UAS is real, let's discuss...

Weatherman

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Hey Y'all, Weatherman here. I introduced myself here about 2 weeks ago. I had ordered my first Ukulele, a Pono MGTD, and thought I would join this wonderful community.

Here I am, just a bit more than a week into this playing journey and I'm absolutely loving this instrument (ukulele) and more specifically this Mango wood Pono. Because UAS is real, while I learn and play, I'm going to start researching and looking out for my next ukulele. Do I "need" another one? No, but I want one.

So help me out and make some recommendations. Just to recap, here's what I'm playing.

Pono MGTD (All solid mango, tenor, gloss finish) with fluorocarbon strings (high G tuning).

What am I targeting? Some criteria.
Size: tenor
Price: negotiable, but not opposed to as high as $800

I'm specifically looking for something that will give me a different feel, sound, tone than the Pono mango. I'd like to have a discussion about different woods, types of music and strings to help make a good choice. I guess I'm looking for something just as nice sounding and beautiful, but different (if that makes sense).

I've been peeking through TUS and here are a few models that jumped out at me (open to any other suggestions).

Pono Cedar/Rosewood Tenor (RT(C) PC Pro Classic
Pono Cedar Top Acacia Deluxe Tenor ATD-CR
Kala KA-ZTP-CTG Cedar Ziricote Tenor (I know this is laminate, but the look is nice!)

That should get us started! Hit me!

Edit: I'm not looking to buy right now, but just getting the research going.
 
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You might consider an upgrade instead of another Pono. Sort through the three Ks and target the one you like. Then look for a used one.
Honestly, I'm not looking for an upgrade. I like the idea of a small collection of ukulele's I love and can share with my kids to play too. I've gone deep on upgrades in the past, but in my "older" age I've decided that good enough is in fact "good enough". A really expensive instrument would be lost on my ability for a long time. Does that make sense?
 
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Have you considered trying a Concert sized ukulele? It will have a slightly different sound and fee to it, which for me means a new experience.

Also, and this is purely my opinion, mahogany may be a different feel than mango while also being a bit more forgiving to a newer player. In my experience, it has a mellower tone.
 
Have you considered trying a Concert sized ukulele? It will have a slightly different sound and fee to it, which for me means a new experience.

Also, and this is purely my opinion, mahogany may be a different feel than mango while also being a bit more forgiving to a newer player. In my experience, it has a mellower tone.
Happy to consider a concert. Originally, that's what I thought I would like. I played a few locally (Kala's) and they were ok, but I wasn't super impressed with the sound. Also, the shops where I am don't do setups so...
I also played a Breedlove Concert in Myrtlewood which was a cool color, but sounded pretty much like the Kala's.
 
The way I have addressed UAS is to get a custom uke. Once you have a uke that you have created with a luthier, then all commercial ukuleles are a step-down. Like many people, I'm not rich so I have to save up over a protracted expanse of time (I have been saving for 2 years for the baritone I bespoke). So it does take planning, but once you have your unique, personalized uke, everything pales in comparison
 
Since you're asking for opinions, I'd say look at a solid mahogany tenor. I've had and enjoy many different woods, but mahogany is my favorite. You'll find several mahogany tenor Pono's on this page...

Pono
Oh yeah, for sure. I've been up and down the list on their site. Was looking for the more "personal" recommendations and also the types of playing you might enjoy on Mahogany?

I've been playing a Taylor guitar with a Cedar top, but I can't remember the side woods (I think it's koa on back and sides actually). It's beautiful and mellow sounding vs. the Koa wood top guitar my wife has. Her's is great sounding too, but in a different way.
 
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The way I have addressed UAS is to get a custom uke. Once you have a uke that you have created with a luthier, then all commercial ukuleles are a step-down. Like many people, I'm not rich so I have to save up over a protracted expanse of time (I have been saving for 2 years for the baritone I bespoke). So it does take planning, but once you have your unique, personalized uke, everything pales in comparison
Thanks for sharing. This is of course an option. I have a friend who makes instruments and I was a carpenter in a previous life. If I really get obsessed it maybe be something I take a crack at myself.

I'm really not as picky about having the "best" stuff as I used to. The past 5 years I've been more of a "good enough" kind of guy. 80/20 rule and all that.
 
The Pono tenors I tried this morning (1 spruce or cedar top, I think, and 1 mahogany) sounded brighter to my ear than the Koa solid-top Martin I tried. This is all I know.

@bazmaz gave the Uma Baby-T quite a high recommendation. Here it is from a Canadian dealer, with specs. Laminate, though.

I will follow your journey vicariously, mostly. (Again with the cheapo husband and my desire to work against my impetuosity)
 
Honestly, I'm not looking for an upgrade. I like the idea of a small collection of ukulele's I love and can share with my kids to play too. I've gone deep down upgrades in the past, but in my "older" age I've decided that good enough is in fact "good enough". A really expensive instrument would be lost on my ability for a long time. Does that make sense?
Well, size to concert would meet the criteria, but the big IF is whether you want to go to a concert size. In that case, one of each size would work well and they can both be Pono, same wood type or different.

If you stay with tenor, there might be two opposite directions you could go: mahagony gives a mellower, warmer, and more subdued sound. Koa gives a brighter, livelier and traditional Hawaiian sound. Look at Martin for mahagony and the Ks for koa. The Ks are not "beyond your ability". At any ability level, they play well, sound great, and feel good. I bought a KoAloha as my second ukulele a few months after beginning and it made playing ukulele (at a beginner level) more joyful.

Buying another Pono tenor will be very similar to your current one, even with a wood change. That is okay if that is what you seek, but a used K at around $800 is a consideration, especially as you improve and become more curious about different ukuleles.

Added: Consider this Opio from KoAloha. It is the Pono equivalent, made in Asia to their design. Acacia is the generic wood that koa is from and sounds similar:

 
I agree with several others here, go used on the next uke. $800 will get you a used Koa KoAloha (if you are patient). And a used Martin T1K Koa for a little more than 1/2 of the Big K's (I happen to have one listed somewhere way back in the UU Marketplace). When you get your 2nd uke, make one of them a low G. That's a whole different sound all be itself. When you're ready to buy, put some feelers out on here. There's probably others like me that would have 4 or 5 nice ukes in your < $800 range, and you'll benefit from some honest opinions on sound and playability. Good luck in your search, that's a big part of the UAS fun!
 
I got my second tenor in low g and it was a game changer for me. I was instantly able to improvise. I will keep the others in high g so I can grow in my ukulele playing, but I absolutely love having both.

I will say that I’ve been on a waiting list for a custom for almost a year, and still probably have a year to go. It will be either spruce or cedar topped. If that calls to you like it does for me, go for it. Also, tenor is my favorite size, so I get that too.
 
Kala all solid mahogany tenor with a slotted headstock was one of my favorites before I got my custom LFDM.

You are absolutely right in that a solid uke is good enough. I had 19 at one point and now just the LFDM tenor from 2013 and a sweet Kiwaya KTS-7 mahogany soprano.
 
Initial thought-- Satisfy yourself that the Seller is legit--- then
offer $800 on this Collings concert listed here for $900--
-- be prepared to split the difference--
Pay withPayPal goods and services-
Best of luck!
On second thought-- I don't think I should recommend this listing----
 
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Oh yeah, for sure. I've been up and down the list on their site. Was looking for the more "personal" recommendations and also the types of playing you might enjoy on Mahogany?
Personal recommendation? I play a mahogany Martin Tenor 2 strung low G that inspires me. I love this thing. I'd recommend one of them. It's got great volume and tone, and plays wonderfully. I had to make some adjustments to it for my preferences, but the connection was there before the adjustments. I prefer the sound and feel of fluorocarbon strings and string my ukes with Seaguar Pink leader. I find it to be very clear and articulate both strummed and finger picked.

I recently ordered a Pono Mahogany Baritone that hasn't arrived yet. I've read and heard great things from Pono so I have high hopes, but can't give you a personal recommendation on that line yet. Their mahogany tenors look and sound good to me too, hence the link in my post above.

1000000257.jpeg 20230621_115651.jpg
 
Instead of asking a bunch of people you don't know about which uke to buy, why don't you visit as many uke stores as possible and see which you like the best. I would say that with only a few weeks of playing, you probably need more experience before buying an $800 Ukulele...but after some time, you will have developed some opinions of what you should buy that would suit your needs and dreams, not ours. Good luck.
 
Funny that this thread has started on the same day I fell off the UAS wagon. I haven’t purchased a uke in 6 years until today. I was going to pass on it, but my CFO said go for it as long as it’s under $100. Best part is it’s located a mere 200 miles to the north of me and according to my tracking info she should be here by tomorrow.
 
I agree with several others here, go used on the next uke. $800 will get you a used Koa KoAloha (if you are patient). And a used Martin T1K Koa for a little more than 1/2 of the Big K's (I happen to have one listed somewhere way back in the UU Marketplace). When you get your 2nd uke, make one of them a low G. That's a whole different sound all be itself. When you're ready to buy, put some feelers out on here. There's probably others like me that would have 4 or 5 nice ukes in your < $800 range, and you'll benefit from some honest opinions on sound and playability. Good luck in your search, that's a big part of the UAS fun!

Yes, I agree on going used. That's why I wanted to get this thread going. That way I can continue learning, but keep my eye on the marketplace as time goes on.

I got my second tenor in low g and it was a game changer for me. I was instantly able to improvise. I will keep the others in high g so I can grow in my ukulele playing, but I absolutely love having both.

I will say that I’ve been on a waiting list for a custom for almost a year, and still probably have a year to go. It will be either spruce or cedar topped. If that calls to you like it does for me, go for it. Also, tenor is my favorite size, so I get that too.

That's a fun little nugget about improvisation is easier for you with the low G. I'm sure I'll try it at some point, thanks!

Initial thought-- Satisfy yourself that the Seller is legit--- then
offer $800 on this Collings concert listed here for $900--
-- be prepared to split the difference--
Pay withPayPal goods and services-
Best of luck!
On second thought-- I don't think I should recommend this listing----

That one does look nice, but I'm not a buyer yet! Just wanted to have a discussion.

Personal recommendation? I play a mahogany Martin Tenor 2 strung low G that inspires me. I love this thing. I'd recommend one of them. It's got great volume and tone, and plays wonderfully. I had to make some adjustments to it for my preferences, but the connection was there before the adjustments. I prefer the sound and feel of fluorocarbon strings and string my ukes with Seaguar Pink leader. I find it to be very clear and articulate both strummed and finger picked.

I recently ordered a Pono Mahogany Baritone that hasn't arrived yet. I've read and heard great things from Pono so I have high hopes, but can't give you a personal recommendation on that line yet. Their mahogany tenors look and sound good to me too, hence the link in my post above.

View attachment 153974 View attachment 153975
Good to know, another nod to a low G. Appreciate the string recommendation too. I have Fluorocarbon on my Mango. Let me know how the baritone goes!
 
Instead of asking a bunch of people you don't know about which uke to buy, why don't you visit as many uke stores as possible and see which you like the best. I would say that with only a few weeks of playing, you probably need more experience before buying an $800 Ukulele...but after some time, you will have developed some opinions of what you should buy that would suit your needs and dreams, not ours. Good luck.
Thanks Mike, I'm just getting a discussion started. At the end of the day, I will make my own decision, just like I did with my Pono Mango and I'm sure I could play it basically forever and never need another ukulele. My dream is to play and have fun, with my kids too. That requires having another instrument down the line. Appreciate your input (y)

Edit: I've been to every store and played every ukulele in a 50 mile radius of my home. None of them carry anything in that midrange. Almost all of them sell Kala, Fender, off brands, and one has a single Breedlove.
 
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