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View Full Version : KALA - A peek at their HQ and happenings. Any questions?



blue_knight_usa
03-12-2014, 06:02 AM
Hi All, I am going to be a Kala HQ this week for an interview and tour. I wanted to bring some questions from UU members and add them to my interview.

If you have any specific questions, post them here. No promises your question will be selected but if selected, your question will be included in my video interview which will be posted in a few weeks.

I am excited for the opportunity to see the HQ of one of the biggest uke and uke accessory manufactures. Maybe I will even get some goodies for a UU video contest :-)

I will make a final post next week listing which questions were selected.

Cheers!

FrankB
03-12-2014, 07:14 AM
How do they produce relatively consistent ukuleles at a very reasonable price? Have they considered moving into the higher price range, something along the lines of Cordoba's studio series and Pono's Pro series? Do they build all of the instruments at the same factory? What type of factory operation do they have? Is it a more recent facility, or do they plan to upgrade like some guitar manufacturers have done in China. How big is their dealer network? Their website does not include all Kala authorized dealers, so they need to update that (per a conversation I had with Kala a couple of months ago). What's in the future for Kala and the more advanced player? They offer a few nice all solid models, but are they satisfied with those few?

OmegaMatt
03-12-2014, 07:28 AM
Sounds exciting! Hope you have a great time.

I'd be interested to know if they've considered using other strings than Aquila, as standard on any of their models. Some of their stuff is fine with Aquila, but others you can get a big improvement with other brands - why don't they try some options on each prototype they get for new models, and get the factory to use the strings that suit the instrument best?

della-belle
03-12-2014, 07:41 AM
I'm a big Kala fan, I'm very jealous! I hope you have a great time :D

billten
03-12-2014, 08:29 AM
I would love to be able to buy off their web site. There are a couple of specific models i would love but finding just that one available at a dealer in your area out of the huge range of instruments is a hard task. Any plans on opening a web store?

KevinV
03-12-2014, 08:36 AM
I'm a big Kala fan too. Wish I could peek over your shoulder during the tour!

I see they have their custom shop running for US made banjoleles and are also doing some custom work on existing models if sent in. I'd love to see an all solid wood, nitro finished, US made Kala soprano and tenor. Any plans for that?

Dan Uke
03-12-2014, 08:39 AM
Does their manufacturer only make Kalas or other brands as well?

billten
03-12-2014, 09:09 AM
Oh, and more pineapples please! :)

RonT
03-12-2014, 10:07 AM
"Oh, and more pineapples please!" In the ASAC quality range. Maybe even Mahogany....
R

PhilUSAFRet
03-12-2014, 01:30 PM
Still waiting for Ohana or Kala to make a taropatch....concert size or shorter. The world doesn't need another 8 string tenor.

Nickie
03-12-2014, 03:11 PM
I would really like to see them built in America. Or at least a country that is friendly to us....
any word on if they are going to offer a high gloss finish?
(I'm on my third Kala)

igorthebarbarian
03-12-2014, 06:55 PM
Does everyone in the office play the uke? Do they get to jam out in meetings? What's the dress code like? Are they hiring?

FiL
03-13-2014, 03:13 AM
Can I trade in my Kala KA-R-T-SB tenor reso-uke with the absolutely horrible intonation that I bought new in 2012 for one of the newer models? ;)

- FiL

dickadcock
03-14-2014, 03:17 AM
I would like to find out if Kala is planning to offer a uke in their line-up comparable to the Cordoba TM-20 & the Ohana TK-20 soon. They have solid mahogany tops & laminate bodies; street price ~ 170 dollars in US.
Their plans could influence buying decisions, so a yes or no is the only useful answer.
~ Dick ~

sonomajazz
03-14-2014, 05:25 AM
Hey Jay...need a roadie? Stop by and pick me up...!

blue_knight_usa
03-17-2014, 01:31 PM
Hey Fred, I tried calling you a few times from your vm a few weeks back...hope you are coming to my jam on March 29th. I'm actually doing my visit between clients so it's going to be a whirlwind tour. Maybe next time when I head to Austins to interview Bill Collings? ;-). I'm heading to Australia soon and will be doing an interview with Allen McFarlen (on UU Luthiers forum) from Barron River so if you want to come beat the bush, meet me in Cairnes in a few weeks and I'll buy you a drink!

Keep those questions coming, there are some really good ones listed!

kohanmike
03-17-2014, 08:14 PM
In the last few days I thought I would step up from the $200-$300 pedestrian ukes I have to something around $350-$500. I read good things about the Kala KA-ATP-CTG-CE solid cedar top/acacia koa body, tenor cutaway with pickup.

I then went to McCabe's and they had one. Very high gloss finish, played very well, lots of presence, good balance on the pickup, $375 US. But I decided to hold off and go for something in the $750-$1000 range in a few months. So I also wonder if Kala will have anything in that range.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Kala Cedar.jpg

FrankB
03-18-2014, 01:40 AM
I then went to McCabe's and they had one. Very high gloss finish, played very well, lots of presence, good balance on the pickup, $375 US. But I decided to hold off and go for something in the $750-$1000 range in a few months. So I also wonder if Kala will have anything in that range.


I spoke with Scott at Kala last Friday, and they're ready to start building ukuleles in the U.S. later this year. They're tooled up and ready to go, according to Scott.

blue_knight_usa
05-27-2014, 01:23 PM
Here is the conclusion of this thread which includes the slide show and video interview:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?96990-Kala-Brand-Music-CO-Behind-the-scenes-at-their-HQ-and-interview&highlight=kala

blue_knight_usa
05-27-2014, 01:24 PM
In the last few days I thought I would step up from the $200-$300 pedestrian ukes I have to something around $350-$500. I read good things about the Kala KA-ATP-CTG-CE solid cedar top/acacia koa body, tenor cutaway with pickup.

I then went to McCabe's and they had one. Very high gloss finish, played very well, lots of presence, good balance on the pickup, $375 US. But I decided to hold off and go for something in the $750-$1000 range in a few months. So I also wonder if Kala will have anything in that range.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Kala Cedar.jpg

This is discussed in the interview: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?96990-Kala-Brand-Music-CO-Behind-the-scenes-at-their-HQ-and-interview&highlight=kala

Captain America
05-28-2014, 03:58 AM
Oh, this is good. I'm kind of in the market for an all-solid mahogany uke. I'm thrilled with my tenor, too, and been watchin the whole USA banjo thing: the video review I saw suggested that they're really well built. . . which is SO rare in our Economy So Obsessed With Cheep Chinese Stuff.

FrankB
05-28-2014, 04:45 AM
My post from a couple of hours ago is gone......???

Anyway... My Kala spruce/ovangkol has spanked several ukuleles in a much higher price bracket. It's built perfectly, and its tone and volume have cost me a small fortune in return shipping costs. I keep trying the "good" brands, and they don't measure up to Kala's $350 tenor. The cedar/acacia model is a close second, but the newer spruce/ovangkol is really nice.

Osprey
05-28-2014, 06:07 AM
Jay, Great interview and very professional video. I learned quite a bit. Good on Kala for moving towards USA production
Cliff

blue_knight_usa
06-01-2014, 06:07 PM
Jay, Great interview and very professional video. I learned quite a bit. Good on Kala for moving towards USA production
Cliff

Thanks. Yes there may be some big announcements at NAMM 2015. I will definitely be keeping my ears open.

blue_knight_usa
06-01-2014, 06:12 PM
Oh, this is good. I'm kind of in the market for an all-solid mahogany uke. I'm thrilled with my tenor, too, and been watchin the whole USA banjo thing: the video review I saw suggested that they're really well built. . . which is SO rare in our Economy So Obsessed With Cheep Chinese Stuff.

I got my hands on the banjo uke and it's built like a freight train (solid!). The banjo's (regular banjos) are super heavy and this is no exception. The shell and hardware on this uke was pretty impressive. I*was surprised when I grabbed it because I was expecting just a bit heavier uke but this banjo uke is definitely much heavier and not surprising once you see how it's made and the hardware used. It does not look or feel like a cheap instrument.