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View Full Version : First Uke Suggestions - Kala Options or Other



Peace Train
10-28-2015, 11:42 AM
Hi everyone, I'd like to introduce myself to the forum by asking for your experience.

I did a lot of research before and after joining the forum almost two months ago, and after some discouragement from both a local and online music store, have yet to find a uke. So I took it upon myself to do some extensive blind auditions with a quality pair of headphones, and came up with ukes in several price ranges that I really enjoy. I realize there's no substitute for firsthand experience so I'm bringing it to you guys.

The ukes I'm currently considering are Kala KA-STG, KA-ASOV-T, KA-SRT/MA. Thoughts on any of these in terms of quality, durability, sound, etc are much appreciated.

I know they're all Kala, and wanted to say that I'm not set on brand or anything like that, but I really just want to get the ball rolling and start playing!

Inksplosive AL
10-28-2015, 12:10 PM
Funny another member was asking recently about the difference between the spruce top and cedar top. This made me start talking about my Kala KA-SCG and actually put it back into playing rotation just yesterday. I mostly play my KA-SEM and while it is a great sounding ukulele the solid spruce top on the SCG does ring out a bit more. I'm just not very fond of the concert size.

The key here is buy a ukulele play it and get used to it. Always buy from a shop or person known to do a proper set up of each instrument sold. If a shop discouraged me from buying something I would never waste my time there again. A proper shop would work with you to get you something you like.

Realize if you have some disposable income expect to buy a few more ukuleles in the future. They are all so nice and they all sing a bit differently. They take up such little space and their are much more expensive hobbies or vices to carry on your back. Like a bag of Doritos most cannot have just one.

Good Luck

A quick mention I have well over a dozen ukuleles ranging from Kalas to Koaholas and even a 20's banjolele thrown in for a mix. Its a Kala I play everyday.

jjdejd
10-29-2015, 02:03 AM
I have a Kala-SCG I picked it up locally off Craigslist for $100. It must have been setup by someone, because it handles as well as my KoAloha's and LoPrinzi. It's my go to Uke. I think the spruce top is the reason it sounds great and the action is excellent. I would recommend buying from a vendor who does a setup on their ukes. Good luck.

Peace Train
10-29-2015, 11:35 AM
Thanks guys, glad to hear people with a variety of ukes are still playing their Kalas. Is it worth double the price for an all solid wood Kala, or is the laminate body SCG/STG the way to go?

johnson430
10-29-2015, 01:01 PM
Thanks guys, glad to hear people with a variety of ukes are still playing their Kalas. Is it worth double the price for an all solid wood Kala, or is the laminate body SCG/STG the way to go?

My experience: I came from a guitar background and had tried some all laminates (after playing a borrowed uke for a few months, also a laminate) before deciding to save up for an all wood instrument: The Pono MGT ($350). Which I have had for almost one year to the date and would be hard pressed to sell.
But...
if you are not sure you are going to love playing the uke then make a smaller investment at first.
I honestly think a solid top would give you a nice response.

On another note. I just acquired a used Pono MTD that I am not feeling the vibe with as I like the mellower and deeper sound I get out of the MGT.
PM me if you might be interested in a drastically reduced price on the MTD. w/ uke crazy case, strap, strap button, action lowered. And I can throw in a digital tuner as well.
here is a link to a sound sample of the MTD on HMS:
http://www.theukulelesite.com/pono-mtd-mahogany-tenor-deluxe.html

Good luck in your quest.
Johnson =)

Peace Train
10-30-2015, 01:51 AM
Thanks for the offer Johnson430, I know what you mean about the sound since I'm pretty particular myself. I did notice a lot of great Pono deals in the marketplace right now and if I were into the mahogany sound I'd be very tempted. I'll be making a calls later this afternoon. A uke will be heading my way very soon!

johnson430
10-30-2015, 02:30 AM
Thanks for the offer Johnson430, I know what you mean about the sound since I'm pretty particular myself. I did notice a lot of great Pono deals in the marketplace right now and if I were into the mahogany sound I'd be very tempted. I'll be making a calls later this afternoon. A uke will be heading my way very soon!

Right on Peace Train. Good luck and let us now when you get your new uke. =)

wayfarer75
10-30-2015, 02:55 AM
I only have a laminate Kala, but it sounds pretty good for the price. It's also my first uke. A lot of UUers seem to really love the solid cedar/laminate acacia Kalas: http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-atp-ct-solid-cedar-top-tenor-slothead-gloss-finish.html But a spruce top would be my preference, I seem to like the sound of a spruce tenor over cedar, for some reason. They seem to have more sparkle.

bunnyrawr
10-30-2015, 04:02 AM
I have a gorgeous acacia Kala which is my go-to uke, it sings like a little bird :) I think Kala are great as first ukes, and even intermediate ukes tbh. It's not the instrument but the player that makes or breaks an ukulele imo

Debby
10-30-2015, 06:24 AM
You should put Mainland Ukes on your list to check out.

TaPoisse
10-30-2015, 08:08 AM
I got a ASOV concert and, at first, I was wondering when I would play it since I also own a Koaloha KTM-00.

After a week and changing the strings, I surprise myself liking the Kala slightly more than my Koaloha...

Kala indeed do good quality instruments.

As other mentionned, I'd invest in a solid wood ukulele, atleast solid top. You can't go wrong with either Cedar or Spruce.

Good luck!

Nickie
11-04-2015, 01:01 PM
I love my Kala, it's my go to uke. But I also love my Ohana. You should check them out too.

Kiwiohana
11-04-2015, 04:41 PM
+1 for Ohana. The CK20 has a solid top and laminate back and sides, and sings beautifully. CK20S is mahogany and CK22 is Spruce top/Mahogany sides.

I believe Mims Ukes on eBay sell plenty of Ohanas, and set them up properly for you. Mim is often found on these forums and I have only ready great things about her.

JackLuis
11-04-2015, 10:01 PM
I agree +1 on the CK-22. I call mine 'The Blond' and it has become my favorite with Fremont Blacklines. It is very light weight and frets easily and can be played very softly or pretty loudly. I find mine very responsive and fun to play. I traded in a Kala Mahogany for it, and even though it was more expensive, I am much happier with the CK-22.

Peace Train
11-12-2015, 04:25 PM
After reading everyone's great suggestions, I pretty much decided which ukulele would be my first. So I phoned HMS last week and Aaron picked up. He had nothing but great things to say about this uke. Aaron's excitement about how good it sounds and that it's well beyond a beginner level player sealed the deal, and Christmas came early this year: My first uke arrived last night! I'm really happy with everything, and the sound is even more lovely in person than on the HMS sound clips.

Without further adieu, I present to you (with pictures or it didn't happen) my new Kala KA-SRT/MA Michael Aratani Commemorative, All-Solid Spruce/Rosewood Tenor! :D


http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/b441/cdb8315/20151112_143546_zpscfyguofy.jpg (http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/cdb8315/media/20151112_143546_zpscfyguofy.jpg.html)

http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/b441/cdb8315/20151112_143502_zps6qqzvcz0.jpg (http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/cdb8315/media/20151112_143502_zps6qqzvcz0.jpg.html)

http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/b441/cdb8315/20151112_143426_zpsscivbprs.jpg (http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/cdb8315/media/20151112_143426_zpsscivbprs.jpg.html)



I took these pics real quick from my cell before heading to the gym earlier, and I hope I'm posting them right.

Peace Train
11-12-2015, 04:29 PM
Thanks again to everyone, and UU, for all your assistance. Considering how he helped so many new players with their first ukes, it seems fitting that this Music Guy Mic edition be mine. In a way, it feels like he's still looking out for us.
Thanks MGM. Mahalo!!

http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/b441/cdb8315/20151112_143341_zps1gzz0b9j.jpg (http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/cdb8315/media/20151112_143341_zps1gzz0b9j.jpg.html)

jjdejd
11-12-2015, 04:36 PM
Great choice. 😁

Recstar24
11-12-2015, 04:57 PM
The quality of your cell phone pics is awesome. Oh and nice uke.

ukuleleden
11-12-2015, 06:36 PM
Congratulations! You made an excellent choice as the Kala Special editions are super nice! As you can see in my sig line I have two Kalas that are so very nice! I have really fell in love with the Solid Cedar topped KA-ATP-CTG-CE.

igorthebarbarian
11-12-2015, 06:49 PM
Congratulations and welcome. A very nice first uke! Love that binding - so pretty

Nickie
11-13-2015, 03:15 AM
Congratulations Peace Train!
That's a great looking uke. Kala just keeps getting better. I wanted to try the Comfort Edge series tenor at TBUG, but Mim couldn't bring any ukes, and Mike only brought one and it sold immediately, so I never got to see it.
Your phone takes better pics than my Nikon camera. Either I don't know how to use it, or it's junk. It won't talk to my computer anymore, hence I haven't posted a pic in months.

wayfarer75
11-13-2015, 04:52 AM
Thanks again to everyone, and UU, for all your assistance. Considering how he helped so many new players with their first ukes, it seems fitting that this Music Guy Mic edition be mine. In a way, it feels like he's still looking out for us.
Thanks MGM. Mahalo!!

http://i1044.photobucket.com/albums/b441/cdb8315/20151112_143341_zps1gzz0b9j.jpg (http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/cdb8315/media/20151112_143341_zps1gzz0b9j.jpg.html)

Very true--I hope your uke brings you many years of happy playing!

kvehe
11-13-2015, 08:59 AM
Congratulations on a wonderful choice!

70sSanO
11-13-2015, 11:10 AM
MGM was a wonderful person. I met him a couple of times and bought my first ukulele from him.

Here is a video of his original signature Kala:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q-hBI_ninA

Enjoy your very cool "MGM".

John