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Thread: Kala Elite Series

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    18

    Default Kala Elite Series

    I've been looking at the Kala Elite Maple Super Tenor, but I really don't know anyone that has experience with Kala's elite series. Pricewise, they're similar to the K's, I'm just not sure if they're worth it. Anyone have any ideas on the Kala Elites?
    -Kamaka HF-3 tenor
    -Koaloha Koa Tenor Classic (KTM-00C)
    -Big Island KXXX-TRC w/ passive pickup
    -Pono Mango Tenor Pro Classic
    -Ovation Le Koa Tenor A/E
    -Ohana SK-21 Sopranino

    Kamaka forever.
    #gceaforlife
    #chr66is

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    151

    Default

    I own an Elite soprano, in koa, from 2017. It was my first "really nice" instrument, and I can say it is great! Well crafted, great sound. They have changed a few things since then including a new internal bracing design and wider nuts. (I think they may still have two different nut widths? That might just have been when they were transitioning from the old nut width...) The Hawaii Music Supply folks had good things to say about the new bracing when it was introduced. I don't own, but have played, a concert koa with the new bracing, and it sings beautifully.

    If there is an Elite you are interested in, I would certainly recommend them. They are well made by people who really care. They are a big step up from the factory made ones in their lower price lines. Not that I think the lower end Kala instruments are bad, just that these are on another level.
    Mainly a concert player.

    Beansprout alto (myrtle) | Martin Konter | Kala Elite Soprano
    KoAloha Silver concert | Blackbird Clara | Kamaka HF-2A | KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (acacia) | KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (spruce top)
    UkeSA Pineapple Sunday concert (acacia) | Pop's Pineapple Sunday (koa)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,863

    Default

    They don't appear to currently have a soprano in the Elite series. I have the ASOV-S, which was one of their limited edition ukuleles. It is a very nice instrument. I would certainly consider the Elite.
    - Laura

    Martin, KoAloha, Brueko, Mele, Mainland, Outdoor, Kala, Enya, Harmony, Tempo, Globe, Vega, Silvertone, Kay, Luna, Zither Heaven, First Act

  4. #4

    Default

    I'm actually hoping to buy a soprano.

    I had a good look at a tenor and it was through-and-through wonderful and without any doubt a marvelous instrument. Not only looked stupendous, but sounded even more so. It was great. Shoulda bought it, but I'm not a tenor player really.

    I like sopranos.
    ----------------------------------
    Mainland mahogany soprano
    Kala KA-SC
    Kala La Salle tenor



    the Dominican Order: to praise, to bless, to preach

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,323

    Default

    Yes,the Elites are great instruments. I've had a koa concert, which was really nice, but I wanted tenor size instead, which I hope to try one day. The vid below shows that maple super tenor model, which sounds fine, although I'd expect a maple instrument to sound brighter than koa or mahogany.

    https://vimeo.com/284323355
    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    682

    Default

    I own three Kala Elite tenors—two Doghair and one Koa—and they're wonderful instruments: quality construction, plenty of dynamic range and handsome. One thing that attracted me was the beefy neck: so comfortable for those of us used to classical guitar necks. I wrote a review of my new 2019 Doghair:

    https://fraryguitar.com/kala_elite_doghair.htm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA
    Posts
    3,419

    Default

    I think they are great values and really like their X- bracing. I have a spruce/myrtle 19" tenor and it sounds great, has good playability, has a very attractive set of myrtle, and is well-crafted, craftsmanship is excellent.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    522

    Default

    I've played a few of the Elite series and they are very nice instruments (love the width at the nut too). My only concern would be resale, as I don't know if they hold their value as well as the "Ks". But if that isn't likely to be an issue, I would say go for it.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for all the feedback! I'm gonna consider the Kala and maybe look out for a used Kanilea Super Tenor if I decide for koa.
    -Kamaka HF-3 tenor
    -Koaloha Koa Tenor Classic (KTM-00C)
    -Big Island KXXX-TRC w/ passive pickup
    -Pono Mango Tenor Pro Classic
    -Ovation Le Koa Tenor A/E
    -Ohana SK-21 Sopranino

    Kamaka forever.
    #gceaforlife
    #chr66is

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,323

    Default

    The Elite tenors still seem to be priced lower than K-brands, and if you go with a used model, you can often find used mahogany or koa models for under $600.00. There's a nice doghair on Reverb for $535.00 now. Pretty hard to find a K-tenor for that.
    John

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