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View Full Version : Advice, please: Kala solid mahogany concert or Kala solid acacia concert?



mds725
10-15-2009, 11:13 PM
This is such a great forum! I'm a noobie (former clarinet player), and I'll be buying my first ukulele next week from great and wonderful MGM. I've settled on a concert scale ukulele and I'm trying to decide between a Kala solid mahogany concert uke and a Kala solid acacia uke.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-ka-SMHC-SOLID-MAHOGANY-CONCERT-UKULELE-Package_W0QQitemZ370272923487QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH _DefaultDomain_0?hash=item5635fc6f5f

http://cgi.ebay.com/Just-In-SOLID-ACACIA-KALA-CONCERT-Ukulele-w-case_W0QQitemZ330368711100QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item4ceb8279bc

I've searched the very helpful review forum and watched a bunch of YouTube videos linked from this forum. I'm still wondering a little about the difference in sound (if any) between solid mahogany and solid acacia (I hope to be able to test drive both this weekend). MGM has been great about answering questions to help me narrow my choices. If you have any thoughts about either or both of these ukes, or acacia and mahogany in general (anything - sound differences, wood durability and care, even how the woods look), I would be grateful if you posted them here. I promise to post a photo on this forum of the uke I buy once it gets here. Thanks in advance!

buddhuu
10-16-2009, 12:32 AM
Hiya,

I own a Kala solid mahogany tenor, and I love it. It is enough uke for me for the foreseeable future. I gig with it, so it's up to the demands of stage use, even though it is an inexpensive uke. Mahogany tends to have a warm sound, and the Kala is quite typical. The lower, bass notes are full, while the higher notes remain clear.

Happy though I am, if I were shopping now the Kala acacia models would be the first I would look at. From the clips and videos they are amazing value, and they look and sound terrific. Acacia is related to koa, and has a slightly brighter sound than mahogany, perhaps a fraction less bass and a little more emphasis on mids and highs. Volume and projection on the acacias is supposed to be very good.

If I had money to spare for the luxury of owning two decent ukes, I would probably buy a Kala acacia as a friend for my mahogany tenor.

It's a good shortlist, but no one can make up your mind for you! :D

It comes down to your personal preference of sound, I suppose.

If you buy from MGM, you shouldn't have to worry about any faults or failures, so I don't see how you can go wrong, whichever way you jump. :)

Looking forward to seeing your pics when you get your new uke.

ichadwick
10-16-2009, 01:27 AM
I second the comments om MGM. He has a good reputation for caring for his customers.

Kala is a good company with good products. The woods may differ, but quality control will be equal. I've got one myself, have owned others (all bought through MGM) and will likely get another (the acacia tenor perhaps...)

Ultimately it will come down to two very subjective questions:

Which looks better to you?
Which sounds better to you?

There is no right or wrong uke here, just shades of good.

Personally, I like the look of acacia more, and from the sound clips I've heard, it seems slightly brighter than mahogany. But both will be a good choice.

mokai
10-16-2009, 01:53 AM
I choose acacia
I have a Kala acacia tenor. If the build quality and sound is remotely similar in the concert version... you should have no regrets

I also have a solid mohogany concert but it's from Mainland ukuleles and it sounds amazing as well.

Just buy both and call it a day. I think you will be happy with either route.

buddhuu
10-16-2009, 03:23 AM
This is my kind of thread. The OP gets nothing but good news! :D

mailman
10-16-2009, 06:09 AM
Kaka....good choice. Concert....good choice again. Mahagony or Acacia? Either would be fine, though I'd pick the Acacia.

Now, just to muddy the waters a bit, have you considered the Kala Exotic Mahagony concert? Now there's a beauty! :drool:

mds725
10-16-2009, 03:57 PM
Thanks for all the responses! Tomorrow I go in search of Kala acacia and mahogany ukes to test drive and compare. My dilemma is that I slightly prefer the look of the solid mahogany, but I've read that acacia may be a little brighter. I hope hearing both ukes will make it easier to decide. I'll post when I pick one. Thanks again!

mds725
10-17-2009, 08:49 PM
Okay, I spent three hours playing and listening to solid mahogany and solid acacia Kala ukes, and I'm still having trouble deciding! The both sounded great and they both looked great. (I also fell in love with tenor ukes -- I'll definitely get one of those after I learn how to play a concert uke!) Any additional thoughts on the effect of the type of wood used on the sound of the instrument would be greatly appreciated!

redsedge
10-17-2009, 09:47 PM
Buy both of them.

If you can't do that, then toss a coin in the air - heads mahogany, tails acacia. If you feel really disappointed in the way it lands - then choose the other.

Toss the coin once only. No best of three!

mds725
10-18-2009, 07:06 AM
This may sound crazy, but after listening to a bunch of concert and tenor ukes, I'm leaning toward buying both (1) a Kala solid mahogany concert uke, and (2) a Kala solid acacia tenor uke with the split headset and a low-g string. (A little hard to justify buying both, but I won my fantasy baseball league this year and my winnngs would cover one of the ukes.) Because the mahogany wood seems to produce a somewhat more "traditional" sound, and the acacia produces a somewhat brighter sound, I decided to pair the acacia with a size (tenor) that has a tone that's a little less "traditional" anyway. I'll post photos when they get here, but I'm definitely not yet ready for YouTube! Thanks to all for your advice and to those of you who post your uke reviews on YouTube. Again, great forum!

mailman
10-18-2009, 11:39 AM
Congrats! Now THAT'S the way to buy a ukulele!!!

buddhuu
10-18-2009, 12:58 PM
Can't argue with that! :D

But ask yourself: is it fair for one person to have that much fun? ;)

mokai
10-18-2009, 02:37 PM
But ask yourself: is it fair for one person to have that much fun? ;)

It sure is!!
and when your friends come over...did someone say jam?

mds725
10-20-2009, 08:45 PM
Update: I just ordered a Kala solid acacia *tenor* ukulele (fell in love with the sound while test playing) from MGM, and it's suposed to arrive on Friday. I'll post photos. Thanks again for your help!

Kurobashi
10-20-2009, 10:53 PM
Being the proud owner of a Makapili acacia tenor I would say you made the right choice.

Wanting both is not crazy though, it's just plain simple UAS, we all have it :D

I have a couple of ukes with their own different sounds, tunings, sizes, etc.. It's fun to just pickup a uke depending on your mood or what kind of music you want to play. I'd rather have 10 affordable ukes than 1 really pimped out expensive one :p

ukeskywalker79
10-20-2009, 11:03 PM
Congrats on your purchase. I currently own the Kala solid mahogany concert and it plays absolutely beautifully. Itonation is spot on and I really love the Aquilas that came with it. I've been drooling over the Kala Acacia Tenor myself and will most likely be my next purchase. So hard to choose one so why not get both :D Post pics when see arrives.

buddhuu
10-20-2009, 11:05 PM
Congratulations! :drool: