View Full Version : Question about Kala travel ukes and spruce top with the mahogany back/sides

03-31-2010, 05:50 AM
We've been looking at the Kala travel ukes. We've wondered about the spruce top with the mahogany back/sides. Our Makalas are made from agathis, which we've seen described as "poor man's mahogany". We've been very happy with the sound of our Makalas, so we thought that we would like a warm, mellow sounding mahogany. Our question is about the spruce top. We 've read on another thread that the top is the most important part as far as the tone is concerned, so what is the effect of having a spruce top with mahagany back and sides?

03-31-2010, 06:16 AM
In general, a spruce top produces a brighter instrument. I should note however that good luthiers are able to create warm tones from spruce tops; but that probably does not apply to the Kalas.

03-31-2010, 08:07 AM
My impression from a few brief goes at the store is that the extra ring and volume of the spruce top is a good match to compensate for the reduced body depth. It's bright but punchy, a very nice sounding uke, IMO.

03-31-2010, 09:38 AM
I love my travel uke. I'm not a fan of extremely bright ukes, and you'd think with the spruce top that it would be, but it's just right. It's definitely loud too, even louder that my full size flame mahogany kala tenor. Here's a video of when I first got it. Just let it load and then skip all the talking in the beginning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SlO4FLv6tc

03-31-2010, 01:15 PM
These ukes are so much fun to play! Great punchy ukes indeed. If you're after mellow or warm, then this is not your uke though.

03-31-2010, 06:51 PM
It's definitely not mellow, but still a great uke. The first thing I noticed when I got mine was how loud it was, which surprised me considering how thin the body is. It definitely does have a bright tone, so if you're wanting a warm tone, then maybe the spruce top one isn't the right one for you (there's also a lacewood top and cedar top one available through MGM). I love the sound of mine, and it feels great to play, is solidly built, and very light and easy to take travelling.

I recently took mine to Melbourne for the ukulele festival there early March and after passing it around, I know at least two people who ordered one while they were down there.

Here's a video of mine live at an open mic for some idea of the sound: