View Full Version : first big uke purchase

02-24-2008, 07:06 PM
what up ukuleleunderground!
I found this site (and consequently, this forum) while browsing youtube videos of ukulele covers and I am this close to pulling the trigger on a new ukulele. I have a cheap concert I bought a couple of years ago, but since im mainly a guitar player, im going down the tenor route.

After reading through a ton of threads here, ive decided that I want to get an acoustic electric and since I dont really want to break the bank, and my girlfriend is going in on this as my valentines day gift, I set the price point at a few bills max. That puts me right in sight of the kala tenor electrics, and the two ive been considering are the all koa and then the koa with solid spruce top.

I read that the koa is really koa laminated over mahogany, so im compelled to buy the solid spruce top simply for the better wood overall, seeing as the top is pretty crucial to acoustic qualities. at any rate, im asking you guys to help me make the final decision here... am I better off going all koa for the more traditional uke sound, or since its simply a laminate, will the two im considering sound more or less the same?

they are both the same price through MGM on ebay, which is where I will be purchasing it, so kindly, through out some consensus for me please. Im also kind of into the spalted maple ones too, they look pretty interesting and once again, assuming its all laminate most likely, itll probably have similar acoustic qualities...hhahah

anyway, sorry for the long post, but seriously ukuleleunderground, you have given me a baaaaad want for a tenor ukulele and i want it now! :eek:

im choosing between:
-the kala koa ka-kte electric tenor,
-the version with solid spruce top,
- or possibly even the solid spruce top iwth spalted maple back and sides! help!

thanks in advance!

02-24-2008, 07:49 PM
Are you getting the kala kte with cutaway? Thats the last ukulele I bought. I'm very happy with it after swapping the strings to the d'addarios. The projection is pretty loud. Pretty Balanced..not too bright and not too mellow. Intonation and sustain also good.

I can't say much about the electronics though because I don't have an amp to play with, but when I tried it out it sounded pretty sweet. :)

All in all I find my ukulele good but not exceptional. I still like it alot though because this is the best I was able to buy at the time for just under 300.

If you want me to make a youtube video of it I can probably do that.

02-24-2008, 09:00 PM
wow that would be great! yeah the main contender for me right now seems to the the koa kte w/ cutaway. id love a video to see how it sounds! thanks!

02-24-2008, 09:26 PM
if you like the spalted maple look, i would go for that one. i own the kte, and while it is a decent uke, ive learned to appreciate my uke with a solid spruce top over it... acoustic sound-wise. and i usually just use the koa one for performances so i dont get bent out of shape if i bang it around. i think either of the spruce tops will serve you well. hell, the koa one is just fine too. but like i said, i just prefer solid soundboards. i couldnt tell the diff at first, but as time went by, the sound quality became more and more obvious.

Ukulele Dude
02-25-2008, 03:14 AM
I had one of the Kala Spruce top tenors ( I just sold it ), but I also tried some of the other Kala tenors before I bought it. I think the solid top makes a difference, and if you like the look, you should probably get that one.

They make a spruce top one with a cutaway and electronics that is pretty inexpensive. I think you can listen to a clip of it on ukuleleworld2.com.

Good luck, buying ukes is so much fun.

02-25-2008, 10:30 PM
I went ahead and got the flamed maple tenor with solid spruce top. It should get here the day after tomorrow (all the way from hawaii to cali in two days, cant complain ;)). Ill post pictures and maybe a video or two of how it sounds when I get it. I cant wait to get it!

maybe im reading way to much into it, but from the pictures of the uke im getting, the inside of the flamed maple spruce ukulele's isnt as dark as the ones that are koa or mahog. and it makes me wonder if i just might be getting actual spruce inside as well, maybe a sort of laminate of a nice figured piece and then a normal piece underneath? check it:

thats a standard koa back spruce top
and thats the one im getting, see how light the wood is?

anyway, ill post some more when I get the uke!

02-26-2008, 04:43 AM
i could be wrong, but the inside looks like its maple. so, maple laminated on maple... i would expect it to sound real nice.

i just played an ohana this weekend that was koa laminated koa. i know, go figure hahaha. but it sounded real nice. not quite like solid koa, but still real nice.

03-01-2008, 01:39 PM
I got the Kala and sadly, I think I got kind of a dud. The pickup was sort of choppy, it would cut in and out at random times, so im returning it and I just figured what the heck...went for a pono.

03-01-2008, 01:43 PM
looks like im a little late to this thread. Aldrine had a recent encounter with a Koa Pili Koko uke. He said for the price, it sounds awesome. It's made of solid Acacia Wood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia) which is a generic koa.

It sounds very very similar to a solid koa uke like a Kamaka.

03-01-2008, 04:28 PM
looks like im a little late to this thread. Aldrine had a recent encounter with a Koa Pili Koko uke. He said for the price, it sounds awesome. It's made of solid Acacia Wood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia) which is a generic koa.

It sounds very very similar to a solid koa uke like a Kamaka.

Julie of ukulelereview.com did a review of a soprano model (http://ukulelereview.com/2008/02/11/koa-pili-koko-deluxe-soprano-ukulele/)