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View Full Version : Used Kala KA-SC (spruce top question)



Inksplosive AL
02-27-2014, 08:46 PM
I recently bought this ukulele from the marketplace thinking if I didn't like it I should be able to turn it at a later date with no loss. Well as usual I like it, it plays really well and is very loud but there's a small issue I'm not sure about. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92639-FS-Kala-KA-SC-Concert Of course it also makes me think I'll be lucky to ever sell it should I want or need to.

Looking back in hindsight I can see in this picture http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=63423&d=1391275963 there is something a bit off with the sound hole. At purchase I thought it was some sort of a .JPG artifact.

What you cant see in that picture is the side of the hole covered by the piece of paper and artistic aiming of the camera hiding one of the big scallops behind the A string. Dave said he didn't notice anything wrong with the sound hole and I know we all see things differently. My artist eye sees the back brace seen through the sound hole droops ever so slightly to the left. While I can see its not straight I'm sure others wouldn't. I know this isn't a very high dollar instrument and I really got it cheap but still its a pisser.

I asked the original owner if it was sold as a blem or second I see no 2 stamped on the headstock so I forgot about it, got sick and now that I'm a couple days out of the hospital and feeling a little better I'm wondering... Is the spruce top shrinking between the grain due to lack of humidity? If I remember correctly it came from MA so not a big climate jump there. I just put it in my humidity box any thoughts? It seems to be shrinking between the hard grain lines making the sound hole look scalloped.

I was going to take a better picture but I got pissed and boxed it up. Since my coming out of the hospital my Smiley ukulele seems to have cracked his finish as well between the neck and body and is now buzzing on the G and C string second fret again. I'm thinking he took damage somehow but my lady likely wouldn't remember if she fell on it so its a mystery. A real pisser.

~AL~

anthonyg
02-28-2014, 11:43 AM
I can't see what you are complaining about. Does the instrument sound OK? Honestly there are always variations in timber instruments made by hand. A variation doesn't make a fault. Based on what you have told us there is nothing to go on.

Anthony

FrankB
02-28-2014, 01:07 PM
I'm anal about new instruments ( flashlight and mirror to inspect the insides, calipers, etc), but this looks fine. Take a soup can, and wrap 220 grit sandpaper around, and use it to round of the sound hole. Take some clear nail polish, and put a smear around the edge you sanded. I don't see the back brace, and never look at mine after initial purchase.

Anthony has it right. How's the sound, playability, etc. If those aspects are fine, it looks like a good deal to me....

stevepetergal
02-28-2014, 04:02 PM
I'm anal about new instruments ( flashlight and mirror to inspect the insides, calipers, etc), but this looks fine. Take a soup can, and wrap 220 grit sandpaper around, and use it to round of the sound hole. Take some clear nail polish, and put a smear around the edge you sanded. I don't see the back brace, and never look at mine after initial purchase.

Anthony has it right. How's the sound, playability, etc. If those aspects are fine, it looks like a good deal to me....

Just my vote: don't do this. You won't lose money on this instrument. I think you should take a good photo of what's wrong and show us. Then, we can tell you to leave it alone. You got a fantastic deal. Enjoy.

FrankB
03-01-2014, 06:43 AM
Just my vote: don't do this. You won't lose money on this instrument. I think you should take a good photo of what's wrong and show us. Then, we can tell you to leave it alone. You got a fantastic deal. Enjoy.

I did this once to a LaPatrie classical guitar, and it turned out fine. That instrument's sound hole was whacked, however, and this Kala isn't even close to that. I vote to follow your advice. ;)

strumsilly
03-01-2014, 06:51 AM
I had a Lanikai with a slightly off center brace once. If it isnt' loose and buzzing, you are the only one who will ever notice. These are mass produced in a Chinese factory and frequently have flaws. I wouldn't be too concerned with a slight cosmetic flaw, unless I was paying a whole lot more than this was. If it works, don't fix it would be my advice.

Inksplosive AL
03-01-2014, 04:46 PM
Having bought two solid ukuleles from Vietnam both now cracked I am a bit humidity scared. Honestly if I had read the info about these spruce top ukes better had I realized it wasn't a laminate I might have passed. But even with my smiley now with a finish crack between the neck and body and buzzing again after my hospital visit I'm just kinda disgusted.

I didn't mention the slight dishing... cupping going on at the front of the bridge. How flat should this flat top be on this Kala? I cant get a good picture of it my best camera is at my shop but laying a straight edge across the top from front to back the bridge seems pulled down into the top enough to let light under the straight edge.

I'm not going to sand the hole round I wouldn't be able to make it a perfect circle the neck would protrude into the hole. Like said it looks like the softer grain is receding leaving the harder darker grain sticking out. I know the crooked brace isn't a blem issue but honestly after the odd hole it made the flashlight come out. It definitely brought out any latent OCD I might have.

64380

64381

64382

~peace~

anthonyg
03-01-2014, 06:51 PM
I see a bit better now. I wouldn't worry about the back brace. Its only cosmetic. The sound hole looks like it was cut with a blunt cutter. Annoying but only cosmetic. As to the dish in front of the bridge I consider this to be NORMAL on a FLAT top ukulele. I only have one flat top ukulele which actually HAS a flat top and its OVERBUILT to the max. Only my high end Wise ukulele doesn't dish there because it has a raised, RADIUSED(Stupid auto correct) top. The soundboards on Kala's are a little lighter than they used to be so they are likely to suffer from a little dishing more than they used to. I'd be more concerned about other aspects of the instruments build that you haven't mentioned. Is the neck straight or does it have a slight upwards curve in it? If so good. If it has a downwards curve in it at all then not so good. If you accurately measure the distance from the inside nut to centre of the 12th fret is it 7 1/2 inches? Is the distance from the inside nut to the leading edge of the saddle 15 inch + a little for compensation?

If it passes these tests I wouldn't worry about some annoying cosmetic flaws. It wasn't expensive.

Anthony