home.

Cedar top, Mahogany sides and back. Ebony radiused fretboard. Strung with Ko'olau Gold Strings I'm perfectly happy with the sound and of course HMS did the set up.

I've played it so much that my fingers are very tender this morning. I thought I was over that. The strings have more tension than my Gretsch so it's definitely tougher on my old fingers but the sound is sweet and clear with just the right amount of mellow and mid range and bottom end for my ear.

I think I did good this time. I'll report back in a month or so and see if I still agree. Thanks for listening and sharing my excitement.

Jools1050
07-12-2014, 05:48 AM
Tis beauteous !

PhilUSAFRet
07-12-2014, 06:47 AM
Sounds sweet

coolkayaker1
07-12-2014, 07:13 AM
Sweetness, Ice.

I agree with Mr. Cromwell: "there's just something about mahogany". With a cedar top or not.

Enjoy it thoroughly. It will make you a better player. There's something about a fine ukulele--not just because I pick it up more, not just because it "looks" better to my ear, lol--there is truly something that makes me a better player when I play well-built, well-intoned instruments.

Love Ponos (except for the fat necks). I still own a couple of them.

Cheers, brother Ice.

PS I fixed it, cletus. You always catch me. lol

cletus
07-12-2014, 07:18 AM
... There's something about a fine ukulele--not just because I lick it up more, not just because it looks better...

Please tell me that's a typo.:wtf:

Icelander53
07-12-2014, 09:36 AM
Thanks everyone. I've found a new Luthier that works for the professional musicians in the area. I'm going to take it in to him and see if he give me some suggestions on other strings. I love the sound and look of these stock strings but the tension is high and it's brutal on my arthritic hands. I'm taking my girlfriends Pono in anyway as it's developed a buzz in the C string when plucked with any amount of force and I can't figure out why. Actually we are taking several other of our all wood ukes in to have him look them all over and see what he can do. That's the nice thing about my girlfriend having deep pockets. She'll think nothing of paying this guy top dollar to set them all right. She wouldn't hear of me chipping in. What a gal. ;)

Anyway other than that I'm in love with the overall tone of this tenor. So far at least. I have found however that when I try to do a full review too early the combination of enthusiasm and lack of experience will often have me giving credit where credit is not due. I've read back on some of my reviews with a little embarrassment. I was BSing myself just out of pride and fear of having not made the best choice I could have. I always wanted something a little bigger than life.

Anyway I'm withholding final evaluation for a month or so. I'll come back to this thread and give you a more mature and hopefully accurate report. Until then I can hope its going to get better the more I get to know it. Hey! It could happen. :cheers:

coolkayaker1
07-12-2014, 09:54 AM
Luthier's choice of strings would be good if he has much time playing and repairing ukuleles, specifically. Otherwise, it's back to the deep well of knowledge, a century or more all accumulated, of your caring pals on UU.

Dod you see the chart, Ice, of about a gazillion brands of strings and it listed their tensions. It was a pdf, I think, and on some thread within the past couple weeks. Does anyone have it for Ice? If not, a new thread asking for low tension tenor strings for a Pono should yield the chart.

I hope that your hands can accommodate to the generous neck of that Pono. Mine couldn't, over time (and I think it cost me valuable fretting distance on wide spreads, like 2nd to 7th stretches, because my thumb was way underneath that big neck!). Your experience, hopefully, will vary.

Your deep-pocketed girlfriend sounds like a gem.

AndrewKuker
07-12-2014, 10:44 AM
Anyone with a tenor or baritone Pono should understand this. If you take it to someone make sure they understand this capability.

http://vimeo.com/94290262

actadh
07-12-2014, 10:53 AM
Congratulations on your new ukulele.

Icelander53
07-12-2014, 11:06 AM
Anyone with a tenor or baritone Pono should understand this. If you take it to someone make sure they understand this capability.

http://vimeo.com/94290262

Brilliant. Thanks so much. I'll make sure to study it and then tell the luthier. YOU ROCK!

Nickie
07-13-2014, 01:13 PM
Wow, beautiful! Congrats!!!

Icelander53
07-13-2014, 05:25 PM
Played with some friends today for about three hours +. I am really pleased with the sound. Because the frets are high and the action low I have to fret gently which can be hard for a beginner such as myself but I'm working on it and when I do play that way it really sounds amazing to my ear. I think I'll be leaving the strings on that it came with and just work at playing relaxed and fretting with minimal pressure. Because really even though the tension is high on the strings or at least it feels that way I just basically need to lay my fingers lightly on the fret to get it to play clean and clear. I dig this Pono. I'm starting to feel very confident in that.

coolkayaker1
07-14-2014, 04:37 AM
Your Pop gave an extremely clear explanation of ukulele truss rod tuning, Andrew. Thanks so very much for linking it. I learned a lot. It's in Vimeo, so I have no idea if I can ever find it again when I need it (I have trouble finding past videos on Vimeo, for some reason), so maybe I'll watch it again right now. Great stuff.

Question: I bought a lovely KoOlau T100 koa tenor from a new UU friend, and it's superb in very way. Intonation is ideal.

Len mentioned that KoOlau's do not have an adjustable truss rod because Noa puts the proper relief in the neck from the shop. Cool enough. But, as Mr. Kitakis's video leads me to believe, wouldn't one have to adjust the neck at some point in the future, either from weather changes, moving to a different part of the country, or just with the passage of time?

Thanks in advance for any answers. --Steve

AndrewKuker
07-15-2014, 12:21 AM
Hey Steve,
I am in the rare mood of checking UU. My email is a always a mess of messages so I stopped linking comments from here like I used to. My apologies for any I missed. Anyway as far as your loaded question…

I haven't seen any production level factory (from anywhere) nail the curvature and set of a neck like my brother Noa does. Only the absolute best master builders pull this off…. always. The rest we consistently adjust (often with a fret dress)… with Pono 90% fine tuning can happen with the truss rod.

In our setup process I am so glad to have the truss rod that Ponos have. And yet I never feel it necessary on a Ko'olau. Plus, a Pono truss rod can cure a remote possible problem that warranty covers on a Ko'olau years later. And even still, it's a piece of cake (and inexpensive if not under warranty) on a bolt on neck like Ko'olau to do a neck reset even though I never (ever) see that needed even after 20+ years of selling them. One day Pono's will have that but to date they are dovetail much like Martin. I say that without fully knowing what Martin are doing at this point. I know much of their production moved to mortise and tenon when I was still doing warranty repair on them…But every production I only wish for a truss rod to fine tune curvature. More often than not….

Anyways, anytime you get something from us we are here for you with any issues for many years. That is part of what we offer and enjoy giving as a service we specialize in. And even if you didn't get it from us, if it has to do with my family and what they make, contact me and I will help as best I can anytime.

Congrats Steve. Ko'olau (especially those made within the past few years) are a level of instrument many are not aware of. Enjoy!

AndrewKuker
07-15-2014, 12:27 AM
http://vimeo.com/86688623

I think I did good this time. I'll report back in a month or so and see if I still agree. Thanks for listening and sharing my excitement.

Please keep in contact with us on however we can help along the way with advice and help in your journey. I think there are many ways to explore a Pono and the first is with string options. Look forward to working with you and thanks for your support.

PereBourik
07-15-2014, 04:41 AM
Please keep in contact with us on however we can help along the way with advice and help in your journey. I think there are many ways to explore a Pono and the first is with string options. Look forward to working with you and thanks for your support.

Andrew, thanks for posting the truss-rod video. I had the action taken down a little too low on my Pono ATD. A shy 1/8 turn of the truss rod raised the action just enough to make my arthritic hands happy.

coolkayaker1
07-15-2014, 04:55 AM
Hey Steve,
I am in the rare mood of checking UU. My email is a always a mess of messages so I stopped linking comments from here like I used to. My apologies for any I missed. Anyway as far as your loaded question…

I haven't seen any production level factory (from anywhere) nail the curvature and set of a neck like my brother Noa does. Only the absolute best master builders pull this off…. always. The rest we consistently adjust (often with a fret dress)… with Pono 90% fine tuning can happen with the truss rod.

In our setup process I am so glad to have the truss rod that Ponos have. And yet I never feel it necessary on a Ko'olau. Plus, a Pono truss rod can cure a remote possible problem that warranty covers on a Ko'olau years later. And even still, it's a piece of cake (and inexpensive if not under warranty) on a bolt on neck like Ko'olau to do a neck reset even though I never (ever) see that needed even after 20+ years of selling them. One day Pono's will have that but to date they are dovetail much like Martin. I say that without fully knowing what Martin are doing at this point. I know much of their production moved to mortise and tenon when I was still doing warranty repair on them…But every production I only wish for a truss rod to fine tune curvature. More often than not….

Anyways, anytime you get something from us we are here for you with any issues for many years. That is part of what we offer and enjoy giving as a service we specialize in. And even if you didn't get it from us, if it has to do with my family and what they make, contact me and I will help as best I can anytime.

Congrats Steve. Ko'olau (especially those made within the past few years) are a level of instrument many are not aware of. Enjoy!

I see, Andrew. Wow, that is a wonderful and thorough explanation. I understand your point about production ukuleles needing the tweak. And now I know also about the difference in the necks between Pono and KoOlau. I have to say, your brother Noa's skills at setting the intonation and neck are exemplary. My pal, also a Steve, was a professional piano tuner and restorer for many years. He did his super thorough check on the KoOlau T100 and it passed his sensitive ear, up and down the fretboard, glowingly! That's hard to do--he's so particular and knowledgable.

What I have noticed, Andrew and Ice and Pere, is that an instrument with impeccable intonation, action ideally set, has a playability and sound that is difficult to describe--it just sounds and feels "right". Not that I can tell when intonation is two-cents off on one of my lesser ukuleles by ear when I try to find it, yet when everything is intoned perfectly, the brain just says: "Yep. That is ideal." Something perceptible about the way it harmonizes between notes or sustains or something. Hard for an amateur to put a finger on it.

The only ukulele that I ever owned that was in the ballpark of this KoOlau is the Asturias supersoprano, which I still have and played last night! One of the ukes that I bought from your store, Andrew. It truly is a work of perfection, little known Asturias brand from Japan. A songbird.

Thanks again, Andrew. Appreciate your wisdom. I agree, these KoOLaus are the best of the "K's". There--I said it!

(PS I hope you got some voice-recognition software for all those emails you get. Either Dragon Naturally Speaking, or simple Siri on recent iPads works amazingly well. I send all my emails on it now, and even post on UU with Siri on my iPad now. Try it out on yours, brother Andrew.)

Icelander53
07-15-2014, 10:10 AM
Please keep in contact with us on however we can help along the way with advice and help in your journey. I think there are many ways to explore a Pono and the first is with string options. Look forward to working with you and thanks for your support.
Duh! You're that Andrew and that's your dad. How kind of you to drop in with more help. And thank you so much for taking your time to personally pick out my Pono and walk me through the whole process. I'm just so glad I went with this Pono. And I'm glad you got a laugh out of my answering machine message. :shaka:

Icelander53
07-22-2014, 10:40 PM
OK I'm back to report on how I'm liking this Pono after the dust has settled a little. I'm really happy to report that this is the best uke I've ever played sound wise and ease of playing wise. I'm totally thrilled and I like it more everytime I play it. I think about playing it constantly
There is nothing I'm not satisfied with on this instrument. This is my first major uke purchase dollar wise. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief that I scored beyond my expectations. That is truly a rare event in my world.

Yipee!:music::love::shaka::cheers:

coolkayaker1
07-22-2014, 11:25 PM
Your enthusiasm for that particular instrument is enchanting, Ice. You have expressed it well.

And unlike most of us, you can now stop the perpetual (and costly) search for the ideal uke, the uke that always seems around the next corner. Yet once there, the corner yields another ukulele with its own set of satisfying strengths, rather mitigated by its unique short-comings. So we seek another corner to round.

You can be the rare bird, indeed: the man who owns and loves, and plays, one ukulele.

DownUpDave
07-23-2014, 01:43 AM
OK I'm back to report on how I'm liking this Pono after the dust has settled a little. I'm really happy to report that this is the best uke I've ever played sound wise and ease of playing wise. I'm totally thrilled and I like it more everytime I play it. I think about playing it constantly
There is nothing I'm not satisfied with on this instrument. This is my first major uke purchase dollar wise. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief that I scored beyond my expectations. That is truly a rare event in my world.

Yipee!:music::love::shaka::cheers:

I really do enjoy reading your posts. Your journey through ukedom has been well documented, remember when you thought laminates with Aquila strings were as good as anything out there. That is not a put down, as a newbie myself I was in a similar camp.:-)I think my Gretsch sounds good, and it does till played next to my Howlett or Koaloha. Thanks for sharing all your adventures with this great instrument and I am so glad you found a stellar ukulele. PS, it has a lot to do with who you buy it from and the care and set up it receives before being shipped.

Icelander53
07-23-2014, 03:58 AM
Glad to know I'm entertaining at least. :cheers:

And yes you're certainly correct about how incorrect I can be.

DownUpDave
07-23-2014, 04:04 AM
Glad to know I'm entertaining at least. :cheers:

And yes you're certainly correct about how incorrect I can be.

Dude I wrote the book on incorrect. If not for making mistakes I would not learn a thing :wtf::wallbash:

chuck in ny
07-23-2014, 04:22 AM
kind of a classic architecture, that mahogany and cedar.