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Thread: Unimpressed with new PONO cedar acacia tenor....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Amelia Island Florida
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    620

    Default Unimpressed with new PONO cedar acacia tenor....

    My friend, a newbie uke olayer, asked me for a recommendation for his first quality uke......a tenor.
    I did a lot of research within his spend budget of $500 and made him a number of recommendations,

    Some PONO models, Opios, so on.

    He choose the Pono Cedar Top Acacia with radiused frets at Ukulele site and bought that, one of my “best buys” recommendations...or so. thought.

    Brought it over today for me to try it out and test run it. I had my Lopriznzi tenor cherry and my Acacia Opio to compare it to.

    First impressions....Nicely built, a tad heavy but not bad, fairly good looking not flashy but classy.....

    Played it.....really unimpressed.......very quiet, muted almost ....and the stock strings were hard and stiff as a two by four. I felt a little embarrassed recommending this model ( was wishing he bought the Opio tenor instead) He said “ what do you think” . I said mmmmm..........let me try something

    I happened to a extra set of worth clear tenor strings and I got some cable industrial cutters to get those horrific stock strings off the instrument and put on the worth clears....

    Result, It was MUCH MUCH better, had a voice now, and sounded failrly decent..HOWEVER, it fell quite short to my Loprinzi or Opio in terms of volume, sustain, sweetness and tone.

    I told him it would open up in time, and get better, and I was going lend him my tonerite vibrator to age the top for a few days...

    My personal lesson learned.....do not make recommendations to other people......they make backfire on you.
    Last edited by uketanzon; 06-16-2019 at 01:30 AM.
    Koaloha Opio Acacia Longneck Soprano
    Martin IZ commemorative Tenor
    Pono Acaia Taropatch 8 string
    Loprinzi cherry wood tenor (for sale )
    Southern Cross Banjo Concert ( for sale)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
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    1,833

    Default

    The best recommendation - although I know it is not always practicable - is not to buy any instrument unless you have actually seen it, held it and heard it. The next Pono off the assembly line could have been much better.

    John Colter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    CH
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    1,757

    Default

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I'd think that you made some very well recommendations, Opio and Pono are about the best value I have experienced in my twelve years of playing and buying ukes, and the model your friend bought has some of the best features you can get in this price range: all solid woods, a Cedar top that many people love, radius fretboard with binding, truss rod for extra stability as a long-term insurance of playability…

    Your description of the sound matches my own experience… with two ukes out of about twelve I have owned from Pono. Nine out of them are playing in the same league as Kamaka, Kanilea, or KoAloha, but those other two were sounding somewhat thin and tinny. I'm assuming that it is realistic for two out of twelve to be sounding sub-standard within the boundaries of regular quality control (build quality was still as excellent as with all Ponos).

    I totally agree that the stock strings are not doing them a favor, feeling stiff and sounding almost muted, like you said. I usually change them for Worth or Oasis and much prefer the 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
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    Default

    HMS has a good return policy if you're unhappy.

    My experience with new instruments is they go through a week or so of shock as the top flexes into shape and it acclimates to the new humidity and temperature. I bought three ukuleles, two guitars, a terz guitar and a guilele in the past 9 months and they all sounded dull and soft the first few days. My Romero Creations parlor guitar was especially horrid out of the box and proved to be a real screamer after a month or two of daily playing. Very discouraging but I knew they'd sound better once they acclimated and I installed the right strings. Indeed, they all sound good now. My Pono MT-E was twangy, bright and soft when new and I felt like tossing it out the window. Five years hence, it now has a full and sweet voice. Of course, the big mystery initially is how much will it improve after the top flexes into shape and it acclimates.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    You are comparing this Pono to a custom built Loprinzi and a Koaloha which is always loud. As you well know the strings you just but on it take about one week of playing to settle and sweeten in tone. As gochuggi stated the ukulele is still in shock from traveling through different enviroments. I find one to two weeks of constent playing and leaving it out of the case to let it acclimate allow the woods to relax and the tone improves. Good luck. Hopefully it gets better but as Rakelele said all instrument can vary from one to another because individual pieces of wood are never the same.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    264

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    Thanks for sharing.

    A lesson there for us all ...... only recommend what you have played.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    the wild west, Canada
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    I also have to give my brain time to open up to the new ukulele as well. Even when I got my Opio, I wasn't sure I liked it because the sound I imagined it to be wasn't the same as the sound it was producing. Once I grew accustomed to it, I like it a lot. I find that's usually the case with a new uke - I have to adjust my ears to this new sound.
    Glenn

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Port Hueneme, CA
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    Cedar tops are not for everyone’s ear. Cedar is a very soft wood compared to spruce, the sound may seem muted when compared to other ukuleles.
    Keep Strummin'

  9. #9
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    I too, only tend to recommend what I have personal experience of, but would add that some people do like Pono - I personally don't, & can't see/hear what others do, in them, but I'm OK with my Opio & Ohana long neck concerts - each to their own.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2019
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    All the cedar topped instruments I've owned—and I have many—were loud and resonant. Not a one qualifies as muted. The Kremona Coco I bought last Fall has a cedar soundboard and darned if it ain't the loudest ukulele I've ever played at any price. If anything, cedar seems to play in faster than spruce but I love the different but equally pleasing tone of both types of soundboards.

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