Kala KA-SPT-SC Scallop Tenor Ukulele
This Kala KA-SPT-SC tenor uke was definitely a nice surprise! It is certainly a matter of taste, but I confess to not having warmed greatly to every solid spruce top model in the ‘intermediate’ bracket of the uke market. Sometimes they were just a bit too cutting and bright for my taste. So, it was with a little trepidation that I tried this KA-SPT-SC, Kala’s model with the interesting scallop cutaway shape. Within minutes I was on WhatsApp to my friend at the Kala distributor saying ‘where does all that NOISE come from’! To be honest, I was amazed I worked out how to use WhatsApp too… but anyway.
So, as you can tell, my first impressions concerned this Kala KA-SPT-SC ukulele’s impressive volume. But this isn’t uncontrolled volume, the tone is bright, yet controlled, clear, yet deep. Balance across the strings is a real positive feature of this uke. The solid pau ferro back and sides help this tenor resonate well, making it a good all-rounder. If you strum and struggle to hear yourself at your ukulele club, this is going to stand out. If you like to venture further up the neck, the clear trebles will punch through nicely.
The Kala KA-SPT-SC is advertised as having a Bearclaw spruce top. While I’ll now now go on to explain what that is, I confess to having to look it up first! I suspected it was a species of tree, like sitka, while it fact it refers to the rippled effect in the wood – the figuring. This naturally occurring ‘curl’ is said to look a little like bear claw marks, and is said to confer an extra level of ‘edginess’ to the top. Well, that may or not be the case, but it certainly makes the thing sound nice!
The ukulele features a pau ferro soundhole rosette and mahogany binding, along with a nicely inlaid pattern in the headstock, of an artichoke. Actually this just makes a very pretty design – and probably looks better than say, a carrot or a butternut squash. Gold, open geared Grover tuners are effective, and fast becoming a standard feature on good quality ukuleles. And then of course there’s that lovely scalloped cutaway, which may have slightly more form than function, but it certainly looks fantastic!
Anyone familiar with Kala tenor ukuleles will be at home with their regular 34mm nut and relatively chunky neck profile. I found the action a touch high on the models I’ve seen, but that is taken care of by me. Yes, I’ll gladly get saddle and nut dust all over myself in order to get the action right!
Should you really want to treat yourself, this beautiful Kala KA-SPT-SC tenor ukulele can be fitted here with a Mi-Si Acoustic Trio pickup. It costs a bit more and takes an extra week, but that bit of kit produces an amazing electro ukulele (a world away from factory fitted electrics).
There's a video of Liam Capper-Starr playing this lovely uke if you click additional info below.