Kala Elite: No More Sopranos

richntacoma

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I really love the sound of my Kala Elite Doghair Soprano, big, resonant, sweet and a wee big of that hog' gangly. It just feels good (although, I am starting to think that radius fretboards are the way for me, but I digress).

Looking around at what Kala is making in their Petaluma shop, I realized that that none of their current offerings were in soprano.

So I contacted Kala, and found out that indeed, they were not making sopranos anymore as part of their Elite series. They will make them custom, but I found out no additional information on that.

Cheers.
 

badhabits

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Same with travel ukes, no more sopranos... at least listed on their website
 

Ziret

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That’s too bad. I have a Kala Elite concert and it’s one of my favorites, but because of how it sounds and is made, I doubt I would have considered an Elite soprano, because I like my sopranos more Martin-esque. But if I only played soprano, it would make sense.
 

EDW

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That is too bad. It is always good to see someone willing to put in the time and effort to make a good soprano
 

Peter Frary

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Kremona now makes the Mari and Coco models in soprano, concert and tenor. When I bought both models in 2019 Kremona only made tenors, so Kala had to cut back to keep the world in balance...
 

badhabits

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Sopranos take the close to same amount of work to make as a tenor, but everyone expects to pay less for them because they are smaller. So its not a surprise that Kala is moving out of the soprano segment in the price ranges where buyers wont pay a good return on the cost of production.

We can still find a nice Kala 15S or other Kala soprano in the classifieds for used musical instruments. So you can still buy a Kala soprano for a nice price if you haggle with the previous owner.

And Martin and MFC and a lot of custom makers still sell soprano instruments you can buy.

It really wont make a lot of difference in the market if Kala no longer sells the sopranos which were made in the USA.

Kala elite vs. ka15? Lol!
 

bsfloyd

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Sopranos take the close to same amount of work to make as a tenor, but everyone expects to pay less for them because they are smaller. So its not a surprise that Kala is moving out of the soprano segment in the price ranges where buyers wont pay a good return on the cost of production.
Agreed. And also the fact that the lumber used is not that much less that the other sizes to justify such a price cut.
 

kkimura

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I have met people who will never believe that any Kalas are made in California. They say that the label is fake and that Kalas are made in China. They may not even accept that there is much difference between an Elite soprano and a 15S. There is a problem with perception.

In previous posts I have suggested that Kala use a different brand name for the models made in California to get better sales, and also to show respect for the workers who are both in China and in California. They could call the USA made range "Petaluma" ukes or something similar and buyers wont be confusing the models in the product range. And buyers would show appropriate respect to the skilled USA based workers who are at the Petaluma facility.
Interesting concept. If the "California" Kala's were re branded to say, "Cala", would the Kala Elite branded ukuleles become collector's items and therefore raise in value?
 

kkimura

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does anyone even care?
Kala 'elite' sopranos? seriously?
Yeah, maybe not. Sopranos may go out of favor like the compulsory figures required of skaters in the Olympics.
On the other hand, sopranos, or standard, ukuleles are where this all started and at least some makers should be trying to make good ones. Even the good folk at Kala Elite.
 

Cluze

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does anyone even care?
Kala 'elite' sopranos? seriously?
Yes, I am quite certain that some do care.

I happen to own a Kala Elite. It is a soprano, in fact. It was the first really nice uke I ever bought.

I tried it out next to several other brands at Elderly Instruments when I was deciding to purchase it. Those other brands included the likes of Kamaka and Kanile'a, by the way.

My Kala Elite remains one of the best sounding sopranos I have every played.
 

kerneltime

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I have met people who will never believe that any Kalas are made in California. They say that the label is fake and that Kalas are made in China. They may not even accept that there is much difference between an Elite soprano and a 15S. There is a problem with perception.

In previous posts I have suggested that Kala use a different brand name for the models made in California to get better sales, and also to show respect for the workers who are both in China and in California. They could call the USA made range "Petaluma" ukes or something similar and buyers wont be confusing the models in the product range. And buyers would show appropriate respect to the skilled USA based workers who are at the Petaluma facility.
Yeah… I think Kala messed up the branding. Koaloha has Opio, Toyota has Lexus… once you see cheap Kalas for sale everywhere, mentally it is tough to equate Kala Elite with what they are, hand-built in California top quality ukes. I think they should have bought MyaMoe and expanded the whole build-to-order scheme that they pioneered.
 

mountain goat

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sopranos don't go out of favour.
i guess my point is, and not made w/ subtlety,
that, at that price, there are at least 15 +
builders, luthiers who i would seek out first.
i don't believe soprano players in the worldwide
ukulele community will be particularly concerned.
 
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mountain goat

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Cluze, i'm very pleased for you.
I am also pleased for the op.
I look forward to you hearing many other
quality sopranos on your ukulele journey also.
 

merlin666

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sopranos don't go out of favour.
i guess my point is, and not made w/ subtlety,
that, at that price, there are at least 15 +
builders, luthiers who i would seek out first.
i don't believe soprano players in the worldwide
ukulele community will be particularly concerned.
Indeed sopranos are the real ukes and I think it takes extra skill and effort to build one and to play one well. Big companies are only interested in making easy profit, and that comes from the people who look for easy playing partial guitars and big ukes. Kalas can be nice, but I have not yet seen one that I would be willing to pay asking price for.
 

Mister X

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and a wee big of that hog' gangly.

Hope you don't mind my asking but I was wondering what that means?

I thought it might be an allusion to something but I've no idea what and was curious. Sounds a bit "Burns....ish"
 

Voran

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I can't see sopranos going out of favor. They're not simply small tenors. I like sopranos because they're small, portable and I can just grab one and go outside and play. I can also play one in the car; entertains my autistic brother and gets him to be quiet and calm down. I can't do that with even a tenor, just too long and lanky and less room to move around.
 
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richntacoma

richntacoma

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Should have read, "bit of jangly" What I was trying to describe, and I am not good at writing about sound, is that it has a full, expansive sound, almost like my KoAloha, but a touch of that old time Martinish jangly to it. So classic Mahogany 1920s sound, but fuller, deeper, and perhaps a bit brighter. I personally wish the neck profile was a bit thinner and the nut was not as wide, but it is super awesome besides.
 
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EDW

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My Kala Elite remains one of the best sounding sopranos I have every played.
I have heard very good things about these and the great quality and sound. Perhaps as some mention, people would take them more seriously with a different name, but wan't it Shakespeare who said "A uke by any other name would smell as sweet"?
 

Ziret

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Maybe you mean jangly? Gangly is like gangly limbs. Now the words are mixing up in my mind. But I think you mean jangly, like the coins in your pocket or a tambourine.