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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
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    L.A. California
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    641

    Default

    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
    Location
    CH
    Posts
    1,417

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    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
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    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

    Default

    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
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    3,429

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    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: http://www.theukulelereview.com/2011...ukulele-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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