Here at Quality Ukes, we are keenly awaiting the arrival of four of Pono's new Master Series ukuleles. Here is their story.
Three years ago Ko'olau luthier Ryan Condon built a lattice-braced tenor that sounded phenomenal. Ko'olau thereafter commissioned Ryan to make full blueprints to send along with the lattice braced top you can see in the picture below, to the team at Pono. This project was started two years ago and Ko'olau are excited to now have them available to order.
Why lattice bracing may be the best ukulele bracing system yet
Lattice bracing was first developed in the 1970's by Greg Smallman (an Australian guitar maker). Greg's bracing technique paved the way for the advancement of thinner and more resonant soundboards, without sacrificing the structural robustness and instrument longevity that traditional ladder bracing supplied (strong structural braces that go against the grain). A general rule of thumb is, the thinner the top the louder it is, the thicker the top, the quieter it is. Similarly, less bracing makes for a louder instrument, whereas, more bracing, makes a quieter instrument. See blog post: is louder better.
The physics of the lattice bracing is unique in that it is inherently stiff both with the grain and across it, allowing the soundboard to be made thinner, yet strong enough to withstand the string tension without warping over time, whilst reducing the total weight of the top. This results in soundboards that require a lower amount of energy input (vibration) to resonate, leading to a more responsive and dynamic instrument, able to be played both very softly and loudly.
Pono's Cedar Top Rosewood Back & Sides Master Series Tenor: RTMS(C)
Initially, we will be getting in four RT(C)MS ukuleles, featuring Indian Rosewood back and sides, and a Western Red Cedar top, famous for its tight, straight grains, and great sound projection. We have chosen this model as our first Master Series model that will be stocked as Western Red Cedar is famous in the ukulele world for its natural high resistance to decay, lightweight strength and warm rich tone; a great paring with the Master Series lattice bracing.
Additionally, as a tonewood, Indian Rosewood has been an industry standard for the past few decades for a reason, giving ukes a dark and woody overtone, while retaining the clarity, sustain, and low-end predominance of cedar. Thus, this ukulele would suit anyone looking for a professional ukulele that will suit a wide range of genres, whether it be fingerpicking and strumming on the couch, or performing or recording. Get in touch if you would like to pre-order one of these superb instruments.
See below a photo of one of our RTMS(C)'s that just arrived in Australia.
Don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in one of these unique ukuleles!
Check out the RT(C)MS in action, courtesy of the Ukulele Site