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Thread: Need advice on Ohana BK-35CGE baritone cutaway opinions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Need advice on Ohana BK-35CGE baritone cutaway opinions

    Hi all, i posted this in Uke Buying Tips a week ago but got no response.
    Maybe it got buried, so I'll try posting here to see if it's more visiable.

    original message below, hope i can get some feedback.


    Owners of the new Marcy Marxer Ohana BK-35CG and CGE cutaway models, or people who have played and heard it, please help!
    I've been searching for a solid wood cutaway baritone with a deep lush soft but clear tone and great sustain for awhile, and am really interested in this Ohana model.

    anyone who owns this, have played it, give some honest opinions?

    So many baris out there, i've only played a few Kalas, Ponos, Cordobas, One other Ohana, Kohala, and the really amazing Favilla. All are nice.

    Please give your opinions, more in-depth review if possible, as the ones i've found online are really lacking, just surface level demos, and not quite getting deep enough into it. Any video clips I've seen so far just have strumming, but no finger-picked examples.

    I'd like to add, if you are also the owners of / have played the Mainland Red Cedar Baritones, or the new Kala solid spruce / ebony cutaway baritones, and can compare those against the Ohana baritone, please share your opinions too! Greatly appreciated!

    I am also considering the Mainland Red Cedar Baritone. But from what i can tell so far, for my style of playing and ear, the Ohana might be better for me. My style is fingerstyle, jazz, some classical. For Baritones, i don't usually strum, but i do finger pick single notes and chords a lot if that helps.

    I just want to avoid harsh and shrill tones.

    thanks so much!

    "Having multiple ukes is like being a blind artist gaining back our sight and re-discovering a wonderful world and palette full of color.
    Uke had me at Aloha." - FuzzeeSock

  2. #2
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    Default

    No replies........could be because you are asking a very specific question.

    I have 2 baris, a Kala cedar topped & a Lani spruce topped, neither of which have any 'harsh or shrill' tones.

    The length of stings give good sustain, & the size & depth of body give good deep tones.

    Also strings can make a difference, I use fluorocarbon, because I like them, but wound work well too.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    I have the Ohana BK-35CG cutaway baritone. Its sound is a little too soft for my tastes (not loud enough). As far as sustain, I'd say it's middling -- not dead, but not a lot either. My biggest issue is its intonation. When tuned, everything below the fifth fret is in tune, but as soon as you play chords on the fifth fret or higher, the intonation is off. I believe it's the second and third string where it's most noticeable. Of my two baris, the Kala is better made, sounds stronger, and has good intonation.

    On the plus side, I like the Ohana's thin neck. The neck on the Kala is really thick, making it difficult to play certain chords. I hope this is helpful.

    My playing style is similar to yours. I play almost entirely finger picking -- some classical music, some standards. I do very little strumming.

    Sorry, I should add, I don't know if mine is a Marcy Marxer model. I bought mine about a year ago.
    Last edited by John boy; 11-12-2019 at 06:49 AM.
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned F-Bb-D-G w/Worth Browns)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned D-G-B-E w Worth Browns)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (tuned A-D-F#-B w/Savarez classical guitar strings)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Thank you John Boy and Keith for the responses so far. I appreciate it!

    True, the Kala baris have been really good, whatever ones I've tried. Even Mim has told me she thought the Kalas were better overall.
    It's a pity, since the Ohana BK-35CG is very classy and elegant looking, and with that cutaway. There aren't many choices when it comes to Baris with cutaways.
    John that's very helpful indeed, from someone who actually owns it. Yes, yours is considered the Marcy Marxer model as it did come out last year, and the BK35s with cutaways are the Marxer model, either with or without pickup.

    It's interesting to note your own experience. The folks at Elderly tell me that model has plenty of projection and sustain. Ohana themselves say so also. Then the only 2-3 clips i've found on Youtube also say they're loud and sustaining. Sounds like it did on those clips. But i didn't see them fingerpick it enough to really know. Maybe you got a not so good one? Where did you buy yours from and did it include pro setup? Maybe the shop didn't fix the intonation issues before sending to you?
    Mim did tell me she stopped selling Baritones also because they all had bad neck problems, which then contributes to bad intonation too I guess.

    But as you pointed out, that's one other reason i gravitate to the Ohana also because the neck is thinner than the Kalas. I also noticed in the specs it has around half inch shorter scale than most baritones, which for me is a plus.

    well thank you, this helps.

    Any of you play the Mainland Red Cedar Baritone? how about that one?

    "Having multiple ukes is like being a blind artist gaining back our sight and re-discovering a wonderful world and palette full of color.
    Uke had me at Aloha." - FuzzeeSock

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    As far as projection, I guess it's hard to talk in absolutes. My Kala projects really well, so maybe the Ohana just seems quiet compared to that. Perhaps if I only had the Ohana to go on, I'd think it was louder. It also could be the strings, I suppose. I've got Worth Browns on it, which I like very much, but perhaps those strings aren't a good match for that uke.

    The shop I bought it from (a local retailer near me, in Concord California) didn't set it up. So perhaps a good setup could help the intonation. I haven't dived in and tried to fix it myself, though I may at some point.

    I haven't played the Mainland bari, so I can't comment on that.

    If I can think of any other info that seems relevant, I'll post it right here. Good luck with your choice. On bari's, we just don't have as many options as the smaller sizes. Alas....
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned F-Bb-D-G w/Worth Browns)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned D-G-B-E w Worth Browns)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (tuned A-D-F#-B w/Savarez classical guitar strings)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  6. #6
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    Aug 2016
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    Seattle, WA
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    Oh now that i see the Baris in your arsenal, it makes sense your opinion on the Ohana! The Kala APB-CTG you have, isn't that their solid Cedar one? That's supposed to be a canon of a baritone, from what i've heard and read. So no wonder by comparison, the Ohana would be much quieter. Now it makes sense. That Cedar's got a ton of punch.
    On Strings, yes i've put on a few sets on my 1st Baritone, which was the Caramel CB500. It was a good 1st bari. When i had Worth Browns on it, it was very nice, but on the quiet side actually. Then Living Waters, which made it louder, but more mellow. Also tried Luthier Super Carbons strings and those are like the Living Waters, but softer tension and brighter. Finally tried the D'Addario carbons and that brought it to life. A lot of volume. So yeah, perhaps when i get the Ohana, would have to experiment with strings. As long as people don't think it sucks completely, it may still be worth it for me to get.

    "Having multiple ukes is like being a blind artist gaining back our sight and re-discovering a wonderful world and palette full of color.
    Uke had me at Aloha." - FuzzeeSock

  7. #7
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    Feb 2019
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    Right, the Kala is solid cedar top, and I think acacia back and sides, if I recall correctly. It does indeed project very well. Good luck with the Ohana, if you get it. Hopefully your intonation will be good.
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned F-Bb-D-G w/Worth Browns)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned D-G-B-E w Worth Browns)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (tuned A-D-F#-B w/Savarez classical guitar strings)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  8. #8

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    I've had my fair share of baritones, including most of the brands you have stated.
    As for a cutaway baritone, I had a Pono ABC- Acacia Baritone Pro Classic- Cedar Top Cutaway back in 2013.

    Absolute best sounding baritone I ever owned - projects strong (can be heard against steel string acoustic guitar) and sounded like butter.

    I also had a Kamaka Koa baritone, which was beautiful and sweet in its own right, but the Pono had stronger projection.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2016
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Thanks for your input Kissing. Yeah i've played the Kamaka Koa Bari. It's splendid. Just beyond my price point at this time.
    The Ponos for me are just OK. Played a few, namely the mango and acacia ones. The acacia at the shop near me had a cutaway. But i found the neck a bit chunky, and sound a bit dead.
    But never played the pro classic cedar, as that one seems to be a whole other animal. Sounds amazing from what i've heard online. Must be the cedar too.

    thanks everyone, looks like i'll just have to bite the bullet and see for myself, when the Ohana is ready in late December. I'll get it and then I will know. If it doesn't live up to what I want, then i'll try others.

    cheerio!

    "Having multiple ukes is like being a blind artist gaining back our sight and re-discovering a wonderful world and palette full of color.
    Uke had me at Aloha." - FuzzeeSock

  10. #10

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    Sent you a PM

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