View Full Version : New Kala Archtop Model?

01-30-2014, 04:24 PM
Hey, anybody know the skinny on the new Kala Honeyburst Custom?

I see it in NAMM photos, and it's mentioned in some NAMM videos, but there isn't much info available.

Their other archtops were always interesting to me, but not quite "there." This new model has me curious.

01-30-2014, 09:01 PM
Other than the floating bridge/tailpiece, pick guard and no pickup, it appears to be the same as the existing instruments. I would like to think that the bridge/tailpiece setup would free up the top as it does on jazz guitars and mandolins, but I'm thinking that a/b tests of the two setups won't reveal much tonal difference, But I would be happy to learn that I am wrong.

I had a floating tailpiece fitted to a custom mandolin I had built and the most outstanding aspect of it, in my mind, is the hassle involved in changing strings. But, it does look cool.

01-31-2014, 03:12 AM
Mike at UkeRepublic said he thinks they sound a little better than previous models, but nothing dramatic. They certainly are "cooler" to my eyes. I still prefer tobacco burst though.

02-01-2014, 03:45 AM
No electronics; sort of defeats the purpose

02-01-2014, 03:58 AM
No electronics; sort of defeats the purpose

Actually, that's one if the reasons it interests me.

02-01-2014, 05:40 AM
The original arch top jazzbox guitars with floating bridges/tailpieces were mike'd. This Kala design seems to be a call back to that image. A bit odd in that pretty much all such guitars today sell with electronics. Yes, there are versions available without electronics installed, but looking at the popular Godin 5th Avenue box, for example, it comes with or without electronics and the with outsells the without by a far piece. Mine has a P90.

Ironically, this bridge/tailpiece setup in a guitar is designed to free up the top in order to enhance sound quality. That same freeing up can create a more desirable sound as it it amplified through the use of a good pickup. If the Kala came with a MiSi, for example, I would seriously consider trying one out. But, then again, a MiSi would add 1/2 again to the cost of the uke. Maybe an inexpensive mini P90. (Or a lower case p45, maybe)

02-01-2014, 08:55 AM
Actually, I was looking at grabbing one of the Godin 5th Avenue acoustics as well. Acoustic archtops are slowly having a resurgence.

Piezoelectric pickups for floating bridges are inconvenient, at best. So Kala really made the only logical design choice here.

I was half considering building an acoustic archtop ukulele.... but I have already started two other projects, so if the Kala meets my tastes, then problem solved.

02-01-2014, 05:11 PM
Getting closer. Now, if they would just replace that pearloid binding with ivoroid, it would be cool.

I was hoping to use an old DeArmond "Guitar Mike" pickup on my future archtop uke (it currently resides in an unused mandolin of mine), but I don't think it will work with nylon strings.