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Thread: New Pono octaves!

  1. #51
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Weiss View Post
    ...But I do think this info should be available to potential buyers.
    From their website. It would appear that information is readily available to those that look for it.

    http://koolauukulele.com/pono-f-a-q/

    From that page:

    Q – Where are Pono Guitars and Ukuleles made?

    A – For most of the 14 years that we have been making Pono Guitars and Ukuleles we have had a factory on the island of Java in Indonesia. A few years ago we found a very experienced group of classical guitar makers in a northern province of China, and thus some models were made in that factory. They were beautiful and sounded good. China now has a bad reputation for making cheap junk, but China actually has the longest history of the arts and high quality craftsmanship. But somewhere along the line, after being commissioned by US and European companies to make cheap stuff, they acquired the reputation for only making inferior quality goods.
    But our main issue with China was the location. Our factory, which included older and experienced craftsman was very remote and rural. So it was difficult for the transport of supplies and export of our instruments. It also became difficulty for us to actually be in the factory (which is mandatory for on site quality control). And so, we discontinued production in China. So to answer the question, for the most part we have been in Indonesia, and will continue there in the future.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  2. #52

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Weiss View Post
    I just received an MN-30SB tenor guitar body, rosewood, sunburst matte finish today. It sounds great, it's surprisingly easy to play, even with a 23" scale. The fit and finish - well the fit is very nice, the matte finish is not gorgeous, but fine. I was very surprised to find that it is made in Indonesia. None of the information I was able to find out about it on the web suggested this. $1300+ for a flat-top axe made in Indonesia, ok it's not a fortune, but that seems high to me. I do like the octave, which is great. I might have hesitated to buy it had I known where it was built. I am NOT being xenophobic, or casting aspersions on Indonesian craftsmen. But I do think this info should be available to potential buyers.
    All the information about how Pono runs as a company is proudly presented on their web site. Pono roughly translated means done correctly. On the website they explain their use of local woods, compensating workers with a real living wage, health and retirement benefits on parr with a first world country, really their whole life philosophy. That you didn't bother to investigate and feel somehow blindsided by the fact you were ignorant of these facts is not Pono's fault but yours. I'm sorry you feel foreign workers don't deserve to have great working conditions. If you feel your instrument is not worth what you paid, send it back. Their return policy is unconditional if in as new condition.

    Oh, and you can pick up the phone and talk to the owner. John Kitakas is his name.
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  3. #53
    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    I apologize for my misinformation. I had only looked at the info on the Mandolin Store page, and the KR strings cite. I have no problem with the instrument - it plays like a dream, and it sounds like a deep tenor guitar with the sparkle of mandolin.

  4. #54

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Yes, retailers don't do much in the way of mfg location info. These days you can get the biggest POS or a fine handmade instrument from China, but old perceptions die hard.

    Have you ever seen a retailer say we carry Northfield mandolins, crafted in China?

    I had a cracked bridgepin on a Pono guitar so called John Kitakas to see if I could buy a new one. They didn't have any more of that style, so I said I'd buy a new set of whatever they were using now. He said he'd just send me some. I told him I didn't buy the guitar new from him, and I was at least the third owner. It didn't matter to him. Said they should never split and sent me a set.
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  5. #55
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Have you ever seen a retailer say we carry Northfield mandolins, crafted in China?
    This is well documented on this site and on the Northfield site. You haven't heard or read that because the statement as you quote it is not true. The work is done as a combination between the two locations. It's not 100% either location. And for the record, there are enough mandolins that qualify as crap manufactured right here in the U.S.

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  7. #56
    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    I made it very clear in my original comments that I was not and am not disparaging Indonesian craftsmanship. I am happy with the quality, sound, playability etc of this octave. I regret that I did not look on the Pono website before I made my comments - I was reporting on both the point of sale site, and the KR strings site where the primary marketing for these instruments has been found. I made a mistake, and I regret it. I also do not think the price for these instruments is inappropriate, but it does seem out of line a little with what labor is paid in Indonesia - and I am not saying they have poor working conditions, it just is the case that wages in Indonesia are substantially lower than other East and S East Asian countries. Bottom line: I was mistaken, and I like the octave. For many, that is enough.

  8. #57
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Brad, Thank you. I am most curious about the neck profile and playability (not that I have contacted a case of MAS....yeah, right!). How would you describe it? My current GBOM has a 1 1/4" nut and a fairly deep profile, sort of a mandolin neck on steroids: sloping shoulders tapering to a rounded "V". And, I wonder if the Pono is more similar to a guitar neck on slim-fast: chubby cheeks curving into a very soft "C". My GBOM is very comfortable and these old hands prefer the familiar. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    mr.randy

  9. #58

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    This is well documented on this site and on the Northfield site. You haven't heard or read that because the statement as you quote it is not true. The work is done as a combination between the two locations. It's not 100% either location. And for the record, there are enough mandolins that qualify as crap manufactured right here in the U.S.
    I was not attempting to disparage Northfield mandolins in any way. The ones I've played have been really good, but if I were to walk into any retailer uninformed wanting to buy a mandolin, no salesperson has ever volunteered source of origin. It's just not what retailers do. The consumer has to self educate, and if they don't like the fact something is in part or whole is made offshore, and choose not to trust their own senses, it's their loss. For the record, I have spent $7000 on a violin made in China. It simply blew away violins costing $11,000. And no, it wasn't for me, but my daughter. The most I have ever spent on an instrument for myself is $3400. Let's not even bring up the $12,000 cello. That was French.
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  10. #59
    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Randolph View Post
    Brad, Thank you. I am most curious about the neck profile and playability (not that I have contacted a case of MAS....yeah, right!). How would you describe it? My current GBOM has a 1 1/4" nut and a fairly deep profile, sort of a mandolin neck on steroids: sloping shoulders tapering to a rounded "V". And, I wonder if the Pono is more similar to a guitar neck on slim-fast: chubby cheeks curving into a very soft "C". My GBOM is very comfortable and these old hands prefer the familiar. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    A guitar neck, for sure. Or a tenor guitar neck. It's quite comfortable. The neck is 1 3/8". The 23" scale is a bit of a stretch, but it's a good work out!

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  12. #60

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Hi All,

    Thought I would chime in here. First off Im glad everyone is enjoying these instruments, response has been very good from everyone that has gotten one so far, most seem inspired to try new tunings, string combinations and musical roles for the octaves in their bands or playing styles. I am encouraging everyone to join up with our facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/krstrings/

    where I will be posting news on new prototypes, sharing videos of everyone that wants to share and hopefully facilitating a community of people interested in these instruments. Several people have chosen to tune these like tenor guitars, but with the double coursed mandolin family string set up, one fellow even uses nylon strings in combination with steel strings- something the guitarist from Vassen was doing a few years back. I have a friend here in Hawaii that is tuning it in a slack key guitar tuning and coming up with a very unique sound, I should be working with Andrew at the Ukulele Site to get more videos up soon for all to hear.

    I have one prototype now with the shorter scale on the larger tenor body, which gives a whole different sound to the instrument. I am also working on designing a mandola model with a 16" scale length tuned CGDA and traditional mandolin size, and am very excited to have a full line available in time. I am also working with Pono to offer a solid chambered body electric version of these for those that need or want to plug in at higher volumes with a full band.

    A quick word on the origin of these, all are made in Indonesia and final set up and adjustments on everything I sell by myself here in Hawaii. I worked for many years for Ko'olau Guitar and Ukulele Co (Pono's parent company) and can say from first hand experience John Kitakis has been on a tireless search to deliver the highest quality hand made imported instruments for the last 20 years. Personally I think the workmanship on these current instruments is unparalleled in the import market, and I worked hard with John to keep the prices at what I as a working musician would be able to afford. I use my website www.krstrings.com mainly to promote the instruments concept and my work as a builder/historian but will certainly add information about where these are made and I apologize if that detail wasn't clear enough. If any one from the MC community finds themselves on Oahu, please look me up Im always happy to share a tune or give some tips on where I like to eat, hike and catch local music.

    Aloha-Kilin Reece

    808-387-4583
    krstrings@gmail.com

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  14. #61
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Thanks for "chiming in" Kilin! In the few emails we have exchanged in the past year you have been quite helpful! Much appreciated!
    I haven't decided whether I want the Terz size or tenor size, so I'm waiting to hear more from owners what they think. I guess I need to go out and try both at Dennis's shop in Arizona, but I'm in Virginia, so don't know when that will happen!
    Thanks Brad for any more info on your experiences with your Tenor size octave!
    Jeff
    Jeffrey S Wagner

  15. #62
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    "I have one prototype now with the shorter scale on the larger tenor body, which gives a whole different sound to the instrument."

    This is a great idea. To me this is potentially the ideal arrangement.

    Can't wait to see and hear the mandolas and mandolins.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

  16. #63
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Still waiting to hear from any more "new owners", their thoughts on these octaves!
    Anyone A/B the tenor bodies compared to terz bodies, etc., .
    Any video clips from any owners?
    Hoping to hear/see some soon.
    Jeff
    Jeffrey S Wagner

  17. #64
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Trevor,
    How would compare the instrument tone of each scale?
    Thanks,
    Tony
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  18. #65
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Got mine yesterday from TMS. It sounds great. The workmanship is excellent. It's been years since I played anything larger than a mandolin so it's taking some getting use to. I'm gonna have to put a strap button on it, though.
    David Hopkins

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  19. #66
    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    The longer scale (and bigger body) ones have more depth and resonance, the shorter scale more clarity. Also there are variations with different woods and finishes.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

  20. #67
    Registered User Ken_P's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Any chance of doing a larger bodied version as mandocello? I love the way the octaves sound but I want the low C!

  21. #68

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Hi Ken,

    I have been setting several of the 23" versions, the BN series, with a low C (.056" or .058") and they sound great! One cool thing about this setup is that if you capo at the 7th fret you end up with a short scale octave mando with all the pinky fingerings in easy reach.

    Let me know if you have any more questions, I have several of these Mahogany back and sides in stock, and offer the setup for low C at no additional cost.

    Best, -Kilin

    808-387-4583

  22. #69

    Default Re: New Pono octaves!

    Thanks Trevor! My goal is eventually to have a full family of sizes available, and to get a mandolin orchestra or quartet to record some arrangements I have of 19th century Hawaiian mandolin music.

    But for now, back to the workClick image for larger version. 

Name:	candice mando2.jpg 
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ID:	154538 bench!

    Best, -Kilin

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