View Full Version : Kala acacia comparison. . .

05-08-2011, 12:39 PM
The Kala acacia sopranos are sharp looking, but I have yet to hear a decent audio/video review. Can anyone here weigh in on how the Kala acacias compare to the Ohanas or Mainlands?

05-09-2011, 01:42 PM
I have a Kala acacia tenor, but I don't have a Mainland or Ohana tenor to compare it to. My tenor sounds great, though. I would say that it's a bit more mellow than my Big Island Honu traditional tenor, which is solid koa (both have aquila strings) but has a pleasant sound. Generally, I would think that because acacia trees belong to the same family as koa trees, solid koa soundboards and solid acacia soundboards would produce similar sound results. I think the differences in my Kala and Big Island tenors may be attributed mostly to manufacturer design and build.

Your question is difficult to answer though, because if you have multiple variables -- in this case both manufacturer and wood, as I don't think Mainland makes a solid acacia ukulele and I'm not sure Ohana does either -- it's hard to determine the cause of differences. An Ohana soprano may sound different from a Kala acacia soprano because of the wood, the design of the ukulele, the manufacturing process, or any combination. It may be best to triangulate. For example, compare a Kala solid acacia soprano to a Kala solid mango or solid mahogany soprano to get a feel for the differences in wood, and then compare the Kala solid mango to a Mainland and Ohana solid mango (if there is one) or compare a Kala solid mahogany to a Mainland or Ohana solid mahogany to factor out differences in wood.

Although sound samples can be unreliable because of variabless related to recording, it may also help to compare ukulele sound samples on YouTube. Good luck!

05-09-2011, 01:45 PM
Well, it's not a particularly useful comparison because I'm comparing a Kala acacia pocket uke to a couple of Mainland tenors and a Mainland concert (that I kitbashed into a resonator uke). Still, for what it's worth....

The Kala is not a bad uke but mine had a very high action at both the nut and bridge. As a consequence, the intonation was pretty dismal. This was magnified, of course, by the short scale. I've since corrected it and it's a nice little uke. But, if I were in the market for another uke and was considering a Kala solid vs. a Mainland at roughly the same price I would go with the Mainland, hands down. The Kala can be a fine uke if you have the tools and skills to set it up, or if you buy it from someone who will check the setup before shipping it. In any other case I'd go with the Mainland because Mike checks every uke before he ships it whereas with the Kala you might get one that's fine or you might get one that needs some setup work to make it a contender.


05-09-2011, 04:11 PM
Thanks for your thoughts! MGM set up the last uke that I bought from him, and it is perfect. I will surely miss him. . .