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View Full Version : Mainland-Riptide-Kala comparision



ichadwick
01-05-2010, 02:48 AM
Contemplating another addition and review for my web site. Tenor, as always. Looking for some comment on Mainland mango vs Riptide spruce vs Kala Acacia. Saw Deach's YT review of the Riptide, and musicguymic's sound samples. And a nice YT review of the Kala.

FYI I have a nice Kala cedar/koa, and Mainland cedar (a friend liked it so much he's offered to buy it for his wife!). Never played with a Riptide, but they intrigue me and I like both the top port and the electronics package.

I also have others in the herd (including a Pono mango) so this won't be the numero uno, more like a carry-to-work and play when it's quiet uke (Saturdays are slow enough I can do that).

In your opinion, which of these is the better sound/construction/ design?

deach
01-05-2010, 03:00 AM
I'll send you the Riptide so you can compare for yourself.

brickerenator
01-05-2010, 03:09 AM
Deach strikes again!

ichadwick
01-05-2010, 06:03 AM
I'll send you the Riptide so you can compare for yourself.
That's a kind offer, Deach, and I'd accept it if I lived in the USA. But with the cost to ship to and from canada, and the duty and taxes I'd have to pay - it would be expensive for a loan. If you're thinking of selling it, however, let me know.

ichadwick
01-06-2010, 11:07 AM
Other comments? Anyone own two or three of these and can comment on relative differences?

haolejohn
01-06-2010, 01:45 PM
Other comments? Anyone own two or three of these and can comment on relative differences?

Ian, I'll contribute my little knowledge. It has been a while since I played two of these ukes but they put a big enough impression in my mind about them that might be useful to.
All three ukes are very well made. All three sound very good for the price.
The acacia is the most appealing to the eyes imo. The sound that comes out of the acacia had that koa like sound and was pleasing to my ears. The inlay on the neck is nice but I can tell it is fake. I thought that the slotted headstock added to the ukes looks in a positive manner (not a fan of slotted headstocks btw). The acacia was also set up very well and I thought that it's price tag could have been a little higher and still be a good deal.
The mainland mango is pretty to some but to me it was average looking in a good way. It wasn't as pretty as the pono spalted line but it had more volume than the pono mango. Very punchy and plenty of volume. You already have a mango so you know what it sounds like.
The most recent uke that I played of your list was the riptide spruce top. I didn't get a chance to play it plugged in or in an intimate setting like the other two, but I did get to play it in a noisy environment. It was pleasent sounding but I would have liked to hear it in a more controled environment. The sound port was a very nice advantage and I think that it lead to the ukes volume. Not sure if others heard it as well as I did though. The headstock has a funky design that takes away from the uke imo. The inlayed riptide logo across the top of the uke is gaudy or at least I thought it was. this paticular uke did have a bright sound that spruce is known for and I would consider buying a riptide if it wasn't for that inlayed logo. I was impressed with the riptide and might consider buying one as a beater if I could get one without the logo. Then again, I could always look over that logo b/c it is a good ukulele on first impression.
Hopefully this helps. Sorry about abbreviations and grammatical errors but I am on my phone and I'm being distracted;)

ichadwick
01-07-2010, 12:57 AM
Sorry about abbreviations and grammatical errors but I am on my phone and I'm being distracted;)
I'm impressed. On your phone, you type 1,000% better than most Net users type on a full-sized keyboard. Proper capitalization, punctuation, full sentences, none of those silly text-message abbreviations and initialisms, no confusion over simply homonyms like your and you're - the editor gives you an A.

As for the ukes, thanks for the reply. I'm making notes, listing pros and cons, of each, from various reviews and YouTube videos to help me decide.

casarole45
01-07-2010, 01:42 AM
I have the Kala Acacia Tenor, and visually its beuatiful! The sound is quite mellow... a little dead compared to some brighter lively'er ukes and not as loud as I would have expected, I'm currently playing round with strings for it to brighten it up a little.

Build quality is really good, theres a couple of tiny nicks around the fret markers, but its a complicated design and you have to look closely to see, also the join between the uke body and fret board on the top side is over glosed unless its clear glue or something, its really neatly finished just a bit heavey on the top side, considering some of the detailing on this uke though I really am picking holes and looking very closely.

UPDATE: The bridge has lifted away from the body of the uke by a fair amount... so its gotta go back, also when replacing the strings I noticed as someone else has said on a review already the saddle is extremely loose, Kala didn't tell me if this is normal or not.

casarole45
01-07-2010, 03:18 AM
.... The inlay on the neck is nice but I can tell it is fake....
Oh, was just wondering what you meant by the inlay on the neck was fake.... my fret markers are some plasticy material, is thats what you mean?

haolejohn
01-07-2010, 04:03 AM
Oh, was just wondering what you meant by the inlay on the neck was fake.... my fret markers are some plasticy material, is thats what you mean?

Yes. It looks good but it isn't high qulaity inlay work.

casarole45
01-07-2010, 07:18 AM
Hey I emailed Kala on this, and I'm genuinly shocked but pleased...this is the email and response...

Email to Kala:
Kala Contact Comments: Hi, I recently bought the Kala Acacia Tenor, its a
beuatiful uke, could you just satisfy my curiosity and tell me what material
is used for the fret markers, I'm guessing its a plastic, is this right?

Response from Kala:
Hi James--No, it is a very thin pearl shell. Thanks for your support!

Best--Mike

ichadwick
01-07-2010, 08:47 AM
I have the Kala Acacia Tenor, and visually its bueatiful! The sound is quite mellow... a little dead compared to some brighter lively'er ukes and not as loud as I would have expected, I'm currently playing round with strings for it to brighten it up a little.
Dead? Odd. YT recordings make it seem relatively nice. None of the Kalas I've played ever sounded "dead." For brightness - Aquila strings and a Tusq saddle can really help. Made my Pono mango go from unexceptional to sweet.

haolejohn
01-07-2010, 09:46 AM
Hey I emailed Kala on this, and I'm genuinly shocked but pleased...this is the email and response...

Email to Kala:
Kala Contact Comments: Hi, I recently bought the Kala Acacia Tenor, its a
beuatiful uke, could you just satisfy my curiosity and tell me what material
is used for the fret markers, I'm guessing its a plastic, is this right?

Response from Kala:
Hi James--No, it is a very thin pearl shell. Thanks for your support!

Best--Mike


Thanks loads and I look foward to hearing from you and purchasing more Kalas
in the future.
See, even I am wrong sometimes:) OK, who am I kidding? I'm wrong more often that not:(

kenikas
01-07-2010, 10:56 AM
Thanks ichadwick for starting this thread, I'm really enjoying it and finding it very informative. I've never played any of these but the Kala acacia is my current dream uke (well the one I could maybe afford).

luvdat
01-08-2010, 01:37 PM
Ian, I'll contribute my little knowledge. It has been a while since I played two of these ukes but they put a big enough impression in my mind about them that might be useful to.
All three ukes are very well made. All three sound very good for the price.
The acacia is the most appealing to the eyes imo. The sound that comes out of the acacia had that koa like sound and was pleasing to my ears. The inlay on the neck is nice but I can tell it is fake. I thought that the slotted headstock added to the ukes looks in a positive manner (not a fan of slotted headstocks btw). The acacia was also set up very well and I thought that it's price tag could have been a little higher and still be a good deal.
The mainland mango is pretty to some but to me it was average looking in a good way. It wasn't as pretty as the pono spalted line but it had more volume than the pono mango. Very punchy and plenty of volume. You already have a mango so you know what it sounds like.
The most recent uke that I played of your list was the riptide spruce top. I didn't get a chance to play it plugged in or in an intimate setting like the other two, but I did get to play it in a noisy environment. It was pleasent sounding but I would have liked to hear it in a more controled environment. The sound port was a very nice advantage and I think that it lead to the ukes volume. Not sure if others heard it as well as I did though. The headstock has a funky design that takes away from the uke imo. The inlayed riptide logo across the top of the uke is gaudy or at least I thought it was. this paticular uke did have a bright sound that spruce is known for and I would consider buying a riptide if it wasn't for that inlayed logo. I was impressed with the riptide and might consider buying one as a beater if I could get one without the logo. Then again, I could always look over that logo b/c it is a good ukulele on first impression.
Hopefully this helps. Sorry about abbreviations and grammatical errors but I am on my phone and I'm being distracted;)
Feel free to share more of your "little knowlege." Nice comparisons even for those not currently in the market, as they say.

ichadwick
01-09-2010, 02:29 AM
I really like the look of the Kala acacia - the headstock and fingerboard inlay really appeal to me. But the Riptide is so different, it too strikes my fancy with its non-traditional style.

I have several ukes- although of late I've sold or given away quite a lot in my collection - and want something different but not too expensive. All three seemed a good fit. I don't expect I'll get much difference in sound quality.