If Taylor were to produce a ukulele, the USA made elite series by Kala would be it.

DJ Mango

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Saw this post on Facebook Ukulele Lovers group :

Thanks to my friends at Kala, I was able to select this Hawaiian koa concert model off the factory floor, it was never offered for sale to a dealer or to the public. The Kala USA crew was tutored at Taylor Guitars, their production equipment for the elite series was supplied by Taylor. If Taylor were to produce a ukulele, the USA made elite series by Kala would be it. This particular ukulele sounds and plays as good as it looks!

In the comments someone replied :

I own this exact model in Tenor, and it's divine! Sound on par with a 4k-5k kamaka.

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What a gorgeous instrument, WOW!
 
That’s gorgeous! Kala is really doing some nice stuff. I bought a much less expensive Contour Series and was very impressed with the fit and finish. I’m sure the Elite is amazing.
 
That’s gorgeous! Kala is really doing some nice stuff. I bought a much less expensive Contour Series and was very impressed with the fit and finish. I’m sure the Elite is amazing.
From their Elite USA Ukulele page :
Current models are available while supplies last. Stay tuned for upcoming updates to the Kala Elite USA Series.
 
This post may offend some folks, so I'll apologize in advance if it does. It's just an opinion.
I see a strong parallel between the Hyundai brand of automobiles and Kala ukuleles. When Hyundai was first introduced in the USA, it was a low budget, low priced car and they sold tons of them. Their image was that of a dependable, inexpensive mode of transportation. They were even able to up their game and compete with mid-priced Japanese brands like Toyota, Nissan and Honda. But when they decided to go upscale with the Hyundai Genesis, it didn't compete well with the other upscale brands from Toyota(Lexus), Nissan(Infiniti), Honda(Acura), much less Mercedes and BMW and the other European luxury models. So they started their own Luxury division called Genesis. People that could afford a luxury automobile just didn't want to pay $50,000 - $75,000usd for a car that had HYUNDAI plastered on it. When I first started looking for ukuleles, I looked on Facebook Marketplace(and still do) and it seemed every other $50-$100usd ukulele had Kala on it. So I immediately got the impression that they were a budget conscious brand, i.e. cheap ukulele. And from reading this forum, there are apparently lots of nice Kala's and happy ukulele customers that have propelled this brand to compete even with the middle tier brands. But if they continue on into the price ranges of the really luxurious K brands and custom luthier brands, I doubt they'll anytime soon be considered the 4th or 5th K brand. It seems a smart marketing plan would be to introduce their luxury brand with another name. Maybe just call it the Elite? Personally, if I'm going to spend $1200+ on a ukulele, there are tons of other ukuleles I'd consider first. jmho.
 
This post may offend some folks, so I'll apologize in advance if it does. It's just an opinion.
I see a strong parallel between the Hyundai brand of automobiles and Kala ukuleles.
[...]
Personally, if I'm going to spend $1200+ on a ukulele, there are tons of other ukuleles I'd consider first. jmho.
I don't think that this is wrong at all. Not that everyone will have that reaction, but many people will hear Kala (or Ohana) and see the price tag of $1000 (or $3000 Ohana, cough cough) and their brains will not easily connect the domestic custom shops to the brand name which is associated with a wider range of instruments, including more accessible entry-level imports.

My personal opinion is that companies choosing to dilute their high-end brand name with lower-quality imports or builds are probably doing more damage to their names than the lower brands going high end (the various incarnations of Koaloha Opios and Koalanas are so confusing I don't even know where to start), but all of them are foolish for not following the automobile model of separate names. Take Volkswagen AG as an example: They wouldn't release a $250K Skoda or a $20K Bentley, would they?*

*Yes, I know these brands were acquired, not expanded, it's not a perfect analogy. But the $20K Bentley is fun to imagine. Is it a bicycle? A moped? Perhaps just a very nicely framed photograph of a car?
 
Taylor having trained the Kala crew actually makes a lot of sense. This tracks with my experience with both companies.
Oh yeah, if Taylor did the Ko'olau/Pono thing with Kala and somehow got the Taylor name involved, I’d want one. Most definitely. edited to change Koaloha to Ko'alau
 
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I’m sure y'all have seen this, but if you have not, I will link it below. There is a single Taylor ukulele still up for sale, but only if money is no issue.

 
I’m sure y'all have seen this, but if you have not, I will link it below. There is a single Taylor ukulele still up for sale, but only if money is no issue.

Well that’s Terry! I’m sure he will cut a deal. He’s a pretty chill dude who does that stuff all the time. 👀
 
Well that’s Terry! I’m sure he will cut a deal. He’s a pretty chill dude who does that stuff all the time. 👀
When I bought my Ana’ole concert flag from him, he gave me a pretty good deal on trade because I guess he had sat on it for a while and it wasn’t selling so he wanted to get it out the door. He might be willing to do something similar with this instrument if somebody does want to give him an offer…
 
The uke stores are full of Kalas and I have tried many but never found one that would have tempted me to take home. They are just generic mass produced. Tried one Elite years ago that felt as nice as the Hawaiian made ukes on its side but it was the same cost. If they make small batch ukes that receive individual attention then this will come at the cost and they will find a new name to be distinctive in the upper end segment. And yeah as a guitar player I don't care for Taylor at all they can be nice but are also way over hyped and marketed.
 
I played guitar for almost 50 years when I switched to ukulele. After the first year of going through 16 under $200 ukes, I called Mim, who I had met at NAMM, and asked for an under $1000 recommendation cutaway with electronics. She said the Kala KAATP-CTG-CE solid cedar top, acacia koa laminate body for $370. She didn't take trade-ins, so I went to McCabe's Guitar Shoppe in Santa Monica. I played it side-by-with a $1200 Kamaka and Kahaloa, it held it's own very well, so I bought it.

It was my go to gigging uke for the next ten years, unitl I found normal depth ukes were getting uncomfortable to play with nerve damage to my neck spinal cord. My thinline Lanikai was fine, so I let go of my 8 standard depth and replaced them with 6 thinlines, including a Kala tenor cutaway with electronics. That too is one of my best sounding ukes.
 
This post may offend some folks, so I'll apologize in advance if it does. It's just an opinion.
I see a strong parallel between the Hyundai brand of automobiles and Kala ukuleles. When Hyundai was first introduced in the USA, it was a low budget, low priced car and they sold tons of them. Their image was that of a dependable, inexpensive mode of transportation. They were even able to up their game and compete with mid-priced Japanese brands like Toyota, Nissan and Honda. But when they decided to go upscale with the Hyundai Genesis, it didn't compete well with the other upscale brands from Toyota(Lexus), Nissan(Infiniti), Honda(Acura), much less Mercedes and BMW and the other European luxury models. So they started their own Luxury division called Genesis. People that could afford a luxury automobile just didn't want to pay $50,000 - $75,000usd for a car that had HYUNDAI plastered on it. When I first started looking for ukuleles, I looked on Facebook Marketplace(and still do) and it seemed every other $50-$100usd ukulele had Kala on it. So I immediately got the impression that they were a budget conscious brand, i.e. cheap ukulele. And from reading this forum, there are apparently lots of nice Kala's and happy ukulele customers that have propelled this brand to compete even with the middle tier brands. But if they continue on into the price ranges of the really luxurious K brands and custom luthier brands, I doubt they'll anytime soon be considered the 4th or 5th K brand. It seems a smart marketing plan would be to introduce their luxury brand with another name. Maybe just call it the Elite? Personally, if I'm going to spend $1200+ on a ukulele, there are tons of other ukuleles I'd consider first. jmho.
some folks are not as swayed by marketing and brand names, but try the actual product to test quality. kind of like how the mazda miata is more sought after now than when it was produced.
 
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