What Kala has essentially done in creating this Kala KA-SSTU-T tenor ukulele is taken its famous soprano version and shrunk the body’s width by as much as 1-1/2″ at its widest point while retaining the length, as a result we have a great product. With a satin finish and a black binding, this is a sharp-looking instrument. Yet made of actual spruce, rosewood and mahogany, with die-cast sealed geared tuning heads, it’s also built to last.
- 17 Tenor Scale (Distance from Nut to Saddle)
- 26-1/2 Overall body length 11-3/4
- Body length 6-3/4
- Upper Bout 9
- Lower Bout 5-1/4
- Waist 1-3/8
- Fingerboard and Bridge – Rosewood
- Neck, Back & Sides – Mahogany
- Top – Spruce
- Weight – 2,4 pounds
About the Brand
Kala brand music company specializes in stringed instruments and known specifically for its guitars, u-basses, and ukes. The company is based in Petaluma, California, an area renowned for its eclectic creative community of artists, musicians, farmers, and technicians. In only 10 short years, the company has built a solid reputation with musicians, music teachers, and instrument sellers, becoming one of the top-selling stringed instrument brand for the entry-level to intermediate-level player. The company also has a strong reputation for quality customer support, standing behind their instruments and going out of their way to make sure their customers remain satisfied.
This instrument is no shoddy plaything, with a sturdy authentic spruce wood top. The neck is mahogany, and the back and sides are laminated in mahogany. The bridge and fretboard are made of genuine rosewood, with 12 silver nickel frets and a synthetic bone nut and bridge saddle. The head features chrome die-cast sealed geared tuners and black buttons. It’s a 17″ tenor scale with a 26 1/2″ overall body length. It’s got an arched back with a 1 1/4″ to 1 3/4″ thinbody depth.
The notes and chords this Kala KA-SSTU-T produces are uniformly clean and resonant, from the lowest to the highest parts of its register. The timbre is clear and pure, with no ambient buzz or ghost tones, and has a notably bright yet punchy tone, rather than the clunky tone associated with so many lesser-built or other ukes. And despite being thinner in size than most of its counterparts, it has a powerful volume that projects widely.
Comfort & Ease of Use
This instrument weighs in at just about a 2,4 pound, with basic dimensions of 29.1 x 29.5 x 11 inches. The brand’s soprano ukulele was already incredibly compact and portable, and this slightly reduced in size version is even more so. And being thinner overall than most standard tenors makes this instrument even lighter and easier to carry around. Some users have reported online a slightly high string action and nut action. Position marks on both the tops and sides of the sound board help new players to pick up the instrument and learn to play better and faster with ease.
This Kala KA-SSTU-T travel instrument has it all: looks, workmanship, sound quality, ease of play, and lightweight portability. It’s no wonder so many music store owners cite the brand as their bestselling for ukes, and even choose their instruments when giving ones as gifts. It’s also why you’ll be hard-pressed to find a music store that sells ukuleles that doesn’t carry this brand.
Conclusion & Summary
With this Kala KA-SSTU-T Travel uke, you don’t have to sacrifice instrument or audio quality for compactness and lightweight portability. Instead you can have a clean potent professional tone that you can easily take with you wherever you may travel. This is an instrument that plays as smartly as it looks, and being made for musicians on-the-go, is built just as smartly.
Advantages & Disadvantages
* Quality workmanship, with real spruce wood, mahogany and rosewood design and chrome die-cast sealed geared tuners with black buttons
* Surprisingly full and rich audio quality given its size
* Position marks on fretboard sides and top help new players learn to play their instrument well
* Comparatively narrow width makes it much easier to tote around than any standard uke of this kind
* Comes with logo travel bag and Aquila strings included
* The brand’s reputation for great, reliable customer support
* Much more affordably priced than the company’s famous Elite brand of ukes
* Slightly high string and nut action according to some users
* Slightly thinner size compared with others of its kind could take you a little getting used to
* Not quite the same level of workmanship as the brand’s renowned Elite line of these instruments