Best Kala Ukuleles 2020 – Buying Guide

In the ukulele world, you can’t mention ukuleles without mentioning Kala. And that reputation wasn’t just granted; it was earned. While Kala Brand Music Co. only introduced itself to the market in 2005, it has been steadily producing top-notch quality ukuleles ever since, catering to almost all ukulele players and, accordingly, attracting many fans.

Because Kala’s instruments are tremendously diverse, there’s always something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a beginner ukulele or a pro one to rock on stage, you’ll find it. While that high quality Kala is keen on producing is truly inspiring, it makes it harder to choose the best ukulele.

Over the years, I’ve tried several different ukulele models, and I decided to share with you a list of my favorite ones. Continue reading to explore the list of the best Kala ukulele reviews! 

At a Glance:

  1. Kala KA-ATP-CTG Acadia Cedar – Best Overall
  2. Kala KA-C – Best for Beginners 
  3. Kala KA-15S – Best Soprano Ukulele
  4. Kala MK S Makala Soprano Ukulele Bundle – Budget-Pick
  5. Kala KA-KTG Tenor Hawaiian Ukulele – Best Koa Tenor Ukulele
  6. Kala Exotic Mahogany U-Bass Ukulele – Best Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

The 6 Best Kala Ukuleles in 2020

I consider myself among the lucky ones to have gotten the chance to play several of Kala’s ukuleles at one point. Playing these ukuleles is a breeze, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your pick, regardless of which one you choose. Without further ado, let’s get into the best Kala ukuleles reviews.

1. Kala KA-ATP-CTG Acadia Cedar – Best Overall

Kala KA-ATP-CTG Acadia Cedar Ukulele

Have you ever seen a ukulele that’s made out of not just one, but several tonewoods? If you haven’t, you’re about to. The Kala KA-ATP-CTG Acacia Cedar is a uniquely-constructed tenor size ukulele that’s made from a solid cedar top, solid acacia sides, Padauk rosette and binding, and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Simply put, it’s just exquisite.

I was always fascinated by the overall structure and looks of ukuleles, but this one took my fascination to a whole new level. If you aren’t aware of solid acacia, it’s from the Hawaiian koa family and enjoys distinguished decorative stripes that transform the entire design of a ukulele.  

It’s not just about looks, though. The Kala Acacia Cedar ukulele boasts magnificent sound with adequate volume amplifying rich, colorful, and warm tones, thanks to the solid cedar top. It’s even flawless when it comes to intonation, whether up or down the neck. The sustain is just how I like it: well-balanced. 

I also loved that carrying this ukulele isn’t a hassle by any means. While a natural wood ukulele can be relatively heavy, this isn’t the case here. The instrument is very lightweight and non-warping, but without affecting its durability. 

Since it encompasses a rosewood fingerboard and bridge complemented by a mahogany neck, durability is the name of the game with this one.

If I were to mention a downside about this uke, it would be the strings’ quality. Yet, they’re easy to replace anyway.

Pros:

  • Superb sustain
  • Rich tones
  • Extraordinary design
  • Padauk rosette and binding
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Unique solid acacia incorporation
  • High-quality tuners
  • Solid construction

Cons:

  • Subpar strings

Final Verdict

Fusing cedar, acacia wood, and rosewood, the Kala Acacia Cedar tenor ukulele sets the bar high when it comes to construction. Accompanied by top-notch tuners, the resulting sound from this ukulele is out of this world!

2. Kala KA-C – Best for Beginners

Kala KA-C Ukulele

While beginners don’t usually start off with a concert size ukulele, the Kala KA-C Satin Mahogany concert ukulele is surprisingly an ideal one for those starting out! I feel like Kala, as a brand, promotes ukulele playing by offering such a concert ukulele that presents high-quality,  affordability, and easy playability in one neat package.  

Design-wise, this ukulele showcases pure elegance. Featuring a mahogany body with simple white binding touches, classic sophistication is what this ukulele is all about. I also admire the walnut fingerboard and the classic satin finish that delivers a matte exterior.

Since a concert ukulele is neither too big nor too small, it suits all beginners alike. So, if you’re aware that your hands are on the larger side, you’ll love the comfort you’ll get with the KA-C Satin Mahogany concert ukulele. Whether you want to form chords or simply pluck the strings, you won’t face any inconveniences or barriers.

Additionally, the ukulele includes chrome die-cast tuners, which make tuning it much more simplified for beginners. That’s in addition to the leading Aquila Super Nylgut strings that won’t fail you or keep going out of tune, supported by the synthetic GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle. 

When all these factors come into play, this Kala KA ukulele presents among the fullest sounds ever brought to my ear. Once you hear it, you won’t go back!

To further support beginners, the finger positions are marked on the fingerboard and its sides, so if you’re just starting out, you have nothing to worry about. Plus, you get a gig bag to keep your uke safe!

Pros:

  • Geared towards beginners
  • Marked finger positions
  • Chrome tuners
  • Top-notch Aquila Super Nylgut strings
  • Mahogany construction for a classy design
  • Full sound production
  • Comes with gig bag, polishing cloth, and instructional DVD

Cons:

  • Uneven fret edges

Final Verdict

If you’re a beginner looking for a ukulele to boost your playing skills and deliver exceptional sound, you won’t find better than the Kala KA-C Satin Mahogany concert ukulele. High-quality Aquila Super Nylgut strings, geared, chrome die-cast tuners, and synthetic GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle all have your back to take you by the hand!

3. Kala KA-15S – Best Soprano Ukulele

Kala KA-15S Ukulele

The Kala KA-15S is among the best Kala ukuleles you can find, working its way among Kala’s best-sellers. Being a soprano ukulele of superior quality, the Kala KA-15S should be your pick if you’re somewhere between beginner and advanced.

Just by a single glimpse at this ukulele, you’ll understand what I meant by superior quality. The ukulele’s body and neck are made of mahogany with a satin finish. Translating this into sound quality, the Kala KA-15 uniquely reflects its high-quality design through its profoundly rich and deep sounds.

Since this is a ukulele targeting both advanced and intermediate ukulele players, you’ll find that the frets have marked positions to keep your learning steady. Additionally, the Kala KA-15S boasts geared tuners that won’t leave you in an endless loop of tuning.

As if that wasn’t enough, this soprano ukulele comes with the best Aquila Nylgut strings, which not only assist in producing rich, unique tones but they’re also very soft on the fingers. No matter how long you practice, you won’t end up with sore fingers.

Last but not least, this ukulele is among the few that are ready to play out of the box. In other words, just unbox it and start playing! You won’t even have to tune it. Talk about convenience!

Pros:

  • Appealing design
  • Solid construction
  • Pre-strung with Aquila Nylgut strings
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate players
  • Top-performing tuners
  • Rich sound

Cons:

  • Relatively larger than standard soprano ukuleles

Final Verdict

This Kala ukulele speaks high-quality on so many levels and takes care of the tiniest details to make sure you never stop strumming. From marked fret positions to pre-strung strings and geared tuners, this one is an absolute can’t miss if you want to learn to play the ukulele.

4. Kala MK S Makala Soprano Ukulele Bundle – Budget-Pick

Kala MK S Makala Soprano Ukulele Bundle

How about a budget-friendly Kala ukulele? If you thought it doesn’t exist, think again! The Kala MK S Makala Soprano Ukulele Bundle is part of the Makala line by Kala, a range of affordable ukuleles that don’t compromise quality.

If you’re a beginner looking to learn to play the ukulele, this size soprano ukulele will be your best companion on that journey. The Makala MK S Makala Soprano Ukulele merges solid construction, high sound projection, and easy playability all within an affordable price range.

Made of an Agathis top, neck, and sides, along with a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard, you get a highly durable ukulele that’s also comfortable to play. For final touches, the wood is covered by a satin finish that accentuates its color, diminishing any indication of a low-quality ukulele. 

While it’s made of laminated wood rather than solid wood, which definitely impacts the sound, the resulting tones are just right for an entry-level ukulele. Additionally, a rosewood bridge and geared tuners on the headstock help pave the way for brighter, clear sound. 

On the other hand, this Kala ukulele comes with four Aquila Super Nylgut strings, which aren’t the best match for this instrument. They frequently cause tuning issues, which can be quite frustrating for you as a beginner. However, the solution is an easy fix; just switch the strings.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Robust build
  • Excellent action
  • Comes with a gig bag, online lessons, instructional DVD, and polishing cloth

Cons:

  • Subpar Aquila Nylgut strings
  • Tuning issues

Final Verdict

Finding an entry-level Kala ukulele at an affordable price point while offering great sound and adequate tonal range is nowhere near simple. However, the MK S Makala Ukulele Bundle makes it seem so easy with how it strikes that balance. It’s undoubtedly the best affordable Kala ukulele on the market! 

5. Kala KA-KTG Tenor Hawaiian Ukulele – Best Koa Tenor Ukulele

Kala KA-KTG Tenor Hawaiian Ukulele

Designed with the ukulele’s Hawaiian origin in mind, the Kala KA-KTG is crafted using Hawaiian koa, taking you way back to meet the original ukuleles.

Mainly, the soundboard, in particular, is made of Hawaiian koa, resulting in the production of beautiful mid-range sounds that can very well be extended to the upper-midrange timbre identifying tenor ukuleles. And when it comes to finishing, this time around, you won’t find a satin finish. Instead, the glossy finish doubles this tenor ukulele’s beauty!

Moreover, the neck is made of mahogany, which tones down the high sounds that koa can sometimes produce. Overall, when playing this Kala KA tenor ukulele, you get a balanced, unique tone with a heritage.

To complement that relaxing sound, the playability is equally comforting. With the fingerboard made of Pau Ferro, a tonewood similar to rosewood, playing this Kala KA koa ukulele is “home-like.” It amplifies the tone produced by the koa and mahogany mix.

And to ensure your playing experience is never interrupted, this Kala tenor ukulele features GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle, known never to limit vibrations or mute strings. You can strum chords on end, and they’ll resonate with no echoes or buzzes whatsoever.

Pros:

  • Hawaiian koa body
  • Solid Pau Ferro fingerboard
  • Premium gloss finish
  • Offers a unique blend of mahogany and koa produced tones
  • GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle

Cons:

  • Relatively high string action

Final Verdict

The Kala KA-KTG is the best tenor ukulele by Kala. Incorporating Hawaiian koa, this Kala ukulele takes you on a blast to the past to give you a glimpse of the original ukulele tone.  

6. Kala Exotic Mahogany U-Bass Ukulele – Best Acoustic-Electric Ukulele

Kala Exotic Mahogany U-Bass Ukulele

It has been argued that Kala’s Exotic Mahogany U-Bass Ukulele Bass isn’t really a ukulele, I beg to differ. I think it manages to subtly produce the sound you’d expect from bass but in a ukulele that would pass as a baritone. If you’re a fan of guitars but find the instrument difficult to learn to play, the Kala U-Bass is your best bet.

To be frank, the U-Bass is tuned and played in a way similar to how a bass guitar would be played, but being nowhere near the size of a guitar makes this ukulele much easier to get acquainted with.

This ukulele features an exotic mahogany top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, walnut fingerboard, and active EQ with a built-in tuner. Exotic mahogany is a type of figured mahogany wood with a gold color stain that mimics how koa or flame maple looks. 

This unique combination produces a one-of-its-type sound that blends acoustic-electric guitar and ukulele tones. Because it’s so distinctive, I can’t even find the right words to describe it! However, it’s not exactly the warm sound that we’re used to from ukuleles.

Moreover, the U-Bass comes with Kala’s proprietary strings, which have made headlines ever since they came out. So, in essence, you’re getting the sound of bass but the portability and playability of a ukulele; can it get better?

It’s worth mentioning that this ukulele isn’t meant for bassists, though. The narrower frets can be an obstacle and make the playing experience discouraging. Yet, for ukulele players, it’ll be a breeze to play!

Pros:

  • Uniquely appealing exotic mahogany design
  • Mixing the warm tones of the ukulele with the metallic sound of acoustic-electric guitars
  • Built-in tuner
  • Portable

Cons:

  • A and E strings can be tough to handle
  • Some mid-range limitations

Final Verdict

If you’ve always wanted to try out a bass guitar, you can manage to do that while being a ukulele player thanks to Kala’s Exotic Mahogany U-Bass Ukulele Bass. In addition, you get easy playability and portability on top of the upright bass tones! Consider it an entry-level bass guitar.

Kala Ukulele FAQs:

Are Kala Ukuleles Any Good?

They’re beyond good! Kala is among the best ukulele brands that always prioritize high-quality construction while maintaining reasonable prices all across their models. Even the most affordable Kala ukulele models still maintain top-notch quality, which is why they’re a leading brand in the world of ukuleles. Actually, they’re used by pro musicians on stage!

Where Are Kala Brand Ukuleles Made?

Around 30 miles north of San Francisco—Petaluma, California, to be precise. However, some Kala ukuleles are made in China. For the most part, the professional-level ukuleles are the ones made in California; you’ll know it from the price. Contrarily, the majority of entry-level ukuleles and budget ones are produced in China.

Are Kala Ukuleles Fit for Beginners?

Absolutely! Kala has a range of models suitable for different player levels. Many of these models are primarily targeted at beginners and are smaller in build to ensure maximum comfort.

Do Kala Ukuleles Come With a Guarantee?

Yes! Models made in China come with a one-year guarantee, while models made in the USA come with a two-year warranty. However, they’re only applicable when you purchase directly at Kala’s music store or authorized Kala dealers in the USA or Canada. Kala also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Are Kala and Makala the Same Brand? 

Yes! Kala and Makala are indeed the same brand; Makala is just the name of Kala’s affordable line, mainly targeting beginner uke players.

What Size Ukulele Should I Get?

Generally speaking, a soprano ukulele is the smallest and most ideal size for beginners, producing a bright tone that’s hard not to fall in love with. 

Following that, a concert ukulele falls between a soprano and a tenor ukulele, with a slightly longer scale, making it the best for both adult players and those with larger hands, producing a fuller tone. 

The tenor ukulele is larger and best-suited for finger-picking, which is why it’s mostly used by professional uke players.

Last but not least, the baritone ukulele is the closest to a classical guitar, and hence, it’s used by guitar players to transition into the ukulele world.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, regardless of which ukulele model you choose from my list of the best Kala ukuleles, you’ll be in for a treat! I hope that you’ve settled on a pick that best fits your skill level and needs by now. If that’s not the case, let me further narrow down my options. 

The Kala KA-ATP-CTG Acacia Cedar takes the lead when it comes to the best Kala ukulele. Its tonewood blend bears testimony to how the Kala brand goes the extra mile with construction and design. Such an appealing, durable, and magnificently-sounding ukulele is genuinely unmatchable. 

Yet, if you prefer solid mahogany and you’re still a beginner, certainly go for the Kala KA-C Satin Mahogany concert ukulele. Rely on this one to take you by the hand until you master the ukulele, incorporating every element you could possibly think of to make your learning journey as seamless as possible while producing one of the fullest sounds you could hear.

And if you’re looking for a smaller ukulele or a more affordable option, the Makala MK S Soprano Ukulele Bundle is the way to go! Also targeting beginners, this ukulele provides the optimal mix between solid construction, perfect sound projection, and comfortable playability.

All in all, while I certainly don’t recommend rushing the purchasing decision, I also don’t recommend overthinking it. All Kala ukuleles are truly outstanding, and the chances of going wrong with them are very slim. Get your hands on your premium ukulele now!

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