Why Mango?

Larry U

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Just curious...does the sound quality of a Mango wood ukulele override its ugliness? Honestly, it would have to be an amazing-sounding instrument to justify the appearance. I'd be tempted to play it either in the dark or blindfolded! I know a lot of you think they look great, but I just can't get over the appearance. It looks like something that was pulled out of a scrap pile that has been exposed to the elements for 40 or 50 years!

Have at it, boys and girls. Tell me why you think Mango is a great wood for an uke! :p
 

Jim Hanks

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I'll agree that some of the super spalted examples are "love it or hate it" in appearance. I would probably like it, but there are other options. It doesn't have to be ugly:

I currently have it strung in a reentrant D tuning that I feel brings out more of the "chime" of the mango:
 

Cluze

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It strongly depends on the mango. Some looks pretty tame, some looks pretty... interesting. I rather like the wild variations in the wood.

The sound of mango is absolutely great. Pretty hard to describe, exactly. Full and mellow is my best stab at it. Like koa, but more laid back.

My favorite thing about mango is that it is quite sustainable. Mango used for instruments is usually from "retired" trees from mango farms. They grow to maturity in about 15 years, but when fruit production starts to wane, the trees are felled and new ones planted.
 

Peter Frary

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I like eating mango. Almost everybody here has a tree in the backyard. But yeah, the spalted woods are butt ugly on a musical instrument. Kinda like a wearing a cheetah print in church...
 

Kenn2018

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There are different looking types of spalting. Some can be very eye-catching while others, such as on the back of my Pono Mango tenor, look like a spoiling banana.
 

Dohle

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I don't care for the spalted mango either but the curly/flamed is gorgeous. I've been really intrigued by a mango uke but there aren't really that many brands making those. I was very close to buying a Rebel Double Creme mango concert as some came available to a convenient shop for me but in the end I decided against it. Why? Because I know that ultimately the only mango uke I'll ever want is a SUS exclusive Kanile'a Manako concert. It's a bit too rich for me at this point but I know I will always lust for it regardless of which other mango uke I buy now.
 

MJB

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I like the look of spalted mango. But if you don't, there are many choices available.

mangouke.jpg
 
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Larry U

Larry U

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OK, I'll be honest. Some of the curly and spalted samples you all have posted are pretty nice. I guess what turns me off is the look of the plain mango without any interesting figuring or color variations. I have not heard or played a mango uke in person, so the actual sound is still an open issue for me. I'm of the school that says a ukulele has to both sound good and look good. If one of those features is missing, then I'm not going to drop a few hundred dollars or more on it.
 

Dohle

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OK, I'll be honest. Some of the curly and spalted samples you all have posted are pretty nice. I guess what turns me off is the look of the plain mango without any interesting figuring or color variations. I have not heard or played a mango uke in person, so the actual sound is still an open issue for me. I'm of the school that says a ukulele has to both sound good and look good. If one of those features is missing, then I'm not going to drop a few hundred dollars or more on it.

I will admit, most Pono mango ukes, for example, look really boring and dreary if they don't have any flaming.
 

Counter

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I'm not sure I'd call them ugly but some of the most boring ukuleles I've ever seen have been all solid Koa. Just plain brown with not even an interesting grain.
 

Dohle

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I'm not sure I'd call them ugly but some of the most boring ukuleles I've ever seen have been all solid Koa. Just plain brown with not even an interesting grain.

I have to disagree. Not that I think koa is always the best looking wood either but even some standard grade koa on ukes that I have or have seen usually at least have some nice stripes on them. Can't say the same about mahogany, let alone spruce tops.
 

robinboyd

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I like the look of mango as long as it doesn't have too much spalting. I've attached a picture of mine.

As for the sound, they don't sound any better or worse than other widely used tonewoods. Just different.

Anyway, if you don't like the look, there is no need to get one. Everyone has their own taste and that's OK.

PXL_20201222_040244987.jpg
 

rafter

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Mango has quite a bit of variety in its appearance, and it seems surprising to dislike all of it. I don't like every mango grain pattern--there's some that I do and some that I don't. I even like spalted mango, though I prefer skinny lines to blotches. I understand not wanting to buy something you find ugly--I wouldn't either. But given the variation in mango's appearance, I wouldn't think someone would think mango is always ugly.

I've heard someone complain that mango always has an unpleasant mushy sound, and between looks and sound, it seems like it would make more sense to dislike the sound, which is a bit more consistent and distinct, than it's appearance, which varies so much.
 

RosieKamozie

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Mango wood is great because it has so much variability in looks. Plain, flamed, curly, spalted, yellow, creamy, caramel, dark coffee streaks... Some is an acquired taste in looks. I love curly and flamed mango wood & I love my mango Ukes.. I think the Koaloha sound really works with mango tonewood. I saw someone describe it as “laid back Koa” and thought that was spot on. Perfect for mellow playing on a quiet sunny afternoon :)
 

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