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DSmusic
12-21-2015, 04:32 AM
I've been thinking about getting a new ukulele. I could really benefit from an acoustic/electric. But I'm not sure what to get.
I've been looking at the Kala KA-TE (tenor, electric). But the only thing that turns me off is the finish. It just looks so....cheap, I guess. I've never seen one in person. So I can't say for sure..
I really like how the Kala KA-CGE (concert, gloss, electric) looks with the gloss. But I already have a KA-SCG. Which is basically the exact same thing except for the top material and no electronics.

Anyways, what are your thoughts on the KA-TE? Sound, fit and finish, and just over all quality?
Does the satin mahogany sound better than the gloss?
I realize they're both laminate tops. Which is a step down from what I have.
But its mostly going to be my gigging uke, and will be plugged in most of the time.

Anyways, I know I'm just kind of rambling. But I'd really like your advice/opinions.
Thanks.

spookelele
12-21-2015, 05:12 AM
The laminate top kala's.. sound mostly the same to me.

Have you considered adding a pickup to your spruce top?
Passive ones can be had off evil bay or even amazon for less than $8.

There's also that new sound hole clip on doodad for $50

UkieOkie
12-21-2015, 05:14 AM
I think that model is a great value. There is a lot of bang for not that many bucks. I guess as far as the finish and looks go, that will be up to you. I personally look at gigging ukes like I think of Willie Nelson's guitar. Its a tool that gets used and the worn-ness of it makes me respect it even more. What I'm getting at is that I embrace the flat look and I don't sweat it as much if someone's beverage gets splashed on it or if a leave scratches from really laying into it. I am now rambling. I like that model for gigging and travel.

DSmusic
12-21-2015, 05:51 AM
The laminate top kala's.. sound mostly the same to me.

Have you considered adding a pickup to your spruce top?
Passive ones can be had off evil bay or even amazon for less than $8.

There's also that new sound hole clip on doodad for $50

I did consider that. But I did some research about different brands and what sounds good. And from what I found, its hard finding a good one in such a low price range.
From what I was reading, its about $40 for a decent pickup (K&K Big Island Spot) then another $40-60 to have it installed professionally. Which I could probably do myself. But I'd rather have it done by a professional. So that's like $80-100 soaked into a $150 uke.
So I don't know.. But I did consider it.

DSmusic
12-21-2015, 05:56 AM
I think that model is a great value. There is a lot of bang for not that many bucks. I guess as far as the finish and looks go, that will be up to you. I personally look at gigging ukes like I think of Willie Nelson's guitar. Its a tool that gets used and the worn-ness of it makes me respect it even more. What I'm getting at is that I embrace the flat look and I don't sweat it as much if someone's beverage gets splashed on it or if a leave scratches from really laying into it. I am now rambling. I like that model for gigging and travel.

It's funny you say that because I was thinking the same thing! Not that I'm careless with my instruments. But they do tend to get beat up after a while of playing. And I love seeing old worn out instruments that clearly have a story to tell.
I just wish it was a solid top.
I mean the finish does kind of bother me, as I said above. But if it was a solid top, I wouldnt mind so much. Lol.

spookelele
12-21-2015, 06:03 AM
If you buy a laminate electric.. the electronics inside are not really great.

It's still a piezo wire under the saddle, and then connecting that to a small pre-amp that gives you a little tone control, volume control, and a built in tuner that is kind not so accurate. The tuner gets you ballpark. And I don't mean to say that the kala electronics are bad, but I don't think you're comparing apples to apples if you talking about kk/baggs/etc.

If you buy a cheap passive, you can choose which piezo you want, and if your amp has the logic, you're ok. If not, you can spend the money on an external pre-amp, and still have something better than the kala built in electronics.

Installation... isn't really that hard. There's lots of vids to walk you through it.

DSmusic
12-21-2015, 06:18 AM
If you buy a laminate electric.. the electronics inside are not really great.

It's still a piezo wire under the saddle, and then connecting that to a small pre-amp that gives you a little tone control, volume control, and a built in tuner that is kind not so accurate. The tuner gets you ballpark. And I don't mean to say that the kala electronics are bad, but I don't think you're comparing apples to apples if you talking about kk/baggs/etc.

If you buy a cheap passive, you can choose which piezo you want, and if your amp has the logic, you're ok. If not, you can spend the money on an external pre-amp, and still have something better than the kala built in electronics.

Installation... isn't really that hard. There's lots of vids to walk you through it.

I understand what you mean.
I'm not really sure what to do now.

DSmusic
12-21-2015, 07:02 AM
I came across this video in the description.
I'm actually surprised how nice it sounds.
Thought it was worth sharing..
http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-te-tenor-acoustic-electric.html

photoshooter
12-21-2015, 08:44 AM
Asking what uke to buy is sometimes like going on a car forum and asking what car to buy. I think it's wise to establish a budget and then try to get as much value as possible within that budget. I think the Kala KA-TE is a fine first ukulele but it's not your first ukulele. I'd caution that the electronics add a premium of $50 to $100 to an ukulele. I agree with other posters that if you're mechanically inclined you'll get more value buying an acoustic uke and adding a piezo pickup.

My first uke was a Kala CEM concert "exotic mahogany" in magenta. Cost was $119. I immediately got the ukulele bug and moved on to a tenor but I kept the CEM. I added Savarez Alliance strings ($7 or $8) which made it sound wonderful and also installed a Artec Piezo ($7 on ebay). I run it through a Behringer V Tone Acoustic ADI21 preamp ($30 on amazon). I think it sounds great, especially for under $170 all combined. I also have two ukes with MiSi pickups but I can't see putting a $100 plus piezo on a $100 uke. I've also installed a few of that same preamp unit you find on the Kala. They can be had for $20 or less and don't require an external preamp.

So in the end it's about budget and expectations. Both tend to go up together. If you have a solid spruce top you may be disappointed with a laminate top. I would buy another solid top and add the electronics later. Someone above mentioned the clip thingy; the new iRig Acoustic. I just bought one and it's too early to say but it looks very promising. The nice thing is that for under $50 it can be used on multiple ukes. Just another consideration…

Good luck with your decision :)

wayfarer75
12-21-2015, 09:19 AM
I'd install a pickup in your existing uke. I have not heard good things about pre-installed Kala electronics.

PhilUSAFRet
12-21-2015, 10:48 AM
I'd suggest one of these. Lots of happy owners. I gave mine to my grandkids. Sounded really good plugged or unplugged as soon as I removed the Nylgut strings (way to brash). EQ worked great. I especially liked a mellow low g set on it. It is light, great volume and projection, has a solid mahogany top, and in all a lot of uke for the money....way more than that all laminate Kala. It would however benefit from a bone saddle (could do a nut as well if you cared to bother) and some Grover tuners although the ones that come on it work ok. The satin finish can be easily hand polished to a rich low gloss. Mine had no finish/construction flaws and the intonation and action required no attention save for a few sharp fret ends that needed smoothed.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2141725.m570.l1312.R1.TR10.TRC4.A0.H0.XC. TRS2&_nkw=cordoba+20tm-ce&_sacat=0

DSmusic
12-21-2015, 12:14 PM
Asking what uke to buy is sometimes like going on a car forum and asking what car to buy. I think it's wise to establish a budget and then try to get as much value as possible within that budget. I think the Kala KA-TE is a fine first ukulele but it's not your first ukulele. I'd caution that the electronics add a premium of $50 to $100 to an ukulele. I agree with other posters that if you're mechanically inclined you'll get more value buying an acoustic uke and adding a piezo pickup.

My first uke was a Kala CEM concert "exotic mahogany" in magenta. Cost was $119. I immediately got the ukulele bug and moved on to a tenor but I kept the CEM. I added Savarez Alliance strings ($7 or $8) which made it sound wonderful and also installed a Artec Piezo ($7 on ebay). I run it through a Behringer V Tone Acoustic ADI21 preamp ($30 on amazon). I think it sounds great, especially for under $170 all combined. I also have two ukes with MiSi pickups but I can't see putting a $100 plus piezo on a $100 uke. I've also installed a few of that same preamp unit you find on the Kala. They can be had for $20 or less and don't require an external preamp.

So in the end it's about budget and expectations. Both tend to go up together. If you have a solid spruce top you may be disappointed with a laminate top. I would buy another solid top and add the electronics later. Someone above mentioned the clip thingy; the new iRig Acoustic. I just bought one and it's too early to say but it looks very promising. The nice thing is that for under $50 it can be used on multiple ukes. Just another consideration…

Good luck with your decision :)

I see what your saying.. I just don't know what else to get. There's not as many options as guitars.
Plus there's certain brands I tend to avoid because of friends who've owned them and been less than satisfied. Or because I've played it (insert brand name) and have been disappointed.
Then when you add electronics in to the search, the options are even smaller.

spookelele
12-22-2015, 03:59 AM
http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-atp-ctg-ce.html

Stu Fuchs plays it as his main uke.
It sounds pretty good unplugged.
And plugged in is not bad.

If you're going to spend money, it seems like it's better to spend it on an upgrade rather than a down grade to get the electronics. Granted... it is more money. But.. if you decide to sell it later.. I'd consider buying it from you :) I've actually been on the look out for one of these, and was planning on getting one for xmas, but ended up dropping alot on something special that came up and wont come up again.

https://www.youtube.com/user/StUkulele/videos

LDS714
12-22-2015, 07:26 AM
I have one. It's OK, I like the way it sounds. Of all the ukes I played in the stores that week, the particular KA-TE that I picked up had the nicest resonant feel to the body. Not sure how to explain it, but to me acoustic instruments have to feel like the sound is alive in them, this one did.

Downside? The action was pretty high, and the frets were leveled nicely but not crowned or dressed well at all. After messing around with it for a while it's really easy and fun to play.