Kala Ukulele Review – A Solid Brand!

Kala is the leading company for manufacturing ukuleles in the world. They have an array of unique models to choose from, with popular artists using their ukuleles such as Vance Joy, and Twenty One Pilots.

Each ukulele is carefully handcrafted in their Petaluma store in California, where precise attention to detail is performed in order to provide their customers with the highest quality instrument.

What Is A Ukulele And Where Did It Come From?

A ukulele is a four-stringed instrument, that resembles a small-sized guitar and is made from wood. It creates a cheerful, vibrant sound, that is often heard in genres of music such as country, pop, jazz, and rock.

It has now become the instrument of Hawaii, but its origins are actually based in Portugal. Back in late 1800, Portuguese immigrants from Madeira decided to immigrate to the Hawaiian archipelago, the Sandwich Islands, to find a better life and well-paid jobs.

With them, they took the instruments that influenced the ukulele, such as the machete, a small stringed instrument, resembling a tiny guitar with four strings.

The Portuguese immigrants were lovely guitar players, constantly impressing the Hawaiians with their lively folk music. They began working in wood shops, where musical instruments were sold.

In under two decades, the ukulele was born, adapting several Portuguese stringed instruments to create the popular instrument we know today.

Types Of Ukuleles

Good-quality ukuleles are usually made from mahogany or acacia koa, and cheaper models are made using laminate woods, plastic, or plywood.

Their prices can range from $20 to over $1000, this will depend on the quality of the instrument.

There are typically four types of the ukulele. These include:

  • The baritone ukulele, they have 18 to 21 frets.
  • The tenor ukulele, slightly smaller, with 17 to 19 frets.
  • The ukulele concert, this option, has 15 to 18 frets.
  • The soprano ukulele, this one is the smallest, with 12 to 15 frets.

These ukuleles are all different sizes, and rather than each size being suited to a specific size of a player, their sizes are related to the different tones they produce.

Who Is Kala?

Kala is a family-owned ukulele brand and is thought of as the most popular one in the world.

Kala Satin Mahogany Concert Ukulele with White Binding (KA-C),Brown

Their journey began in the 1990s, when the California-born musician, Mike Upton, fell in love with the ukulele whilst working in Hawaii.

However, he found a gap in the market for high-quality and reasonably priced ukuleles, finding only high-cost made ukuleles, or poorly built, cheap ones.

Upon his return to California, he started up Kala, in order to design and build this loved instrument to make it more accessible to everyone.

In 2005, the first Kala team of designers and technicians were brought together, and they worked out of a converted chicken hatchery.

From this point on, Kala was able to expand and mark its place in the industry as a popular manufacturer of ukuleles.

As they emerged and grew more and more in popularity, Kala was able to offer a variety of sized ukuleles, as well as being made with a variety of different woods, such as exotic mahogany, flame maple, striped ebony, and pacific walnut.

As their reputation soured, in 2009, they were the company to create the first ukulele bass, U-BASS.

They discovered that a bass version of the ukulele could be made to create huge tonal abilities by incorporating thick, lightweight rubber strings, on a baritone ukulele body.

In 2010, the company began offering its first artist signature series, including artists such as Bakithi Kumalo, and Nik West.

Kala has only moved up in the world of ukuleles, making them the top company for manufacturing these beauties.

The company has a vast amount of international support and still holds its original values which are affordable prices, good quality, and inspired instrument design.

Kala Satin Mahogany Concert Ukulele with White Binding (KA-C),Brown
  • Kala Concert Mahogany Ukulele in a rich, satin finish with bright, contrasting cream binding. As the industry leader, our focus is to provide you with a high-quality, great sounding ukulele at an affordable price.
  • These are gorgeous instruments that sound and play much more like an expensive, one-off, boutique-grade ukulele and have a warm, full-bodied, balanced tone.
  • Comes with Graphtec NuBone nut and saddle, Silver Nickel Frets, Chrome Die-Cast Tuners, & Aquila Super Nylgut strings from Italy
  • Kala ukuleles are played by some of the most renowned players around the world including: twenty one pilots, Vance Joy, dodie, EatMyUke, The Ukulele Teacher, and Zac Brown.
  • CONCERT UKULELE – This would be considered a mid-sized ukulele with a bit longer scale and more frets than a soprano, which also makes it louder – tuned G C E A.

Choosing The Right Kala Ukulele For You

As this article has covered, Kala has a wide variety of ukuleles available. However, choosing one can be daunting as there are so many to choose from.

However, do not fear, as Kala’s wonderful website offers guidance on the different sizes of ukulele’s and how each one may be suited to different people.

The first we will cover is the soprano. This is the most common size and makes the typical, widely-known sound of a ukulele. It is the smallest size, with the smallest scale, as they have 12 to 15 frets.

This makes it a great option for kids or beginners, and players with smaller hands.

Despite this, it is still a ukulele that can be used by players of all levels and ages. It has a softer, brighter tone than other models, but less projection due to its size.

One step up from the soprano is the concert ukulele. This option is a little heavier than the soprano, with a wider neck and is around an inch longer.

Players of any level can use this ukulele, but it may be more comfortable for those with slightly bigger hands.

Due to its larger size, it has a warmer tone and fuller sound than the soprano, giving it more projection and a louder volume.

The next level up is the tenor ukulele. Again, this neck is wider than the soprano and concert and is also heavier.

This option is good for players who enjoy fingerpicking, as there is more space between the frets. It is a good option for players at any level but may be enjoyed more by someone who has larger hands due to the wider neck.

This option projects more than the concert ukulele due to its size of it and has a fuller sound.

The baritone ukulele, as you may have guessed, is a level up from the tenor. It is the ukulele with the longest scale and has the widest spacing between the frets.

Its size makes it a great option for those with a high experience level, and also for those with larger hands.

The baritone is the ukulele that resembles an acoustic guitar the most, as it has the fullest sound and the most low end.

If you are someone who is transitioning from being a guitar player, then this would be a good option for you, due to the similarities between the two instruments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Easier To Play The Ukulele Than It Is To Play The Guitar?

Playing the ukulele can be easier than playing the guitar. This is because a ukulele has only four strings, compared to the six strings on a guitar.

The strings on a ukulele also tend to be softer on the tips of your fingers and do not cause any pain, like you might experience from excessive guitar playing as a beginner.

Due to only having four strings, it means chord shapes and scales are easier to learn.

Is Kala The Best Ukulele Brand?

Kala is known as one of the best ukulele brands out there. They prioritize providing their customers with good-quality instruments while also making them affordable.

Their highest quality ukulele is still completely affordable, which is what makes them the leading ukulele manufacturer.

Is A Concert Or Soprano Ukulele Better For Beginners?

Both of these ukuleles would be good for beginners, but a soprano is smaller so may suit those with smaller hands and fingers best, such as children.

The concert ukulele is slightly heavier than the soprano, but is suitable for beginners who maybe have a bigger frame and larger hands.

What Does The Word ‘Ukulele’ Mean?

‘Ukulele’ means ‘jumping flea’ in Hawaiian. It is said to have been given this name because of how quickly the strings of this instrument can be played.

It is also linked to the lively and cheerful sounds that can be produced by playing this instrument.

Can You Teach Yourself To Play The Ukulele?

Whether you want to teach yourself to play this instrument is down to personal preference, but it most certainly can be done.

There are several tutorials on YouTube on learning how to play, as well as many websites on how to get started.

Others prefer to attend physical ukulele lessons, but that will depend on the individual, the time they have, and what they prefer.

Teaching yourself is also less costly, as you won’t have to pay someone to teach you.

What Is The Hardest Chord On The Ukulele?

The E major chord is known for being the hardest chord to play on the ukulele. This is because the hand needs to be placed in an awkward position to reach the chord.

However, the more you practice, the easier it will become.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, the ukulele is a lovely little instrument to learn to play. It produces a lively, vibrant sound that will brighten anyone’s day.

Kala is a reputable company, that has earned its reputation as the best ukulele manufacturing company in the world.

The company began, fueled by their passion for the instrument and providing musicians with affordable and high-quality products.

Despite their success, this is still at the forefront of their company, so this article highly recommends purchasing your first (or 10th!) ukulele from them.