View Full Version : New Kala Concert buying advice needed

02-22-2015, 06:31 AM

I have a Flea Soprano and a Lanikai LU21 Baritone and like both. I'd like to get another ukulele to play in fifths tuning. I tried GDAE on the soprano but the E string was really high (broke twice before settling in) and IMHO just didn't sound good. So I'd like to get a concert uke and put Aquila 31U CGDA strings on it.

My main instrument is violin, which is why I'd like to have a uke in fifths. I also have a 14" viola (tuned CGDA) and I really like the range of CGDA. With fifths tuning one using 1 finger for 2 frets. I can do it with the soprano but it's a bit of a stretch. I think with the concert I'll be required to move my hand a bit so I'll have to see if I can do it. I've read of others doing it and really liking it.

Buying options are limited here in France so I will buy it from Thomann and I want to go with Kala because their options are limited. I am interested in Mohogany because I really like a mallow soft gentle sound. I'm not looking to compete with other instruments, I mostly play alone.

I was going to get the KA-C but it's out of stock so I found out about the KA-CEM (Exotic Mahogany). I think it's really pretty and I like the flaming which reminds me of the violins. But I read a few people saying the wood was very thin, so I'm not sure. Is it any thinner than the KA-C?

The next step up is Kala KA-SMHC which is solid mohogany. My concern about this is reading about humidity problems and cracking. I have several violins and I keep them in their cases in our bedroom when not in use (about 50% humidity) and I've never had any issues. I take my violin to weekly lessons etc. I don't even have a humidifier. Do ukuleles crack more than violins? Perhaps due to the different wood? or the fact that they're bigger? I really don't hear of these issues with violins.

So I'm kind of stuck, I'm not sure which model to get and I can't try them out in a store. I'm not that picky, i just want something to doodle on when I can't play my violin, and if I like it, something I can strum and sing with too.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm leaning towards the KA-CEM just to avoid solid wood maintenance issues and I've heard they sound as good as solid tops, but I'm bouncing back and forth.


02-22-2015, 12:30 PM
There's probably good reason the KA-C is out of stock, it's a fine ukulele! I can't comment on the other models, but I've got a KA-C and I'm very happy with it :)

Can you contact your supplier and ask if they expect replacement stock in the near future?

FWIW, I use Aquila 30U GDAE strings on a Mahalo pineapple soprano. I find the bigger body makes better use of the low-G than a "normal-shaped" instrument. I've had no trouble with the strings snapping and I did move this set from another instrument, which is how I know they sound better on a pineapple ;)

Captain America
02-22-2015, 02:32 PM
I have the solid wood model. I'm trying to more or less keep it humidified: I figure this is its first winter in America. I've been as low as 45% humidity and its doing okay. But I'm keeping an eye on it.

If it does okay this winter, I'll likely be less concerned next winter.

Not a fan of composite ukes or laminate ukes. Life's too short. The sound in my Kala all hog concert is exactly what I wanted to hear from it: trad uke sounds. I agree that laminates CAN sound as good or better. . . but it's to my mind very much a YMMV situation, and you should likely try out a few of that model to determine which has the real voice.

02-22-2015, 03:37 PM
The 50% humidity will be fine for a sold uke, so you wouldn't need a humidifier unless it went below 35-40%. I think laminates can be nice, I have a Kala KA-S. It sounds just fine strummed (especially as an accompaniment to singing), but when fingerpicked the tone just isn't there.

02-24-2015, 08:23 PM
I found this one for 154 euros which isn't much more than the laminates I am considering:

KALA Solid Spruce Top/Mahogany KA-SCG Concert Ukulele

It seems that might be better?

I definitely won't use a humidifier, our house has never had a low humidity problem. in the summer it might even be too high. I think I won't have any issues.

There is also a spalted maple concert. I found a store in Paris that has it so I will try to go have a look and see if I can compare laminate vs. spruce.

My main use will be playing melody so maybe a solid top is worth it.

02-24-2015, 10:19 PM
have a look at Duke of Uke in London or Southern Ukulele Store in Bournmouth in the UK. Both have a good selection of Kala concerts. From your UU name I guess you're in Paris. In which case it might be worth considering a visit to either shop to actually try some. Much better to try some and get one you like than to buy mail order - even though I've done that more than once. If you do go to the shop, try other makes as well.