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Thread: Why I Can No Longer Recommend Pono Ukuleles

  1. #11
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    The perceived value or beauty of any ukulele is a personal thing.

    If the buyer sees fault with an instrument, it’s up to them whether they will cease to recommend instruments by that maker to others.

    For whatever its worth, I agree with the OP that the stacked heel of that neck is very unattractive. I would also agree that, while it is a cosmetic problem, it betrays a level of craftsmanship and quality control that, if it became the norm, would put Pono into a lower category in my opinion.

    In other words, if that represents their work these days, then I think it is perhaps more accurate to say their offerings are a bit pricey for what you get, rather than the adhering to the old chestnut that Pono makes ukuleles that are of excellent quality considering their price.
    Last edited by Swamp Yankee; 12-04-2019 at 07:02 AM.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
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  2. #12
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    It seems cosmetic, to me. But if I were quality control there, I'd probably say, this neck is okay for a sunburst finish...
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  3. #13
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    This is a tough one. I actually kind of like the look of the stacked heel; but is one of the Grover tuners sitting a little wonky? Kenn, PLEASE know that my following thought isn't directed at you personally, but... it may be that certain merchants, upon being informed that a buyer is not real happy with certain aspects of an instrument (even though the merchant may feel that the instrument is decent enough), may prefer to just offer a refund rather than sending a replacement, because they may have found, based on past experience, that the buyer is likely to find fault with the replacement too, and then everyone's back in the same boat. I know from your postings on here that you are a reasonable person and that your concerns are expressed in very good faith; but I think we all know that merchants sometimes have to contend with that proverbial "customer from hell", and so they adopt a policy of "refunding" rather than "trying another one". Hopefully that makes sense and will not be misinterpreted as an attack on you, Kenn, as this strikes me as kind of a 50/50 situation.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    This is a tough one. I actually kind of like the look of the stacked heel; but is one of the Grover tuners sitting a little wonky? Kenn, PLEASE know that my following thought isn't directed at you personally, but... it may be that certain merchants, upon being informed that a buyer is not real happy with certain aspects of an instrument (even though the merchant may feel that the instrument is decent enough), may prefer to just offer a refund rather than sending a replacement, because they may have found, based on past experience, that the buyer is likely to find fault with the replacement too, and then everyone's back in the same boat. I know from your postings on here that you are a reasonable person and that your concerns are expressed in very good faith; but I think we all know that merchants sometimes have to contend with that proverbial "customer from hell", and so they adopt a policy of "refunding" rather than "trying another one". Hopefully that makes sense and will not be misinterpreted as an attack on you, Kenn, as this strikes me as kind of a 50/50 situation.
    The heel only looks that way on one side.

    I understand your comment Bill. No offense taken. I have paid restocking fees without a problem when I returned an Opio tenor that I did not like the way it sounded or the quality of the finish. Not to mention the return shipping.

    Every one of my Ponos has a stacked heel. It's easy to see that they do, but it doesn't jump out at you. They are all well made and terrific sounding.

    I have returned the uke, paid the restocking fees and accepted the 10% reduction for having a pickup installed as well as a heel strap button. No argument.

    Here is my yardstick: Is this an instrument that you will be proud of giving to someone else for a gift? In this case, the answer is: "No."
    I have no problem with a stacked heel. But the selecting a very prominent diagonal color edge such as this is just unacceptable. Add to that the light-colored streak and the builder who selected those woods to use was not doing his or her job. Poor craftsmanship. It just looks bad. And it looks cheap.

    I have an Ohana Cedar/Rosewood tenor that is designated as B-stock. The flaws are subtle and hard to find. It cost $100 less than the pono and looks much better.

    I bought this Pono as a gift for my niece. The build does not represent the quality I feel that should be that of a $400 ukulele. If they had said, "Oops! That ukulele somehow made it through our quality checks. We'll replace it." Again, no problem. But it was: "Return it."

    The fact that it sounds and plays good is not the issue. A quality product does both. I don't buy a winter coat that is warm but looks bad with one sleeve of mixed colors and a seam that is crooked. Why would I accept this in an instrument?

    I'm sorry. If this is the level of quality of current Pono ukuleles, then I will not recommend them, nor will I buy any more. I will get her a Mainland or other tenor that is well made and sounds as good. Pity, because I know she wanted a tenor pineapple.
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  5. #15
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    That stripe up the neck sure looks like a blemish to me.

    I agree that it looks like a QC issue from the manufacturer, but, shouldn't the dealer catch that in the pre-sale inspection?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    .....is one of the Grover tuners sitting a little wonky?
    Sure looks it to me. Little stuff like that bugs me, especially on a $400.00 instrument. Lining them up with a straight edge would help.
    John

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Sure looks it to me. Little stuff like that bugs me, especially on a $400.00 instrument. Lining them up with a straight edge would help.
    I don't think we should jump to such drastic conclusions from a picture, especially since it was obviously taken with a wide-angle.

    To the OP: Are you sure your niece would mind about that neck? She might have completely different priorities than yourself (like that she wants a Pineapple Tenor). Because again: What you are criticizing here is nothing but your own personal and strictly subjective feeling that cannot be generalized, not an issue of "poor craftsmanship" or "poor quality control" (as long as the visible line isn't a crack in the wood that can be felt and would disturb your playing). Would you really expect a builder to throw away a perfectly fine finished neck that has no other "flaw" but a bit of color variation, only because it wouldn't match some people's taste, while many others wouldn't mind???

  8. #18
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    I've looked at this on my phone, then checked on my computer to make the pictures larger. I feel like I can't be reading this right, but you're never ever going to recommend Pono again because wood is stripey and a vendor annoyed you? Mountain, meet molehill.


  9. #19
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    I actually like the look of it; the stacked heel is nice - to me - and I think the stripe up the neck is pretty. My opinion is simply that the only way to avoid such things is check them all in person, before purchasing.

    That being said, I'm not a fan of pineapple ukes, generally speaking, although there are exceptions.
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  10. #20
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    Interesting read. I'd like to offer my perspective as a Quality Control professional and a member of the American Society for Quality.

    Quality has many characteristics From a layman's perspective, it could mean good workmanship, durable, features, aesthetics, good value, and customer service. It could also mean customer loyalty and customer satisfaction, as defined by Joseph Juran, who is considered the guru of Quality. Since Kenn2018 was not satisfied for the reasons he stated, it falls under the definition of "poor quality". According to Juran, it is the customer that defines what quality is.

    I hate to disagree with my friends on this forum, so please accept my apologies in advance.

    Luke

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