PDA

View Full Version : Difficulty Choosing (KALA Archtop or KALA KA-TE)?



kissing
03-31-2009, 05:06 AM
Hello all.
I'm having some trouble choosing between the Kala Archtop (http://cgi.ebay.com/NATURAL-MAHOGANY-KALA-JAZZ-F-HOLE-A-E-TENOR-UKULELE_W0QQitemZ250396836644QQihZ015QQcategoryZ16 224QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksi d=p1742.m153.l1262) and the Kala KA-TE (http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-Kala-KA-TE-Mahogany-Tenor-Ukulele-Acous-elec_W0QQitemZ330318277707QQihZ014QQcategoryZ16224 QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksid=p 1742.m153.l1262).

I'm still in the process of saving up for either one.
With the Archtop, I'm mainly stunned by its appearance, and it seems to sound pretty good too in the videos and reviews I've been seeing online. I'm willing to pay the extra money for it if others can convince me that the sound is ok.

The KA-TE seems to be a nice affordable one that I've also heard good things about. If the Archtop is considered a no-no for reasons to do with how it sounds, it would be my next choice.

Could anyone fill me in on how the sound will compare between the two?

I think the issue is that I like how the Archtop looks much better than the Traditional look.. but I'm trying to persuade myself that its sound is also OK.
I've heard that the traditional Ukuleles sound better acoustically than archtops...

What are your thoughts?

Kanaka916
03-31-2009, 05:09 AM
IMO, the volume on the archtop isn't as loud as the traditional design, however it is aesthetically pleasing.

kissing
03-31-2009, 05:14 AM
Thank you for your response.
But is it just the volume?

I don't mind having a uke with a gentler volume :)
But I think I would mind if the style of sound of the archtop uke is significantly different to the traditional; especially in a way considered "inferior" :o ..

Kanaka916
03-31-2009, 05:25 AM
A friend of mine has one and when playing with others (acoustically) it's soft in comparison. The sound to me is seems brighter but when hoooked to a system, you can equalize/tailor the sound to your liking.

kissing
03-31-2009, 06:04 AM
Thanks a lot for the help.
I'm starting to lean back towards the more traditional KA-TE.

It appears to have a better acoustic sound, and most of the time I'll be playing acoustically anyway :)

SmokeyStubbs
03-31-2009, 07:06 AM
I bought an archtop as I already had an acoustic tenor but wanted an electric for gigs and stuff. I play with two guitarists and acoustically the archtop just cannot be heard. It looks like you've already made up your mind, but yes, if your playing acoustically go for the traditional style.


But let's face it, the archtop is effing beautiful. :shaka:

Ken Middleton
03-31-2009, 07:11 AM
Both instruments don't use solid woods, so neither will be particularly loud. The sound you get from an instrument is result of the tonal character of the wood. Laminates don't impart much tonal character. However, with both instruments the great sound comes from the electrics. Kala are good at this. I only have the archtop, and through an amp or recorded straight into Audacity it sounds terrific. I have also recorded a couple of videos using it acoustically. In my opinion it sounds pretty good.

Compared to a solid wood instrument it does sound a little quiet and has little sustain. However the tone is really pleasing. Remember though, it is really an electric.

Kanaka916
03-31-2009, 07:14 AM
Here's a Kala Archtop review (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5dqcRpOiac) by Ken Middleton.

carpekd
03-31-2009, 07:57 AM
I practice with my archtop unplugged, and play for people plugged in so the acoustic properties are perfect for me. I love the way mine sounds, but if your going for acoustic only, I would go for the tenor solid mahogany KALA. It should still be in your price range.
:)

Ken Middleton
03-31-2009, 08:00 AM
I practice with my archtop unplugged, and play for people plugged in so the acoustic properties are perfect for me. I love the way mine sounds, but if your going for acoustic only, I would go for the tenor solid mahogany KALA. It should still be in your price range.
:)

That's good advice.

Bradford
03-31-2009, 10:33 AM
I find this thread interesting as I'm in the process of designing an archtop ukulele. The Kala design is a hybrid, built to resemble a jazz instrument, but lacking the design features of a true carved top instrument, such as a floating bridge with the strings terminating at a tailpiece. The top and back are probably molded into shape and are a uniform thickness as opposed to being graduated. I was recently rereading Bob Benedetto's book on building an archtop guitar, and discovered that he has built an archtop classical guitar, so maybe there is hope for the concept.

Brad

kissing
03-31-2009, 10:50 AM
Aww jeez thanks everyone :D

Looks like I'll be doing quite a lot of thinking as I save up. I think I'm gonna go back n forth several times.

By recording directly to Audacity, do you mean hooking the pickup into the computer's line-in? I think I will be doing quite a bit of recording via Audacity as I become better at it (first uke btw), and so sounding good over audacity is definitely a plus.

The mahogany KA-TE is not solid, but laminate also? (confused).
If that's the case, I'll also be considering the all-solid mahogany cutaway tenor (ka asmtec) (http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270367016822QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksid =p1742.m153.l1262). Would that be the "better" choice acoustically compared to the other 2 mentioned?
Oh dear, my budget's gone right up since I first started thinking ukulele's, that's for sure LOL (I'm getting sucked right into Ukulele's, and want my first choice to be one to last :)

p.s. I did watch that review on youtube, thank you (it was me who left the comment asking the question about laminates/solid)

Stackabones
03-31-2009, 06:32 PM
I love my archtop Kala!

I'll have to go with what the others say about the sound of it versus the traditional uke sound. I didn't get this one to get a trad sound. I love the look and the feel and the sound and the tons of killer mojo vibe. It's so swingin'!!! :shaka:

ukeatan
03-31-2009, 06:52 PM
Hey kissing: From what it seems like you want to do -- play acoustic, get a 'traditional' uke sound, and someday record on your comp -- I would suggest you might consider using your uke budget to opt for a solid wood instrument without a pickup. This would be the best way to satisfy those first two concerns. When you want to start recording, you can get a decent all-purpose mic to use, and use that for recording voice, etc too.

I guess my point is: if you want to keep your budget limited, a nice solid instrument might be more rewarding for you in the long run than a laminate with pickup.

Happy uke shopping! :D

kissing
04-01-2009, 01:00 AM
Thank you for your advice :)
I would like the pickup feature though, since I sometimes do have access to a sound system (eg: at church) and I really want to try it out that way.

Which is why I'm currently looking at this one:
all-solid mahogany cutaway tenor (ka asmtec). (http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270367016822QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksid =p1742.m153.l1262) from MGM.

It's a cut-away solid mahogany one that has pickup too. I should be able to afford this one. I haven't heard much of this particular model though.. haven't been able to find any reviews or performances. But I assume it to have decent acoustic sound since its solid + the option of pickup :)
Anybody have experience or opinion on that model?

It's probably what I'll end up getting based on my current information, and is the limits of my budget.

ichadwick
04-01-2009, 01:45 AM
I general, Kala builds good instruments. I have two already and am considering a third from their new 2009 lineup. Your choice is excellent and you will love the sound. Get an archtop later as a second uke (but consider the satin finish model because it should have a little brighter sound).

The Kala neck is a little narrower than some other brands, so if you have big fingers, and are accustomed to guitar, you might find it cramped at first. You'll get used to the spacing with play, however.

If you want an even brighter sound, look at their solid spruce and cedar topped models.

Ken Middleton
04-01-2009, 01:56 AM
Thank you for your advice :)
I would like the pickup feature though, since I sometimes do have access to a sound system (eg: at church) and I really want to try it out that way.

Which is why I'm currently looking at this one:
all-solid mahogany cutaway tenor (ka asmtec). (http://cgi.ebay.com/KALA-ALL-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CUTAWAY-TENOR-UKULELE-ka-asmtec_W0QQitemZ270367016822QQihZ017QQcategoryZ162 24QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksid =p1742.m153.l1262) from MGM.

It's a cut-away solid mahogany one that has pickup too. I should be able to afford this one. I haven't heard much of this particular model though.. haven't been able to find any reviews or performances. But I assume it to have decent acoustic sound since its solid + the option of pickup :)
Anybody have experience or opinion on that model?

It's probably what I'll end up getting based on my current information, and is the limits of my budget.

Have you looked at the Mainland Ukuleles? I don't know how they compare in price, but Mike can supply a pickup I think. What about their mahogany tenor?