Monday, July 18, 2011
Ukulele gift - a Kala KA-S
reviews on Amazon as a starter ukulele.
I already have a few of these babies lying around. I really don't want to sell it, because it was a gift. So, I may just have to give it away.
I may just have to create a give-away contest. Any ideas?!
Kala KA-S Review
The Kala KA-S Ukulele is a decent starter ukulele for the young and young at heart, especially if you want to learn how to play an ukukele without breaking the piggy bank. This is a standard (soprano) size ukulele (KA-S) with little frills, and comes in larger sizes like the concert (KA-C), tenor (KA-T), and baritone (KA-B).
However, the KA series do not have the toy ukulele look or sound, and the binding around the body adds a bit of class to its appearance. The more recent versions have geared tuners, rather than friction pegs. This makes tuning the ukulele a tad easier, and is especially good for the beginner. There is also a version without the binding, but I think the binding adds a touch of extra flair to the uke.
Though the name implies it is made of mahogany, it is actually made of laminate nato, which is referred to as "eastern mahogany" and is often used in inexpensive guitars and ukuleles. However, don't let the make fool you... this baby sounds impressive. I still play with a KA-S every now and then, and I use it as my beater uke. The ukulele is not solid wood, and therefore does not have the solid wood sound. However, it is still an impressive little instrument.
I generally do not like to purchase music instruments online, but I would make an exception with these. I've had good experience with a few places, like Amazon and a few eBay stores.
Kala production models tend to already have decent action (not too high or low), though some might complain the action is a bit high. It is easy enough to sand the saddle down to your preference. The nut is glued, but can come off with a bit of effort. Make sure you get the ones with Nylgut strings (Aquilla) and not the GHS, because it will make the ukulele sound so much better. If it comes with other strings, you can always change the strings (it's quite easy). Also, keep in mind that the strings are usually nylon, and are prone to stretching, so don't be surprised if it seems that it is off tune by a half step (or a whole step even) a few hours after tuning. Give it a week or two of having to retune every day (or in between every song, if you play a lot). After the strings are stretched out, it will generally stay in tune.
Comparing qualities and build, it is comparable to the Lanikai LU-21.
Overall, I would highly recommend this ukulele for the beginner, and for a spare ukulele.