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Thread: Help with a new ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Default Help with a new ukulele

    I'm looking to purchase a new one and here are my 2 choices.

    1. Pono mango pineapple concert size

    2. Koaloha opio super soprano or concert.

    I know they are the same maker but made in Asia.

    Just want to get opinions

  2. #2
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    No, Pono is associated with Koolau (custom ukes) and Kitakis family that also ownes the HMS. Opio is Thailand version of KoAloha that belongs to the Okami family. Both have different designs and building approaches and you have to try them out to figure which you prefer. Subjectively, Pono might be bit better value, Opio might sound a bit better ... or not.

  3. #3
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    A lot of people are going to be giving you a lot of ideas which will probably create more questions than answers for you. However, I'll just take your question as-is and answer that I would take the Pono

  4. #4
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    I'm going to be totally unhelpful by saying that I like the look of the Pono and the sound of the Opio...

  5. #5
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    I have never seen/heard what other people see in Ponos - but I have a KoAloha solid acacia in my collection, & I think it out performs any Pono that I've heard any day!
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
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    I absolutely prefer KoAloha's sound over Pono's. I own one Pono and three KoAloha.
    A day without playing uke is a day not well lived.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/lapyang

    Joseph

  7. #7
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    Chester, VT
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    I own the longneck Opio soprano, albeit with a spruce top. I think they are amazing instruments - mine is now fitted with a bridge pickup and I am thrilled by its sound, acoustically, electrically, its playability, workmanship and portability. I bought mine used and though I might have preferred the all acacia version, I am well pleased.

    I do like pineapple instruments and own a Kamaka soprano gold label - it is beat up but a gem. The resonance from a pineapple can be just amazing compared to the figure eight style. I do not have experience of the Pono instruments, they have a great reputation and following. Whatever you do get the instrument from someone who does a competent setup.

    However do not neglect the used market. None of my current instruments were bought new. I have never regretted my decisions. Make sure you get a good case!
    Kamaka pineapple soprano gold label - 1950s
    Kamaka custom soprano, gold label. 1960s?
    Mead tenor (round)
    Koaloha Opio long neck soprano. 2016
    Braddah, Mele, concert 1997
    Braddah, Mele, tenor late 1990s
    Bruko #6 soprano, flat back, pre 1980
    Luna tenor - laminate and to use as a loaner.
    Clarophone - banjo ukulele - 1920s?

  8. #8
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    Your selection shows that you did your homework: both brands will give you the best value I have come across on the ukulele market: Both are solid wood and build in Asia to the specs of Hawaiian companies who know what they are doing (instead of guitar companies who just add a little inexpensive toy to their line-up). I have owned several of each brand and would say that you can't go wrong with either one of them. Still, there are some interesting differences that you might already be aware of:

    - Pono has geared tuners, whereas the sopranos and concerts from KoAloha have friction tuners. Many people like them, but they are harder to fine-tune than geared tuners.

    - Pono uses a perfectly flat satin finish on their basic models and a glass-like gloss finish on their deluxe and pro classic models. The finish from KoAloha Opio, on the other hand, is kind of a semi-gloss with some open pores and dimples. To me, this is the one thing where they could and should improve.

    - The pineapple model from Pono is made from Mango wood, whereas the Opio is Acacia which is a close relative to Hawaiian Koa.

    My personal assessment is that overall, Pono offers a better value (cleaner built & nicer finish for a lower price), but Opio might have the edge in terms of sound.
    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

  9. #9
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    Opio, without question, but that's just me.
    Kathryn

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakelele View Post
    - The pineapple model from Pono is made from Mango wood, whereas the Opio is Acacia which is a close relative to Hawaiian Koa.
    Unfortunately, KoAloha does not disclose what kind of Acacia they are using. Pono, on the other hand states they are using "acacia preta", otherwise known as "monkeypod" or "vietnamese koa" or in english "rain tree", which is a recognized tonewood (though not from the acacia family of plants). In contrast, Kala is using "acacia confusa", which is an invasive weed the marketers call "taiwanese koa". But whatever the Acacia they use for the Opios, they sound quite nice.
    Last edited by merlin666; 01-04-2019 at 07:58 AM.

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