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Thread: New Pono Octave Mandolin

  1. #1
    flyfishermandolinist mandognome's Avatar
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    Default New Pono Octave Mandolin

    Just thought I’d share my thoughts on the Pono.

    I have been curious about these GBOMs and particularly what the difference in tone and playability I could tell between the 21.5 and 23 inch scale lengths.

    I heard from the Denver Folklore Center they were getting some in soon, and they were nice enough to call me when they arrived yesterday.

    I beat a snowstorm to Denver this morning and had a blast playing all 6 that they had just unpacked.

    I liked the feel of the larger (tenor guitar) sized body but the smaller (baritone uke) sized body was cool too.

    Cool enough, they had a gorgeous rosewood/spruce (with pretty maple binding) model in 23” and the same woods in 21.5” so those made a nice our for A/B-ing. The 23” neck meets the body at the 14th fret. The 21.5” meets at the 12th.

    My thoughts—particular to my sensibilities of course:

    The 21.5 worked great for melody, Neck felt really comfy, and didn’t lack anything for bouzouki style use for backing fiddle tunes or songs.

    The 23 also felt great. I didn’t think it had more mojo/jangle/Umph for chord backing work though. I liked the additional 2 frets of space on the neck but eliminated it because playing comfort (not stretching) is a big priority for me. It did feel like more of a hand stretch of course.

    They had a mahogany 21.5 cutaway model that could fit the bill really well, but I didn’t love the look of it, and maybe I didn’t take enough time to get it in tune after it’s recent journey but it just didn’t sound quite as good up the neck to me. I thought I could tell the cutaway reduced the volume a little too.

    I really liked the mahogany back models while playing them because it had more punch in general and a stronger midrange, but were balanced all over the fret board. They had a burst and a natural in the larger body size, plus the cutaway I mentioned.

    The rosewood model just looks amazing, Especially the binding, and when someone else played it I liked it a bit better than the mahogany one. It was darker by comparison and a little mellower with less midrange but still had plenty of volume. It will be an amazing instrument for someone. I was really tempted.

    Though I didn’t go to the Denver Folklore Center certain I would buy, I just couldn’t pass on the mahogany backed 21.5” scale OM, figuring I mostly play for my own enjoyment or at jams where it’s loud, or sometimes amplified, so I’d go for the instrument that sounded better to me while playing it. I brought it home and I am super stoked. If I were doing a lot of studio work I might have chosen the rosewood back 21.5.

    The Denver Folklore Center staff was really great to me. NFI, just enjoyed it!
    Weber original Bitterroot mandolin
    Weber custom Hyalite mandocello

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  3. #2
    Registered User gortnamona's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono Octave Mandolin

    i love my rosewood 21.5, really comfortable and just great fun to play.

  4. #3
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono Octave Mandolin

    I love my rosewood back 21.5 too. But thinking of selling...too many instruments here.

    Enjoy that OM - it is a lot of fun.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

  5. #4
    Registered User meow-n-dolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono Octave Mandolin

    My neighbor owns one. She loves it!

  6. #5
    Registered User john bange's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Pono Octave Mandolin

    I have the rosewood 23". love it! I had Taylor Mullins from Chattanooga make an OM shaped pick guard for it...protect it from my fingernails.
    loud...easy to play.
    Jerry Samples custom 0-28hrt tenor guitar
    Republic Hwy 49 tenor resonator guitar
    Gold Tone TG-18 tenor guitar
    Kinnard baritone uke
    Oceana baritone uke
    Kamaka HF-3L long neck tenor uke
    Mya Moe 6 string myrtlewood baritone uke
    Outdoor tenor uke
    Hoyt custom baritone banjo/ukulele

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