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Thread: Whats goin on with kala "elite"

  1. #11
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    Feb 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wukulele View Post
    Kanilea has the nut width you want. With budget constraint, may have to give on other factors, unless you get lucky on something used via Reverb, eBay, etc.

    Kanilea Oha line is Koa solid top, mahogany solid body, made in Hawaii. Concert Oha s in late 2019 was $700 USD. Like many things prices, have have likely gone up. Supply has been impacted as demand on ukes (among many things) increased during the pandemic.

    But necks are more than just nut width... there's neck shape/depth too.

    Kala non-elite has a high send-back rate from dealers who set-up & sell them, due to QC at the factory level. The ones sent back to Kala likely still get sold thru ??? sellers who don't set-up, perhaps.
    Ive never seen guitar/ukulele built of koa top + maho b&S, so i dont want to risk even if its kanilea.

    /

    Thanks all for answers. One more uestion: kala elite koa owners, please tell me if this ukulele is loud.
    Last edited by Final_form; 06-10-2021 at 04:02 AM.

  2. #12

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    I've got an early elite concert koa with fan bracing. Loud is not the way that I'd describe it, especially compared to my Blackbird Clara, which is a cannon. The Koa Elite has a sweet voice, very articulate, expressive. Mine has opened up nicely with daily play. I use it for fingerstyle and strumming. It's certainly not a muffled instrument. It will hold its own in a group, but doesn't overpower anyone. I guess I'd say it plays nicely with others.

    The newer Elites with the X bracing will be louder.

    Bluesy.

  3. #13
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    So what's the rationale (logical reasoning) behind the bias against Koa top/Mahogany sides?

    That YOU've never seen it likely speaks more for how (not) much you've personally seen/played LOL...

    Just walked into a well respected (nationally, internationally) bricks & mortar shop. One of the most reliable models of instruments under $1K is (insert desirable top tonewood) + mahogany sides/back. Made by a company way older than Kanilea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Final_form View Post
    Ive never seen guitar/ukulele built of koa top + maho b&S, so i dont want to risk even if its kanilea.

    /

    Thanks all for answers. One more uestion: kala elite koa owners, please tell me if this ukulele is loud.
    keeping an eye out for a very special pre-owned concert....

  4. #14
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    I'd have to hear a mahogany side koa top to decide if I liked the sound. I'm kind of surprised that you would put another hard wood on the top. How does that affect the hog body sound? Does it warm it up a touch? Make it a tiny bit brighter?

    I think I'd be more interested in a spruce or cedar top to accomplish that and increase the projection.

    I'm certainly open to a koa top on a hog body. It would need to prove its worth to me.
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  5. #15
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    Jan 2021
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    I just purchased a Romero Creations Grand tenor in mango. I can attest that the back braces cause the ukulele to become thin sounding and muted when any part of your body touches the back! It sounds great if you can hold it away from your body but that’s not comfortable. I think I also will be returning it for a Kala Elite Tenor in Koa, since they don’t make it in mango. Really disappointed. Also I just got an email from Mike Upton last week, super appreciative of the business and they are slowly bringing things back up to speed. The had of batch of 4 for new Koa 3 tenors they sold in less than a week! Also in reference to the one forum member: I think Kala was trying to do direct buying like Kanile’a did with their brand. I know it made some stores unhappy, but all I can say is that Kala has great customer service and the CEO gets right back to you when you email him!

    Maybe this Pearse ebony armrest on the back on the ukulele could solve the belly muting problem?

    https://store.banjobenclark.com/prod...coustic-guitar
    Last edited by Towser; 06-23-2021 at 01:37 PM.

  6. #16
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    Honolulu, HI
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    Are you in Honolulu? Easy Street Music had a couple last time I was in, and the Ukulele Store on Lewers had one too.

    They’re definitely fewer and farther between than they seemed to be not too long ago though!
    -Ben

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  7. #17
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    Jul 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesy View Post
    The newer Elites with the X bracing will be louder.

    Bluesy.
    Not sure if that makes sense. X-bracing was invented to enable flat top guitars to be strung with steel strings and not collapse. I assume this is not used on classical guitars because it would just kill the sound of synthetic strings. Someone in the Kala marketing department must have smoked a bit too much of the strong stuff.

  8. #18
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    @Bill1 those are good points. The typical uke store is set up that one wall has the cheap mass produced ukes like Kala and Ohana, and another wall has the high end usually Hawaiian ukes. I have seen an Elite mixed in with the good ukes in a store about two years ago and compared it. And yeah it fit in with the Hawaiian ukes but was also priced the same. And for that I would rather take home the Hawaiian made uke.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Final_form View Post
    Ive never seen guitar/ukulele built of koa top + maho b&S, so i dont want to risk even if its kanilea.

    /

    Thanks all for answers. One more uestion: kala elite koa owners, please tell me if this ukulele is loud.
    My Koa Elite Custom (tweaked Koa1) has a beautiful voice, leaning to the mellow and dark side. Good volume but tends to blend in an ensemble due to the darker timbre. I use it a lot on multi-track recording for backing tracks. Love the harp-like tone I can squeeze out of it. On the other hand, my Doghair Elite (mahogany) is a screamer: loud, percussive and on the bright side. Not great for backing tracks—too aggressive sounding and doesn't blend. But if I want a single line improvisation to pop in an ensemble or track, I reach for the Doghair.

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