Pono MBD-SP Mi-Si Equipped Electro Baritone Ukulele
This is a one off workshop conversion with a Mi-Si pickup fitted. Technically, it is B-stock because when it arrived it had a tiny chip on the back edge of the headstock. 'I can repair that for you', said Neil, the luthier who does such things here at World of Ukes. 'Great', I said. 'And while it is in the workshop, why don't you fit this Mi-Si pickup, just as an experiment', I added.
Well... it turned out to be dangerous for me. I want it. I want it really badly! It's gorgeous! Starting with the tiny chip? Invisible. Nowhere to be seen. In the few days it was away, I'd forgotten where it was and I couldn't point it out - it is repaired to the point where it has disappeared! And the Mi-Si pickup and preamp, well... I love this bit of kit anyway, and it adds a plug-inable (new word) element to a great instrument.
I think Pono's 'best size' is the baritone. Not that they make poor instruments, far from it! But... their baritone ukulele really excel. They stand out. This one has a solid mahogany back and sides, gloss finish and a quality solid spruce top. The mix of mahogany, baritone body, great design and bright spruce means the tone is initially crisp with a good, clear attack, which then gives way to a long, smooth, warm-chocolate finish. Picture rivers of chocolate at the Willy Wonka factory. Then try and imagine that as a sound. Or just take my word for it that it's really nice - which may be easier!
It has Ko'Olau strings (from the Hawaiian parent company of Pono), which feature a wound D and G in this DBGE set. They suit it very nicely. Other features include rope marquetry decorations, ebony fingerboard, faceplate and bridge, and fine quality, gold-coloured Grover open geared tuners with smooth black buttons.
Regular price for the acoustic model is £539, making this Mi-Si hybrid a real bargain.