The new Pepe Romero designed 30 series from Cordoba is a flamenco style featherweight 12 fret to body tenor. This uke booms with volume like no other in this price range. It’s now a high gloss finish and cosmetically improved from the first runs. Every 30 series Cordoba has a beautiful character and vibrance. This is to a Pepe Romero what Pono is to Koolau. The affordable version. This is new and just starting to show up on the market but it definitely fills a niche for this style. 12 fret to body with the spanish heel to body design, in this price range, it had the most volume! But is a light build and should not get high tension strings. Aquila or the Nyltech, Labella and a few others. You can inquire on specifics. Limited to store stock presently on this model. And the fourth of the featured is a very new arrival. Some were a bit surprised to see Islander pushing 7 bills. My outlook is different.I don’t know of any jig that makes side bevels assembly line work. This is a lot of hand work and it’s not a useless feature.
Many times after playing I can can see and feel the effects on my forearm. It’s a very practical feature but it’s just not practical in production and that’s why you rarely see it. The slotted headstock, cutaway body, and unique abalone fretboard inlays are nice too but in the end this one makes the cut based on tone. Plenty of bass and a Kanile’a type presence.
Check it out at our site here- Islander FMARM 4-T.
So sound is one aspect and this is one reference in time. 4 mics. Telefunken in the center. Stereo SDC’s are Earthworks/Josephson and a Nuemann gives the room ambiance. I’ve been getting help from the good people at PureSound. They don’t just sell. They educate, specialize and they practice the art. That’s our goal as well at TheUkuleleSite. Thanks for all your support.
Corey Fujimoto gives us an enjoyable listening experience as usual. Really excited for his album still being shaped up. Cellist coming etc…, Share thoughts and opinions below. I’m curious as to what you guys hear.
This is part of a new series of videos that we will offer for your comparison purposes. These are recorded with a Earthworks QTC-40. It is known for it’s flat frequency response and for being accurate and uncolored. It is brought to level with an Earthworks ZDT preamp that is also known for it’s exceptional transparency. It is then recorded through a Apogee interface with the gain on 0. Absolutely no added compression or any adjustment to the audio after recording.
The Pono line is an excellent option for customers wanting a pro level instrument under a grand. But then the even harder question is… which model? How do the different woods differ in sound?
I have always said that the biggest factor to the sound, or tone, is the brand. The way a company builds makes the biggest difference. You will notice that all of these sound very similar. Pono adjusts their building specs for the wood used, to achieve the tone and stability. But still, the different woods do give a slight variance in range and voice. Here is a handful of various Pono tenors played next to each other. See what you think…
So what did you think? How would you describe the differences? Which one did you like best?
Also, for this new series of sound sample comparisons, what brands and models would you like to hear played next to each other?
I had the pleasure of working sound for Ledward a few times at Higher Ground and it was a great experience. With Pizza, Dessert, and BYOB, it was always a party with Led in the house. Surely one day we will put out a live CD from these sessions, but this evening was filmed for our “Ukulele Keaka” and features the slack key guitarist on his first instrument, the ukulele! Growing up in Kalapana, on the Big Island, young Ledward learned how to play from his uncles who taught him the “Jus’ Press” method. Good advice for all of us. Just press down on the string and make sounds. It’s like the Taoist approach to guitar. Led’s use of chromatisism shows the fact that you are never more than one note away from a “right” note, or a note in any key. Led walks right up to that note with a playful resolve, having fun with the guitar or ukulele like a Harlem Globetrotter does with a basketball. Blessed would be a good adjective to describe this classic Hawaiian artist. Every time I see him I think - this guy is cool!
Led has played Ko’olau ukes for over a decade now and has a few Pono’s that he tours with as well. He was one of the first ones to pick up the CE model Ko’olau and utilize it’s stage benefits. The first being the talented musician and producer – Treacy Terada – aka “Dr. Trey”. We will get something from him soon for you guys, he is one of the best. But for now enjoy the medley from Led. Stay tuned, much more to come!
At first glance, the new Pono Pro-Classic series ukulele looks like the Custom shop Deluxe series Ko’olau ukulele. At closer inspection, the new Pono Pro Classic still looks like a Deluxe series Ko’olau! And once you strum it, you are amazed at the volume and body of the sound.
There will always be a superiority to a custom shop ukulele built by a master luthier from start to finish. Yet, to get the features you want on a custom shop ukulele, it will put you well over a thousand dollars and beyond. Pono is a production model version of the custom shop Ko’olau. When you look at the build quality you can see the attention to detail; precise cutting and routing on the all wood bindings and purflings, the finish is glassy flat and, as you can hear from the resonance, not too thick, which is common on import gloss finishes. The only way you can get this quality is from very skilled and experienced craftsmen with a critical eye, and an artist’s desire.
John Kitakis, owner of Ko’olau, didn’t want to just “move boxes” with a cheap import line. He wanted to make the quality and depth of a Ko’olau instrument available to you at a price that you can afford (and justify it to your partner). And even though there is an unsurpassed refinement to the Ko’olau custom models, Pono is built with the same quality, design, woods, and most importantly, the meticulous oversite by Ko’olau.
Each model from the Pro Classic Series has quite a few different options. Options include cutaway, slotted headstock, or an excellent passive pickup system. There are a few of the 5 series which have REAL abalone going around the top. For those of you who have only seen Oscar Schmidt style abalone, it’s not the same. I’m not knocking them, because it’s a totally different price range. I’m just making a point that not all “abalone inlay” is real abalone. On cheaper instruments this can actually make it worse, like the thick plastic looking pearl known in the industry as “mother of toilet seat”. The two maple #5′s shown in this video have eye popping figured woods that leave you in amazement, but the Pro-Classic isn’t just about the “sparkle” of glitzing out an ukulele with flame exotic woods, mother of pearl and all those other buzz words. Instead, they used classic design and traditional woods. There is a reason why Rosewood, Mahogany, Spruce, Cedar, and Maple are used on stringed instruments more than any other woods. They are tried and true, and loved for their tonal qualities.
These ukes are setup to be professional level performing instruments with custom shop quality components. All Pono ukulele are made with solid woods and come with the industry’s best hardshell case. The tone on these instruments would rival just about anything out there and warrant the slightly higher price you step up to. If you simply want a quality sound, look , and feel and do not require Koa wood or 100% Hawaiian labor, these instruments will definitely serve you well and allow you to attain your musical goals. Enjoy the video! Aloha~