Kala Ukulele Reviews 2020: Is Kala a Good Ukulele Brand?

Kala Ukulele Reviews

Is  Kala a good ukulele brand? Absolutely! They have clearly established their instruments among professionals and beginners. Kala ukuleles are made in California in all sizes; soprano, concert, tenor, baritone, and their own invention the U-Bass. For those who have never seen one, the U-Bass is the closest approximation of a ukulele bass! A bit of a novelty item, but worth the fun to the right ukulele enthusiast. Unique ukes aside Kala is a respected brand that will generally make a ukulele player happy! Many artists and groups like The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Hirie, and Twenty One Pilots play Kala ukuleles. If you purchase a Kala you will be joining a large group of ukulele loving fans.

Kala MK-C Ukulele BundleConcert mahogany
Tuner, strap, gig bag, Aquila     Strings, Austin Bazaar DVD
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Our Review
Kala KA-WTMLSoprano mahogany
Available in watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi designs
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Our Review
Makala Kala Shark or DolphinKauri soprano with composite sides.
Comes in many colors and with choice of dolphin or shark bridge.
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Our Review
Kala KA-SEExotic mahogany series in soprano, concert, and tenor
Rosewood fingerboard and satin finish
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Our Review

We have previous articles with Kala ukuleles for sale, both lower priced and premium models. So the Kala ukuleles below are some new examples as that brand has quite the variety! Of course Kala follows the same rules as other makers. The solid wood models are better than the laminate, the cheaper ones may have defects. The best Kala ukulele will not be the lowest cost. The customer gets what they pay for so try and always save enough to have a great instrument from the start. Just be sure that wherever you buy your Kala from, they have a great return policy and especially they should offer return shipping. That way if you get a bad uke you can simply return it for a non-defective instrument.

One quick reminder on the various sizes of ukuleles: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The soprano is the smallest and the closest to the original Hawaiian uke. The concert is slightly bigger than the soprano, and the tenor larger than the concert. The baritone is the largest and tuned lower than the other three. Most beginners and even more advanced players prefer the concert and tenor size as they have more fretboard room and a louder sound. Of course with each larger size the price will go up. After some time with your first ukulele you will be addicted and looking to buy all the sizes, including the U-Bass! Makers like Kala will also use unique designs like pineapple or watermelon, or something similar and tropical. These novelty sizes usually will come in soprano as they are cheaper to make then. 

Kala MK-C Ukulele Bundle

The Makala’s are the entry level line of the Kala ukulelebrand, but they still get a lot of praise from customers. Years ago I was so desperate for a tenor that I ignored my own advice and jumped at the most affordable one, a Makala. And there was no lesson learned as it turned out to be a fantastic ukulele. The Makala series comes in soprano, concert, tenor, baritone, 8-string, and even pineapple style. (Pineapple is the way the wood is cut; it is still usually the size of a soprano). The Makala baritone is one of the cheapest models you can find for baris. They keep it so affordable by using laminate wood.

This model here is the Makala concert, it is also made with laminated mahogany and has no special designs or artwork just a plain satin finish. All of the Makala’s are simple laminated ukuleles with no frills, they put all the focus into making low prices sound good. As a bundle it has many accessories like a strap, gig bag, tuner, Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, and online lessons. As far as Kala concert ukulele reviews go the customers really seem to love this affordable MK-C. If you don’t require the entire bundle than stick with the plain ukulele. 

User Reviews

“It took a couple weeks for the strings to stay in tune, luckily I had already read about this, so I was prepared. On some frets there are a couple of light buzzes, but nothing to drastic. I know I will have to upgrade but this Makala works fine for now.”

Scott

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“This is a great Kala ukulele starter kit! The video is short but with that and the tuner I was able to play right away. It has a fantastic sound considering the price, I was surprised! My initial idea was to decorate the uke myself, but I like how it rings compared to such a bland look.”

anonymous

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Kala KA-WTML

From the Kala Novelty Line we get soprano ukuleles in the design of various fruit. You will not usually find this model in a Kala soprano ukulele review, but for those players looking for something fun and flashy than have a look. These are laminated mahogany for the most part and of course you are spending your money on more design than sound. That being said they will have similar builds and sounds as other models priced the same. If you enjoy the design and look, then order it and you will be quite pleased. They come in three different priced fruit designs; watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi. The pineapple is much lower priced than the others as it is not as colorful and flashy.

User Reviews

“The kiwi has such a bright and crisp sound; I was pleasantly surprised given the price. I am now tempted to order another in this group, I think the watermelon will go well with it.”

Juanita

“I purposely was looking to get a pineapple style uke, after looking at many brands I decide to go with a kala ukulele as that had the best reviews, and now I see why! I love it! Don’t forget to put some better strings on it.”

Javier M.

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“As soon as I saw the watermelon design, I had to have it. It may not be for everyone; ukuleles always bring attention and this flashy and fruity soprano is even more of a magnet. But hey I don’t mind helping to spread some smiles.”

Guillermo Adams

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Makala Kala Shark or Dolphin

As we said above the Makala’s are the cheaper models of the Kala ukulele brand, and this particular model is getting very close to the “too cheap” amount. At this price there is a chance for more and potentially worse defects. The top is made with kauri wood, an evergreen New Zealand tree, while the sides are made of composite. (Very different materials from other Kala ukes). This soprano uke also comes in a variety of colors with its main selling point being the bridge, which comes in wood shaped like sharks or dolphins. That is literally the way Makala makes its low end models stick out amongst the competition, with a simple shark or dolphin bridge design.

These are not instruments that you will find on the best Kala soprano ukulele reviews, after all they are quickly made and with lower quality products. However they are good gifts for children and perhaps a classroom situation. Or if you may need a cheap beach ukulele these will be more than suitable. They are currently offered in the colors of black, light green, and light blue. However they are often available in many more colors of the rainbow. If you are buying for a classroom of children, then buy them in multiple colors and it will have quite the effect.

User Reviews

“After ordering a shark Makala I read to put new strings on it. I used Aquila strings and it sounds so much better now! It’s the little things that make a difference! Change your strings immediately. Otherwise it has its issues like all low cost items, but still worth recommending.”

Sheena

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“When I received my blue dolphin, I noticed right away it was very light and toy like. It was difficult to keep it in tune at first. After playing for a few days. It’s really not a bad instrument, the sound for the money is totally worth it. When I upgrade to a better quality ukulele I will gladly gift this to someone else knowing they will love this just like I did”

Daniel L.

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Kala KA-SE

Some of the best Kala ukuleles for sale are from the exotic mahogany line that come in soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone size. The nut and saddle of this series are made of GraphTech/NuBone and it also has a black binding. Aside from the grain design of the exotic mahogany there is no fancy artwork on this Kala ukulele. It does however come in blue and the regular wood color. This series of ukuleles has no special accessories as you are spending every dime on build and sound quality. If the other Kala ukulele reviews in this article are too flashy, nothing but novelty, or perhaps cheap looking? Well then try this series it is perfect for the serious player

For some players the exotic wood grain is appealing, for others it is distracting. If you find it unattractive than you may want to look for another uke in the similar price range. One last important feature of this series is they can all be turned into acoustic-electric ukuleles. Regardless of the size bought you can request it to come with a pickup. If you are a first time player this is a great budget uke to start with, not crazy cheap but not overly expensive.

User Reviews

“These exotic mahogany Kala ukuleles are great for both beginners and intermediate players. I needed to upgrade and found out it doesn’t cost that much more when you buy from Kala. Even the larger sizes like tenors and baritones are great prices. I was going to try another brand, but I decided to stick with what I know and love and get another Kala.”

Lila Mohn

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“I bought the exotic mahogany concert as a second ukulele for my vacation home and ended up swapping it out with my home uke! It just simply sounds better and it feels like this instrument will last me for years. It isn’t necessary to buy all the accessories and extras, just a wonderfully built ukulele.”

Donald

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As mentioned, we have other articles with Kala ukulele reviews, as they belong in almost every top ten list. Whether you find the best Kala ukulele here or in another article, any model you pick has great potential. The other brands comparable to Kala are Lanikai, Cordoba, Oscar Schmidt, Luna, and many more. With all these brands you have about the same chances of getting a bad uke. They are all mass produced in factories and have very little product inspection. If you happen to get unlucky and find a bad one, no problem just send it back. The big and reputable companies like Kala will always immediately take care of your problem. In many cases it is not even worth a bad review, as long as they make it right.

Above we have quite the mix of let’s get down to business ukuleles and novelty items. If none of the ukuleles above catch your eye than perhaps the Kala ukulele brand is not your style. If not, no problem we can look in to some other well-known uke companies, eventually you will spot one you like! Remember as you shop to watch video samples of how different ukes sound and read plenty of reviews. Ukuleles are very simple instruments but can be a little frustrating to shop for. There are just simply so many makers and websites that it can be daunting. No worries though as your first decision should be any basic budget uke from Kala or any similar company. Now as you progress and buy new and better instruments, that is when you need to put more effort into the decision. In the meantime if you are a beginner than simply get playing as soon as possible! 🙂

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Shawn Lockhart

Multi-instrumentalist musician, composer & audio engineer. I'm playing most music instruments and I create music of different genres. More then 10 yr of experience in music production. My primary instrument is guitar, but I also play the piano, ukelele, drums and various percussion instruments. I am the Music Man. 🤟

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