View Full Version : Choice between two Kalas and Gretsch

Obys Sczezł
10-31-2015, 06:42 AM
Iow... Ups... Aloha Guys!
Greetings from Europe.Sorry for my English.
I'm quite new to ukulele, but I played a guitar for few years.
I liked the feel of electric guitar, but my way of life forced me to resign from guitar.
I'm travellin' a lot, and you know this problems with e-guitar, heavy amps, problems with transport, no band etc I was also tired of this kind of guitar competition, 90℅ of musicians I meet were guitarists... I don't like the feel of acoustic guitars, and I don't like the society of classical guitar... Another truth is that guitars are to big for me, So I checked out ukulele, and I'm pretty impressed what you can do with these little instruments.
I prefer tenor size and I want to buy my first uke. I need to buy from thomann from some reasons.
My budget is 285 EUROS without case, or around 330 EUROS with case.
I've got 3 candidates;
Gretsch g9121 ACE DLX



Heart told me to buy Kala SMHT, cause I love solid mahogany, but I've got one question?
What about neck? Is it one piece mahogany like that in Gretsch?
Same question about Kala ATP-CTG?

I prefer one piece neck, cause my experience from guitars is that neck do big job in the matter of tone...

Electronic is not important for me cause I've got Zoom H4n for recording...
I will be travelling a lot by bus, train and plane with this instrument and I stay most time in seaside areas, so I'm hope if buy humidifer and hygrometer, nothing bad happen...

So guys, tell me your personal opinions, what would you choose from these 3 beauties and why....
I hope that you can tell are Kalas one piece mahogany necks or not?

I also aprecciate any suggestions about travelling with solid top/body ukulele...

10-31-2015, 06:47 AM
I liked the Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. I had, put fluorocarbon strings on it, which improved the sound. But I ultimately sold it and went with a Kala KAATP-CTG-CE, which I think sounds better.

10-31-2015, 08:00 AM
I had the Gretsch 9121. Mine sounded like a big block of wood. It might have been the only bad one made, but I got it. (I keep a 40s Gretsch soprano under my pillow at night, so it's not that I have anything against Gretsch.)

But, I've always been impressed with Kalas. Even the inexpensive ones sound fine and Makalas aren't bad either, for less than $50. Kala can't make a bad ukulele, IMHO.

A lot of people at the jam where I play have the Kala KA ATP-CTG. It's a terrific ukulele. Sounds great, plays great, looks great. I have a friend that just bought a $1700 Kanilea, but he can't stop playing his KA ATP-CTG. I think that says a lot.

I'm sure the Kala KA SMHT is wonderful too, but I have no experience with it. It's solid Mahogany, which is really nice, but the KA-ATP-CTG has a solid Cedar top, and that's hard to beat.

Good luck with your purchase!

Obys Sczezł
11-01-2015, 03:19 AM
Thank you so much!
I think I choose between Kalas... I think both sound great - but different... I like the look of mahogany better, but Cedar Acacia is also beautiful...
So what about necks? One piece or not?

11-01-2015, 04:14 AM
Thank you so much!
I think I choose between Kalas... I think both sound great - but different... I like the look of mahogany better, but Cedar Acacia is also beautiful...
So what about necks? One piece or not?

I have a Kala acacia tenor, good instrument at the price point but I never play it since finding a mid-50s Gibson tenor. For all the traveling you do it might be worth checking out the concert and soprano sizes. Also, if you're big on mahogany, there were tons of them made in the mid-50s by outfits like Martin, Gibson, and Vega. I found a solid mahogany mid-50s Vega baritone for $100.

11-01-2015, 04:50 AM
So what about necks? One piece or not?

Kalas have stacked necks. Their "Elite" series made in the US have one piece necks but they are at the high end price wise. The Gretsch does have a one piece neck. It is a thick neck, not like the Kalas.

11-01-2015, 08:56 PM
I have a beautiful acacia/spruce Kala and it plays and sounds like a dream, so I'd go for the cedar/acacia combo personally. I love Gretsch but their ukuleles are just a bit too chunky for me.

11-02-2015, 11:32 AM
You can't beat a Kala for the money. I've played mine for almost five years, and I want another one.

Obys Sczezł
11-04-2015, 02:43 AM
Thank you for more feedback... I live in Poland, and ukulele is not popular here... There are some shops, sites and people... but it's difficult to find something used, better etc...
I think I will buy Kala Acacia Cedar :) COncert and tenor is only 8 cm longer...