“There's no knowledge gap, so the adjustment is mostly a matter of patience, and is better every time I play the beauty. Intonation, set up and all the similar things that make playing fun and not a chore are great. It's a very fine instrument, as I've learned to expect from Pono (who also made my baritone uke). At my age, playing for the public is not the main thing for me, as I'm now able to explore those musical worlds that I bypassed on the way here and get joy exploring new musical worlds. This octave is perfect for this sort of venture. Same notes and chords as my mandolins, but mildly modified fingering. I'm having a ball with it”.

  • Ross Cherednick, mandolinist & Ukulele player

"First off, let me say that every time I open the case and look at this little octave I’m pleased. It is absolutely beautiful. You used some very nice wood on this instrument. The rosewood is lovely and the red eyes in it are a delight to look at. I normally don’t like a high gloss finish on an instrument, but on this one it seems to be the correct choice. The curly maple side binding and ukulele-esque rope binding on the top are beautiful and well executed. I like the choice of the small MOP dots in the fretboard as well as the MOP purling around the sound hole—all very classy. Beautiful elegant case too with a comfy padded handle! My oh my! I was quite taken with the sound of this octave from the start. There is a wonderful pop to the notes that is quite pleasing. Many octaves have a strange kind of “honk” to their tone, especially when driven hard. This octave doesn’t. It may be because of the pin bridge? I’m not sure, but the notes sound pure and sweet even when played hard. Most octaves that I’ve played have a definite limit beyond which they do not like to be pushed. Not so with this one. It likes single note runs played with authority. The volume is amazing. It easily holds its own in the company of banjos and dobros. The volume and tone are consistent up the neck. It also works nicely with a capo. I’ll note here as well that with many octaves it’s a relief to put the capo on, playability-wise. This little Pono is so easy to play, however, that I don’t notice it whether the capo is on or off. I’m playing it tonight at a gig with a clawhammer banjo and upright bass. I can’t wait! This little instrument is a winner. I would highly recommend it to octave mandolin and tenor guitar players. I have it strung right now CGDA for traditional tenor guitar tuning. It’s a force to be reckoned with!"

  • Steve Wilke, multi instrumentalist with Keeping Fire