Concert ukulele with a budget of ~$450?

longtortoise

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Hello all. I'm considering buying a concert ukulele but I'm not quite sure what to choose. My budget is ~$450, but could flex some. I'm still new to uke and I've only played tenors, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for. Also, I don't think any local shops sell much other than Kala and Ohana (nothing wrong with that, I love my Ohana pineapple tenor) so I won't be able to try most models out, especially considering the pandemic situation. I'll likely order from Mim or HMS.

It seems the primary options for concert ukuleles in this price range are Pono and KoAloha Opio, with the Opio being slightly more expensive. I've listened to samples on HMS/theukulelesite and I like both. It's hard to tell from different musicians playing different pieces but I may have a preference for the Pono AC.

I do have a few questions that I'd love to get opinions on:

Volume - I've read some opinions that Pono ukuleles can be a bit quiet. Is this significant enough to be a problem? I sometimes like to play with a light touch.

Neck/nut - I've read conflicting information on nut width and string spacing for both the Pono AC and Opio acacia concert. Does anyone know these values? I am interested in a thicker neck and reasonable spacing, as I have long, thin fingers. My Ohana has a
1 7/16" nut and what I believe is a thicker neck, and it feels good to me.

What other ukuleles would you recommend in this price range? What else should I consider when making the decision?

Thanks much,
Alex
 

bellgamin

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I haven't played an Opio but I own several Ponos. I like Ponos -- they have rather hefty necks, and the quality of the wood, intonation, and craftsmanship is consistently outstanding.

HMS & AlohaCityUkes have LOTS of concerts in your price range. Both offer free set-ups & one offers free shipping. I recommend the Pono ACD concert deluxe.
Code:
https://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulele-market.html?size=7

https://alohacityukes.com/collections/concert
 

steveholt

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Anuenue AMM2 is another option perhaps worth looking at, depending on local pricing.
 

Dohle

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It sounds like Pono might be a good fit for you judging by the specs you mentioned. I wouldn't worry about the volume. They don't project quite as well as the Opios, for instance, but with a string change you can get decent volume from them as well. The stock strings are usually the main culprit when it comes to the lack of volume on them. The nut width on the Ponos is slightly thinner than the Ohana you mentioned but not by much. I have fairly thin fingers as well and my Pono Baritone feels very comfortable for me. The nut width on all Ponos that I've seen is 35mm which would translate to about 1 3/8 inches, I think.

KoAloha Opios are indeed another excellent option but the sound they produce is very different. As I alluded earlier, they project brilliantly and the sound is very bright and loud. I suggest you listen to some sound samples to get a feel of the tone. The aNueNue AMM2 is an excellent suggestion as well and has a similarly loud and projection-heavy, but still unique, sound as well, although I think that is more expensive than a Pono or Opio. Other brands you might want to look at are Flight and Mainland, although if I'm being honest, I think the build quality of those is quite similar to Ohana and similar brands, so if you're looking for something more different maybe look for something else. All that being said, I would have no hesitation to recommend Pono for you.
 

Skyhawk

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Romero Creations made some great concert size/scale ukes. Great sound and quality build overall.