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Thread: Tenors - Kala SMHT, KTG or Martin T1K?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    7

    Default Tenors - Kala SMHT, KTG or Martin T1K?

    Hey everyone,

    I have been playing on the Kala KA-C concert for more than 4 years and thinking of upgrading to a solid wood tenor. After some research, I have managed to zoom down to the following.

    Kala KA-SMHT
    Kala KA-KTG
    Martin T1K

    I would like the idea of having a solid koa uke but have read some negative reviews that the Kala KTG has some fretboard flaws. I have read rave reviews about the Kala SMHT and Martin.

    I am not sure about how much differences are there between Koa and Mahogany wood.

    Need some advice on whether I should just go with the SMHT or bite the bullet and go for the Martin which is double the price.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    1,319

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lexxmexx View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I have been playing on the Kala KA-C concert for more than 4 years and thinking of upgrading to a solid wood tenor. After some research, I have managed to zoom down to the following.

    Kala KA-SMHT
    Kala KA-KTG
    Martin T1K

    I would like the idea of having a solid koa uke but have read some negative reviews that the Kala KTG has some fretboard flaws. I have read rave reviews about the Kala SMHT and Martin.

    I am not sure about how much differences are there between Koa and Mahogany wood.

    Need some advice on whether I should just go with the SMHT or bite the bullet and go for the Martin which is double the price.

    Thanks in advance.
    One thing to consider is that the Martin comes with a great gig bag while the Kala does not so that may narrow the price gap enough to justify getting the better (in my opinion) Martin T1K.
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Martin S1, Soprano
    Ko'olau C1, Concert

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,274

    Default

    IMHO, koa has a brighter sound, so be sure you like that before going with koa, especially if you are used to the possibly warmer/fuller tone of mahogany.
    John

  4. #4

    Default

    I like my Martin T1k a lot. I didn't realise how good it sounded until I listened to someone else playing it. Downsides are cheap headstock logo that peels off after pressure from clamp on tuners. And a soft finish, easily marked with a fingernail so it will look roadworn after a while.

  5. #5

    Default

    I think the Kala KTG is actually laminate koa and not solid wood.
    Cordoba Tenor Bocote

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks to everyone for your valuable opinions. I think I will just go for the SMHT

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
    Posts
    11,954

    Default

    I have the electric cutaway Kala SMHT. It's currently my "jazz and blues" uke...it loves mellow strings with a low g.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Nashville, TN USA
    Posts
    91

    Default

    I have a T1-K and love it. Great sound and well built and the one I got happens to have nice looking koa too

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    st. paul, MN
    Posts
    717

    Default

    Very different price-points with those three, so feels like you are comparing oranges and apples.
    Kala SMHT is about half the price of the Martin T1K.
    That said, the T1K will knock the other two out of the park sound-wise. Be aware of a huge variety of of grain (from very straight to nicely flamed to weirdly wild) with the T1K - I would want to see before buying on that one (I'm picky that way.)
    The two Kalas are consistent in their class and not disappointing for the price!
    But the KTG is a laminate. Go for solid wood if you're willing to take care of it.
    Tracie

    Island Koa Instruments, prototype sop, Peter Howlett #153
    Kamaka white label sop (Tiki added!)
    Martin O sop, 1920's
    Martin O sop, 1960's
    Bruko Cedar/Mahogany archback
    Anuenue Khaya I sop
    Kala Elite 1MHG sop
    Lanikai SPS-S spruce top sop
    Sawchyn hog concert (semi-custom, Martin 0 copy)
    Kala KA-ASOV-C
    Kala Elite 1MHG tenor SN

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I had Kala KA-SMHT and my experience was successful, really liked it

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