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Thread: Pono has “guitar-like” sound??

  1. #11
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    Ukuleles will always sound different from guitars: only four strings, shorter strings, strings tuned to a higher pitch, absence of bass strings, much smaller resonating chamber, re-entrant tuning. The guitar comparisons are probably being drawn because of the high quality of these ukuleles, not because they sound exactly like a guitar.

    If you want a modern version of the traditional Hawaiian instrument, Pono is just about as close to authentic as you can get without shelling out additional clams for a K brand.

    Of course, for traditional, go with a solid koa body. In my mind a "classic" uke sound also incorporates nylon or catgut strings, with their characteristic mellowness of tone. For less sustain and less volume, go with a shorter scale length.

    I wouldn't worry that you will find too much overlap between your classical guitar and a nice Pono ukulele. They are very similar, yet very different creatures.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackLuis View Post
    String it reentrant and you'll get a Uke sound. Even my Baritone strung dGBE sounds like a Uke.
    ^^^^^ This
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    Ukuleles will always sound different from guitars: only four strings, shorter strings, strings tuned to a higher pitch, absence of bass strings, much smaller resonating chamber, re-entrant tuning. The guitar comparisons are probably being drawn because of the high quality of these ukuleles, not because they sound exactly like a guitar.

    If you want a modern version of the traditional Hawaiian instrument, Pono is just about as close to authentic as you can get without shelling out additional clams for a K brand.

    Of course, for traditional, go with a solid koa body. In my mind a "classic" uke sound also incorporates nylon or catgut strings, with their characteristic mellowness of tone. For less sustain and less volume, go with a shorter scale length.

    I wouldn't worry that you will find too much overlap between your classical guitar and a nice Pono ukulele. They are very similar, yet very different creatures.

    This is an excellent point.

    And what does "guitar" sound like to people anyway?
    There are guitars that sound mellow and deep, and there are those that sound trebly and bright.
    There are guitars with loads of sustain, and those with less.

    End of the day, ukulele and classical guitar are closely related instruments.
    They are both made of various tonewoods, often the same tonewoods.
    They both use strings of the same materials.

    Of course they're going to sound similar.

    Which is why in my previous post, I emphasised all ukes sound a bit like guitar, and likewise guitars just sound like huge ukuleles.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    I recently bought myself a KoAloha Opio acacia long neck concert & it has a lovely clear tone, (& I have a low G on it) - it sounds nothing like a regular guitar.


    Quote Originally Posted by UkerDanno View Post
    Some people want an ukulele that sounds like a guitar, don't know why. If you get a large bodied tenor (typical Pono) with low G, it will have a deeper, fuller guitar-like sound. Normal size tenor with high G will certainly have an ukulele sound. Concert and soprano sizes will be more "ukulele like". And as mentioned above, a long neck concert would be more ukulele like.
    This is really good info for me. I wish I was within 3000 miles of a Uke shop to ‘experience’ the sounds myself, but since I’m not, I’m trying to learn as much from this forum as I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    As someone who likes a "guitar-like" sound in a uke, I would say that it is in lack of better words to say that a uke has a full, deep sound with long sustain, as opposed to that typically punchy uke sound.

    As Danno pointed out, this correlates to the bigger uke sizes. It is true for the Pono tenors with their wide and deep bodies, whereas their concerts and sopranos sound more uke-ish.

    A lot of it will also have to do with string choices (and with reentrant tuning versus linear or low G). Wound bass strings will usually increase that "guitar-like" sound, whereas the Opio ukes come with all unwound strings. Other than that, the Opio tenors have a similarly wide and deep body as Pono and sound just as full and deep to me.
    Also very helpful! So I think perhaps I should focus more on a Concert, Super Concert, or Super Soprano instead of the Tenor size like I originally was looking for.

    I love my guitar and its ‘sound’, I’m exploring the Uke to add a different layer of sound to my fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackLuis View Post
    String it reentrant and you'll get a Uke sound. Even my Baritone strung dGBE sounds like a Uke.
    Now I need to look up what that means . . . Thank you for pointing out how the strings can drastically affect the same instrument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uke Don View Post
    As an owner of an all acacia Pono tenor, I'd say that is not accurate. Strung re-entrant it sounds like a uke. With a better quality solid instrument, regardless of brand, you will get better sustain and clearer note separation. But an instrument the size of a uke is never going to sound like a guitar. As a side note, Ponos normally ship with Koolau strings with a wound 3rd. Change them out to all nonwound and you will get a more true uke sound.
    Great . . . Now I think a Pono concert could be the sweet spot for me. I may post a WTB in the marketplace.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MopMan View Post
    Ukuleles will always sound different from guitars: only four strings, shorter strings, strings tuned to a higher pitch, absence of bass strings, much smaller resonating chamber, re-entrant tuning. The guitar comparisons are probably being drawn because of the high quality of these ukuleles, not because they sound exactly like a guitar.

    If you want a modern version of the traditional Hawaiian instrument, Pono is just about as close to authentic as you can get without shelling out additional clams for a K brand.

    Of course, for traditional, go with a solid koa body. In my mind a "classic" uke sound also incorporates nylon or catgut strings, with their characteristic mellowness of tone. For less sustain and less volume, go with a shorter scale length.

    I wouldn't worry that you will find too much overlap between your classical guitar and a nice Pono ukulele. They are very similar, yet very different creatures.
    You all have been very helpful. I’m walking into this blindfolded since I have zero access to Ukuleles right now (except for a horrid Mahalo Soprano that a kid here has). You’ve helped seal the deal. I’m going to post a WTB and see if someone has a Pono they’d sell in my meager budget. The cool thing is, my bride said that if I take this seriously, that in the future she’d be fine with me getting a better instrument. So hopefully I will see a beautiful Koa instrument some year in my future!

    And your last comment about not worrying about overlap . . . Very helpful. Thanks!

  6. #16
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    I think a guitar sounds like my Pono.

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