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Thread: Kala Ukulele's - do they need a lot of setup out of the box?

  1. #1
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    Default Kala Ukulele's - do they need a lot of setup out of the box?

    Hey Gang


    Im looking at taking the plunge on a Kala but have always bought from a dealer and had them do setup. So do Kala's typically need a lot of setup or do they come from Kala pretty well setup? Thanks for any insight!

  2. #2
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    Varies

    I've seen some that do, some that don't. On the whole though they are better than average in my experience. Kala have a pretty good QC system in place. But still, things can slip through.
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  3. #3
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    I've seen Mim (from Mim's Ukes) mention on this very forum that Kala ukes generally require more setup than Ohana, for instance, which surprised me. Both are better than average I'm sure but personally I would always prefer to buy any Chinese-made uke from a dealer.

  4. #4
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    From what I've seen, Kalas always have very good intonation, but action is always a little high at the nut. They are playable out of the box, but would be more comfortable with a little adjustment.

  5. #5
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    I bought three Kala Elitesótwo direct from Kala and one from HMSóduring the past year and all needed action adjustments. The nut was okay but all were set 3.25 to 3.5mm at the 12th fret. I prefer 2.75 to 3mm and set up them myself once they were up to pitch a few weeks (wood settles in). Action settings are very personal and builders tend to set a little on the high side to accommodate more customers. I'd much rather receive a new instrument set high and adjust down over one set too low and have to cut a new saddle. I have a friend whom likes 2.5mm and lower and his instruments have to be played too carefully and buzz on fortissimo. I realize it's subject to my memory, but I felt his instruments lost considerable volume after the action were set to 2.5mm or lower.

  6. #6
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    Any "production" ukulele will likely benefit from a setup. In some, it may be a very close inspection to make sure QC did its job. So it seems as if the OP is asking what are the odds a Kala would come with a good setup if I ordered from a place (maybe direct from Kala) that did not do setup. I would rather ask why not order from one of the highly recommended reputable dealers that do setup at no additional charge? These might include The Ukulele Site (aka HMS), Mim's Ukes (have to order now on a Friday morning, lol), The Ukulele Republic, and perhaps others. You can converse with them to customize the setup (like the action at the 12th fret, high or low G or different strings, etc.).Going this route, the odds are likely greater than 95% that you will be happy and have a wonderful setup on your new cherished ukulele.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gochugogi View Post
    I bought three Kala Elites—two direct from Kala and one from HMS—during the past year and all needed action adjustments. The nut was okay but all were set 3.25 to 3.5mm at the 12th fret. I prefer 2.75 to 3mm and set up them myself once they were up to pitch a few weeks (wood settles in). Action settings are very personal and builders tend to set a little on the high side to accommodate more customers. I'd much rather receive a new instrument set high and adjust down over one set too low and have to cut a new saddle. I have a friend whom likes 2.5mm and lower and his instruments have to be played too carefully and buzz on fortissimo. I realize it's subject to my memory, but I felt his instruments lost considerable volume after the action were set to 2.5mm or lower.
    This is sound advice. Also keep in mind that a new uke particularly one of solid wood will change over time so typically a setup occurs when the uke is one or two years old and it has stabilized. Only get a new uke setup if its really difficult or impossible to play.

  8. #8
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    That's certainly true for many ukuleles and guitars as well. I had to do a second adjustment on my Kremona Mari and Coco a year out, but they have small broomstick like necks. Two of my Romero Creations had to be readjusted within a year as well. So far the Kala Elites haven't moved one iota after 7 or so months but they have a thicker neck (my preference) and thrust rod and might fare better than their broomstick brethren.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    ... ...personally I would always prefer to buy any Chinese-made uke from a dealer.
    I agree but I also put a surgical mask over the ukulele's sound hole and stay at least 6 feet away when I play it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Honestly comes down to funding.... I found a 20% off code for kala and the dealers aren't offering those or maybe I don't know about it. Im torn between the Solid Acacia Tenor and the Ziricote Tenor from Kala

    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow21 View Post
    Any "production" ukulele will likely benefit from a setup. In some, it may be a very close inspection to make sure QC did its job. So it seems as if the OP is asking what are the odds a Kala would come with a good setup if I ordered from a place (maybe direct from Kala) that did not do setup. I would rather ask why not order from one of the highly recommended reputable dealers that do setup at no additional charge? These might include The Ukulele Site (aka HMS), Mim's Ukes (have to order now on a Friday morning, lol), The Ukulele Republic, and perhaps others. You can converse with them to customize the setup (like the action at the 12th fret, high or low G or different strings, etc.).Going this route, the odds are likely greater than 95% that you will be happy and have a wonderful setup on your new cherished ukulele.

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