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Kala Ukulele: Why is it so Popular?

Kala Ukulele: Why is it so Popular?

A Kala ukulele is a high quality range produced with care from excellently-suited woods. The brand was launched by Mike Upton.  Mike was raised with ukulele playing as part of the family.  His love for the instrument was rekindled as an adult, when he noticed a gap in the market.  This gap was the lack of high quality instruments at an affordable price.  Enter the Kala brand!

"Image of a Kala KA-S Mahogany Soprano Ukulele"

The highly rated beginner model, the Kala KA-S  Soprano. Click on image for user reviews.

The goal of the company was to provide quality for both beginners and enthusiasts. The range was launched in July 2005 and since then it continues to innovate and grow in the uke market.


Key Points About Kala Ukulele

Kala are focused on the demands and needs of customers. After a lot of research, Mike Upton and his team in Petaluma made a new brand of unique and quality ukes. Currently there are 120 models included under the brand name, each with their own unique features. You can get a model in every design, shape and size. The key point about this make is the affordability for such a quality instrument.

The result is a wide range of instruments that are easy to use whether you are new to the instrument or a veteran. The quality of music produced from Kalas is sweet! The instruments are produced from high quality wood such as Koa, Acacia, Mango, Lacewood, Mahogany and Maple. Being a music lover, Mike Upton himself has strived to ensure the quality of sound produced by the his instruments.


Have a look at this Koa tenor model


Popular Models from the Kala Family

Kalas are available in all the traditional shapes and sizes, as well as new innovations unique to the brand. The new U-Bass (Sweet!!!! See our review here.) in the family has rocked the world through its great sound. It is easy to play and is light-weight for great portability. The company has also launched a pocket uke that is so small that it easily fits into a pocket, but maintains a great sound. There is another range with the name of ‘travel ukulele’ which has its own unique features.

"Image of a Kala KA-C Mahogany Concert Ukulele"

KA-C Concert Uke. A beautiful choice at an affordable price. Also available as part of a kit with a case and tuner. Click on image for latest prices.

Some of the best selling models include the:

A large number of the models are available for less than $50 which represents superb value. If money is tight, consider the Makala family of uke (read our guide), made as a budget offering from Kala.

This video features a KA-TE (the larger, tenor sized uke):


Features of Kala Ukes

Of course, the Kala is available in tenor size

  • Easy to use and tune
  • Sweet sound
  • Very reasonably priced
  • Made from high quality wood
  • Available in every shape, size and design
  • Ranges suitable for beginners as well as seasoned players
  • Kala is focussed on making ukuleles that are great quality, sound excellent and all at a very affordable price


Kala KA-P Pineapple

Fancy something different? Check out the pineapple…

Loved By Customers

Customers of Kala ukuleles are generally very satisfied with the quality, price and features of these ukes. Following are some reviews customers report regarding their instruments:

“I’ve been using this for 2 weeks now, and I love it! I’ve never played a string instrument before (though I’m a vocalist and have played cornet), but I’m finding it easy to pick up and pla…really like the sound – definitely sweet and not tinny. After a week of playing, it stays in tune nicely. I strongly recommend a tuner (I’m using the Snark one) to get it nicely in tune – it was amazing how much better it sounded when I tuned it up with the tuner.”

This solid acacia Kala tenor ukulele is a beautiful model. It is one if the more ‘exclusive’ models, and is priced as such. But if you’re after the best this brand has to offer… This is the one!

“Great sound and easy to play, it’s really great for beginners like me :) I really recommend this product!!! Buy it and enjoy!!!”

“… far exceeded my expectations. The quality is outstanding for the price. I tuned it in less than 5 minutes and now I am on my way”

 “Just got this baby a couple of days ago and haven’t stopped playing since. It stays in tune and has a nice rich tone. I tried comparing it to my friend’s Lanikai, and Kala overexceeds all aspects of the Lanikai. Rich tone, stays in tune, and overall beautiful. All this for a good price!”


Alternative Options

As you can tell by now, we can completely recommend this brand for beginner players looking to be the next Jake Shimabukuro and more experienced ‘ukuleleans’ alike. But if you want to look at other options here are some:

  • Lanikai. Similar in many ways and little to choose between the two brands.
  • Makala – the budget range from Kala.
  • Mahalo – Much cheaper but not in the same class.
  • Oscar Schmidt – Really nice instruments. Again, hard to go wrong with one of these.
  • Flea and Fluke are other options, if you want something a little different.



The largest, Kala KA-B baritone size – reviewed here.

Kala ukulele provides a great option, produced by passionate uke lovers at an affordable price.  They are beautifully made and have an super sound quality. If you get one you are unlikely to regret it!  We love the Kala brand, let it rock your world too! Check it out at your local dealers or get one with free shipping from Amazon.

For further reviews of the best-selling Kala KA-S click here. The cheaper Ka-15S is reviewed on this page. For the KA-C (the slightly larger, concert size) click here.

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