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Kala Acacia Pocket Ukulele Review

Kala Acacia Pocket Ukulele Review

Kala Pocket Ukulele ReviewIf you’re anything like me you’ll often hear, “Wow, I didn’t know they could be that small. Does it even work?” And I expect I’ll hear it even more often now I’ve bought a Kala Pocket Uke.

The Pocket Ukulele is Kala’s sopranino size ukulele (although they do the smart thing market-wise and avoid the term ‘sopranino’). And it’s certainly tiny. Here’s a photo of it next to a standard soprano.

It has obvious gimmick appeal. But with a significant price tag (MGM currently has them for $279) they have to go beyond that to make them a worthwhile purchase.

Stats

Size: Sopranino (scale length: 11 inches)
Construction: Solid Acacia
Fretboard: Rosewood.
Frets: 12
Tuners: Friction

Strum Test

Music: Sister Kate

All the examples are played in E-tuning (four frets up from standard tuning).

Picking Test


MP3

Music: Staten Island Slide – Craig Robertson.

Intonation Test


MP3

12th fret harmonic followed by 12th fretted on each string.

Sustain Test


MP3

3rd string open,1st string 3rd fret, 1st string 10th fret.

The Good Stuff

Novelty Value: The big appeal of it certainly is the cute-factor. And there’s a lot of fun to be had playing it. I couldn’t resist pulling out some of the old music hall tricks on it.

Strumming: With some fast paced strumming it sounds great. ‘Primitive’ is the word I’d use (and I certainly don’t mean that in a bad way). And it’s louder than I would have expected.

Transportability: It fits comfortably length-ways in a laptop bag. The gigbag is very sturdy too (although significantly bigger than it needs to be).

Smell: Strong, almost burnt smell to it. I like it. (I don’t know how this became an official category for judgment, but it is.)

The Not So Good Stuff

Playability: Even with my tiny lady-hands it’s difficult to play. Fretting accurately is very difficult (even Bartt has trouble keeping it in tune). The intonation test is a bit misleading really. I had to fret incredibly carefully to make the test fair. In real playing you won’t be able to fret accurately further up the neck.

Tone: Compared to a standard solid wood ukulele, there’s not much tone there. Unless you’re giving it some welly, it’s very lacking. And I’d avoid any single-note playing on it.

Friction Tuners: They didn’t have any choice but to use friction tuners on here. They’re decent enough but they’re always going to be more of a pain to work with than geared tuners.

Overall

The Kala Pocket Ukulele is a soprano ukulele turned up to 11. All the things you love about the soprano are amplified. And so are the annoying things about them.

There’s certainly a place for it. I think it’s best use would be adding an extra tonal layer in a group. The sound is distinct from other ukuleles and it does what it’s good at very well. But don’t buy it as an all-purpose ukulele.

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