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View Full Version : Kala KA-ASAC-C or Pono ac



UkeofYork
12-17-2015, 04:52 AM
I've been driving myself mad trying to decide which Uke to get my Dad, he's:

- Been playing for a couple of years and quite enthusiastic
- Practicing and performing in a Uke band weekly

So, for Xmas: Kala KA-ASAC-C or Pono ac?

I've scoured what feels like every online post, video and review of both and spoken to 3 different Ukulele specialists.

I get the impression:

- The Pono ac is generally considered more prestigious but;
- The Kala's Aquila Nylgut Strings are generally preferred and take less time to break in than the Pono's Ko’olau Clear Nylon Strings
- The Pono sounds softer/less presence/or less bright, compared to the Kala

I'm led to believe an immediate player will not notice a vast difference between the two though will appreciate the high quality of both? Perhaps even initially adapt/feel more comfortable with the Kala KA-ASAC-C? Though the Pono carries more prestige and craftsmanship..

Please let me know your thoughts, I've become obsessive about it!

Gratefully in advance..

Kimosabe
12-17-2015, 06:20 AM
Just a thought: Go for the Kala but get a tenor rather than a concert.

Why? A lot more volume for a little more size. I have the tenor and consider it a very respectable uke for the money.
I compared it to the concert and definitely preferred the sound of the tenor though I would have preferred the size of the concert.

I do have a decent all mahogany Pono baritone, but my best uke is my Kanilea K-1. Beautiful sound.

Kala makes some very nice ukes and the cedar topped ones are really warm sounding.

Great idea to take care of the old man.

I keep my Kala for playing in California when I'm not at home in Hawaii.

I play jazz mostly.

DownUpDave
12-17-2015, 06:48 AM
Sounds like you have done your research, both are very nice instruments. You might get more confused because most will vote their personal favorite but it might not be the best for your dad.

Can you find out which one "HE" would prefer? Maybe give him a card with a written iou for either one of those ukes. If that doesn't fit your plans buy one of them from a store that sells both and has a return policy. That way he has something to play and if he wants the other he can exchange it. I love and own Pono but would start with the Kala under the tree. Good luck

JJFN
12-17-2015, 07:43 AM
The Kala's Aquila Nylgut Strings are generally preferred and take less time to break in than the Pono's Ko’olau Clear Nylon Strings.

I wouldn't make the type of stock strings a consideration in a purchase. They can be replaced fairly easily and fairly cheaply. Good luck!

wayfarer75
12-17-2015, 07:46 AM
The Kala's Aquila Nylgut Strings are generally preferred and take less time to break in than the Pono's Ko’olau Clear Nylon Strings.

I wouldn't make the type of stock strings a consideration in a purchase. They can be replaced fairly easily and fairly cheaply. Good luck!

I agree.

It's hard, picking out a uke for another person, especially one who isn't a total beginner. I do like the IOU idea--he might have a preference over which, maybe someone else in the uke band has one of the models and he's formed an opinion.

hammer40
12-17-2015, 08:24 AM
While I personally prefer Pono, I do like the gift card idea. He can then pick out whatever he prefers. He has been playing a while and might have something in mind already.

La Perdrix
12-17-2015, 08:46 AM
Pono, no projection...
go for this up-level Kala...

Croaky Keith
12-17-2015, 08:54 AM
Tell him you want to buy him a new uke & let him choose.:music:

spookelele
12-17-2015, 08:57 AM
Not to throw a wrench.. but in the intermediate kala's.. the cedar top ones are really hard to beat.

PhilUSAFRet
12-17-2015, 12:46 PM
Pono, no projection...
go for this up-level Kala...

Haven't heard a Pono without decent projection unless they had very mellow strings on it.

PhilUSAFRet
12-17-2015, 12:49 PM
The Kala's Aquila Nylgut Strings are generally preferred and take less time to break in than the Pono's Ko’olau Clear Nylon Strings.

I wouldn't make the type of stock strings a consideration in a purchase. They can be replaced fairly easily and fairly cheaply. Good luck!

:agree: I have not found that Nylgut strings take less time to break in than Alohi's, which I have on my Pono Alohi concert with good results. It has a good balanced tone with good resonance and projection. No KoAloha, but decently loud. I did receive a Pono 6 string that had Ko'olau Mahana strings on it. It was so quiet and dull sounding I couldn't get them off quick enough. I installed Southcoast strings on it and how it's a real "chimer."

Peace Train
12-17-2015, 12:55 PM
I'm led to believe an immediate player will not notice a vast difference between the two though will appreciate the high quality of both? Perhaps even initially adapt/feel more comfortable with the Kala KA-ASAC-C? Though the Pono carries more prestige and craftsmanship..

Please let me know your thoughts, I've become obsessive about it!



I did the same thing when choosing a first uke for myself. With those two choices, you really can't go wrong either way. And since you're choosing for someone who's close to you, I'm willing to bet you have a gut feeling on what will most suit him.

You didn't say: What uke make/size/model does he currently play?

edit: I wouldn't worry so much about strings as they can be changed.

johnson430
12-18-2015, 02:30 AM
Pono, no projection...
go for this up-level Kala...

I have two Pono tenors. Neither has a problem with projection.
The satin finish does appear to have bit more volume than my gloss finish though.

hammer40
12-18-2015, 02:57 AM
Pono, no projection...
go for this up-level Kala...

It might be beneficial to the OP, if you could relate your expierence with the Pono(s) that cause you to describe them in this fashion. I'm not questioning your opinion, just might help him to know why you say this.


I have two Pono tenors. Neither has a problem with projection.
The satin finish does appear to have bit more volume than my gloss finish though.

I agree. I have two Pono's as well, and neither of them suffer from a lack of projection. Quite the contrary.

La Perdrix
12-18-2015, 05:31 AM
of course, and sorry if I don't write a good english...
well like many people I bought a pono concert ukulele (satin finish) which had a pretty sounding but when I wanted it to sound louder, impossible, and I tried many strings (worth brown, clear, aquilas, koolau gold, savarez alliance, fremont, etc.). so in the end I sold it because I expected much from a concert ukulele (I've had more than 50 - uas, you know...).
and when sometimes I meet people who have pono ukuleles (most of the time concert or tenor, acacia or mahogany), I don't find these ukuleles have a good projection if I compare to some others ukulele I've had (Kala tenor cedar, kala tenor acacia, Kala tenor mahogany, concert Ohana cedar, concert Ohana mahogany, tenor lanikai koa laminate, Kala concert mangoo, concert Chevalier mahogany -my best ever-, etc.).
just sorry if my sentence seemed a little bit rude but as you can read I'm not used in english writing, so that was synthetic !

Rakelele
12-18-2015, 06:25 AM
Personally, I'd much prefer the Pono. In fact, I have several and don't find them to be quieter than others. I do believe, however, that they really stand out in the Tenor size (with the additional benefit of a truss rod), so you might want to take that size into consideration.

hammer40
12-18-2015, 06:44 AM
of course, and sorry if I don't write a good english...
well like many people I bought a pono concert ukulele (satin finish) which had a pretty sounding but when I wanted it to sound louder, impossible, and I tried many strings (worth brown, clear, aquilas, koolau gold, savarez alliance, fremont, etc.). so in the end I sold it because I expected much from a concert ukulele (I've had more than 50 - uas, you know...).
and when sometimes I meet people who have pono ukuleles (most of the time concert or tenor, acacia or mahogany), I don't find these ukuleles have a good projection if I compare to some others ukulele I've had (Kala tenor cedar, kala tenor acacia, Kala tenor mahogany, concert Ohana cedar, concert Ohana mahogany, tenor lanikai koa laminate, Kala concert mangoo, concert Chevalier mahogany -my best ever-, etc.).
just sorry if my sentence seemed a little bit rude but as you can read I'm not used in english writing, so that was synthetic !

No, I did not take it as rude. I just thought it would help him to know why you felt they did not project well.

the flat tire
12-18-2015, 07:17 AM
I think Kala is best bang for the buck.
I kinda feel like you pay a bit more just for the Pono brand.
I mean they are both imports.
Don't get me wrong, I own a Pono but does it play better than my (albeit higher end) Kala? No.
Kala is the player, Pono for some bling.

UkeofYork
12-19-2015, 02:41 AM
Thank you all so much for your input, it's really helped me reaffirm decision that the Kala ASAC-AC will be best for my Dad, though both would've really impressed him. Regarding vouchers I see why that makes sense, but I really wanted to see his face when he opens the Ukulele up for the 1st time and see the lil' beauty for myself :)

Merry Christmas to y'all, the very helpful community you are,

DownUpDave
12-19-2015, 04:24 AM
Thank you all so much for your input, it's really helped me reaffirm decision that the Kala ASAC-AC will be best for my Dad, though both would've really impressed him. Regarding vouchers I see why that makes sense, but I really wanted to see his face when he opens the Ukulele up for the 1st time and see the lil' beauty for myself :)

Merry Christmas to y'all, the very helpful community you are,

I would want to see my dad's face light up as well when he first opens it, what fun. Thank you for involving us in this special moment of yours, feel as if I will be around the tree with you on Christmas day.

Please report back on your father's thrill and reaction to opening his gift. He will love it........I would.