Vintage Martin Ukuleles, Kala Travel Uke

Someone’s going to be lucky this Christmas. There’s a whole bunch of lovely looking vintage Martin ukuleles on eBay this week. At the top of the range, there’s and this Martin Taropatch, this Martin Style 3 and this 1K on eBay UK. If vintage isn’t the way you want to go, there’s also a brand new Martin 5K.

If you want a bit of vintage ukulele action but can’t afford a Martin, cross your fingers and add this Leonardo Nunes to your watch list. It’s listed in the ‘Hula’ section which might explain why, at the time of writing, bidding stands at $11.

Kala have taken ukulele portability one step further with their new, wafer thin travel ukulele.

Ukulele photo of the week.

View Comments


  1. chris December 19th, 2008 11:46 pm

    I’ve seen those Kala travel ukes. They are neat, but isn’t a uke portable enough?

  2. Gary December 20th, 2008 12:14 am

    If you offered one of those Kalas to Mr. Creosote, he’d say f**k off, I’m full!

    Wafer thin!

    I’m with Chris. What’s not portable about a uke. A Risa Uke Solid is a great travelin’ pal.

  3. Minamin December 20th, 2008 3:38 am

    From now on, any Nunes/Dias/Santo ukes that show up in a goofy category at a low price, feel free to email directly to me. It’ll save you all the trouble of updating the site!

  4. Cardboardfrog December 20th, 2008 1:07 pm

    clearly i am not the only one who thinks the travel ukulele is a little silly, if i want something portable i’ll get a risa solid body uke,
    and a little orange belt amplifier…and some beer…and a comfy chair… hmmm…… in fact i do beleive i’ll just go drink beer in the living room and play my ukulele right now!

  5. Woodshed December 20th, 2008 7:59 pm

    chris, Gary and cbf: It’s a fair point. If there’s one problem a uke doesn’t have, it’s overwhelming bulk.

    Minamin: Thanks for your concern ;)

  6. Steve Mathews June 29th, 2009 4:49 am

    I agree that portability is not an issue with the uke and had I not got my hands on one of these Kala travel ukes, I would agree with you. The ukes are feather light and their thin profile enables you to tuck them in making a strap virtually unnecessary. The ukes also have an arched backed and deliver surprisingly loud, clear tones. Perhaps “ultralight” would be a better title than “travel”.

  7. elad July 10th, 2009 6:29 am

    Kala travel uke soprano is something you gotta try it to believe it..
    I was surprised at the volume and tone given the size…. I suspect that it will improve with age… Although not dirt cheap, still it is a uke that if it suffers from the rigors of traveling it is ok… And it is rather nice looking..
    Like those who say “size doesn’t matter” for me it does make a difference…

  8. Woodshed July 11th, 2009 11:00 am

    Steve and elad: Good to know. I’ll try one out if I get the chance.

  9. dennymike September 20th, 2009 7:47 pm

    I bought one two weeks ago, not knowing that is was called travel, at People’s Music in Sebastopol, CA. It was simply the best sounding soprano in the store, slim as it is. Something about the combination of Aquila strings (I’ll never buy any other kind!), spruce top, the arched mahogany body, and rosewood fretboard make for a huge sound and surprising resonance. I’ve already taken it to work where I noodle my stresses away, when necessary. It goes in my backpack with my computer, and room to spare. Nobody has mentioned the really cute padded case that comes with it … definitely a cut above a gig bag. This one joins my Boat Paddle tenor as my favorite ukes.


  10. Woodshed September 21st, 2009 6:39 pm

    denny: Thanks very much for sharing your experience with it.

  11. frances September 30th, 2009 3:51 am

    Just got my Kala travel uke and agree totally with Denny. I tried every uke in the shop — a plug here for nc ukulele academy, wilmington nc, who was having a great time with a UKE Jam whilst I was shopping — and just could not pull myself away from this model. The sound and the fit, and the playability, all add up to a really fine instrument.

    I also plan to tote it freely about. Woo Hoo.

    This is my first uke purchase, have been using my childhood Harmony. Very pleased.

  12. Woodshed September 30th, 2009 11:44 am

    frances: Thanks for the write up. Good to know.

  13. frances September 30th, 2009 3:05 pm

    PS: I really appreciate the web resources on Ukes. This one has been invaluable in my new learnings. Thanks for helping to spread the joy.

  14. Karenmc October 22nd, 2009 6:31 pm

    I tried a Kala Tenor out briefly when Music Guy Mike was at the Uketoberfest in Eugene last week. I wanted some confirmation of my impressions before spending the money. The comments here confirm everything for me, and I’ll be ordering one in the next few days.

  15. Phil March 6th, 2010 12:04 pm

    Have had my Kala travel uke (Tenor) for three days and it is superb. Light as a feather and loud. Sometimes I forget to strum it less forcefully and the sound just booms out at me and anyone else within range. The tone is great and its really easy to play all the way up the fretboard.

  16. Woodshed March 7th, 2010 10:58 am

    Karenmc: Hope you enjoying it. Let us know what you think.

    Phil: Glad to hear it. I’ve been thinking about getting one for travels.

  17. iinka March 31st, 2011 6:06 pm

    I don’t actually own one, I bought a beginner Uke a few months ago, but I’ve had a strum on one of the slim/travel ukes recently and I can say I find them much easier to play.

    It’s for a unique reason not mentioned yet – not related to travel… but for any slightly larger busted women around who want to play the uke – the 2″ of depth gained by the travel uke is handy and makes it a lot less awkward to play. My current uke is quite deep and when combined with my D cups means I end up playing the uke about 2 meters in front of me!

  18. Clifford July 6th, 2012 9:03 pm

    I know I am a but late on this post but today a friend rang about the Kala travel uke and was really praising it. He is a pro guitarist and thought the sound amazing. My question is would you buy the travel Kala Concert or a Ohanna CK35 Concert? My thoughts are we may be praising the Kala because it make a lovely sound from such a small instrument but it’s not necessarily the best sub £200 ukulele.

  19. Roger April 19th, 2015 5:16 pm

    I bought a Kala travel uke from an idividual.At first, because it was so light, I thought it felt cheap. But the more I played it the more I liked it. Now, it’s the uke I play the most–by far. I love it.

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