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View Full Version : Happy as a clam...



trippntx
03-21-2012, 04:29 PM
I just finished practicing a half hour or so and I couldn't be happier. I've owned my Kala Solid Acacia Tenor (KA-ASAC-T) for almost three weeks now and the more I play it the more impressed with it I become.

Yes it's true I'm still a newb, and yes it's true I am longing to own something really nice (KoAloha Tenor), but I have to say that dollar for dollar this Kala is really one incredible little uke. Beautiful woodgrain, cool slotted headstock, very light, great sound with plenty of volume and warmth, and best of all it didn't cost much ($300 OTD).

I'd buy one again in a heartbeat and strongly recommend it to any newb or seasoned uker looking for a great tenor at a great price. No matter where my playing future takes me or how many KoAlohas or Kamakas I eventually adopt (wishful thinking), this Kala tenor is with me to stay.

Now off my soapbox. :)

Freeda
03-21-2012, 04:39 PM
Haha, soapbox is fine! I think a lot of people fall in love with their first really playable uke.

mm stan
03-21-2012, 06:14 PM
Congrats on your new Kala uke, any pictures...believe me the K brands rock.. koaloha has a nice bright tone unlike any other in comparison....I got a friend in San Antonio..
towers park lane....to be exact...

itsme
03-21-2012, 06:52 PM
For a factory brand, Kala has a really good rep.

I have a Kala thinline travel tenor and I'm very pleased with it. :)

mds725
03-21-2012, 07:19 PM
My first tenor (and second ukulele overall) is a Kala solid acacia tenor, purchased from, and set up by, none other than MGM. I've moved on to higher end tenors (Kamaka, with a Mya-Moe on the way), but I still play my solid acacia tenor and I still have soft spot for it in my heart. If I hadn't found an ukulele that was both very affordable and very playable, I might not have stuck with the instrument. Happy strumming!

P.S. Yeah -- pics, please. Each Kala solid acacia tenor has a different gran pattern, and people here love to see them all. :)

Nickie
03-21-2012, 07:51 PM
Congrats! I really enjoy my Kala solid mahogany concert uke, too. I have a lot of fun with it, and I love the tone.

trippntx
03-22-2012, 12:44 PM
It's nice to know I'm not alone. :)


Giggity!

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 12:53 PM
And on just what authority do you base the idea that clams are happy? Have you ever seen one? Very noncommittal expression, if anything, on a closed clam shell. And, once they've been scooped out of their shell, battered, and deep fried - how could they possibly be happy?

All that aside, congrats on the uke and enjoy it to the fullest regardless of whether clams are happy or not. ;)

John

stringstrummer
03-22-2012, 02:27 PM
very light, great sound with plenty of volume and warmth,

Hi

Can I please ask - was it loud with warmth from day 1?

The reason I ask is I have taken delivery of one on Tuesday this week, and I don't find it particularly loud.

It is my first tenor, other than a brief fling with a tenor Fluke, which I did like , but struggled to hold. I think I would have had more success with a greased eel!.

Having said that it did have a character, and was certainly loud. I can see me buying another at some stage but only if I am armed with velcro and straps.

Maybe it is because I am used to soprano, where the string tension is light, so it is automatically quite loud when played at a certain strength, whereas the Kala I find I consciously have to play harder to make it louder. Maybe due to the extra string tension?

Also just checking - is it standard that they have a wooden saddle as well as bridge?

Based on reviews from other owners and recommendations from the shop, I was expecting to be over the moon with it, and it is lovely looking, but at the moment I am not 100% too sure about it. Unfortunately trying before buying is not possible.

Also probably not helping is at the moment I have no stand or wall hanger, so it is stuck inside a travel case. I may be starving the little guy of oxygen.

I didn't know whether I should make sure I leave it out leaning up the corner of a room to let it "breathe".

Any thoughts on this from anybody are welcome please.

I want to love it, but can cancel my order and return it up to next Tuesday.

Help - I am in turmoil......

trippntx
03-22-2012, 02:36 PM
Hi

Can I please ask - was it loud with warmth from day 1?

The reason I ask is I have taken delivery of one on Tuesday this week, and I don't find it particularly loud.

It is my first tenor, other than a brief fling with a tenor Fluke, which I did like , but struggled to hold. I think I would have had more success with a greased eel!.

Having said that it did have a character, and was certainly loud. I can see me buying another at some stage but only if I am armed with velcro and straps.

Maybe it is because I am used to soprano, where the string tension is light, so it is automatically quite loud when played at a certain strength, whereas the Kala I find I consciously have to play harder to make it louder. Maybe due to the extra string tension?

Also just checking - is it standard that they have a wooden saddle as well as bridge?

Based on reviews from other owners and recommendations from the shop, I was expecting to be over the moon with it, and it is lovely looking, but at the moment I am not 100% too sure about it. Unfortunately trying before buying is not possible.

Also probably not helping is at the moment I have no stand or wall hanger, so it is stuck inside a travel case. I may be starving the little guy of oxygen.

I didn't know whether I should make sure I leave it out leaning up the corner of a room to let it "breathe".

Any thoughts on this from anybody are welcome please.

I want to love it, but can cancel my order and return it up to next Tuesday.

Help - I am in turmoil......

I do believe my uke sounds pretty much today as it did the day I got it - tuning aside of course. :) I bought it in San Antonio and I still live here so the humidity probably hasn't changed appreciably.

My advice is: If you're not happy with it send it back! There are many more Kalas of the same model available. You can simply wait a week and reorder or visit a few music shops until you find one you really like OR you can call MusicGuyMike (very helpful) at Hawaii Music Supply and have him pick you out a very nice one and set it up for you. I think you'd be assured of getting a "better" sounding Kala Solid Acacia Tenor, if there is one, this way. Much better to throw a few extra bucks at the situation (shipping/possibly higher price on the re-buy) and get something you are confident and happy with. Best of luck!

My two cents.

stringstrummer
03-22-2012, 02:42 PM
Thanks for your comments.

I am in the UK and ukulele shops are unfortunately few and far between.

The retailer is 180 miles away.

I actually sent the Fluke back as I was struggling with it and I am reluctant to have to do the same again with this one. In fairness though the service from them is excellent.

smellofstrings
03-22-2012, 02:52 PM
Whenever I see someone shows his love for his instruments, I can totally relate to him! Do you name your ukes? If no then name it! The level of intimacy increases! :D

trippntx
03-22-2012, 03:15 PM
Yes! I refer to this one as " My Kala Tenor." :)

mds725
03-22-2012, 04:57 PM
I have a tenor Flea. It's much louder than my Kala solid acacia tenor. They have different voices though.

I'd have to say that my Kala solid acacia tenor is the least "boomy" of my tenor ukuleles (that includes a Kamaka and a Big Island Honu Traditional solid koa), although really not that much less boomy. If you want more boom than you're getting, a Kala acacia tenor may not be the best ukulele for you.

stringstrummer
03-22-2012, 10:44 PM
It's a tricky one.

Actually one of the reasons I returned the Fluke was because it seemed over overpoweringly boomy.

I have the weekend to decide.

If the shop were that bit close I would go there but it is too much to drive there and back in one day.

Do you think it would help if the bridge or strings were swapped?

I think of wood as absorbent. I don't know if it is unusual to have a wooden bridge.

If I slightly move the strings at the bridge I can see that there are minute grooves in it already from the strings.

MisterRios
03-22-2012, 11:47 PM
Strings can make a big difference. On my two Ohanas, I hated the Aquila Strings that came with the ukes. I switched to martins on my Pineapple uke and it sounds "like butter" clear almost piano-like sound. The Worth Browns on my other one sound more plinky and woody, and I'm debating changing them to Martins as well.

The thing is that sound is subjective. What might sound great to someone else might not sound as great to you. There are some in my meet-up that have aquilas on their ukes, and they love the sound, while I'd rather have a clearer, cleaner sound.

OldePhart
03-23-2012, 06:28 AM
@stringstrummer - there is quite a bit of variation in all of the mass-produced ukes like Kala and so on.

I'm not saying Kala is bad, I've played some that were quite nice - but on the other hand I wouldn't expect the one you have to "open up" so if you're not happy with it you should probably exchange it while you can.

John

stringstrummer
03-24-2012, 01:19 AM
Many thanks. I do appreciate all your comments.

I'm starting to think that actually - its not so bad, in fact ......it is pretty nice!

Maybe my expectations were initially too high after the hype they seem to generate.

Also maybe it is the change from a soprano to tenor. My soprano is a solid koa Lani, and the difference in size, string tension and woods could explain a lot.

I have now had about 8 hours playing time with it. Last night and today it felt different and sounds different. I think I am getting used to the fact that the volume range is very big dependent on how forceful I play.

I think I need to bear in mind the cost too.

My Lani was 360, the Kala, 269.

I have realized today that the Kala will hang ok in my "Ex-guitar" hanger, so today she has been hung! (Yes - I have to say that despite tinkering with guitars for 3 or 4 years, I never got the bug, unlike the ukulele which I started only in September last year, and has currently also made my new tv redundant.)

trippntx
03-24-2012, 04:10 AM
Good news and good luck stringstrummer!