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View Full Version : Kala KA-KCG-CT LIM KOA versus Mainland Red Cedar/Rosewood Concert Size



olgoat52
08-01-2010, 09:48 AM
I don't have access to either of these to do any meaningful compare but I wondered if someone else might. This is my first Ukulele. I have played guitar for 40+ years with an emphasis on jazz and improvisation. I was also a luthier for a number of years long ago, so I know and like well built instruments.

Ultimately I want an all solid Koa but i want to be sure about what I want before going that route. So here is where I am at.

Kala. Solid Cedar top, Koa (laminate most likely) back and sides. http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-Koa-Cedartop-Concert-Ukulele-ka-kcg-ct-gloss-/250672957632?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5d45c8c0

Mainland Red Cedar/Rosewood. Solid Cedar top, solid rosewood back and sides (preferable IMHO especially for the back).
http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?productId=12&categoryId=3

I played a Lanikai mango and it seemed similar to the tone of a koa instrument. Maybe a bit brighter so this one is also of interest.
http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?productId=39&categoryId=3

Thanks for any input.

Chris Tarman
08-01-2010, 10:10 AM
I don't have that particular Kala, or a concert-sized Mainland, but I do have a couple of Kalas and a Mainland Red Cedar pineapple soprano. I don't think you could go wrong with either. I think that Kala is really nice looking, but I absolutely LOVE the Mainland's contrast between the cedar top and rosewood back and sides. Not everyone likes the rope binding, but as everyone says, it looks better in person than in photos. The Mainland is ALL solid, but I am not sure about that Kala. I suspect your right about the back/sides being laminate.
As for feel and construction, I think they're about equal in the construction department. Again, I haven't played a Mainland concert, but based on my Mainland and Kala sopranos, the Mainland has a bit thicker feeling neck, which I kind of like, but the Kala certainly isn't bad, just a little thinner from front to back.

didgeridoo2
08-01-2010, 10:20 AM
Get the Mainland. Many love that combo and will tell you emphatically to get it. I have a mahog concert from Mainland and love it. Good volume and versatile for picking and strumming. I have, and had a few Kalas and think they are fine instruments, but Mike at Mainland (hoosierhiver here) is top notch and his ukes are terrific.

Chris Tarman
08-01-2010, 10:32 AM
Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and second that. Don't get me wrong, Kalas are fine instruments. But my Mainland gets more play than my Kalas, or than ANY of my ukes except my vintage Martin and my Flea (which is only because it is always sitting next to the computer desk, while all the others are cased).

olgoat52
08-01-2010, 03:53 PM
Chris.

May I ask how much the ASKS sold for when you bought it? I wasn't looking then but that looked like a really nice uke. That was the limited all solid Koa soprano right?



I don't have that particular Kala, or a concert-sized Mainland, but I do have a couple of Kalas and a Mainland Red Cedar pineapple soprano. I don't think you could go wrong with either. I think that Kala is really nice looking, but I absolutely LOVE the Mainland's contrast between the cedar top and rosewood back and sides. Not everyone likes the rope binding, but as everyone says, it looks better in person than in photos. The Mainland is ALL solid, but I am not sure about that Kala. I suspect your right about the back/sides being laminate.
As for feel and construction, I think they're about equal in the construction department. Again, I haven't played a Mainland concert, but based on my Mainland and Kala sopranos, the Mainland has a bit thicker feeling neck, which I kind of like, but the Kala certainly isn't bad, just a little thinner from front to back.

Chris Tarman
08-01-2010, 04:40 PM
I bought it at the beginning of December and I think it was about $400 then. It's supposedly made from leftover koa from when Larivee guitars briefly produced a $1500 soprano. I don't know if that's really where they got the wood, but I must say it is VERY well figured. The top is kind of quilted, and the back and sides are very nicely flamed. It was kind of a lot for me to spend on a uke at the time, but I couldn't stop looking at them on MGM's eBay store, and I caved, lol. If you didn't see it already, I have a picture of it in the albums on my profile.
Then in March, I ordered a Mainland mahogany soprano for my niece's 18th birthday, and I decided I needed a Mainland (which I had never heard anything bad about, btw). And also in March, I saw a vintage 1930s Martin Style 2, but I funded that one by selling a few Dunhill pipes on eBay. Six pipes pretty much covered the cost of the Martin, case, and shipping. I haven't regretted that one teeny bit (I've been collecting pipes since I was about 18, and SERIOUSLY since I was 20, so 25 years of serious collecting). I LOVE that Martin... but that is off topic!

olgoat52
08-01-2010, 05:22 PM
Chris

From what I can tell $400 for an figured all koa uke is pretty good. I checked with Mike and he said they have been all gone for a while. Have to keep an eye out for one used. Who knows.

Thanks
TWC


I bought it at the beginning of December and I think it was about $400 then. It's supposedly made from leftover koa from when Larivee guitars briefly produced a $1500 soprano. I don't know if that's really where they got the wood, but I must say it is VERY well figured. The top is kind of quilted, and the back and sides are very nicely flamed. It was kind of a lot for me to spend on a uke at the time, but I couldn't stop looking at them on MGM's eBay store, and I caved, lol. If you didn't see it already, I have a picture of it in the albums on my profile.
Then in March, I ordered a Mainland mahogany soprano for my niece's 18th birthday, and I decided I needed a Mainland (which I had never heard anything bad about, btw). And also in March, I saw a vintage 1930s Martin Style 2, but I funded that one by selling a few Dunhill pipes on eBay. Six pipes pretty much covered the cost of the Martin, case, and shipping. I haven't regretted that one teeny bit (I've been collecting pipes since I was about 18, and SERIOUSLY since I was 20, so 25 years of serious collecting). I LOVE that Martin... but that is off topic!