3/20/2015

2010s Kala KA-SMHCE-C Cutaway Concert Uke




Well, hey, not a bad uke at all! This one's in for consignment, soon. Apparently Kala redesigned their solid wood uke series recently and this is of the redesigned batch. I'm so very much used to seeing the lowest-end laminate Kalas and rolling my eyes at them but this is a serious contender for tone at a good price point. It has that sparkly but full modern sound, plenty of fret access, easy-to-use sealed tuners, and good volume.

After a light setup it plays spot-on, too, though the undersaddle element has some damage and thus it has that annoying low-frequency ground hum that you get when the "wrapping" of the element gets nicked. Oh well -- at least as an acoustic instrument it has a lot going for it. Aside from that it's in "as new" condition with not a mark on it and it plays better than it did when it left the factory, that's for sure.



I'm actually pretty startled at how thin Kala gets their solid tops without freaking out about hairline cracks and whatnot. I'm used to seeing that level of build (thin top = much more responsive) on much more expensive vintage instruments. It's amazing what's coming out of Asia these days.


Rosewood nut, board, and bridge.


Abalone dots go nicely with the faux-tortoise binding and satin finish on the 'hog.



I'm not a fan of classical-style bridges but I do like the offset tie-block idea.





Sealed mini guitar-style tuners are nice to have.


The faux-tortoise binding is pretty snazzy, methinks.






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