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Thread: Can't decide...Pono tenor Acacia or Mahogany ukulele? Big difference in sound?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by strumsilly View Post
    I have 3 mahogany ukes and have had an acacia and a monkeypod. The tone of the acacia [a kala] and the monkeypod [ Lanaiki] sounded dull. I prefer koa , cedar, mahogany,or spruce. of course, the maker has a lot to do with the tone.
    Have you tried Ko'olau Alohis or Fremont Blacks on that monkeypod? w/low g?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trinimon View Post
    I dropped in at HMS a couple weeks ago and met up with Aaron and Andrew (awesome folks to deal with). Aaron showed us a few of the Pono ukes and I have to admit, the acacia one sounded real sweet.
    Yep, that's the one I have-- a concert Pono acacia from HMS. Thank you, Andrew!
    Martin Sopranos: 0M: 30, 64 ---
    1M: 22Dit, 23Dit, 24Dit, 49, 55--1K 26
    2M: 22, 23Dit, 23Dit, 49, 60, 12 --- 2K: 25, 12
    3M: 25, 48, 55x2, 12(ch) 3K: 29
    The Gibsons: Styles 2&3 28;1&2&3x3 27;UB1 25
    Tonk American 28; Favilla 55; Smeck Vita 30; Kamaka Gold Deluxe 60
    Kiwaya Thinline KS-0P Soprano; Gretsch American 30
    Covered Bridge Honduran Hog tenor
    Pono Maple Tenor, BE Acacia Bari & MS Sop

  3. #13
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    I prefer the sound of the Acacia...you can always change strings to taylor the sound to your taste... plus the Acaia looks much nicer...

    Kanile'a Custom Super Tenor Cobra Slot Head, L.R. Bags active pick up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hf8C...4&feature=plcp
    Kanile'a KSTP Premium Koa Tenor Slot Head
    Kamaka Custom Jake Shimabukuro Signature Model Tenor serial #25http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5eOP...8&feature=plcp
    Kamaka HF-38 8-String with Fishman acoustic infinity p/u
    Kamaka HF-36 6-String White Label
    Kamaka 1960 Gold Label Koa Pineapple

  4. #14
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    Teena, no one has addressed your question about the one on eBay. I looked it over, and although the seller looks excellent, the price is high. It's a used ukulele, and with the $29 shipping, it's $528.

    Hawaii Music Supply has such a selection of Pono tenors, most less pricey, by far.
    http://www.theukulelesite.com/catalo.../?q=pono+tenor

    For instance, the Pono gloss acacia tenor ATD is $469. Free shipping! Case is $35 (the canvas hard case is lovely), and you have to ask yourself "how many times am I going to plug this in and go electric, anyhow?" If you want, it's $100 at HMS. Honestly, I have two electric ukes -- no wait, three -- and I plug them in to play about once a month. Cables and feedback and volume and such is just overrated. But, good if you are playing "live", I suppose.

    Many on here like the mahogany, and that, too, is fairly priced at HMS.

    Anyhow, it's hard to beat new, with warranty. G'luck, and please do tell us what you buy. You can't go wrong with a Pono. I adore mine (I have three Pono "babies")
    Martin Sopranos: 0M: 30, 64 ---
    1M: 22Dit, 23Dit, 24Dit, 49, 55--1K 26
    2M: 22, 23Dit, 23Dit, 49, 60, 12 --- 2K: 25, 12
    3M: 25, 48, 55x2, 12(ch) 3K: 29
    The Gibsons: Styles 2&3 28;1&2&3x3 27;UB1 25
    Tonk American 28; Favilla 55; Smeck Vita 30; Kamaka Gold Deluxe 60
    Kiwaya Thinline KS-0P Soprano; Gretsch American 30
    Covered Bridge Honduran Hog tenor
    Pono Maple Tenor, BE Acacia Bari & MS Sop

  5. #15

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    This topic has been useful for me because I'm choosing between Pono's Acacia and Mahogany baritone deluxe models.
    On the HMS website, the sound sample of the Mahogany has me believe that the Mahogany has a deeper and possibly louder tone. But then again, recordings can be misleading if not in the exact same environment.

    I'm meaning towards the Acacia because it looks a lot prettier... but if the Mahogany has better volume and richer tone, I don't want to compromise. If only.. if only I can try in person..

    Acacia baritone deluxe:
    http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-a...ne-deluxe.html

    Mahogany baritone deluxe:
    http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-m...ne-deluxe.html

  6. #16
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    I think they both sound equally great, but with different tone. Comparing an apple and an orange is always difficult. I think the acacia is a bright, sweet, and soulful in it's own way. The mahogny is deeper, more mellow, equally sweet and soulful. It may have to come down to that delicate balance between aesthetics (not to be discounted) and tone for you. For ballads, jazzy and bluesey number, I think it's the mahogany, hands down, but if it's for everything else.......that acacia is nice. I think the difference between mahogany and acacia in this case is maginified with the size of the uke....baritone. In some smaller ukes (like my Martin soprano and my Pono concert, I'd probably prefer mahogany, but I don't like to have ukes that all have the same tonal profiles. For me it would come down to ....what kind of music do I play the great majority of the time (unless all those bases are covered), then it's a crap shoot. LOL

  7. #17

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    I think I'm also haunted by the fact that HMS describes the Mahogany as such:

    "This ukulele is all solid Mahogany with a beautiful grain and gloss finish. The tone is amongst the best you will find in baritone size

    ...

    Many were surprised that the Mahogany series from Pono was more expensive than the Acacia series. This because it is a very high grade mahogany and ends up being more expensive than Acacia wood. The sound, clarity, and sustain are very impressive on this instrument. It is not at all muddy at all like some baritones. It's deep and rich in tone but bright with a sparkle to the high frequencies. We were captivated with the sound and think you will be also! "



    Which to me seems like ultra, super duper flattery as though the writer is truly amazed at the ukulele's tone.



    The Acacia's description is the more typical "it's a very nice ukulele" description..



    I know this is probably stupid >_< But it's going to be my last high quality uke purchase in a while

  8. #18

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    I have an acacia Pono tenor and a mahogany Pono soprano and concert. My opinion is that the tenor acacia is OK. It's a well made uke; has a nice sound. However, the mahogany and soprano are more "special". From this limited perspective I've formed the opinion that where Pono's really shine is their mahogany instruments. The Acacia is not the same as a good Koa, Hawaiian made, uke.

  9. #19
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    I bought the Pono baritone deluxe in mahogany. It's great. I changed the strings to Southcoast heavys for re-entrant tuning so that it sounds like a ukulele rather than a small guitar. I guess that there are baritone ukuleles that sound better, but I'm completely pleased. As my friend Vince said after he played it the other day, "it makes me sound better than I can play."

    Acacia used for Pono is not koa. Koa, as everyone knows, it a type of acacia but most acacia is not koa I appreciate the Koolau company for their honesty in flatly stating that the mahogany models are of a higher quality wood.

    BTW, Southcoast strings are great. Everyone should try at least one set. The thought that goes into the selection of the individual strings is impressive and has impressive results. No affiliation...I'm on Kauai and Southcoast is in Louisiana, but the strings have the sound of Hawaii.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kauaijim View Post
    I appreciate the Koolau company for their honesty in flatly stating that the mahogany models are of a higher quality wood.
    Please help direct me. Where did Koolau say that the mahogany models are of a higher quality wood? It's not that I don't believe you, it's that I'd like to read it myself. Link? Thanks. PS Oh, i get it. High quality than other Hogs, not higher necessarily than acacia. I got it, thanks.

    And kissing, that's interesting, the quote you have below about cost. It implies that many are surprised that the cost of mahogany, a more common wood, is more than acacia. It's justifying that cost as this particular mahogany is special. I guess (???)

    PhilUSAFret's most recent comment below is really "spot on" about tone and baritones and aethetics and all being part of it. Well said.

    I listened to the videos that you linked from HMS, kissing, and honestly, I like the sound of the acacia more than the mahogany. It is subjective, and like you say, has to do with recording environment, etc. Hell, Corey's playing two different songs, and even that makes a difference. lol I think, with a lower toned instrument like a baritone, I'd want wood that allows higher pitch brightness, so that I can select low or high brightness based on string selection. A low, bassy deep tone is harder to brighten when inherent in the ukulele, as opposed to a brighter (not overly bright, just brighter) uke being made more subtle (e/g with Worth Browns). I know, some might debate me on that, but everyone has an opinion. lol

    It's almost universally acknowledged (even on this thread) that the acacia looks better. And, it's $30 cheaper. lol Hey, the acacia ad on HMS emphasizes gloss finish, the mahog does not. It looks gloss in the photos, but no mention of it on the 'hog ad (like on the acacia ad). You might want to be sure of it if you order 'hog, kissing, and like gloss rather than satin or oil finish.

    Cheers! Fun!
    Last edited by coolkayaker1; 07-19-2012 at 12:52 PM.

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