PDA

View Full Version : Kala Tenor Acacia Review



thejumpingflea
06-23-2009, 06:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSnWfUAtVIA

Love that smell of a new uke!

Uncle-Taco
06-23-2009, 07:05 PM
Slotted headstock! Aw, man! :shaka:
Very nice instrument!

HaileISela
06-24-2009, 12:46 AM
Really good review, I wanted to write something as a comment, but YT had the comment function temporarily desabled...:(

good job dude!

bluesuke
06-24-2009, 02:36 AM
Great review

chris
09-11-2009, 06:34 PM
Oh, I like the Kala Tenor Acacia~! Especially the slotted head, oh it is stated that the top masterial is solid striped Acacia, can I say that it is real solid wood ?

ukeskywalker79
09-11-2009, 06:58 PM
Loved the review and awesome playing. This will be my next uke for sure.

BTW what kind of tuning did you do? Also since the review have you tried other strings? I've been hearing the worth browns are mellow but based on your review they are far from mellow. Nice and bright and punchy just the way I like it. :shaka:

Mouthy1
09-11-2009, 09:33 PM
I just got my acacia Kala tenor about a week ago and I have some awesome ukes like Kiwaya, Pono koa, etc...I LOVE THE KALA ACACIA. The best sounding uke I own. I would replace it at twice the cost...honestly. That good. Just my opinion but based on me getting 3 great ukes all within 3 days, I think it is a valid opinion. Hope that helps anyone on the fence. Thanks MGM!

paw123los
09-11-2009, 10:59 PM
I just got my acacia Kala tenor about a week ago and I have some awesome ukes like Kiwaya, Pono koa, etc...I LOVE THE KALA ACACIA. The best sounding uke I own. I would replace it at twice the cost...honestly. That good. Just my opinion but based on me getting 3 great ukes all within 3 days, I think it is a valid opinion. Hope that helps anyone on the fence. Thanks MGM!

I must agree with you .. the only one better sounding ukulele for me is my Makapili. Kala Acacia sound much better than my Pono PKT (even strung with Worth strings) and both Lanikais.

Uketopia
09-11-2009, 11:17 PM
Great review, and that uke sounds awesome. Which brings me to what may be my dilemma or a cheaper solution to my problem. I am a newbie on the ukulele and looking to get my first "real" uke (I bought a cheapie on vacation in Maui). You say it sounds "like" koa, and I have been looking at the Big Island Ukuleles, Honu Tenor, which MGM just got in stock without frills and it is gorgeous. Any experience with those, or is this Kala a better sounding uke for $150 less?

The koa wins the looks category, but I really just want the best sounding instrument possible for not more than about $500 right now. Any thoughts?

vahn
09-13-2009, 07:18 AM
for $500 you could get one of the lower end models from a k manufacturer.
MGM has a koaloha pineapple soprano (http://cgi.ebay.com/KoAloha-Pineapple-SOPRANO-KOA-UKULELE-KSM-01_W0QQitemZ370259117922QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defa ultDomain_0?hash=item563529c762&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262)
and a standard koaloha soprano (http://cgi.ebay.com/KoAloha-Standard-SOPRANO-KOA-UKULELE-KSM-00_W0QQitemZ250497218055QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defa ultDomain_0?hash=item3a52cc3607&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262)
And Heres a canadian seller who ships US who has a soprano kamaka under 450canadian (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Kamaka-1S-TD-Soprano-Ukulele-with-Case_W0QQitemZ230369149942QQcmdZViewItem)


For a tenor I would say you might as well stay under 400 and get a solid chinese import uke. Kala makes a good uke, I love my solid lace wood with spruce top, solidly built and they have a rep for good QC couple that with getting something from MGM and you can't go wrong, other than the wait time on a new one of these but preorder now if you want one.

Maybe also check out that Lanikai solid koa top
Heres one at Elderly (http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/NKT.htm)
they have a great rep for setup and customer service I wouldnt be hesistant to buy from them.

And MGM also has some solid mango lanikai concerts
here (http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room_Lanikai-ukulele_W0QQ_fsubZ13850106QQ_sidZ34517586QQ_trksid Zp4634Q2ec0Q2em322)
I like the tone in them a lot and picked the tenor version as my favorite in the blind test.

chris
09-13-2009, 09:01 PM
I just wonder, is the Kala Tenor Acacia tone warmer, compares to the Kala Solid lace wood with spruce top...

Are both KALA solid wood top ?

Cali
09-14-2009, 03:04 AM
Hi there,
i received mine on thursday and i must say: Great!

The slotted head... okay nothing really impressing, the ukulele looks more like a guitar ;-)

but the importing thing for me: the sound is great and playing clean high notes was never that easy.

A 5 of 5 stars ukulele for a nice price.

cletus
06-04-2010, 07:13 PM
I'd like to start the thread going again>>>> Anybody have other reviews or opinions of these ukuleles? Or, has anyone changed their minds after playing theirs for a while?

I sure like the way they look, and I'd like a different sound/tone from my lacewood and spruce Kala.
Cheers!

Paul December
06-04-2010, 07:31 PM
I still love mine... very warm and loud
IMO a true giant-killer in the Uke world.

Chris Tarman
06-05-2010, 05:51 AM
I like mine. It sounds great, although it isn't as loud as I would have expected a tenor to be (this being my first tenor). It has a nice tone, and the grain is really interesting. It is my most "WOODY-looking" uke, probably, if that makes any sense at all. It also has an interesting smell! Again, it is my only tenor, so I don't have a lot to compare it to as far as playability. The strings have more tension than a soprano, due to their length. But the action and intonation are great, and I think the neck is very comfortable. Mine did develop a very tight split where the two halves of the top join, from the "south end" of the soundhole to the bridge. I need to get that repaired, but I've been watching it and it hasn't gotten any longer or wider. It is conceivable that it was there when I got it, but I don't remember noticing it. It doesn't seem to affect the sound at all. At first I thought the top was rattling, but I have since figured out that it was the strap button I added, which needed to be tightened! One of these days I will run it down to the acoustic guitar builder about 30 miles south of here and see if he can fix it.
But, yes, overall I am very pleased with it. I don't play it all that often, but that is because I have decided that I prefer sopranos over the other sizes. But that's just me.

KevinV
06-05-2010, 08:31 AM
I've had mine a couple months now and love it. It gets played a lot. I play 'uke in a quartet and it's my sole 'uke with the band. I installed a Mi-Si pickup system and like the sound both plugged and unplugged. I'd buy this 'uke again in a heartbeat.

I've noticed from looking at pictures of the same model that my fret markers are different at the 10/12/15 frets. My vine inlays are symmetrical where others I've seen are asymmetrical. What do you guys have on yours?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Ukulele/KalaAcaciaTenor.jpg

Chris Tarman
06-05-2010, 09:30 AM
Hey Kevin.. what's that arm-rest thingy on the bottom of yours? Is it permanently attached? I was also thinking of getting the Mi-Si pickup put into mine. Glad to hear you like it. I'd actually almost rather have one put into my Kala soprano though. Maybe someday I can do both!

KevinV
06-05-2010, 09:43 AM
Hey Kevin.. what's that arm-rest thingy on the bottom of yours? Is it permanently attached?

Hi Chris,

It's a John Pearse Armrest (http://www.jpstrings.com/armrest.htm). I use one on my acoustic guitar and figured it would do just as well on a 'uke. They don't make one for the 'uke so I ordered a Jumbo for the larger radius, and then cut and shaped it to fit my 'ukulele. It's held on by an adhesive only on the edge where not much tone is generated because of the kerfing inside. The rest of it hovers over the top so that your arm doesn't inhibit the top vibrations at all. It really does make a difference.

It can be removed, but it's not a pop on/off type thing. You'd have adhesive to deal with and would need a new adhesive strip to remount it.

I'm having a Tone-Gard (http://www.tone-gard.com/) made for it right now. I find muffling the back with clothes/body makes a difference too. It will also double as a safety net so my 'uke doesn't bang against my mic stand from the String Swing when it's hanging there and I'm moving about my position.

mds725
06-05-2010, 06:53 PM
I've noticed from looking at pictures of the same model that my fret markers are different at the 10/12/15 frets. My vine inlays are symmetrical where others I've seen are asymmetrical. What do you guys have on yours?

My fret markers are all symmetrical too.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7082&d=1256968697

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7083&d=1256968697

KevinV
06-06-2010, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the feedback, mds. And I noticed there's one for sale in the Marketplace right now with asymmetrical inlays.

KevinV
06-06-2010, 06:02 PM
I just wonder, is the Kala Tenor Acacia tone warmer, compares to the Kala Solid lace wood with spruce top...

Are both KALA solid wood top ?

You may have already had the chance to compare the two by now, but my side by side definitely came out with the acacia being warmer and fuller. The lacewood/spruce seemed a bit louder with more projection.

The lacewood/spruce was definitley solid top...not sure about back/sides. The acacia tenor is all solid...top/back/sides.

mds725
06-06-2010, 07:07 PM
Thanks for the feedback, mds. And I noticed there's one for sale in the Marketplace right now with asymmetrical inlays.

I noticed. It's a pretty one!

Chris Tarman
06-07-2010, 01:20 PM
I've had mine a couple months now and love it. It gets played a lot. I play 'uke in a quartet and it's my sole 'uke with the band. I installed a Mi-Si pickup system and like the sound both plugged and unplugged. I'd buy this 'uke again in a heartbeat.

I've noticed from looking at pictures of the same model that my fret markers are different at the 10/12/15 frets. My vine inlays are symmetrical where others I've seen are asymmetrical. What do you guys have on yours?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Ukulele/KalaAcaciaTenor.jpg

Just looked at mine when I was refilling the humidifier. Mine are asymmetrical. Now that you mention it, the inlays have always kind of bothered me. Man! Now I wish I had SYMMETRICAL inlays! Why did they ever make them ASYMMETRICAL in the first place??? Gah!!!!!!

KevinV
06-07-2010, 05:24 PM
Just looked at mine when I was refilling the humidifier. Mine are asymmetrical. Now that you mention it, the inlays have always kind of bothered me. Man! Now I wish I had SYMMETRICAL inlays! Why did they ever make them ASYMMETRICAL in the first place??? Gah!!!!!!

I prefer the symmetrical, but I don't think they look bad the other way either...just different.

mds725
06-07-2010, 06:32 PM
Just looked at mine when I was refilling the humidifier. Mine are asymmetrical. Now that you mention it, the inlays have always kind of bothered me. Man! Now I wish I had SYMMETRICAL inlays!
Every Kala acacia tenor I've seen, either live or in photos, has been very pretty, whether the fret inlays are symmetrical or asymmetrical. What's striking about them to me is the color and grain of the acacia and the slotted headstock. I bought mine from MGM after playing one at a local music shop, and I expected the inlays to be asymmetrical because that's what the one I'd played had, and the acacia tenor photo MGM had posted on eBay also had asymmetrical inlays. I like the symmetrical inlays, but I think I would have been jsut as happy with asymmetrical inlays.


Why did they ever make them ASYMMETRICAL in the first place??? Gah!!!!!!
My theory is that the first acacia tenors were made with asymmetrical inlays and that Kala then contacted the factories to request symmetrical ones, but I have no actual knowledge about why there are both kinds. You could always email Mike Upton at Kala. Maybe he knows.

Chris Tarman
06-07-2010, 08:33 PM
I may have been slightly over-dramatic. I like mine just fine. The inlays, symmetrical or asymmetrical, are probably my least favorite thing about it, but they are not bad at all. I like the inlays on their cedar topped ukes better, but the Acacia inlays are not bad. I love the way the wood looks, I love the binding/purfling, and I love the slotted headstock. It sounds great too! I have since come to prefer sopranos, so I don't really play it all that much, but I would have bought SOME kind of tenor eventually anyway, just to be completist.

ichadwick
06-10-2010, 03:15 AM
Is this Kala an acoustic-only uke, or is there a model with built-in pickup?

Chris Tarman
06-10-2010, 02:05 PM
Is this Kala an acoustic-only uke, or is there a model with built-in pickup?

I believe it is only available as an acoustic.

rogue_wave
06-10-2010, 04:24 PM
I had MGM put a MiSi pickup in mine. I haven't played plugged in too often, but it is fun, sounds good, and the whole no battery thing is very cool!

Chris Tarman
06-10-2010, 06:43 PM
I had MGM put a MiSi pickup in mine. I haven't played plugged in too often, but it is fun, sounds good, and the whole no battery thing is very cool!

I've been thinking about getting one of those put in mine, or in one of my sopranos, or both.

tnobes
06-11-2010, 04:52 AM
Great review. I'm almost positive that a Kala Acacia will be my next uke purchase. Thanks!

P.S- Great playing! Checked out your Let's Dance video and all I can say is WOW.

Gillian
07-27-2010, 03:07 PM
I got one today for my birthday.

Beautiful wood. Very koa-like in colour. Ones I'd seen online looked brown so my eyes opened wide when I saw this one come out of the box. The mahogany neck matches perfectly with the acacia. You'd think it was all the same wood. Love the headstock and the fretboard inlay. Rosewood binding pulls the whole thing together.

The sound is much brighter than expected. Sparkling, even, all the way up the fretboard. No buzzing at all. A mellow tenor this ain't!

cletus
07-27-2010, 04:53 PM
Cool, Gillian! Happy birthday and congratulations on the tenor. Those ukes are lovely. Glad yours sounds the way you like.

Lexxy
07-28-2010, 03:11 AM
I got one today for my birthday.

Beautiful wood. Very koa-like in colour. Ones I'd seen online looked brown so my eyes opened wide when I saw this one come out of the box. The mahogany neck matches perfectly with the acacia. You'd think it was all the same wood. Love the headstock and the fretboard inlay. Rosewood binding pulls the whole thing together.

The sound is much brighter than expected. Sparkling, even, all the way up the fretboard. No buzzing at all. A mellow tenor this ain't!

Happy birthday :)

Everyone here seems to agree that this uke is awesome aye?

Gillian
07-28-2010, 09:01 AM
Thanks, Cletus and Lexxy, for the birthday wishes.

I played my new Kala all day and got a major case of fingertip tingle.

I don't care for the Aquila metal wound low-G so I put a Worth Clear low-G on my Nalu tenor for the mellow bass notes and the rest of the strings are Aquila. I'd like to put the same combination on the Kala Acacia, but looking at the G-string channel in the nut, I think it will have to be bored out to accommodate the Worth low-g which is quite thick. I am also wondering if it might buzz as the action is low.

Has anyone put Worth Clears with a low-G on their Kala Acacia?

seddie
08-05-2010, 03:40 AM
I bought one from musicguymic, the best uke at this price I've ever seen and played

Gillian
08-06-2010, 06:03 PM
I put Worth low-g Clears on mine and had to file out the channel in the nut to accommodate the thicker low g-string. The Worths are smoother sounding than the sharper sounding Aquilas. The acacia keeps the sound bright, though. A nice combination. to my ear, anyway.

fromthee2me
08-08-2010, 08:57 PM
I also own an Acacia Tenor by Kala, with a fitted MiSi by MGM. Nice sound with Aquilas. Tried the Fremont low G and was disappointed, as the low G string sounded too boomy.......Will try the Worth low G's as recommended by Gillian. Not so long ago someone posted a picture of his Kala Tenor that he had buffed up nicely.... Can't remember who that was? This was in response to a finish issue of the instrument. But as Lance Armstrong wrote: "It is not about the bicycle". . . . Keep the fingertips tingling !

mik55
08-11-2010, 02:39 AM
... Not so long ago someone posted a picture of his Kala Tenor that he had buffed up nicely.... Can't remember who that was? This was in response to a finish issue of the instrument. !

I guess it was me. Here's a pic I took during the buffing process which nicely shows before & after.

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff281/n6kvH938z67Rg/KA_ASAC_T_1.jpg

Gillian
08-11-2010, 09:27 PM
Very nice.

What process and materials did you use to buff it so nicely?

mik55
08-12-2010, 03:27 AM
Very nice.

What process and materials did you use to buff it so nicely?

Gillian, you've got mail.

alohamillie1974
08-14-2010, 01:33 PM
I polished my Kala Solid Acacia with Mequiars Ultimate Compound and it looks great.
This is an automotive rubbing compound. Use a little dab and a bit of elbow grease.

I didn't care for the matte finish and now it just looks great and still sounds the same as before.

I have played guitar for over 30 years and found this tip online when I researched changing a satin finish to a gloss finish.

I LOVE my uke!

France
08-15-2010, 02:19 AM
Yeah... see what they were talking about with the asymetrical fret board inlays. not a fan personally.

Gillian
08-15-2010, 05:30 PM
It is obvious the reason Kala doesn't offer a gloss finish on their acacia line is time and money. It isn't because the sound of the uke would be adversely affected if they offered a gloss finish.

For example, Kanilea'a offers their ukes with either a matte or gloss finish. They charge about $80 more for the UV gloss.

For all of us who own a Kala acacia uke, would you have preferred the matte or a gloss finish?

France
08-16-2010, 12:59 AM
I think it would look a little too flashy then. What with the inlays and headstock already funked up. Happy with matte finish.

Skitzic
08-16-2010, 05:52 AM
I don't have one, but would like one someday. If it was gloss, I would not be as attracted to the instrument. I agree with France. With the slotted headstock and flashy inlays, it just doesn't need a gloss goat.

But I have a thing for satin finishes in general...

cletus
08-16-2010, 06:16 AM
it just doesn't need a gloss goat....

Isn't your avatar a goat?

Lexxy
08-16-2010, 06:22 AM
Isn't your avatar a goat?

I think he meant..Coat.

HornedOne
09-21-2010, 05:11 AM
hmm if it weren't for the bleeding import tax I'd order the uke this second. but its will end up costing a minimum of 320 euros and thats before customs gets a hold of it. and it I would order it from an european supplier I would pay close to 400 euros xD

chrishelms94
10-09-2010, 09:37 PM
hmm if it weren't for the bleeding import tax I'd order the uke this second. but its will end up costing a minimum of 320 euros and thats before customs gets a hold of it. and it I would order it from an european supplier I would pay close to 400 euros xD

All the more reason for you to move to the islands...to get better uke deals
I am going to order one from mgm tomorrow, its going to be such a pain
waiting for it to arive:p