Tenor Ukuleles
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Kala 1KOA-T Elite Tenor Ukulele – Natural


Kala’s Elite series are made at the own workshop in California, which is a testament to their passion for ukuleles. That sounds a little American sales-speak I know, but I mean it. Kala is an American firm with a huge share of the world market for intermediate level ukuleles, made in their factories in China and Indonesia. To be honest, I suspect they were doing pretty well. This exercise must be more about prestige and a desire to learn and improve than profit. I think that is to be applauded. But not while you’re playing the Kala 1KOA-T tenor ukulele, as you might drop it.

When setting up the World of Ukes online store for the first time, it involved a lot of new descriptions. Now, I like to write about ukes, I really do. But, when I got to my review of the Kala natural finish Elite tenor, I’d just past 18,000 words. A typical novel might be 60,000 words. Anyway, at this point my neighbour appeared and I relayed this fact. I then played a little on the 1KOA-T and said, ‘what more can I write about ukuleles’.

‘You need to be more concise,’ he said. Try, ‘it is brown and it sounds good’. So there you go, this ukulele is brown and it sounds good. You know, that’s a pretty good summing up! There’s a natural satin finish to the all solid Hawaiian koa body. There’s some nice variation in the koa grain and a satin finish. Aside from the mother of pearl headstock logo, it is brown. And you know what? It sounds good too!

At first I had reservations about the wound low G that is fitted. I have never found these to be the most subtle of strings, with a tendency to boom and drown out the trebles. But with this Elite series, I discovered there was enough volume in the C, E and A string to match that big low G. And, with Kala’s fluorocarbon strings fitted, enough punch and treble to match it too. I think this uke is going to sound great with a high G too, but oddly enough, I found I warmed to the low G much more than I initially thought. There’s a really good balance to the sound, which is impressive in something that’s pretty darn loud

Kala have made their Elite series tenors, whether intentionally or not, a perfect match for guitarists who want to try the ukulele. The neck and string spacing are reminiscent of an electric guitar, and even those afflicted with sausage-fingers are going to find plenty of room to move on this fretboard. Even those who are Cumberland-sausage-fingered will be fine with it! The string tension and low action make fingering really very comfortable, once you get used to the neck (if you’re someone more acquainted with thinner necks. This one is 37mm at the nut, while Kala’s entry level tenors are 34mm).

If you wish, we can get this Kala 1KOA-T fitted with a Mi-Si Acoustic Trio pickup. This fantastic bit of kit is a great match for a such a nice sounding instrument, and we can fit it for you (give us a few extra days!).

Oh, nearly forgot, there’s a quality hard case included.


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