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Thread: Question about Kala travel ukes and spruce top with the mahogany back/sides

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Bel Air, Maryland, US
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    297

    Default Question about Kala travel ukes and spruce top with the mahogany back/sides

    We've been looking at the Kala travel ukes. We've wondered about the spruce top with the mahogany back/sides. Our Makalas are made from agathis, which we've seen described as "poor man's mahogany". We've been very happy with the sound of our Makalas, so we thought that we would like a warm, mellow sounding mahogany. Our question is about the spruce top. We 've read on another thread that the top is the most important part as far as the tone is concerned, so what is the effect of having a spruce top with mahagany back and sides?
    Ron and Jeanne

    Kala tenor KK-SSTU-T and concert KK-SS-TU-C thin body travel ukes(Yogi and Booboo)
    Makala/Kala tenor MK-T 807 and concert MK-C 809 (Luke and Lele)
    Vintage (1968) Kent Harmony/Ohana Baritone (Clark) and
    Lanikai/Hohner Kohala soprano KU212 (Lois)
    Antonio Tsai electric soprano zebrawood ( Little Zee)

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Heartstrings2009

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Kaleponi
    Posts
    307

    Default

    In general, a spruce top produces a brighter instrument. I should note however that good luthiers are able to create warm tones from spruce tops; but that probably does not apply to the Kalas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Posts
    89

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    My impression from a few brief goes at the store is that the extra ring and volume of the spruce top is a good match to compensate for the reduced body depth. It's bright but punchy, a very nice sounding uke, IMO.
    Big Island mahogany Deluxe soprano
    Dixie banjo ukulele
    My other ukulele is a whistle: Chiff & Fipple

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dearborn Heights, Michigan
    Posts
    812

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    I love my travel uke. I'm not a fan of extremely bright ukes, and you'd think with the spruce top that it would be, but it's just right. It's definitely loud too, even louder that my full size flame mahogany kala tenor. Here's a video of when I first got it. Just let it load and then skip all the talking in the beginning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SlO4FLv6tc
    Last edited by RyRod; 03-31-2010 at 02:44 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Cairns, Australia
    Posts
    297

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    These ukes are so much fun to play! Great punchy ukes indeed. If you're after mellow or warm, then this is not your uke though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    608

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    It's definitely not mellow, but still a great uke. The first thing I noticed when I got mine was how loud it was, which surprised me considering how thin the body is. It definitely does have a bright tone, so if you're wanting a warm tone, then maybe the spruce top one isn't the right one for you (there's also a lacewood top and cedar top one available through MGM). I love the sound of mine, and it feels great to play, is solidly built, and very light and easy to take travelling.

    I recently took mine to Melbourne for the ukulele festival there early March and after passing it around, I know at least two people who ordered one while they were down there.

    Here's a video of mine live at an open mic for some idea of the sound:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ukv7_dwqFCk

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