I bought one of these ukes (not from Amazon) online. It looks very nice and is well made in parts. It has a mellow ring and projects very well for its size. But, and it's a big but, it plays awful. The intonation on this and several other Kala ukes I've tried is simply awful. The tone is nice but open chords sound 'wrong'. I have had to revert to some serious tinkering to make it playable. I had to file the nut and nut slots to lower the action at the first fret and I had to file the saddle to compensate for the sharpness of the intonation on two strings. This has lowered the action and cured the worse of the intonation problems. I am awaiting bone saddle and nut blanks to do the job correctly. Also, the slot for the saddle is poor. It is too wide for the saddle which means the saddle isn't tight and leans forwards to add to the intonation problems. I've shimmed the front of the slot with some paper and the saddle sits better now. I will also need to re-work the saddle slot as it is uneven at the bottom and sides. Basically, the set up and business end of this uke is poor.
This is a lovely looking ukulele which is a bit like a sports car running on cheap petrol with sand in the tank. By contrast, a £25 pink uke I bought my daughter from Cranes of Cardiff has perhaps the best action and intonation I've found on an 'imported' soprano uke. Perhaps it's a fluke - a one off accident, but if Kala expect to maintain their reputation, they need to either stop shifting 'seconds' to the online market or more fundamentally improve quality control in their factory.
If you need to buy a uke online, please contact the retailer and enquire about setup and intonation. At the very least, this might encourage them to send you one they have checked rather than any old bag of spanners. At best, they will set it up correctly before sending it out for fear of it coming straight back to haunt them.
Even better, you can buy a handmade basic model by Rob Collins of Tinguitar.com Yorkshire. It may not be made with fancy tonewoods, but it will sound and play like a dream for the same price as this Kala. I should know, I've got one!
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