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Ghibli
02-23-2011, 11:42 AM
Hi Ukers
just put in an order for a Kala Atchtop tenor yesterday.
I am aware that the (previous?) Kala model JTE-TS had been reviewed as having average acustics and high action. I guess I just fell for the looks this time.
Just wondering if anyone on the Forum had a chance to play the JTE-2TS and would like to share their views on the instrument (apologies if this replicates a previous thread).
Cheers

Paul December
02-23-2011, 01:26 PM
I've actually owned both - My original JTE-TS was replaced under warranty with a JTE-2TS.
1st, I have to say that complaints about it being quiet or having poor sound are IMO greatly exaggerated. No, it is not a super-loud uke, but not bad at all when played acoustically. I lowered the action on both of them at the saddle which was very easy (sand the bottom of it).
Other than a slightly different looking bridge, the two ukes looked (and played) exactly the same. Both must have been made in the same factory because the sunburst pattern & color were exactly the same, and I doubt that would be possible if they changed factories.

Plainsong
02-23-2011, 01:35 PM
I got mine in 2009 from MGM and it's action is perfect. It's just about the only tenor that feels comfortable for me to play.

Mine just has frakked electronics and sending it back to Kala from Finland just isn't an option. I'd get hit by customs, and the high shipping cost. I'm hoping to salvage it, and I've contacted Kala, but I don't really see what they can do past recommending a pickup... if one can be fit in there at all. :(

But yeah, it feels great to play, I wouldn't care that the electronics were toast if it didn't feel so nice to play. :)

kissing
02-23-2011, 09:59 PM
I've owned one and was quite happy with it.

The acoustics aren't bad, but it is a gentler sound than other more 'conventional' ukes in the same price category.
I'd say, in my experience with ukes, it's between moderate and soft in volume. It's loud enough to play acoustically, but it's not a blazingly loud sound.

The action on mine was really good because I got mine thru MGM who does a good setup. I've tried a few store ones (not setup). The action was a bit on the high side, but not unplayably high. Just 'regular' high. It's not really a feature specific to the Jazz uke - most ukes in that price range come with a high action from the factory to the store shelves unless otherwise setup.

Enjoy the uke. It looks stunning, sounds ok. The true advantage comes out when you plug it into an amplifier. The F-holes do serve a practical purpose other than just aesthetic - I do find that it does reduce feedback compared to conventional ukes with the same pickup. It's a bit like hollow jazz guitars - It's about half way to being an electric uke + some acoustic properties :)

Ken Middleton has an excellent, honest review. He describes it as a 'gentle sound', but it is pleasant to listen to.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5dqcRpOiac
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5dqcRpOiac

I've used it in a couple of vids too :)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gZpT6I7MF0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gZpT6I7MF0

Richie23
02-24-2011, 02:44 AM
I have the JTE/BK (black version) which sounds great. Acoustically, it's not loud, thats true, but really this uke is made for plugging into an acoustic amp, which is where it really excels.
I played it every day for about a year and with it's gCEA aquilas wearing out, I fitted fresh strings (Aquila DGBE strings as an experiment), but it just made the uke sound quieter, so it has gCEA strings again.

Incidentally, if you want to play it acoustically, try tuning down a step or even two steps. I found mine sounds beautiful if tuned lower, and the strings and wood seem to come together tonally.

strumsilly
02-24-2011, 03:10 AM
I got mine in 2009 from MGM and it's action is perfect. It's just about the only tenor that feels comfortable for me to play.

Mine just has frakked electronics and sending it back to Kala from Finland just isn't an option. I'd get hit by customs, and the high shipping cost. I'm hoping to salvage it, and I've contacted Kala, but I don't really see what they can do past recommending a pickup... if one can be fit in there at all. :(

But yeah, it feels great to play, I wouldn't care that the electronics were toast if it didn't feel so nice to play. :)

Hey plainsong, My Kala's undersaddle pickup went south and I contacted MGM and he sent me another one gratis, and told me how to install it and now it works fine. if that's what's wrong with yours, may be an easy fix.

the52blues
02-24-2011, 05:41 AM
I have the sunburst model after hours of decision-making between it and the black one. They had those plus a natural mahogany finish when they first came out but now only offer the sunburst. It is my favorite uke of them all so far. The action was and is perfect. I find the neck is slightly narrower than my other tenors. The neck also has inlay up both sides of the neck where the frets end making it smooth as silk to play. Some of my other tenors where the wood drys out and shrinks slightly leaves the frets sticking out slightly and snag your fingers as you change chords. I have mine strung with a low G and find it not too much quieter than my others. I did have one problem. The electric input jack came loose and I had to figure out how to tighten it. Since there is no sound hole to put your fingers or wrench through it looked impossible but I wrote Mike Upton at Kala and he sent me detailed instructions on how to do it. It is really great sounding plugged in. I just love it! It was the first uke I bought but it is still my favorite. Every time I strap it on I get compliments on it's looks and sound.
Here's a vid of me playing it unplugged. Hope you like it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfWURgXd1C8

Richie23
02-24-2011, 06:50 AM
The electric input jack came loose and I had to figure out how to tighten it. Since there is no sound hole to put your fingers or wrench through it looked impossible but I wrote Mike Upton at Kala and he sent me detailed instructions on how to do it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfWURgXd1C8

This happened to mine too, and like you, I was flummoxed about how to re-tighten it. In the end I returned it to the store I bought it from (Foulds in Derby), and it was tightened there and then. I would love to know what instructions you were given on doing this yourself, should it ever work itself loose again?

ukulelecowboy
02-24-2011, 07:44 AM
I have two. The black and the sunburst. Really nice ukuleles although I wouldn't mind better onboard electronics. I went ahead and purchased the custom pickguards from Harpdude on Ebay. Here's the link:

http://cgi.ebay.com/PICKGUARD-KALA-ARCHTOP-F-HOLE-UKULELE-4-COLORS-/320661344107?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa8e7cf6b

I really like the difference it makes in the look and it doesn't affect playability at all. He does a really nice job. Here's a shot of the two hanging with some others ukuleles...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/WallOfUkulele.jpg

You can see them towards the left of the photo. I'm on the lookout for a Natural Mahogany so I can have the full set...



Mike

Kimosabe
02-24-2011, 10:52 AM
I have two sunbursts. Why? I keep one at work and one at home. Also, if I were to lose one I'd still have one. I love them. I have a Kanilea tenor which is very sweet but sometimes when I'mk sitting playing myu sunburst I forget which one I'm playing and think it's my Kanilea. The neck is great on the sunburst. I've had it a couple of years. I've done some interesting electronic things on the sunburst. If you go to i-tunes or cd baby you can hear suome of my electric work as The Stockhausen Monkeys.

Ghibli
02-24-2011, 11:48 AM
Thank you for your kind replies, all of you, fantastic effort.
I have not had a chance to play the instrument itself (which is the best thing to do prior to buying), and I was purchasing this uke based on Ken Middleton's review, Kala's good reputation and the stunning looks (personal view).
Now, after your comments and very useful links to videos and ebay, I am confident I made the right choice.
Can't wait to get my hands on it!
Again, thanks for sharing your direct experience.
Cheers

Plainsong
02-24-2011, 03:29 PM
And a big huge internet hug to Kala for getting back to me and letting me know they're sending out a replacement pickup! I think it's the newer one with the EQ, since he said NFX. I haven't played it much since the electronics started going south, and now I honestly feel like I'm getting a new uke.

The thing about the archtop that maybe gets it some abuse is that it'll never be hugely great unplugged. Mine in fact is kinda dead unplugged. But it's not really meant for 100% unplugged use. It's meant to be plugged in. It's meant to look cool while doing so. A bonus for me is that the neck is just about the most comfy tenor neck for my hands and fingers as any uke. It's one of the few tenors I can play. Yeah, so it's a laminate, but it's kind to your fingers (or mine at least). Also, even if it's dead unplugged, the intonation is still spot on.

So once I have the electronics sorted, this is going to start being lots of fun. Why not? It may not work as an only-uke, but it works as a fun uke.

As always, acoustic instruments do better with acoustic (or keyboard) amps. Even a Mobile Cube will do it justice.

the52blues
02-25-2011, 03:42 AM
This happened to mine too, I would love to know what instructions you were given on doing this yourself, should it ever work itself loose again?

I don't think I saved the instructions. My tech may still have them but I do remember that he had to take the pickup control out of the side to get access to inside, still a tight squeeze, and the input itself is kinda like a screw cap that comes apart and just needed to be scewed back together.