Pono ukuleles, a manufactured line from Ko’olau Guitar & Ukulele, Inc., are made in Indonesia, and set up at the Ko’olau Hawaii factory in Wahiawa.
The Pono MPT-E reviewed here has a flamed maple back and sides, a spruce top and a passive electronic pickup. The wood combination is very unusual for an ukulele because maple typically produces a very bright sound. Due to the smaller body of the ukulele, builders tend to lean toward woods like Kao, Rosewood or Mahogany that generate a warmer sound. The wood finish and the fret work are very good on this ukulele. One unique feature is the thrust rod for adjusting the neck which is normally only found in guitars. Over all, this is a fine-looking instrument.
In terms of the ukulele’s sound quality for recording purposes, this one was a little thin, and on the bright side. It did not have much low end although this was not surprising due to the maple back and sides. It took a lot of microphone adjusting in different positions to find its sweet spot. The passive electronic pickup on this ukulele was inferior, which is uncharacteristic of other Pono ukuleles. My guess is that it’s an issue with just this particular instrument. The intonation is Ok but not perfect. Adjusting the neck helped to some degree.
The Pono MTP-E is a good ukulele for its price range but not my first choice for studio recording.