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Thread: Got a deal (?) on a Kahua Tenor Uke, did I waste my money?

  1. #1

    Default Got a deal (?) on a Kahua Tenor Uke, did I waste my money?

    First post, so bit of background and introduction. I’ve been self-teaching myself as a complete beginner (no musical background at all at age 29) for a few weeks on a nice litte Kala KA-T tenor and really enjoying myself, and plan on sitting down and taking a few formal lessons to get my fundamentals squared away and learn how to strum properly without a pick and so on. Given that ukes are generally relatively inexpensive, I naturally already started window shopping for what my next would be- maybe a concert, since the tenor is surprisingly a bit big and unwieldy for me despite my being 6’2 and about four feet wide at the shoulders.

    In said window shopping I came across what seemed like a stupidly good deal- Best Buy was offering a Kahua tenor uke for ten bucks on their website. Naturally suspicious that this was a toy, I looked it up elsewhere, and this model- the KA-27z (indicating 27 inch zebrawood) was selling for north of 80 dollars everywhere else. I decided to pull the trigger on it despite having very little use for another tenor- after all this is fast food money we’re talking about and I’ll now have if nothing else a ukulele I don’t feel the need to baby or avoid decorating in silly ways to carry around in my trunk in case I want to play and my Kala is at home.

    Still though, I’m suspicious. I know even my Kala KA-T is generally considered an entry level uke, and this commonly sells for 40 dollars less than that cost. I can’t find any reviews of it online and most worryingly as far as I can tell Kahua doesn’t even have a website!

    Anyone have any experience with Kahua ukes? If I wasted my money, at worst I have a pretty piece of Ukulele shaped wall art, I suppose. If they’re reasonable entry level/beater ukes, then hey, heads up, you can snag one on Best Buy’s website for ten bucks right now.

    Thanks for your time guys, glad to have found this forum. I look forward to spending a lot of time learning here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    L.A. California


    Welcome to the forum.
    No idea about that brand. But I do have a few thoughts;
    It will probably need some set up work. Not a big deal if you are modestly handy.
    You'll need a string gauge and a few tools.
    Depending on where you got your Kala, that may need a bit of set to be at its best.
    Again, a string gauge will help.

    And for ten bucks, why not.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    Hi and welcome to the forum, glad to hear that you are enjoying your ukulele, already hunting for more.

    Kahua sounds and looks like another "brand" slapped on a generic model from some ominous Chinese factory, very similar to the likes of Kmise, Amahi etc. I'm sure some of them are fine, and probably comparable to a Kala, but still, we don't know anything about labour or environmental conditions that make it possible to sell an instrument at such a low price. At best, it will be a duplicate to your Kala. As both of them are laminate, my advice in terms of upgrading would be to save up for an all solid wood instrument from a well-respected and documented brand such as KoAloha Opio or Pono, and buy from a trusted store that does setup work.
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    At that price I'd expect it to be wall art, but you never know, it might be OK in first position chords.
    You pays yer money & take yer chance.
    I'd be looking for a solid top or all solid wood next, I've been through UAS, so you might as well go straight to the next level.
    (I always recommend a concert scale for a newbie.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  5. #5


    Oh, I’ve certainly got the itch for nicer instruments as soon as my Uber driver salary can justify them. At the time, 120 dollars on the Kala felt like a serious investment because- and I hesitate to admit this- the entire reason I decided to aquire a uke and learn to play a bit is because I’m an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and wanted a real instrument to nring to the table for when I’m playing my bard. Which is silly, obviously, but the second I got it into my hands and started making nice sounds come out of it I was immediately bitten by a bug and now I’m quite a bit more interested in the instrument for its own sake.

    I promised myself and my lady that I’d spend a year on the Kala learning to play properly before I invested in a more upscale instrument- which might be a nice spruce Ukulele or the best banjolele I can find, because I’ve always loved the banjo but never thought I had the dexterity to even try one.

    Either way, I’ll update you once it gets here on St. Patricks day. I don’t know enough about ukes to speak to any real aspects of quality- after all, it seems like the Kala isn’t held in particularly high regard and I think it feels and sounds great- but I should be able to say if it’s complete garbage or not. Thanks for the replies!

    PS- can anyone direct me to some threads on proper ukulele “setup?” Being new I figured I just needed to tune the thing and have at it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Best Buy is not exactly known for their ukulele acumen.

    But who knows? Frankly I'll be shocked if you aren't way, way happier with your Kala. It actually *is* generally held in high regard at least as far as entry level laminates go - meaning it should be quite playable and sound decent. Here's an introduction to setup:

    As far as your reason for starting on the uke, at least you didn't opt for the coconuts:
    Current Stable:
    -Ohana TKS-15E - Eb cuatro
    -Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    -Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    -KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    -Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    -Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    -Imua iET-Bb, M600
    -Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    -Rogue bari
    -Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Once upon a time:
    -RISA Concert Stick
    -Bruko sop. custom #6
    -Lanikai lam hog bari
    -Kala SLNG
    -Bruko bari
    -Gold Tone BUT

    Jim's Blog

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