Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 37

Thread: Question -Is it possible for a Uke to be “overbuilt” resulting in reduced volume?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rutland UK
    Posts
    40

    Default Question -Is it possible for a Uke to be “overbuilt” resulting in reduced volume?

    My reason for asking this question is due to my recent purchase of a top of the range Pono tenor which I love everything about apart from the fact that to my ears at least it seems noticeably quieter than any of my other Uke’s whether they be Tenor, Concert or Soprano .

    It has a beautifully sweet and clear tone , bags of sustain is easy to play and the build quality is in my opinion second to none. To emphasise this I am lucky enough to also own a 2016 Kamaka HF-3D and I reckon the Pono matches it for build quality.

    However , the Pono as well as being quiet is also the heaviest of all my Uke’s by a long way. It is literally built like a battleship and it certainly feels like it . One example is the neck and headstock which if ever the word “overbuilt” could be applied then that is how you might describe the Pono.
    I realise that the Macassar Ebony is a very hard and dense wood and is used for the back and sides on this model and that this might account for some of the extra weight but it also seems to me that the Western Red Cedar top is slightly thicker than the tops of some of my other Uke’s , might this also affect the perceived volume ?

    Obviously when it comes to the weight issue you have to compare like with like ie Tenor v Tenor not Tenor v Soprano but I only own one Soprano Uke , a Mahogany Kepasa which is naturally much lighter than the Pono but is definitely also a lot louder using the same amount of playing effort.

    I guess what I am asking is , is there a correlation between weight and volume ? Does “heavier mean quieter “ and likewise “lighter mean louder” ? or is there such a thing as being “overbuilt” when it comes to a stringed musical instrument especially a Ukulele ? and if there is might the heavier build affect the volume of the instrument ?

    If there are any views from anyone out there who has some knowledge or experience of these issues I would very much appreciate hearing them.

    Thanks
    Jon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Gloucester, UK
    Posts
    555

    Default

    Hi Jon, this was my exact experience with my Pono tenor as well. I moved it on and figured I just didn't get why people loved them so much. Matt at the uke room has since told me that he finds Ponos need a couple of years playing in to really open up and I mildly regret not giving it time because, as you said, it was a flawless instrument.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
    Posts
    490

    Default

    I had a pono pro classic tenor and whilst beautiful, it was also the heaviest tenor I have ever played
    ~ "Music washes away the dust of everyday life" ~

    •••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••

    Location: UK
    Soprano - 2002 Koa KoAloha
    Concert - Ziegenspeck mahogany Sunburst sunrise • Kanile'a KSC-C
    Tenor - Anuenue UT200 • Sumi Kobo sinker cedar + ziricote • Kamaka 100th anniversary • Kanile'a KSR-T • LFDM ukaferri
    Baritone - Kala SMHB

    "Beater" no brand solid spruce + rosewood tenor

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    1,807

    Default

    To answer your initial question, I would say, "Yes". It is possible to build a ukulele too robustly, but I don't think that is likely to be the case with your Pono.

    I have encountered some prime examples of "over-built" ukes - usually made by folks who have previously built guitars. I remember two in particular. As examples of woodworking skill, they were impressive items, but they were about as musical as a kitchen chair. Let's just say, they would have been handy weapons in a bar fight.

    You say your Pono has a sweet sound and good sustain. That doesn't describe an instrument that is so solidly built as to be unmusical.

    I won't speculate on why your Pono seems quiet. Without examining it, hearing it etc. it is not possible to say. It it actually quiet, or does it just seem so to the player? Have you been in front of it while somebody else plays? Some ukes can seem deceptively "soft" sounding to the ears of the player. I guess that's what side ports are all about.

    I hope you can resolve this issue.

    John Colter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rutland UK
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate Jim View Post
    Hi Jon, this was my exact experience with my Pono tenor as well. I moved it on and figured I just didn't get why people loved them so much. Matt at the uke room has since told me that he finds Ponos need a couple of years playing in to really open up and I mildly regret not giving it time because, as you said, it was a flawless instrument.
    Thanks for the reply Pirate Jim.
    I am kind of gratified to hear you had the same experience with your Pono and it’s not just me ! I got mine from the Uke Room also.
    “Playing in “ Uke's , especially solid wood ones makes sense to me . I don’t intend parting with mine just yet as in many respects I really do like it.
    Thanks again.
    Jon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rutland UK
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    To answer your initial question, I would say, "Yes". It is possible to build a ukulele too robustly, but I don't think that is likely to be the case with your Pono.

    I have encountered some prime examples of "over-built" ukes - usually made by folks who have previously built guitars. I remember two in particular. As examples of woodworking skill, they were impressive items, but they were about as musical as a kitchen chair. Let's just say, they would have been handy weapons in a bar fight.

    You say your Pono has a sweet sound and good sustain. That doesn't describe an instrument that is so solidly built as to be unmusical.

    I won't speculate on why your Pono seems quiet. Without examining it, hearing it etc. it is not possible to say. It it actually quiet, or does it just seem so to the player? Have you been in front of it while somebody else plays? Some ukes can seem deceptively "soft" sounding to the ears of the player. I guess that's what side ports are all about.

    I hope you can resolve this issue.

    John Colter.
    Hi John,

    You make some very valid points here and I’m grateful for your response. I must emphasise that apart from the fact it seems to be on the quiet side I still very much like the Pono for the reasons previously stated.
    I will try to give it a listen with someone else playing it at my local Uke club - good suggestion, thanks.
    Cheers
    Jon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    SE Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    873

    Default

    I have limited experience with them but the Pono tenor I owned was far too neck-heavy for me. I chalked this up to the truss rod...which, in my opinion, was a perfect example of “overbuilding”

    If that had been the only thing I disliked about it, I might have kept it. But I also disliked the neck profile, the nut width, and the fact that, while it sounded sweet, it was lacking in volume when compared to other tenors I had.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,771

    Default

    My Pono experiences were similar, tenors MT and deluxe mango MGTD. Admittedly a small sample of only 2. Although both had great looks, tone & feel, both seemed to have less volume than I like/expected, although I never weighed them. Unfortunately, I'm not patient enough to wait out a long break in period, and not sure if that would have even helped.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 05-26-2019 at 04:16 AM.
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    SE Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    873

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    My Pono experiences were similar, tenors MT and deluxe mango MGTD. Admittedly a small sample of only 2 tenors, but both seemed to have less volume than I like/expected, although I never weighed them.....
    I did, though I’ve since lost the notes I took.

    I do recall that my Pono ATD weighed so much more than my Cordoba 24T that the difference in weights exceeded the total weight of the Cordoba. Granted, the Cordoba is very light, especially for a laminate..but you know how nice a tenor it is.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,510

    Default

    While I have read various arguments one way or another, in my experiences some of the loudest, liveliest instruments I have played were also the lightest. I tend to believe that while an instrument that may be slightly dead may improve some over time, I can't imagine it becoming that much better. I would lean toward an instrument that sounds great right from the start rather than hope that it will become good somewhere down the line.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •