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Thread: Which should i get? KIWAYA laminated longneck or PONO solid mahogany

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Question Which should i get? KIWAYA laminated longneck or PONO solid mahogany

    Hi,

    I came across an almost brand new pre-owned PONO full solid mahogany soprano uku and a KIWAYA KSU-1L soprano long neck uku. They both have similar satin finish. Both cost about the same.

    The PONO deal seems good price for a solid uku and its reputable brand. However read the neck is bit beefier. (I love my koaloha's concert neck. Find ny kanilea concert neck too thin to play. But i am only 1 uku year old. So not sure about my own judgement. Play sing-along and strum as well as finger picking) And read that PONO soprano tend to be quieter.

    The Kiwaya model has good review from gotaukulele. Also learn their overall quaility are generally good.

    I am not particular whether it's solid or laminate. Looking for a soprano with nice tone, sustain and good playability that I'd enjoy to play. I am not able to try any of them as they are selling online abroad. What would u recommend? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    If you find your Kanile'a concert neck is too thin...

    and if its neck carve is similar to that on my Kanile'a Islander tenor....

    and if the Kiwaya KSU-1L has a similar neck carve to my Kiwaya KTC-1

    - then my guess is you will not like the Kiwaya.

    My Kiwaya's neck is substantially slimmer (front to back) than the neck on my Islander. Far slimmer than can be attributed to the size difference. Kiwaya makes wicked fast necks ... I love them!
    Bruko No. 6 soprano
    Kiwaya KTS-4 soprano
    Mainland Mahogany Classic soprano
    Mainland Red Cedar soprano
    Ohana SK-28 soprano
    Cahaya CY-0112 concert
    Kiwaya KTC-1 concert
    Musicguymic's "Kolohe" brand - prototype concert
    Cordoba 24T tenor
    Kanilea Islander MST-4 tenor
    Cordoba 24B baritone

  3. #3
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    Personally, I'd be looking at the long neck soprano, especially if you liked what you saw & heard on 'Got A Ukelele', (Baz says it how he finds it).

    I found the concert scale better for picking tunes, & it will likely to have a bit more sustain.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    1,192

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    I can't directly compare the two, but in my experiences, Kiwayas are great players and sound terrific. Playability and intonation are great. Their laminates sound better than many solid instruments out there.

  5. #5
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    A couple of months ago I ordered a Pono Mahogany soprano that had setup from the seller. I have a Koaloha concert. I could not stand the Pono (forced myself to play it for 15 minutes to give it a better test). It sounded way too soft (almost muted). But the worst thing was the intonation on the C scale was off on some of the notes especially the B note on the A string so any G chord sounded off and thuddy. Sent it back.

    Kiwaya has been on my short list for sopranos, but I was able to get a Koaloha concert used and have not tried the Kiwaya in person. (The soprano is like a sibling to the concert) in sound and playability.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2016
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    That made in China Kiwaya will be quite different than the those made in Japan. The laminate Kiwaya have a different neck profile than the solid wood ones, and I imagine the laminate made in China will have a different neck than either of the others. If you are expecting the made in China one to be similar to either a solid or laminate one made in Japan, I think you might be disappointed. It will be nothing like as nice as a solid wood one. I haven't any experience with Pono.
    Kala KA-ASAC acacia baritone
    Tiny Tenor spruce/mahogany
    Kiwaya KTC-2 mahogany concert
    Loprinzi AM mahogany soprano
    aNueNue Khaya I mahogany soprano
    Flight Travel soprano

  7. #7
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    If you live in a dry climate, don't get the solid wood Pono, unless you vow to protect it. If the neck it too thick, you can always have a luthier take it down. Then you can have exactly the shape you want.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziret View Post
    That made in China Kiwaya will be quite different than the those made in Japan. The laminate Kiwaya have a different neck profile than the solid wood ones, and I imagine the laminate made in China will have a different neck than either of the others. If you are expecting the made in China one to be similar to either a solid or laminate one made in Japan, I think you might be disappointed. It will be nothing like as nice as a solid wood one. I haven't any experience with Pono.
    Teri has a good point here. The newer, lower priced Kiwaya laminates, KSU-1, KSU-1L and KCU-1, etc. are supposedly made in China, although I've heard reports that some may also be made in Japan. I tried a KCU-1 concert, ordered from Rakuten in Japan, but origin could not be determined, since there was no mention where it was made on the uke. The country of manufacture should always be shown, IMO. This was my first supposedly MIC uke that didn't have, at minimum, the little Made in China sticker on the back of the headstock; not sure why, I thought that was a law?

    That uke was just OK, had blems, like the one in Baz's review (which I could live with), but did not have the good volume & tone like the one he reviewed. It was a disappointment, and went down the road. That particular uke was nowhere near the quality or sound of the 4 MIJ laminate Kiwaya/Famous ukes I've owned. Maybe I just got a dud, but the KSU-1L still has my interest, based on Baz's review.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 01-04-2019 at 03:17 PM.
    John

  9. #9
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    Out of the two, I'd always pick the Pono. I think they provide the best value, all of their instruments are made from solid wood with a very nice finish, you know where they come from (Indonesia), they are being supervised by the Kitakis family from Hawai'i who is one of the most experienced makers and sellers of ukes. However, I prefer the larger sizes (tenors and baritones) and to me, this is were Pono really shines. Still, the Pono concert I bought for a friend sounded almost as good as the Kanileas, Kamakas and KoAlohas I have had, and were built just as clean or even cleaner.
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  10. #10
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    Sep 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziret View Post
    That made in China Kiwaya will be quite different than the those made in Japan. The laminate Kiwaya have a different neck profile than the solid wood ones, and I imagine the laminate made in China will have a different neck than either of the others. If you are expecting the made in China one to be similar to either a solid or laminate one made in Japan, I think you might be disappointed. It will be nothing like as nice as a solid wood one. I haven't any experience with Pono.
    Hi Ziret, I live in Singapore where it has good humidity here. Solid wood instrument is easy maintain here. However, regarding reshaping the uku neck profile, I can approach most shops for professional set up. But having a luthier to thin down the neck of a ukulele, I might have to pay a bit for the service and find a very reliable store. Prefer not to buy a ukulele if that’s the trouble I might expect to resolve.

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