Pono MTD-SP All Solid Tenor Ukulele
The MTD-SP from Pono is a variant of the MTD, or Mahogany Tenor Deluxe. What’s the variant? Well, the ‘SP’ means it has a spruce top, which gives a crisper, brighter tone with more attack and precision (making it an ideal picking uke, should you pick this uke…). Not that it isn’t great for chords too, which really chime out with a bell-like clarity.
The pale solid spruce top has a gloss finish, as do the solid mahogany back and sides. The two contrasting woods are separated by rosewood binding and rope marquetry purlfing, a pattern repeated around the soundhole. A bone nut and saddle assist the impressive sustain of the Pono MTD-SP, while the Ko’Olau fluorocarbon strings are nice and slippery to the touch, aiding your fingers as they move around the fretboard.
Like the Pono Pro-Classic series (i.e. the next level up), this MTD-SP has a radiused fingerboard, a barely noticeable curve in the fretboard that makes the neck that little bit more comfortable. While the 35mm nut is not the widest, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all – and the slightly thicker neck profile will suit those who like their uke necks on the slightly chunkier side.
When you play this spruce top instrument, you certainly get a lively, punchy sound – something that is accentuated by the wound C string. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and easily changed, but to me I certainly think it gives an added dimension that should be tried. And there’s plenty of volume to play with too – although if you dial down your strumming/picking technique, you can also play very subtly too.
With its sparkling tone, this playful-sounding Pono MTD-SP is a really nice intermediate level instrument, ideal for those who have outgrown their entry level instrument and are ready to take on more of the neck, and more complex tunes. You can even complete the picture by having us fit a Mi-Si acoustic trio pickup, allowing you to plug in and get a lovely representation of this Pono’s clear sound through an amp. (Allow a few extra days for us to fit it if you go for this!)