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Thread: Didn't Know Pono Made a Steel String Baritone

  1. #1
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    Default Didn't Know Pono Made a Steel String Baritone

    I just saw this on the Facebook Ukulele Marketplace.

    A Pono UL15 Mango Steel String Baritone.

    I didn't know they made them. Looks very nice. Upper bout is more narrow than I expected. An interesting instrument.

    http://www.facebook.com/marketplace/...3417241801746/

    Pono Steel String Bari.jpg

    No, I'm not associated with this in any way. Just thought it was something I hadn't seen before. And there is an interest in Baritones on this forum.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  2. #2
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    Straight up it doesn't look like its an instrument that Pono "built" to utilise steel strings. Someone who has no idea what they are doing might have retro fitted steel strings.

    The instant give away is the saddle. The pictured instrument has a straight saddle as per nylon/classic strings. Steel string instruments NEED a slanted saddle.

    Steel strings and nylon strings aren't interchangeable on the same instrument.

    EDIT: OK, I've been corrected. I'm still not totally happy with the saddle design. Its a big compromise in the name of simplicity.
    Last edited by anthonyg; 01-11-2020 at 01:46 PM.

  3. #3
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    Well, here is the link for the exact uke from HMS:

    https://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-...ne-ul4-15.html

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingus View Post
    Well, here is the link for the exact uke from HMS:

    https://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-...ne-ul4-15.html
    I remember that. Isn’t that a steel-string version of their Baritone NUI?
    Concert: Lanikai LU-21C (Southcoast MU)
    Soprano: Kala KA-PWS (Southcoast Machete)
    Baritone "Rennaissance Guitar": Kala KA-SBG (C-Linear with Worth BL-LGs currently.)
    Tenor: Kala ATP-CTG (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Tenor "Low G': Kala KA-FMTG (Southcoast LML-NW
    Tenor: Kala SRT-CTG-E (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Baritone "Nui": Pono NS-10 (Worth B-B)

  5. #5
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    Hey Anthonyg, check facts first before making incorrect assumptions.

    Pono did indeed develop this as a dedicated steel string instrument from the ground up.......and they know what they are doing. I owned one, Rainer owns one, Doc J owned one and a number of members here also own one.

    They come in a number of woods, all acacia, mahogany, mango, spruce/rosewood, cedar/mahogany. They were developed utilizing the terz body shape and size, not the Nui which is a much bigger body. It has an approx 21” scale length, 1/3-8” nut width and handles medium gauge 13-56 strings.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 01-11-2020 at 05:35 AM.
    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 walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Hey Anthonyg, check facts first before making incorrect assumptions.

    Pono did indeed develop this as a dedicated steel string instrument from the ground up.......and they know what they are doing. I owned one, Rainer owns one, Doc J owned one and a number of members here also own one.

    They come in a number of woods, all acacia, mahogany, mango, spruce/rosewood, cedar/mahogany. They were developed utilizing the terz body shape and size, not the Nui which is a much bigger body. It has an approx 21” scale length, 1/3-8” nut width and handles medium gauge 13-56 strings.
    OK, well I don't know how it intonate's correctly up the neck. Maybe it doesn't.
    The close up pic from theukulelesite.com does show a tiny bit of saddle compensation that couldn't be seen in the original post yet it still doesn't look to be enough and I do own steel string ukuleles so I am in a reasonable position to know just how much more saddle compensation the bass strings need over the treble strings.

    I still say its lacking enough saddle compensation for the bass strings. Maybe they built it that way intending to fit reentrant strings, although even strung reentrant the third string won't have enough compensation to intonate correctly.

    EDIT: OK, I did a bit more research. They've fitted an "average" slanted saddle. It will have some intonation issues but more likely on the second string and the fourth string. Not the third. My apologies yet the small picture in the original post looked like a perpendicular saddle and I have seen people selling instruments designed for classic strings with steel strings fitted instead.
    Last edited by anthonyg; 01-11-2020 at 01:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Well anthonyg, have to say...

    You are incorrect yet again.

    I was the original owner of that STEEL string Pono baritone; bought it from HMS with full set-up. I sold it to tomthebaptist. He has it for sale now.

    The UL-15 is a wonderful instrument and INTONATION is PERFECT.

    I would recommend you get “hands-on” experience before you make uninformed claims on a public board.

  8. #8
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    This model has been around for years now. I should know, because I was among the very first to own one (it was me and Dave who suggested to John Kitakis from Pono to make such as model):

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...Baritone-(UL4)

    It is slightly larger than a baritone ukulele. Scale length is 21.4", the body is deeper than an ukulele as well, more like an acoustic guitar. It's built after the small and slim parlor guitars of the 19th century used for "Terz tuning" (three steps up from a regular guitar). The bracing, saddle and bridge are specifically designed for steel strings. Intonation is not a problem (depending, of course, on the set of strings you are using).

    These are great instruments for people who like baritones and want to experience that sparkling steel string sound. Mine is still among my all-time favorites (haven't played it in a while because I had to undergo some surgery and was restricted to smaller an lighter ukes).

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