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UkeInTW
09-07-2016, 12:58 AM
Anyone listen to the Kala Elite Tenor - Custom Spruce / Lebanese Cedar?

Those preferring the traditional uke sound probably wont like it, or those looking for chime like clarity probably not either, but those looking for a nice deep tone probably will like it. I was very impressed by the sound of this particular Kala Elite. Did not see it on HMS, so must have sold right away.

https://vimeo.com/181291289

Same with the DaSilva Jumbo tenor also posted there and on HMS. Also a nice, sound, for those that like a more guitar like uke sound.

DownUpDave
09-07-2016, 01:29 AM
Anyone listen to the Kala Elite Tenor - Custom Spruce / Lebanese Cedar?

Those preferring the traditional uke sound probably wont like it, or those looking for chime like clarity probably not either, but those looking for a nice deep tone probably will like it. I was very impressed by the sound of this particular Kala Elite. Did not see it on HMS, so must have sold right away.

https://vimeo.com/181291289

Same with the DaSilva Jumbo tenor also posted there and on HMS. Also a nice, sound, for those that like a more guitar like uke sound.

I thought the same thing about this Kala spruce and Lebanese cedar tenor, really great sounding. So is the splated koa that is just a few demos down from it. That one is very clear and articulate sounding. Kala has obviously put a lot of thought and effort into these new customs.

If it had another name on the headstock people would have no problem spending that kind of money for that kind of sound. As it is they have an up hill battle to change peoples receptions of what Kala is really all about. I would say "beautiful instruments that sound great"

cml
09-07-2016, 02:33 AM
I thought the same thing about this Kala spruce and Lebanese cedar tenor, really great sounding. So is the splated koa that is just a few demos down from it. That one is very clear and articulate sounding. Kala has obviously put a lot of thought and effort into these new customs.

If it had another name on the headstock people would have no problem spending that kind of money for that kind of sound. As it is they have an up hill battle to change peoples receptions of what Kala is really all about. I would say "beautiful instruments that sound great"
You're dead on here I think. That logo adds negative value and takes away the perception of a high quality hand built uke. They really should do a sub brand for these and change the headstock logo.

Edit: not that kalas are bad, but they aren't perceived as super highend ukes.

Osprey
09-07-2016, 04:47 AM
This is a beautiful sounding ukulele that also looks great. I am not at all put off by the Kala logo. Full disclosure, my first Uke was a entry level laminate Kala and I currently own and love an all solid acacia Kala.

kohanmike
09-07-2016, 05:59 AM
There have been some very good reports of Kala ukes here on UU. I always commend my KAATP-CTG-CE450 solid cedar top, acacia koa body cutaway as one of the best playing and sounding ukes I know. In my opinion for $375, it rivals some of the other K brand $1000 models. I'm very glad Mim recommended it to me.

Booli
09-07-2016, 06:34 AM
There are still quite a few folks here on UU that refuse to see Kala as anything other than a PO Box in Petaluma that drop-ships Chinese factory made ukes with their logo on the headstock to dealers...

However INCORRECT these folks may be, Hanlon's Razor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor) is in FULL EFFECT here....

spongeuke
09-07-2016, 06:35 AM
I've always been impressed with the KALA build, sound and price. I don't own one as I prefer vintage instruments, mostly ones I've rescued. That being said KALA has greatly influenced my ukulele path. After some successful rescues I thought about building a few but after seeing and playing the new ukuleles that were coming out then I realized I couldn't match KALA's
offerings. I shifted to experimental projects on any from scratch builds. As with any X project you learn from mistakes, I don't thrown away scraps and such so there was only crash and no burning. I live just down the road from KALA and have happily participated in their sponsored events, it's a Great Company.

warndt
09-07-2016, 06:49 AM
However INCORRECT these folks may be, Hanlon's Razor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor) is in FULL EFFECT here....

Look at the big brain on Booli Brad!

cml
09-07-2016, 07:49 AM
There are still quite a few folks here on UU that refuse to see Kala as anything other than a PO Box in Petaluma that drop-ships Chinese factory made ukes with their logo on the headstock to dealers...

However INCORRECT these folks may be, Hanlon's Razor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor) is in FULL EFFECT here....
Of course they're wrong! My Kala tenor sounds great and the build quality isnt bad either. In fact, I'm amazed how they did such a great job on a thinline uke.

That said, the perception is still there I think, people don't see Kala as a premium brand, because they haven't marketed themselves as such. The Kala brand in my mind is the definition of a quality mid range uke. That's what I feel they want to communicate with their brand.

Adding an "elite" to the name doesn't change the brand image. These customs look and sound spectacular (well not the cheap ass looking logo), but imo they need to market them very differently.

Mivo
09-07-2016, 07:57 AM
I'm still torn on the brand name thing.

On the one hand, yes, after my negative experience with a super bad Kala Waterman (and it not being an outlier), my predominant opinion about Kala is one of hesitation and reluctance. In a way, I feel that this is unfair, but then again, if a company does not care enough to quality control their budget instruments, I don't want to buy their high end instruments, either. Not because I don't believe the high instruments are superb (I'm sure they are), but because it's more about the company than the instruments to me. It's a choice to put poor quality on the shelves, and that choice says something about a company to me.

So, on the other hand, I can see how having a sub-brand would sidestep this problem, at least with buyers who are unaware or who, in case of the high end instruments, take into account what others, perhaps potential buyers down the road, might think of the instrument. But it's superficial. If I bought an Islander and it made me wish I hadn't, I wouldn't buy a Kanile'a either, for the same reason why I won't buy a Kala. Using a different brand name (other than the company name) feels to me as if a company isn't standing behind their budget product line, which doesn't inspire confidence.

Overall, I like how KoAloha is doing this with their Opio line (not with the Koalana line, which at first made me think it was a knockoff brand), and I think Kala and Kala Elite work also -- or would, if not for the issue mentioned above.

I do realize that my views on this are a little black and white, and possibly over the top. That's okay! :p At the end of the day, there is so much choice these days, and such an abundance of quality ukulele builders and manufacturers, that one can afford to be picky, whether it's fair or not.

buganeal
09-07-2016, 08:13 AM
Its on HMS as of now.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-usa-custom-tenor-4custom-t-spruce-top-lebanese-cedar.html

Alytw
09-07-2016, 11:58 AM
I agree about the name..a sub brand would probably help perception. Their Facebook page said that they have endorsed Corey...if that's correct then it will sure help!

UkeInTW
09-07-2016, 07:27 PM
I have to agree on the Kala brand name and headstock. If one is buying an expensive semi-custom uke like this, I think it could do with a classier headstock. The headstock looks kind of cheap. And regarding marketing it under a different brand name for differentiation, it may seem snobbish, but it is sound marketing principles that does impact sales. Jmho though and obviously there are those that dont care.

In any case, Kala builders did a great job on the sound. it is a wonderful sounding uke and I am very impressed.

OhioBelle
09-08-2016, 06:50 AM
Hi all!

I like this uke's sound and look - including the headstock! - so much that I just bought it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)

cml
09-08-2016, 07:00 AM
Hi all!

I like this uke's sound and look - including the headstock! - so much that I just bought it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)
Congratulations on a great sounding and looking uke. I love it, just not the logo ;). Give us a NUD when you get it!

DownUpDave
09-08-2016, 08:27 AM
Hi all!

I like this uke's sound and look - including the headstock! - so much that I just bought it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)

Wow you ARE on a roll. Congratulations, you have purchased a one of a kind spectacular sounding and looking instrument. We have a member of our local uke jam that owns an all koa Kala Elite. He has done some open mic performances with it and I have been very impressed. Between you me and the World Wide Web I think yours sounds even better. That will be our little secret.

OhioBelle
09-08-2016, 04:20 PM
Wow you ARE on a roll. Congratulations, you have purchased a one of a kind spectacular sounding and looking instrument. We have a member of our local uke jam that owns an all koa Kala Elite. He has done some open mic performances with it and I have been very impressed. Between you me and the World Wide Web I think yours sounds even better. That will be our little secret.

Thank you, Dave! I am on a roll! I thought I was DONE, after the Mainland baritone, but... I was lucky enough to get a small bonus at work this week and the rest is history. My first thought was a Koa K-brand, but for some reason I have it in my head that I will travel to Hawaii ONE DAY and pick out my own koa. It just seems the thing to do. Then I saw this thread...

And then the sound KILLED me. Chills! I exchanged a few emails with Andrew at HMS and he couldn't be nicer. He says this Kala Elite is one of the best he's seen, and although they are more expensive than the regular line, he considers them a great value because of how good they are. And get this... he gave his daughter the pick of the store for her birthday last year and she chose a Kala Elite! How's THAT for an endorsement? Can you imagine? THE. PICK. OF. THE. STORE.

With this Elite, I kinda feel like I'm on the ground floor of something special. I don't give a fig about the brand name, but I do like the fact that a company who have been making really good ukuleles accessible to so many now employs a small team of young luthiers to make really great ones. Some of their Elite Customs are simply jaw-dropping. Okay, so not made in Hawaii. But made in the US and that's still a pretty cool thing.

And yes cml, a NUD will definitely be in order when I get this one! Thanks!

Patrick Madsen
09-08-2016, 05:54 PM
Congratulations Angela! Andrew is a straight up guy and would not steer you in that direction unless he had full confidence in the instrument. Here's to many years of playing that lovely tenor.

Ukulele Eddie
09-08-2016, 06:43 PM
Congrats! Beautiful looking and sounding uke!

UkeInTW
09-09-2016, 03:03 AM
Congratulations. The sound on that ukulele is amazing. I was tempted, but trying to slow down on my UAS and had just bought another one already. Hope to hear more sound samples, when you receive it.