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Thread: Ohai Pono Review (another)

  1. #1
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    Default Ohai Pono Review (another)

    I added my comments about the new Pono Ohai Ukuleles to another thread but thought maybe my review warranted it's own so as to not piggy back on someone else's thread.. A lot has been said on this forum about these ukes, but there are a few of us who have a sightly different opinion, and in fairness to all, I would like to share it...

    First this uke is really nice to look at. The color and grain are of the wood are stunning (it reminded me of the beauty of oak cabinets). Unfortunately the sound board seems as thick and heavy as oak furniture as well. The sound is pleasant when you are close to it, but I'm afraid the face is so thick that it doesn't resonate very well. It is apparent as soon as you take it from the case...this thing is heavy. The finish was nice, I like the matte. It feels good in your hands...but.... ...and I wont even go into the tuners, bridge, nut, binding, etc...it simply doesn't make enough of a difference to get past the resonance, or lack there of.

    Deach has the version with the pick-up, and I wont speak for him, but I can understand how his could be better. Maybe it's a lot like a solid body electric.....not something to be played without amplification. He can speak to this better than I.

    I bought the Pono Ohai with the idea that it would be a major step up from my Kala Solid Mahogany Tenor...It wasn't. My trusty $200 Kala is a much better sounding and playing uke. I wrestled for a couple days with what to do, and ended up shipping the Pono back to MGM.

    On a side note I was also not a fan of the wound C string. I could not keep it from buzzing. I don't know how much of that was the instrument, and how much was my crappy playing, but it annoyed the hell out of me. I ended up replacing that string with an Aquila un-wound C string.....and the buzz persisted. I thought well hell, I wonder if my Kala does that too, and I just never noticed it.....nope, just the Pono.

    So, long story short...the Ohai is on it's way back to Hawaii. It was beautiful to look at, but that's about it (much like my second wife).
    Last edited by Boozelele; 07-08-2009 at 09:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up Thanks!

    Thanks for the honest review. Too many people seem like they are spokesmen for a particular uke!! I am buying a uke in a couple of months and have been leaning towards either Mele or Pono. It had appeared that the Pono was a very good uke, for the $. Know I do not know!
    Anyway, mahalo for the honest review!!!
    Maui no ka oi !!!!!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by molokinirum View Post
    Thanks for the honest review. Too many people seem like they are spokesmen for a particular uke!! I am buying a uke in a couple of months and have been leaning towards either Mele or Pono. It had appeared that the Pono was a very good uke, for the $. Know I do not know!
    Anyway, mahalo for the honest review!!!
    I think the Ohai series isn't typical for all Ponos. I got a Pono Mango Tenor and cannot think of a better Uke...

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    Default

    We have sold quite a few of the Ohai series and people seem to like them including myself.It is a solid built ukulele with all the quality of other Pono's. An amazing value on a solid wood ukulele.As we all have read on this forum a ukulele is a personal thing. Some love the sound of mahogany others koa etc. I have customers that love one product and hate another because of the finish etc. I don't know about the buzz on the C string. A bad fret may have went under the radar? Anyway Pono has a wonderful reputation and wouldn't ruin it on making a full line of bad ukuleles. Its still no fun getting something you don't like.
    That solid mahogany Kala is a very nice ukulele as well.

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  5. #5
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    the pono ohai is definitely a good looking "solid wood" instrument. however, what good is a solid wood uke if it's heavier and quieter than a laminate uke? that was my own experience. i'm not slamming pono. i've played and heard some of their other models (mango and mahogany) and they were fine sounding instruments. if you're looking for a good solid wood instrument along the lines of any of the K models, this one doesn't come close. it does look nice though.

  6. #6
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    Default just a thought

    when dealing with student model classical guitars that have a thicker top, using a high tension string can help get the top moving (this same high tension would be too much on a more "sensitive" top)... i dont have any experience with ukulele strings but if they offered a high tension string... it would help with the problem created by a thick or muffled solid top... ive been lurking here for quite a while... so i guess this is my "de-lurk" thread

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boozelele View Post
    ...The color and grain are of the wood are stunning (it reminded me of the beauty of oak cabinets). Unfortunately the sound board seems as thick and heavy as oak furniture as well. The sound is pleasant when you are close to it, but I'm afraid the face is so thick that it doesn't resonate very well.
    I have a Pono Ohai Tenor with passive pickup. I totally agree with Boozelle, the soundboard really seems to be too thick! When you play it in front of a microphone or through the pickup, the sound is ok. However the acoustic projection is bad indeed. I kept the uke anyway, because it is so sturdy. I guess it makes a fine travel uke (even though it's heavy) - it looks nice and seems to be "unbreakable".
    "Nine of ten voices in my head are telling me I'm insane. One is humming a Bruddha Iz tune."
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaileISela View Post
    I think the Ohai series isn't typical for all Ponos. I got a Pono Mango Tenor and cannot think of a better Uke...
    I also agree with you, Richard! I have other Pono instruments, a mango tenor, a mango baritone and a mahogany baritone - all three are great instruments and I'm very happy with them! The Pono mango bari is amongst my favorites and I play it a lot.
    "Nine of ten voices in my head are telling me I'm insane. One is humming a Bruddha Iz tune."
    "You better learn to love the rain, because it could be raining for a while." (Buzz Aldrin's shrink)

    Mugambismonkey: Ukulele Originals
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  9. #9

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    I have a Pono PTS Tenor and also feel that the top is too thick. Much less projection than my cheap, laminate Kala. I am in contact with Pono and so far they are being really great! They (John Kitakis) have said hey would work with me until I am happy. I am tempted to sand the top and back down a little to create more volume, but it seems a little labor intensive. Has anyone attempted this?

  10. #10
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    The top is pretty thick on my Pono Ohai soprano too but it is still loud, responsive and resonant. It also is gorgeous to look at.
    Of course, it isn't a Koaloha . . . .
    Last edited by guitharsis; 01-11-2010 at 01:00 PM.

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