Kala Acacia Pocket – possibly too late?

Aloha Forum Ukulele: le nostre recensioni Kala Acacia Pocket – possibly too late?

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  • #15423
    lardyfatboy
    Membro

    Sorry I can’t manage video reviews they all end up as video nasties so I have to do written ones and be at the mercy of translation software.

    This is a model of Ukulele I have been toying with the idea of getting for some time and I finally got a nearly new one from ebay but without its original case.

    My Ukulele was made for Kala in China in 2011. The body is all solid acacia with a matching acacia veneer on the headstock over a fairly fat mahogany neck. The fretboard and bridge are rosewood and the nut and saddle are plastic. The fretboard is 12 frets long, with three MOP fret markers at 5, 7 and 10 with matching white dots on the right hand side and meets the body at the twelfth fret. The finish is a very nice even satin and the bookmarking of the top and bottom is beautifully done, really nicely showing off the grain. The Ukulele is a fraction over 41cm long with a 28cm scale length and the neck width is on the narrow side for Ukuleles though it looks wide in perspective, given the small stature of the overall package. The tuners are good quality friction ones but are a bit big for the Ukulele meaning they can get in the way of each other when tuning; and when playing too. The bridge is an odd stringing arrangement where the strings double back under the saddle, this is good for space but does make the saddle sit high above the soundboard. Overall the build quality appears excellent and my only criticism is the large tuners, and the nut is possibly a bit large for the size of instrument too, but this doesn’t matter that much

    When playing it, the first and biggest issue is, (and it has been said before – lots of times by lots of people), this is a difficult Ukulele to play. This can be said for all Sopraninos but with the Pocket the small size of the neck and the closeness of the tuners is added too by the bridge being very close to the bottom of the Ukulele. This makes it difficult to hold without your strumming arm deadening the strings at the bridge end. When I first got it I found this really annoying and was going to be very critical of it but as I have noodled more I have found the technique is to hold your arm at more of an angle and strum lower down the neck that you would normally; it works but is a fiddle when swapping between this ukulele and a bigger one.

    Tone wise, as with all Sopraninos, its size means it doesn’t have a lot of depth, a lot of sustain and is very quiet. The volume is not helped by the thickness of the saddle or the lack of lower bout to generate volume. Sustain wise, its certainly not helped if you arm does deaden the strings at the bridge end. But when you do get it all to work properly it is a pleasant sweet treble tone. The Aquilas it comes with do seem a bit heavy and don’t work very well on a C tuning or even a D one. The person who had it before me used an F tuning! and while I haven’t been quite so drastic I am using a E one, (this adds to the treble-ness), I may try some lighter strings on it later?

    Build wise it is all very solid and really feels it, the neck is quite chunky the bracing is full on and it weighs more than some of my Sopranos. I really do think this one will last well including the finish – but that is partly because this is never going to be one of those Ukuleles that is played a lot. Its too quiet and too fiddly for any sort of gig, even taking to impromptu picnics. Its too quiet and too fiddly for anything really except having in a collection and pulling out occasionally to show people. It comes back to my first thoughts when I first saw one – its a novelty – OK for a collector when they already have enough “playing” Ukes but very limited beyond that. Would I get one again if I lost it? Yes, especially now Kala have discontinued it, I think its quite pretty as an object and fun to own. It wouldn’t be top of the list to replace but if I know I was going to build up a big collection again I would want another one.

    To summarise – its a nice object but not a great working Ukulele and definitely NOT for beginners

    As always there are Pictures and a sound clip at Ukulele Corner – http://www.ukulelecorner.org.uk/home/in-the-corner/sopranini-sopranisimo-or-pocket/kala-pocket

    #35696
    Jontom
    Amministratore del forum

    Totally agree with you Lardy.
    I had the chance to play this model a while ago and I was kind of disappointed. To me, it looked nothing like a “reduced Soprano”. I understand it’s hard to compare these model since they’re relatively new on the market but if get the chance to try the iUke you’ll know what I mean. http://youkulele.com/prodotto/iuke-sopranino/ (there’s a soundclip at the bottom)

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