Kala KA-ASLAS Lacewood and Spruce Soprano Review

I bought myself a Kala lacewood soprano ukulele as a reward for finally finishing the How to Play Ukulele Strums ebook. So were the endless hours of sweet and tears worth it? Here’s my review:

The Lowdown

Wood: Kala seem to make a bigger deal of the lacewood but the part that matters, the top, is solid sitka spruce. Everything else (back, sides, body, neck) are all solid lacewood.
Fretboard: Rosewood. 12 frets.
Tuners: Sealed, Geared.
Made in: China

The Good Stuff

The Strumming Sound: I love strumming out on this ukulele. It’s bright, loud and punchy. As you would expect from a uke with a spruce top. It has just the sort of tone I love. You don’t get the force of it on the MP3, but here it is anyway.

Strum Test (MP3) (Sister Kate chords)

Looks: The leopard-spot grain of the lacewood is gorgeous. The uke is very cleanly put together. There are some fancy-Dan fret markers. And, as a well documented lover of pink, I’m a fan of the purfling.

Construction: It’s sturdily built (handy when you’re as clumsy as I am) and well put together (no flaws worth mentioning). And the intonation is good.

Smell: Oh, am I the only who likes to give the soundhole of a new uke a good sniff?

The Not So Good Stuff

Fingerpicking: I knew when I bought that it would more suited to strumming than picking. I always find my fingers falling over each other when fingerpicking a soprano. And the uke loses a lot of its bite when picked (unless you really give it some hammer).

Judging by the video, David Beckingham does a much better job than me of picking this uke. But here’s my picking test.

Picking Test (MP3) (Larry O’Gaff tab

Geared Tuners: I don’t have anything against geared tuners in general, but they always feel wrong on a soprano. They throw it off balance. I understand the need for them on cheap ukes, but on more expensive ukes a good set of friction tuners would be very nice.

Conclusion

This one is definitely a keeper. I have a lot of fun playing it. I bought it because I wanted a quality soprano (rather the el-cheapo bashers I had before) for strumming and it certainly fits that purpose. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone with similar requirements. I like the spruce/sexy wood combination so much I’ve now got my eye on an Ohana spruce/maple CK-70G.

Southern Ukulele Store Review

When I bought the ukulele I promised feedback on the UK’s new uke seller: The Southern Ukulele Store. I can tell you they certainly pass muster. They’re friendly and helpful, the uke arrived very quickly (although the strings I ordered at the same time took a few weeks) and everything was very well packaged.

The only downside was the ordering system. I went through their own site rather than eBay and the checkout looked very unprofessional. And once I’d paid I had an error message telling me I’d paid the wrong amount. A quick email to them sorted it all out.

But I’ll definitely be using them again in the future. I’ll be going through eBay, though.

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