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mingus
03-25-2018, 05:20 AM
I am in the market for a new baritone!

Looking for an all solid baritone under $400-500, looks like the Pono and all Acacia Kala ukes are an obvious pick. Planning to buy from HMS.

Not interested in vintage at all, so they are out!

So, for those of you with experience, which do you prefer?

Kala or Pono baritone ukes? Why?

Thanks for the help!

Croaky Keith
03-25-2018, 07:13 AM
I tend to favour Kala because I started out with them, but either will do. ;)

kvehe
03-25-2018, 07:50 AM
No question, put me in the Kala camp. I have a small collection of baritones, including two Ponos and a Kala all-solid acacia baritone (KA-ASAC-B with Aquila Reds). I love the Kala with all my heart. I used to refer to it as "the sainted Kala acacia baritone". Now it's just "St. Kala". I have the soprano, concert, and tenor versions too (a vertical flight?); they are okay (well, I don't much like the soprano), but they're not special the way the baritone is. (I wouldn't expect them to sound like a baritone, of course, but they're not even close to the top of my list in their respective size groups.). St. Kala is comfortable to play and deeply resonant. I love it. Can you tell I'm smitten? :D

YMMV. Keep in mind that I also buck the usual wisdom here by confessing that I don't like Fleas or Flukes, and am not a big Pono fan except for the all-rosewood tenor, which is stupendous, and my Master Series tenor.

Let us know which you pick!

mingus
03-25-2018, 08:07 AM
Thanks kvehe! That’s the kind of perspective I was looking for!

Leaning towards the Kala all Acacia model!

vcs700s
03-25-2018, 09:11 AM
I prefer Kala. I favor my all hog model which I am putting up for sale as I am playing Soprano's exclusively now.

SoloRule
03-25-2018, 09:15 AM
Thanks kvehe! That’s the kind of perspective I was looking for!

Leaning towards the Kala all Acacia model!

Kala all Acacia was my first uke
That uke sounds so sweet almost like a charm!
I later bought a new Pono also Acacia and double the price. It did not give me that satisfaction!
Sadly I sold the Kala !

bratsche
03-25-2018, 06:37 PM
Baritone is the first size ukulele I ever obtained, and as I've mentioned elsewhere, it was not my intention to get sucked into playing ukes, but simply to have a GDAE octave mandolin tuned instrument that would suffice until I could actually find an octave mandolin to my liking (which still hasn't happened). I was not expecting to become smitten by the baritone ukulele or playing with my fingers rather than a plectrum, but I was, and still am. My baritone is all solid mahogany (personally, I prefer the mahogany timbre over that of acacia), has gorgeous grain and a big, mellow sound, is super comfortable, and suits my choice of tuning perfectly - all the way down to the low G. It was love at first pluck, and I'll never part with it, nor do I yearn to try any other baritones. Oh, and it's a Pono.

bratsche

Rakelele
03-25-2018, 11:29 PM
Out of the two, I'd always take the Pono. Extremely well built, very clean finish, they have the benefit of a truss rod, and they come from a well documented and relatively small factory that puts a lot of effort into caring for their workers and the environment.

Piecomics
03-25-2018, 11:55 PM
I'm another vote for Kala. The ponos that I hav owned or tried were relatively unwieldy in ththe neck, particularly at the baritone level. (Other than the pono nui which I greatly regret selling). The Kala acacia is lightly built and very fun!

mingus
03-26-2018, 12:05 AM
Wow, you all have been great! Thanks for all of the information!

Osprey
03-26-2018, 03:12 AM
Out of the two, I'd always take the Pono. Extremely well built, very clean finish, they have the benefit of a truss rod, and they come from a well documented and relatively small factory that puts a lot of effort into caring for their workers and the environment.

I have two Kala Baritones. One solid Mahogany, the other with a Cedar top. Both have truss rods. Both sound great to me.

maki66
03-26-2018, 03:47 AM
I'm not surprised that people love their Kalas. Just surprised people prefer them to Ponos.
Not what I would have suspected.

Pirate Jim
03-26-2018, 05:47 AM
I'm not surprised that people love their Kalas. Just surprised people prefer them to Ponos.
Not what I would have suspected.

Same here - I've always heard rave reviews about the Pono baritones so the overall Kala preference has surprised me. I had a Kala baritone for a while (spruce top, lacewood body). It was a very nice instrument but didn't really do it for me, I don't regret moving it on.

sopher
03-26-2018, 06:21 AM
I have a Spruce/Rosewood Pono Bari (strung re-entrant) and it is totally the bomb. I can't imagine a uke could sound any better. The leader of our uke group always asks me to stand next to her so she can just enjoy listening to it. At home I don't strum, just fingerpick solo stuff and it is perfect for that application. A pleasure to play, and I am very glad to have a truss rod to enhance it's longevity. YMMV, of course.

Sopher

SA Condor
04-18-2018, 02:32 PM
Any update here? What did you decide?

And for anyone else out there that has owned these, what is your opinion, Mango, Mahogany, or Acacia?? And of course please share why!

crisson
04-18-2018, 03:09 PM
I am biased but I really love my solid mahogany bari. I did change the strings shortly after I got it but it sounds great. My tenor has three solid woods and one of them is mango. It also sounds great. In my opinion, and opinions are like bellybuttons, Kala makes a quality uke and any of the tone woods you mentioned would probably sound wonderful.

tomthebaptist
04-19-2018, 11:44 AM
Put me in the Pono camp. I’m perfectly satisfied with my Pono Mango Baritone.

mingus
04-26-2018, 03:13 PM
Ended up going with the Kala solid Acacia from HMS! It ships today, so hopefully be able to see it by next week!

maki66
04-27-2018, 02:08 AM
Looking forward to your opinion when you receive it. Congratulations.

crisson
04-27-2018, 02:51 PM
Congrats on the new baritone. Also, HMS will do an excellent setup on it for you. I got both of mine from them and both came perfectly set up and ready to go. Let us know what you think of it.

mingus
04-30-2018, 02:21 PM
So, the new Kala solid Acacia baritone came today from HMS.

Initial thoughts:

Action is super low and easy to play!

Beautiful instrument and sounds nice. Wish it has a little more volume, not a quiet uke but not as loud as I was hoping. Thinking a string change would make a difference!!

Any advice?

Don’t have much baritone experience - what would you all recommend for new strings?

Croaky Keith
04-30-2018, 08:52 PM
Fluorocarbons - I put Living Water linear on my Kala cedar top. :)

crisson
05-01-2018, 01:14 AM
I second Keith's suggestion of Living Water fluorocarbons. That's what I did and it made a difference.

Osprey
05-01-2018, 04:11 AM
Fluorocarbons - I put Living Water linear on my Kala cedar top. :)

I did the same. I like them a lot. They sound good and my fingernails last longer before fraying.