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Kala Ukulele Review

by Terry
Kala Solid Flame Maple Cutaway

Kala makes a wide range of ukuleles for brand-new students as well as for musicians who have decades of experience. Many of the company’s best-selling ukuleles are in the mid-range, with dozens of choices priced well below the $500 mark.

Whether you are looking for a ukulele to take along with you to the beach or a new instrument to wow your audience, it’s likely that Kala has something that hits all the right notes.

Brand Overview

Year of Launch


Where Kala Ukuleles are Made


Kala is based in Petaluma, California. Many of the company’s top-of-the-line ukuleles are made there, in the local workshop. Its entry-level instruments are made in China.
Kala Ukulele Price Range


$43 – $2,000
Types of Ukuleles Kala Offers


Soprano, Concert, Tenor, Baritone, UBass, Travel Concert, Travel Tenor, Super Tenor, 6-String Tenor, 8-String Tenor, Archtop, Banjolele, Resonator, Electric & Acoustic /Electric, Solid Body, Cutaway, Pineapple, Waterman Water-resistant ukuleles
Which Level are Kala Ukuleles Best For?There’s a Kala ukulele for everyone. Little kids love the many fun, colorful soprano ukes on offer, while advanced players appreciate exquisite solid wood ukuleles from Kala’s US-made Elite line.


Top 5 Kala Ukuleles Reviewed

With so many ukuleles to choose from, how did we pick our favorites? It was definitely tough to choose. After all, Kala makes such a wide array of ukuleles, and every single model has something great to offer. The Waterman Water-resistant ukes definitely caught our eye just because they’re so much fun – same for the brightly painted pineapple and watermelon ukuleles. They even have one that’s finished to resemble a kiwi fruit!

Then there are the high-end models: Gorgeous tonewoods, beautiful shapes, unique finishes, and the list goes on.

In the end, we opted to choose three of the best Kala ukuleles from the brand’s mid-range options. As with the rest of our ukulele reviews, these are highly subjective rather than strictly empirical. Our favorites might not be the same as yours, and that’s OK!

It’s worth noting that Kala comes out with new and different instruments on a regular basis. Lots of them, like the colorful plastic ones,  are fun additions to any collection, while others are fairly serious investments.

If you aren’t sure you like what’s available now, check back later. You’re likely to find some new options to put on your wish list. For now, here are our three top choices.


Kala Solid Flame Maple Cutaway Ukulele

Kala Solid Flame Maple Cutaway

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The Kala Solid Flame Maple Cutaway ukulele is brand new for 2019, with a wonderful Florentine cutaway that gives you easy access to the entire fretboard.

This ukulele features a solid maple neck to complement the body, and the slotted headstock features Kala’s signature three-point crown shape along with black and gold geared tuners.

Soundwise, this ukulele is a touch softer than some others we’ve reviewed. The tone is pure, sweet, and gorgeous, and if you need more volume, you can always add a pickup.


  • Solid flame maple tonewood
  • Purpleheart wood binding
  • Satin finish
  • Solid maple neck
  • Striped ebony fingerboard
  • GraphTech NuBone nut & saddle
  • Aquila Super Nylgut strings

This beautiful ukulele comes in tenor and concert sizes, so you can take your pick or add both to your collection if you’re really in the mood to treat yourself! The ukulele’s appearance is absolutely fantastic thanks to the solid flame maple that makes up the top, sides, and back.

Purpleheart wood binding provides beautiful contrast and enhances the overall look of this ukulele. The satin finish really shows off the wood’s unique grain without picking up tons of fingerprints.

If you’re interested in this ukulele, consider picking it up ASAP since Kala is selling these ukuleles just as fast as they can make them.

Kala Solid Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

Kala Solid Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

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In the market for a reasonably priced baritone uke? Look no further. Kala has been making this fantastic mahogany bari for years now, and it is a customer favorite.

We love the fact that it’s reasonably priced despite its solid wood construction, and we can’t get enough of the full, rich, sound. The satin finish lends a lovely, natural look and the slotted headstock adds just a touch of contemporary “cool” factor.


  • Solid mahogany wood top, back, and sides
  • Satin finish
  • Tortoise binding
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Geared tuners
  • GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle
  • Aquila Super Nylgut Strings

Whether you’re a guitarist looking for an easy new instrument to play or a dedicated ukulele aficionado, you’re going to love this solid mahogany baritone ukulele as much as we do. The sound is just amazing, with loads of deep, velvety warmth and tons of resonance.

Kala U-Bass

Kala U-Bass

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The U-Bass is one of Kala’s most unique offerings – there is nothing else like it available anywhere.

If you’re a ukuleleist looking to expand your repertoire with a brand new instrument, or if you’re a bassist looking for something new to add to your band’s sound, then this unusual ukulele is going to make you sit up and take notice since the short scale length lets you play in a whole new way.

We think you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were: When we first tried it, we couldn’t believe the deep, clear sound of the U-Bass.

We’re going to take a closer look at one of the most popular Kala U-Bass models on offer: The solid Mahogany U-Bass. This is a gorgeous instrument with solid exotic mahogany top, back, and sides, and a deep, rich sound that will make you want to keep on playing long after the show is over.

Onboard tuner, tone knob, and pickup let you create incredible soundscapes. Uke players, take note: The U-Bass is tuned like a standard bass, so you’ll need to learn some new chords if you decide to add this cool instrument to your repertoire.


  • Exotic mahogany wood; solid, all-wood construction
  • Black binding
  • Satin finish
  • Composite saddle
  • GraphTech TUSQ nut
  • Road Toad Pahoehoe strings
  • Custom Hipshot Ultralite Tuners
  • Shadow U Bass NFX Electronics

Incredible tone, light weight, and great looks are top reasons why the Kala U-Bass made its way onto our review.

Whether you go with a solid-body California U-Bass, you’ll have a lot of fun with this unique instrument. There are quite a few configurations available, and there’s no doubt that Kala will come up with a new model or two at some point.

Best Cheap Concert Ukulele: Kala MK-C Concert Ukulele

Kala MK-C Concert Ukulele

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The Kala MK-C concert ukulele features a mahogany top, back and sides with a nice satin finish that doesn’t pick up a lot of fingerprints. The neck is mahogany, and the fingerboard is walnut.

The nut and saddle are plastic, however there aren’t a lot of complaints about them and they can easily be replaced. The strings are Aquila super nylgut, great right out of the package.

This budget ukulele offers a scale length of 14.875 inches; just a touch shorter than average. It has 18 frets and it measures 1.38 inches at the nut. This ukulele has a sweet, pleasant sound that’s just as it should be.

It comes as part of a kit that includes some nice extras like a gig bag, a tuner, and a neck strap. For beginners, or those on a tight budget, this is one of the best concert ukuleles around.

Kala Ebony Tenor Ukulele

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Kala is famous for offering quality ukuleles at surprisingly affordable prices, and the Kala KA-EBY-T is the perfect example of an outstanding instrument in the under $200 range. Made with exotic Indonesian ebony laminate, it features contrasting Maplewood binding.


  • 19 Frets
  • Nut is made with graphtech nubone
  • Composite saddle
  • Has a very bright, sunny sound
  • Excellent quality overall

The satin finish doesn’t pick up a lot of fingerprints, and the walnut bridge and fingerboard offer more natural warmth to the appearance. There are 19 frets, with fret position marks located at the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th frets, both on the fingerboard and on the neck, which is made of mahogany.

The nut and saddle are made with graphtech nubone, and the ukulele is pre-strung with Aquila strings. The open gear tuners have simple black buttons that complement the dark, beautiful ebony wood.

Soundwise, this ukulele is just incredible. Punchy, rich, and sweet, it provides lots of resonance and plenty of volume.

The sound is a shade warmer than Kala’s solid cedar top ukulele, which is another excellent choice in the event that you’d like to spend a bit more. If you’re looking for the best Kala ukulele money can buy, consider one of the 3KOA Kala Elite series ukuleles.

How much do Kala Ukuleles Cost?

You can find an entry-level Kala ukulele for a little more than $40, and perhaps for a touch less if it happens to be on sale. Kala’s Elite Series ukuleles are typically several hundreds of dollars and some of the best are close to the $2,000 mark. Most Kala ukuleles are priced between $100 – $500, satisfying most recreational players with a blend of quality and affordability.

Overall, are Kala Ukuleles a good choice?

Absolutely! With something for every budget under the sun, Kala ukuleles are generally well-built using quality components and solid, reliable craftsmanship.

The sound is typically crisp and clear, with plenty of sunny, island-inspired tonality, and the options are almost dizzying, there’s so much to choose from. We hope you enjoyed our choices and we wish you all the best as you decide on your next ukulele. Aloha!

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