Kala NSL-KOA-T Revelator Tenor - REVIEW

bazmaz

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In relation to the price point also, I believe I may have seen flatsawn billets being used as opposed to quartersawn wood. My understanding is this is much much much cheaper than quartersawn. I'm guessing the initial pricing is all in the CNC tech? Agree it seems a bit high though!
 
In relation to the price point also, I believe I may have seen flatsawn billets being used as opposed to quartersawn wood. My understanding is this is much much much cheaper than quartersawn. I'm guessing the initial pricing is all in the CNC tech? Agree it seems a bit high though!
When Pete made them they were similar price - which I get for a one man production.. not so much for a big brand.
 
When Pete made them they were similar price - which I get for a one man production.. not so much for a big brand.
I suspect that a can of worms would be opened if Kala priced them differently from Pete's models. Pete posted a thread here on the transition to Kala. Kala would likely pay Pete either a set price or a commission on each and that would offset some of the production savings. The recent price increases across the board (not just ukuleles) may also argue that they were able to offer it at the same price as Pete did.

It appears to me that it is an equal model at an equal price and is fair.
 
There are several cheaper options now... some with painted tops and such... less bling...

I REALLY want one but it's too rich for me... I love the other shallow body ukuleles I own and would like to add one of these in someday.

I guess I'll wait a few years and get a used one...
 
It appears to me that it is an equal model at an equal price and is fair.

I agree. The Anuenue Koa Bird is Asian-built (Java? I forget), and is over $2500. Admittedly more bling, but it's a fact of life that list prices are going up.

I also think if it would feel more worthy of the price in gloss. Yeah, I know that a lot of cheap instruments pile on gloss to cover a multitude of sins, one of which is the poor job they did with the gloss 🤣 but I don't relate to the notion that higher end ukes become single higher end of they're finished flat or semi gloss. Not me, man. At that price, it better shine.

Also, looking at a number of brands that sell both Asian and US-built models, it appears that the premium for US-built is 30-50%, and sometimes more. Admittedly the US models frequently feature higher quality materials, and more hand work vs machine work (although in the later case, not necessarily), so I think that waving past the cost of doing business here isn't quite fair.

I do appreciate that the overall score still puts it in very fine company (the same score given to them Kanile'a K1 Baz bought for himself, in fact)...but a question for you, @bazmaz -- do you feel that the karinna models are priced right? I know that it's hard to be definitive since you haven't played one, but just wondering if it's the price for this model, or the whole Kala Revelator line that feels high to you.

Ironically, it's now some luthiers (like last week's Caravelle!) that can offer the most exceptional values. Until quite recently, I think most people assumed that the luthier build were out of reach and turned to production models instead, when there are clearly times now that the opposite is true!

Thanks again for a great review, Barry, and for always provoking thought!
 
An interesting review that is certainly creating some content on UU.

It is a shame that Baz always comes back to price, but that is what most of his reviews are about and what makes them popular. Should you pay $X for this product, and Baz has photos and sound check you can look at to help you make the decision. Its good reference data base. Also you get a side serving of opinions, and you can use them as a reference point as well.

For anyone who really wants to find out about the Revelator story, from the day it was just an idea, through hearing the first models played about a minute after they were strung up for the first time ever, and right up the when the project was sold into production, then I suggest you check out Pete Howlett's channel and find the video content. I think it does include stuff like how the neck is attached, maybe even an hour discussion of why the method was chosen, if you take the time to do some homework before offering your opinions and want to make a successful buying decision. Those who have been following Pete Howlett for a long time have already had this amazing experience, seeing it live as it happened, but the replays are probably just as exciting if you have not seen them before.
Not sure I can review without dealing with price. It is though only one of four elements to my scores
 
When the Revelator was introduced, I wasn't temped. It seemed like too much money for too little uke. After watching the review that Baz did on it, my opinion hasn't changed. To me, it seems like a nice, basic, wooden ukulele for a very price. The least expensive one seems to cost $1,500, with the top one going for $2,000. There are some exceptional ukes available in that price range. Maybe Kala's deal with Pete Howlett is responsible for part of the price, but it still seems like too much money for too little uke, in my opinion.

Yes, this is just my personal opinion, and it's okay if your opinion is different. 😊
 
I'm not here to convince you one way or the other. Baz's statements re: the CNC etc. could make it seem 🤔 And for many builders, CNC is very much a part of their construction (Tyde for instance). We all have our thoughts. Plus we do pay for intellectual property and construction experience. Hence copyright, trademarks and paying for a licensed plumber or electrician.

As previously written, I own a prototype from the Kala Demo Shop on Reverb. Below is a link to the one I now own.

Prototype

At the time I was also looking at Kala's Mangoes on the Kala Website. But decided on the fretdots and after receiving find it extremely comfortable to play and love the sound. For someone with hand, shoulder or neck issues in my opinion, it's an excellent choice. And I find it very much a keeper.
 
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EDIT: A thread merge makes my post seem out of place. I was replying to Jerryc41.

Meh. The premise of this thread (EDIT: now a post) seems out of kilter.
Mercedes Benz cars are ridiculously expensive for what they are as far as I'm concerned, yet many people buy them, so what do I know?
Or care for what other people buy for that matter.

They are pitching it as a hand made in the USA instrument for a select market.
I'm guessing that it would make a fine professional instrument.
Such is the way of things.
 
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Baz's price opinion is valuable, particularly since he reviews so many instruments and his thoughts come without any renumeration consideration. If we remove Value for money, the Revelator total score is 9.3. If it was priced at $1200, he would most likely rate value at 9.5, bringing the total score to 9.4. That said, "Scores in 9s - absolutely essential and recommended by me." 9.1-9.4 is really good! In the end, value is ultimately determined by the buyer. Keep up the awesome reviews Baz! :cool: (y)
 
Baz's price opinion is valuable, particularly since he reviews so many instruments and his thoughts come without any renumeration consideration. If we remove Value for money, the Revelator total score is 9.3. If it was priced at $1200, he would most likely rate value at 9.5, bringing the total score to 9.4. That said, "Scores in 9s - absolutely essential and recommended by me." 9.1-9.4 is really good! In the end, value is ultimately determined by the buyer. Keep up the awesome reviews Baz! :cool: (y)
That’s about the long and short of it Tommy!

This has kind of blown up a bit with comments on the video and Facebook - the score is still a very high one and I didn’t chip it ‘all that much’ on value for money. But I DO think it’s expensive as it’s a relatively simple build. Most of the body bar the top is machine made. No kerfing, not much bracing, no bindings, no rosette etc. Yet there are hand made elements like the wonderful neck joint, super fret work etc, and of course Koa is not cheap (Though it is only the top that is koa )

All things considered though I’m not sure where two grand has gone. Still, it’s a WONDERFUL ukulele
 
I came very close to buying a Revelator when Kala first advertised it because I only play thinline now with nerve damage to my neck spinal cord. Some of the listed ones looked very nice, but I was hesitant about the price. As I stalled, the nicest looking ones sold, so I decided to ask my go to builder, Bruce Wei in Vietnam what a solid spalted maple would cost. He said $875 including express shipping. I went for it, asking that he thin the top more than he usually does because the last thinline he made a few months ago did not have as much projection and sustain as I like. He said no problem. It took about 2 months and came out great.

Spalted thinline frt bk.jpg
 
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