Kala 3KOA-TG Elite All Solid Hawaiian Koa Tenor Ukulele
The top of the range when it comes to Kala's US-Made all solid Hawaiian koa series, the 3KOA-TG, a gloss-finished ukulele made from the finest, most figured koa wood.
The 3KOA-TG features an ebony fingerboard and bridge, as well as smart looking ebony headstock cap. Positions on the fretboard are marked by mother of pearl, oval markers, which contrast nicely with the dark hardwood they're set into. The uke is fitted with Kala's own fluorocarbon strings, including a wound low G. The tuners are high quality Kala branded closed, geared affairs, with absolutely lovely acacia buttons. Finishing things off are GraphTech nut and saddle and top quality 'Kala Elite' branded hard case.
The uke is really well set up, with a spacious feeling 35mm nut. However, things have changed since the first stab Kala made at their Elite series and the profile of the neck is a bitter thinner, making it much more comfortable in the hand (to me at least!).
The tone is lovely and 'sparkly' in the way that koa ukes can be, just a little twinkle as you first strike the strings, which then makes way for a bold clarity and good sustain. In all honesty, I am not a wound Low G man, and find this string a touch over-dominant. For me, an unwound fluorocarbon low G would match the rest of the strings better, but each to their own.
What I like about the Elite series is that Kala don't really need to do it. They're the world's biggest ukulele brand and make plenty of money selling beginners and intermediate level ukes. The percentage of turnover coming from their workshop in California must be fairly small. Yet the Kala boss Mike Upton is committed to improving, innovating and producing professional ukuleles - which the 3KOA-TG definitely is.