new uke, KALA ka-st, or ka-mt?

always_ukulele

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As it says in the title I am stuck on these two ukes. my price range is about 250 and down. the mt is a solid mango laminate tenor, and the other is a sprucetop and mahogany laminate side and back. (tenor also) I am stuck between these two. And was wondering if anyone has had experiance with these two. Or any advice. (still open to suggestions.)
thanks. sincerely, Michael
 

Paul December

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I only paid $30 more and got the Kala Solid Acacia Tenor.... IMO in a different league from those two.
...but if price is an issue, I personally would go with the mango laminate because I'm not a fan of the Spruce sound.
 

euchre

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Last spring, when I first decided to start playing uke, I bought three within a month--Lanikai spruce top concert, Kala KA-MT, and Makala Dolphin (yellow, of course). The MT is by far the least played, mainly because I like the smaller sizes. They just sound more ukey to my ears.

In my opinion the MT is simply gorgeous with bookmatched flamed mango top and back, mahogany binding, amber tuners. The build quality is also exceptional as is the action, especially for a $200-250 instrument. Intonation is spot on and it stays in tune surprisingly well.

That said, the sound is lacking to me--too mellow, not enough volume. Due to my inexperience I don't know if this can be attributed to the strings (doubtful,Aquilas), laminate construction, tenor size body, or Mango-ness. It doesn't sound bad by any means, in fact, it's quite pleasant, but it just doesn't grab me like my Mainland mahogany soprano or even the cheapie Lanikai concert.

Honestly, I haven't really played it much, 5 hours tops, so I can't really say I've bonded with it yet. I played it for a couple hours last night and enjoyed it so I'm going to try to keep it in the hot rotation.

If I lost it would I replace it? No. Will I ever sell it? Probably not, it's just too darned pretty. I do think I may eventually install a Mi Si p/up in it.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably follow Paul's advice and get the Acacia.

tom
 

portlandjosh

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I have the Kala mango concert, and I wish it were a little louder or "bolder" sounding. I haven't played a spruce top. I like the mango and it is gorgeous, but I am wishing for a solid uke for more sound. Have heard great things about the solid acacia tenor, and it's not too far out of the same price range. Have you looked at that?
 

Rzr

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I have the spruce top and love it. I haven't tried the others so I can't comment. I'm strung low-g which might make a difference to a spruce tops bright sound. I really don't know it's the only thing I've played besides a cheap Mahalo.
 

dnewton2

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I had a MT (Mango Tenor) and the FMT (Flamed Maple Tenor, solid Spruce top). Pretty sure the ST has laminate sides and back like the FMT. I did not own these two at the same time so I don't know how they sound next to each other. But If I had to buy one agian I would probably get the Spruce top. I sold them both to either fund a different uke purchase or just because I didn't like the scale. Nothing wrong with either model, except maybe the gloss on the Spruce top was real thick and I think it had an effect on the sound. I think this has been addressed by Kala.

One thing to consider is what you entend to do with this uke. The Mango is a Laminate and is somewhat more durable when it come to environmental changes. The Spruce top has a solid top and ceritan enviromental factors can do damage to the wood.
 

always_ukulele

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ok, so i looked at the acacia, it looks really good. and sounds good also. I just need to figure out if i want to spend that much on a uke. :)