2010s Kala KA-ABP8-CTG 8-String Baritone Ukulele

It's pretty crazy what your dollar gets you for import ukes these days. This luxurious-looking 8-string oddball is only $330 new. That gets you a solid cedar top, red-tinged padauk binding, and flamed acacia (very much like koa) back and sides. At a glance, it looks like something a boutique builder would make as it takes style cues from fancy-pants upmarket instruments.

How's the sound, though? Full, clean, sweet, and featuring good volume. It really, really likes strumming but fingerpicking has a cool, Latin-or-bluesy quality to it that's a lot of fun. I was happily-surprised by this instrument because over the last few years I've played maybe a dozen 8-string tenor ukes of various import makes and all of them have only been OK. This one is just plain nice. After setup, it plays effortlessly and has a quick, fast neck. I'm pretty sure something like Worth fluorocarbon strings (all plain) or some sort of hodge-podge of D'Addario fluorocarbon strings would make it sound even that much better, too, as the stock Aquila Nylguts don't have the sparkle and chime of fluoro strings.

Repairs included: a minor setup -- adjustment to the saddle height and nut slots. It's essnetially brand-new, so needed nothing else.

Setup notes: action is set bang-on at 1/16" at the 12th fret. The neck is straight and it handles fast and easy.

Scale length: 20 3/16"
Nut width: 1 1/2"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/4"
String spacing at bridge: 1 1/2"
Body length: 14"
Lower bout width: 10 1/8"
Waist width: 6 5/8"
Upper bout width: 7 3/4"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/4"
Top wood: solid cedar
Back/sides wood: flamed acacia (probably ply)
Neck wood: mahogany
Bracing type: fan-braced
Fretboard: laurel
Bridge: laurel(?)
Neck feel: slim-to-medium C-shape, flat board

Condition notes: this uke appears as close to as-new as you might get with a "slightly shopworn" instrument -- it only shows the most minor of wear/use evidence here and there on the body.

It comes with: a fancy, Guardian, hard shell case. This is a $90-100 value that these instruments don't normally come with.

That back! I don't care if it's just veneer, it's pretty and it glows.


GarryB said…
I'm game. I just got one of these last summer. It's hard to put down, but I have found myself wondering if there isn't a better string combination for it. If you've got a specific recommendation, tell me what it is. I'll get it, try it out, and report back.

And yes, it's an amazingly attractive instrument!