Kala 1KOA-S Elite Soprano Ukulele – Natural
Here’s the thing about the 1KOA Elite series from Kala – personally, this satin finish soprano model is the most inexpensive of the range, but also quite definitely my favourite! The USA made 1KOA-S is in effect, the entry level of Elite range that Kala have been developing for some time. But ‘entry level’ is misleading when you’re taking about a level that is very high indeed. And this little thing is simply gorgeous to listen to. If scientists could develop the ‘essence of soprano ukuleles’, then this would be the uke they’d produce at the end. It sounds gorgeous and sounds traditional, in the best sense of the word.
This Kala Elite soprano has it all, a bright edge to a balanced background, with a really soft, rolling finish. It has springs to life in your hands with shimmering highs and gentle, washing lows. Played softly, and it sings beautifully. Played hard and it playfully responds with volume, sustain and sparkle. This description of the sound is verging on a wine connoisseur talking about ‘blackberry notes and tobacco on the finish’, I realise that. But I genuinely think this Elite soprano from Kala sounds lovely, so I wanted to make the effort!
The body of the Kala 1KOA-S Elite is made from all solid Hawaiian koa. While the 1KOA series is supposed to use less visually striking tonewood than the 2 and 3KOA models do, there’s still plenty of curl and variation to see in the wood they’ve selected. A satin finish and lack of binding show of this wood well, as there’s nothing to distract from it. The Kala logo in the headstock is very prettily inlaid in mother of pearl, but on the looks front – that’s all. It is plain. But when you play it, it is plain brilliant!
At a shade over 34mm, the graphtech nut is the same as most of Kala’s Chinese tenor models. This is a ukulele with plenty of room to manoeuvre on the fingerboard. It feels like a concert or even tenor neck, just with a soprano scale. If you think you can’t play soprano because you’re hands are too big or clumsy, then you may well find yourself mistaken with the Kala Elite. A very comfortable playing experience indeed.
This isn’t a mass produced import of a ukulele. It is has been lovingly crafted and put together in the American workshop of a company that are genuinely passionate about ukuleles. It doesn’t cost as little as a mass produced uke either, true enough, but you can’t recapture that tone on one either – the perfect balance of softness and shimmer.
We can even fit a Mi-Si to this soprano, giving you the option of an electro soprano with a fine quality Acoustic Trio preamp and undersaddle pickup. For some reason, good quality soprano electro ukuleles aren’t that common – so give us an extra week to fit it, and we’ll make one for you to order!
The Kala Elite 1KOA-S soprano ukulele includes a black, wood-shell, good quality hard case. Just as well as you’d want to keep this sumptuous soprano uke nice and safe!