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Thread: Acacia Pono vs Koa Martin?

  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Richmond, California
    Posts
    158

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    Pono evolution? Interesting. I had an acacia slot head tenor that was lovely to look at but rather heavily built and lacked the sound I was looking for. Sold it and the buyer loves it dearly. If Pono has made changes to a lighter, more resonant build that would be a good thing indeed.

    My limited experience with Martin did not encourage me. A friend brought one to me to look at. It had a warped neck and to the extent that there was no way to bring the action down to anything reasonable. We sent it off to Martin under warranty. My main concern was the neck blank they used, in that it had an area of swirled grain about halfway up -- an invitation to warping over time. The did fix it, but with the same neck wood. More than that, however, was the fact that it took them over three months once they had the uke in hand. We checked in every few weeks and were told that it was on the wait list for warranty repair. Three months is a very long time for a warranty repair.

    So, were it me, I'd play a few Ponos and if you like the sound go for it. The Pono I had was impeccably made and a very good value -- just not the sound for me. I'd be careful when it comes to Martin, at least with ukuleles -- I've the feeling the Martin ukes may not get priority in building or service.
    Robert Edney
    Robert@ElixirViolins.com

    Much more interested in playing the ukulele than making violins just now...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Nashville, TN USA
    Posts
    73

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    I have a Martin T1-K and a Pono acacia taropatch (8 strings, concert scale). I love both of them but several points brought out are accurate. The Pono's have a thicker neck that some love but a great sound and build quality. The Martin is my favorite however, the sound is great, build also with a thin profile neck and the thinner nut doesn't pose a problem for me on a tenor scale instrument. If I were to give advice, I would go for the Martin myself with the choices you have, but you definitely wouldn't make a mistake on a Pono either.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    413 in USA
    Posts
    593

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    OP, if you can get to The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA (I don't know where you are in NH, but the states do touch on a map), you should be able to play some Martins and some Ponos, as I did on Saturday.

    Check their website for inventory, but also call, as they can have some models that aren't listed. I just checked, and I think they have the Martin and the Pono that you are interested in.

    (That said, I have an Opio concert that is amazingly good for the price -- which is about that same as the other two ukes.)
    KoAloha tenor (Baggs 5.0) Godin MultiUke KoAloha Opio concert (Baggs 5.0) Ohana solid mahogany tenor Kala spruce top "travel" baritone Islander laminate tenor (Pono passive) Kala Longneck Soprano laminate 12 Makala Dolphins/Sharks 1 Mahalo soprano Partridge in a Pear Tree

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,151

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    Quote Originally Posted by robedney View Post
    The did fix it, but with the same neck wood. More than that, however, was the fact that it took them over three months once they had the uke in hand. We checked in every few weeks and were told that it was on the wait list for warranty repair. Three months is a very long time for a warranty repair.
    Maybe that's typical of production models under warranty? I don't know.

    I bought a new Kamaka that had problems when it arrived. To get it fixed under warranty, it had to be shipped to Kamaka, (HI), and as their website says:
    "Repair time is approximately four to six months depending on the condition of the repair." They stated there would be a 6 month wait when asked about my ukulele.

    It also has to be shipped back to Kamaka by the dealer you bought it from, which wasn't local in my case, and they weren't cooperative.

    I had someone look at it locally, but when they didn't fully fix it, I sold it to Elderly, so they could fix it and then sell it to someone as a used ukulele. I lost $ on it, but was never going to enjoy the ukulele because I had it for a few months without being able to play it at all, and it was a source of stress rather than enjoyment.

    Since then, I'm not sure that warranties mean anything, but maybe that was just a bad experience.

    But, I'm not surprised at the wait 3 months for the Martin, based on my experience with a different brand.

    I hope both of our experiences aren't typical of warranty coverage, though.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    NH
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    1,057

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveY View Post
    OP, if you can get to The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA (I don't know where you are in NH, but the states do touch on a map), you should be able to play some Martins and some Ponos, as I did on Saturday.

    Check their website for inventory, but also call, as they can have some models that aren't listed. I just checked, and I think they have the Martin and the Pono that you are interested in.

    (That said, I have an Opio concert that is amazingly good for the price -- which is about that same as the other two ukes.)
    Thanks for the tip, according to Google maps The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA is just under 2 hours from where I live. I'll head down as soon as circumstance and weather permit.
    Martin OXK Soprano
    Kamaka HF3 Tenor
    Eastman EU3C Concert
    Martin S1
    Martin T1K

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