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View Full Version : Are Makalas Better Than Kalas?



luvdat
05-12-2010, 09:17 PM
Not better than ALL Kalas, but aren't the agathis ukuleles really solid woods compared to the Kala mahogany laminate series? Looking inside the soundhole of a Makala baritone I picked up I see grain that follows the grain of the exterior...sound samples of the MK-T sound better (to my ears) than that of the Kala Mahogany series tenor...the soundboard top resonates more. Yeah agathis isn't Honduran mahogany... and how about that Makala Dolphin?

If the Makala is like the Squier of Fender, are there some Makalas better than Kala in the same way that the less expensive Squier Classic Vibe series Telecasters and Strats blow away their more expensive Mexican and even some American counterparts?

My theory is also that sometimes when there is less to do there is less to go wrong...

Long and short of it, I would recommend Makala a lot more these days...

happyslappysoong
05-12-2010, 09:24 PM
Just like Squiers, i think you'd need to judge this by each individual instrument. One uke in the same model/brand/size/everything still may sound different to the next!

luvdat
05-12-2010, 09:29 PM
Just like Squiers, i think you'd need to judge this by each individual instrument. One uke in the same model/brand/size/everything still may sound different to the next!

That's where I'm at, even when comparing cheapos with "modestly priced"...

The Makala agathis ukes sound less tonally tight and seem to resonate more than their Mahog series laminate counterparts...BTW, this is NOT meant to disparage lams. Frankly I think Kala pulls off some of their lams and semi-lams better than some of their all solid woods...another theme for me in Kala and probably other mdoestly priced brands...

AC Baltimore
05-12-2010, 09:32 PM
As Happy indicated, there is no real simple answer to this. Makala is actually owned by Kala as I understand it. Makala is Kala's lower end units. The cheaper the instrument, the more inconsistent quality and setup becomes. musicguymic on ebay sells both and gives them an impeccable setup before shipping. So if you go lower end... go with MGM and he will send you a highly functional instrument despite price-point.

luvdat
05-12-2010, 09:41 PM
As Happy indicated, there is no real simple answer to this. Makala is actually owned by Kala as I understand it. Makala is Kala's lower end units. The cheaper the instrument, the more inconsistent quality and setup becomes. musicguymic on ebay sells both and gives them an impeccable setup before shipping. So if you go lower end... go with MGM and he will send you a highly functional instrument despite price-point.

And also factor into that demand, number of units produced, and how much goes into the construction of a particular model. In general, the less complicated the construction (or more tried and true a design) the easier it is to pull off a less expensive cheaper model. Things like gloss on an already overbuilt ukulele aren't necessarily doing anyone a favor...

BTW, the Martin mahogany guitars were the cheap end of their line in their time (not anymore)...but still especially the 00-15, my favorites...

whetu
05-12-2010, 10:51 PM
Toyota and Lexus might be a more readily understood analogy? I'd say it's up to the person behind it. I'm sure there are Toyota owners who are happier with their cars than their Lexus brethren...

I think that yes there is quite possibly some overlap, but then again this overlap would exist within an apples and oranges comparison, for example a makala tenor vs a kala soprano.

luvdat
05-12-2010, 11:55 PM
Toyota and Lexus might be a more readily understood analogy? I'd say it's up to the person behind it. I'm sure there are Toyota owners who are happier with their cars than their Lexus brethren...

I think that yes there is quite possibly some overlap, but then again this overlap would exist within an apples and oranges comparison, for example a makala tenor vs a kala soprano.

I don't think it's just a question of "happier" but doing what the manufacturer sets out to accomplish and pulls off. Lexus does not simply produce a higher grade Corolla...

I think specific to Kala (who make some the best necks out there)...there are in certain offerings bling and design choices that are not contributing factors to playability and tone...

Lori
05-13-2010, 06:21 AM
I don't think it's just a question of "happier" but doing what the manufacturer sets out to accomplish and pulls off. Lexus does not simply produce a higher grade Corolla...

I think specific to Kala (who make some the best necks out there)...there are in certain offerings bling and design choices that are not contributing factors to playability and tone...

I think part of the ukulele's charm for me is that there are so many choices. Not only how they sound, but how they look and feel. It is all part of the fun. I would have a hard time buying a ukulele if it had a dreary appearance to it, even if it sounded pretty good. When the the right combination of sound, size and appearance get together, it is a really great experience!
–Lori

Ukist
05-13-2010, 08:16 AM
I have a Makala MK-SN. I guess the N stands for Natural as has a wood rather than painted finish. Although the advertising refers to agathis and doesn't mention laminate, close inspection of the edges of the belly and back show that they are 3-ply laminate. For structural strength,it is perhaps just as well that it is laminate as it has no bracing and no binding. It makes a very light, playable, resonant instrument. Excellent at the price.

luvdat
05-13-2010, 08:31 AM
I think part of the ukulele's charm for me is that there are so many choices. Not only how they sound, but how they look and feel. It is all part of the fun. I would have a hard time buying a ukulele if it had a dreary appearance to it, even if it sounded pretty good. When the the right combination of sound, size and appearance get together, it is a really great experience!
–Lori

Not advocating that every ukulele resemble the Martin S-0 a kind of the "Flying Pigeon" bicycle approach to musical instruments. I'm a fan of the Kala novelty sopranos as you know (ex. pineapple). I do think however that among the bling lams of Kala, for the price, there are better offerings that also look fine.

luvdat
05-13-2010, 09:04 AM
I have a Makala MK-SN. I guess the N stands for Natural as has a wood rather than painted finish. Although the advertising refers to agathis and doesn't mention laminate, close inspection of the edges of the belly and back show that they are 3-ply laminate. For structural strength,it is perhaps just as well that it is laminate as it has no bracing and no binding. It makes a very light, playable, resonant instrument. Excellent at the price.

Ukist, you have few postings, all of them intelligent. You don't go ranting on and on like I do...

Is it fair to say that the MK is slightly less lam, LOL...

Please show up more often and don't let people like myself keep you away (though you did respond to this thread I started).

KevinV
05-15-2010, 01:32 AM
I wouldn't say Makala's are better than Kala's, but that doesn't make them bad either. Especially at their price point. I own both and the attention to detail is greater in the Kala's, as well as having better hardware and woods. The agathis is nice, but as was mentioned, it's not solid. It's a very thin veneer on my soprano. I don't own a laminated Kala but the ones I have seen were of nicer wood, aesthetically at least. I don't have anything against laminate, but it's cheaper to produce.

In short, I think they're both nice lines of instruments, and I believe the Makala's are priced very low for what you get. I think the Kala line is priced more in line with their quality.

luvdat
05-15-2010, 02:11 AM
For me better means this, and to be specific: the sound, intonation and playability comparing the MK and Mahog series. Aesthetics? Debatable. The color of the MK's is actually closer to real solid mahog...the white oversized tuning pegs on the mahog series and exotic mahog sopranos..I actually prefer the smaller off white "vintagey" MK's. Sound: the mahog series have a certain woofiness in them, built more for durability. Are the MK's less "overbuilt"? IMO, yes. The MK-B's intonation I have is very very good with D'Addario J68's...

In short, I hope you've enjoyed this discussion: Pabst vs. Miller High Life...

Kala IMO has the best necks of the mass produced factory ukes...

KevinV
05-15-2010, 02:37 AM
Pabst vs. Miller High Life...

For me, it would be Miller High Life every time...unless of course there's Guinness or St. Pauli Girl on hand.

luvdat
05-15-2010, 10:40 AM
For me too. Pabst is sort of "brooding." I rediscovered regular Coors recently (not the Silver Bullet)...give it a retry...