Kala KA-SMHT-SC Scallop Tenor Ukulele
This is an excellent example of where Kala Ukulele has been going of late, stretching into more luxurious, better quality and really good-sounding ukuleles, all without a huge price tag. For a very nice looking all solid mahogany ukulele, the Kala KA-SMHT-C is a really very economical purchase, with lots of uke for your money. Good specification is a good start, the uke has to be made well too – and this is a really nice instrument that has been designed to sound great. It meets that design aim really well.
The solid mahogany body is very nicely stained and finished in gloss, making the wood look nice. It features a rosewood capped scallop cutaway for better access to the top of the scale – something that is handy with this ukulele as it sounds powerful and clear up to the upper reaches. While the natural warmth of the mahogany comes through, the combination of Aquila Super-Nylgut strings and the gloss finish also lay on plenty of brightness too – resulting in a nicely balanced tone.
There’s a pretty maple, ebony and rosewood soundhole rosette, and an inlaid design on the headstock – two features that add a bit of luxury without shouting too much about it. In addition, rosewood binding between the sides, back and top is a nice feature, with that binding stretching up both sides of the fingerboard too. Gold open geared tuners are in keeping with the overall look – and they’re made by Grover so do their job well without adding too much weight to the headstock.
The neck of the Kala KA-SMHT-C tenor ukulele is the regular 34mm nut width players of Kala tenors will be familiar with, together with a relatively chunky neck profile that feels full in your hand – something guitarists will find particularly comfortable. All in all, for your money it really is a nice bit of kit, and an advance on many of Kala’s tenor models. The company seems to be perfecting its art.
We can also turn this scallop cutaway tenor into an electro ukulele should you wish, by fitting a Mi-Si Acoustic Trio pickup. It takes an extra couple of days but you’ll have a super electro tenor at the end if you can be patient!
I wonder why they named this after a scallop though. Why not a lobster, or a langoustine. I guess we'll never know.