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View Full Version : Kala 15S or a Kala (insert fruit)?



cocohonk
07-15-2009, 06:59 AM
I'd like to buy a ukulele for a beginner (but he plays the guitar) as a present (and perhaps a sneaky way to get him to play ukulele with me! :D), and am deciding between a Kala KA15S (around 50$) and a Kala Pineapple/Kiwi/Watermelon(around 75$). Given the two, which one would you recommend? Any particulars I should be wary of in either of these instruments?

My local store also carries a bunch of beginner entry Mahalos and Makalas (both cheaper than 50, so the basic ones), so if you'd like to recommend either of these instead of the Kalas, please do as well. I figure Kalas might be slightly better anyway.

Oh, and for either of the two, any particular recommendations on the strings? Would love to set it up (well, by that I mean, just stringing it. I have no idea how to set up an instrument :D) for my friend before giving it to him.

Thanks again for helping me out, as usual.

russ_buss
07-15-2009, 07:04 AM
i say fruit and aquilas. but it really depends on your friend. if he's not into kitsch, maybe go for the more standard looking uke.

DaveVisi
07-15-2009, 07:28 AM
I'd go for the standard look. Might help his future UAS addiction if he doesn't think it's some kind of toy.

cocohonk
07-15-2009, 07:29 AM
Oh, he's totally into kitsch. :D But I'd love to know if the 25 dollar difference between the KA15S and the KA-fruit is strictly physical or that it does means a better sound on the latter.

DaveVisi
07-15-2009, 07:34 AM
At that price, I think you're paying for paint, not sound.

deach
07-15-2009, 07:41 AM
At that price, I think you're paying for paint, not sound.

Nothing wrong with that. and I can vouch for the sound of the pineapple. It's quite nice even though it's blinged out in a most fabulous manner.

ihavenotea
07-15-2009, 07:46 AM
I think you will get him playing no matter what the gift. The convenience of picking up an ukulele seems to win over guitarists very quickly.

I was mentioning how I started playing the ukulele to a guitarist friend of mine and he informed me that he now plays his daughter's ukulele at home exclusively.

Another buddy of mine doesn't have one yet, but seems likely to have nice ukulele before I ever do. He is always playing with my little Makala Dolphin when he is over here.

Go with the fruit. It is fun! And fun is good.

Ukeffect
07-15-2009, 08:22 AM
I can vouch for the KIWI! These little ukes have good volume, decent tone, and a nice action w/ no real intonation problems...not a bad deal as long as you don't pay (shudder) retail price!:D

ichadwick
07-15-2009, 12:13 PM
If you're doing a poll, my vote if for the traditional style/shape. If you want to put more money into one, get a solid wood top.

KC8AFW
07-15-2009, 04:49 PM
I so want a Kala Kiwi. Check out Lori's review:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6RfRzMW1t0

leftovermagic84
07-15-2009, 05:54 PM
I've got a watermelon and I love it to death. I even got it a matching green strap.

BBcakes
07-15-2009, 06:00 PM
I so want a Kala Kiwi. Check out Lori's review:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6RfRzMW1t0

Great review!

Rick
07-15-2009, 06:19 PM
I'd like to buy a ukulele for a beginner (but he plays the guitar) as a present (and perhaps a sneaky way to get him to play ukulele with me! :D), and am deciding between a Kala KA15S (around 50$) and a Kala Pineapple/Kiwi/Watermelon(around 75$). Given the two, which one would you recommend? Any particulars I should be wary of in either of these instruments?

My local store also carries a bunch of beginner entry Mahalos and Makalas (both cheaper than 50, so the basic ones), so if you'd like to recommend either of these instead of the Kalas, please do as well. I figure Kalas might be slightly better anyway.

Oh, and for either of the two, any particular recommendations on the strings? Would love to set it up (well, by that I mean, just stringing it. I have no idea how to set up an instrument :D) for my friend before giving it to him.

Thanks again for helping me out, as usual.

i would go with the standard kala with aquila strings. i have a lanikai pineapple, and as much as i like the shape, and tone it would be a much better idea to get a standard one. its just a starter right ?

Lori
07-15-2009, 07:07 PM
Great review!
Thanks!

I just bought a Makala dolphin (in metallic blue) as a gift. It was a great deal, at the music store. I got it for under $40 including the massive sales tax California has these days.

So, anyway first impressions of Kala Kiwi verses the Makala dolphin:
Kala Kiwi has a very good finish, with no flaws in the paint job. Makala dolphin has a few minor flaws in the finish and on the fingerboard near the frets. Nothing too glaring though.

Geared tuners on Kiwi are a little nicer than the Makala Dolphin. But both seem to do the job well.

I like the tie bridge style on the Dolphin a little better than the slot style that the Kiwi has. I like the plain bridge style of the Kiwi, over the dolphin, however, on this pretty blue color, the dolphin looks pretty jolly.

I put Worth strings on the Kiwi, and I really think that sounds pretty good. I have put Aquila strings on the Dolphin, and it sounds much better than the stock strings it came with.

Both ukes feel pretty solid, like they could go out on a picnic, or hike or whatever, and not be in danger of total destruction.

The gig bag that came with my Kiwi (a mostly unpadded ballistic nylon case with zipper) is much nicer than the thin bag that comes with the Makala Dolphin. The Dolphin bag is really not padded at all, and is really more similar to a pillow case in level of protection (no zipper, just velcro closure). I would not expect the Dolphin case to take much wear and tear.

Both bags make these ukes a very small package to carry, and that is pretty neat.

Both ukuleles look really fun, and beg to be picked up and played. They both sound great, especially for their price.

When you buy the Kiwi, you are getting an instrument where the quality control is much tighter, and the gig bag (if it's included) is much nicer.

Both ukuleles are made by Kala.

–Lori

haolejohn
07-15-2009, 07:55 PM
Here is a clip of my cousin playing my kala KS-15 with aquilas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgeuLhZTYGo

Here is a clip where I just played the uke with out singing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KXhfcwmtjg

Whatever you decide you can not go wrong.

sukie
07-16-2009, 02:46 AM
Go with the Kala fruit. But which one? Tough choice. The kiwi is darling -- oops, too girly of a word -- but the watermelon is cool. They all are.

Captain_Lovehandles
07-16-2009, 03:50 AM
The convenience of picking up an ukulele seems to win over guitarists very quickly.

Amen to that. I just traded one very nice guitar for another this week. With a brand new beautiful git at home, I'm more concerned that I received enough cash in the trade to get a better uke. In fact, That may have been part of my motivation.

DogBisquit
07-16-2009, 09:43 AM
Go with the Kala fruit. But which one? Tough choice. The kiwi is darling -- oops, too girly of a word -- but the watermelon is cool. They all are.

No, my pineapple is darling! I love the headstock too. Sounds decent and plays well for the price. I picked it up to have a soprano (still haven't strung it that way yet) and BECAUSE it is so damn cute. Watermelon and kiwi may be a little too girly, for me.

cocohonk
07-16-2009, 12:48 PM
Thanks for everyone's prompt replies! I see that the Kala Fruit have a lot of supporters, but the KA15S ain't bad either (I love the flashlight uke session video, btw!). And from what I gather from your comments, in terms of sound quality, they're pretty good for the price and are similar.

I'm leaning towards one of the fruits though, because they all look awesome, and I'm sure my friend would love such a good looking uke. I think deciding which fruit would be the toughest decision yet. They're really all quite darling.

Is 75$ a good price for the kala fruits? I've noticed the price to vary quite a bit online.

russ_buss
07-16-2009, 12:53 PM
Is 75$ a good price for the kala fruits? I've noticed the price to vary quite a bit online.

Yes it is. unless you're talking HK money. then i have no idea.

leftovermagic84
07-16-2009, 01:12 PM
Is 75$ a good price for the kala fruits? I've noticed the price to vary quite a bit online.

I got my watermelon for 80 shipped a month or so ago. Hope that helps

Lori
07-16-2009, 03:13 PM
I got mine (Kala Kiwi) for just under $80 US, and that included shipping and a small gig bag, which is very handy.

–Lori

haolejohn
07-17-2009, 03:51 AM
www.ukerepublic.com had the best price on the fruits last time I checked. Great service.

Tanizaki
07-17-2009, 06:13 AM
A Kala 15S from MGM was my first uke. I think there are a great starter instrument. I mostly play my solid koa Honu now but I still use the 15S as a beater/travel uke. I'll never get rid of it.

cocohonk
07-17-2009, 09:32 AM
:D If it were 75HK$(about 9-10 bucks US), I'd buy a ton of them and give them to friends. But, anyway, it appears to be a good deal, so I'll be buying it from my local store.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

KC8AFW
07-17-2009, 02:24 PM
So...did you decide on which one to get? Inquiring minds want to know (or did I miss that somewhere).

cocohonk
07-18-2009, 03:08 PM
Not yet, but I'll update when that happens. Most likely the fruits though, depending on how they are at the store. And, most likely the pineapple out of those. The headstock looks wicked. I'm now debating whether I should get one for myself as well.

Damn that UAS.

KC8AFW
07-18-2009, 03:28 PM
Not yet, but I'll update when that happens. Most likely the fruits though, depending on how they are at the store. And, most likely the pineapple out of those. The headstock looks wicked. I'm now debating whether I should get one for myself as well.

Damn that UAS.

Of course you should (silly question). Besides:

(__) you deserve it
(__) Need one to match your friend's
(__) You save $ when you buy 2
(__) It was a great deal
(__) you've always wanted one

Check all that apply. :D

cocohonk
07-20-2009, 05:59 PM
Or, just this -

(_) I don't really deserve it, I don't need one to match my friend's, I don't save anything when I buy 2, I've never wanted it always, but, I WANT ONE NOW!

:p

We'll see what happens at the end of the week when I go to the store.

cocohonk
07-27-2009, 03:44 PM
Update, in case anyone wants to know.

I chose the Kala Pineapple for my friend. They're all really amazingly adorable, but I just love the headstock of this one. And I've placed some Aquilas on them - while I don't like them as much, it seems like Aquilas are the best with laminates - so I can stretch them out before giving it to him. Hopefully, I can convert him over to the dark side (I mean, the good side. Ukes are good.).

I almost did buy one for myself too. Soon enough. I should have a soprano uke by my side, right? :D

Captain_Lovehandles
08-19-2009, 01:20 AM
You're saying that you didn't get fruity? I think that's a good choice. I was really intrigued by the watermelon. When I saw one in person, I was disappointed. It looked like a cheaper, less professional job of applying the watermelon graphics than I expected. But then... it's cheap, so there ya go.

cocohonk
08-25-2009, 12:17 AM
Well, not for me. I just ended up getting a kala fruit for my friend! I personally thought that the kiwi was the prettiest. Now, it's only a matter of time before he gets obsessed with it and abandons his other instruments. :D

And in a strange turn of ukekarma, I'm so glad I didn't get one myself...because some friends got me one as a birthday present. Ukes are the best presents ever, really. I now have three ukes, which is pretty crazy.