Best Travel Uke – Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele Review
This concert ukulele review is to unravel features, pros, and cons of the Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele. You will find firsthand and unbiased information about the instrument to help make the right decision.
Sincerely, there are many ukuleles on the market to conclude that the Kala KA-SSTU-C is the best concert ukulele for beginners without showing any proof.
So join me let’s unmask this beginner ukulele together to find out if it is really the best bang for the buck.
KA-SSTU-C - What’s up with the Codenames?
Table of Contents
- 1 KA-SSTU-C - What’s up with the Codenames?
- 2 Why And Why Not Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Travel Ukulele?
- 2.1 The Manufacturer
- 2.2 Features and Buyer's Benefits of the Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele
- 2.3 1. Playability
- 2.4 2. Sound Quality
- 2.5 3. Wood & Finishing
- 2.6 4. Body shape & Size
- 2.7 5. Neck & Fretboard
- 2.8 6. Tuning Machine & Tuning
- 2.9 7. String
- 2.10 The Pros & Cons of the KA-SSTU-C Ukulele
- 3 My Recommendation (Final Verdict)
The names Kala gives to its ukuleles are unusual but significant. The SS in the KA-SSTU-C means Solid Spruce, the TU means Travel Ukulele while the C indicates that the ukulele is in concert scale.
However, the concert ukulele is not the only Kala brand to come with the code name. They have it in other categories.
Why And Why Not Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Travel Ukulele?
Before following the voice of the majority that says the KA-SSTU-C is the best, read this Kala concert ukulele review to know more about the brand.
One of the things to look out for before buying a ukulele is the manufacturer. Find out what other players are saying about the manufacture, and how consistent they have been.
Some manufacturers do not put the needs of players into consideration while building an instrument. They are much concerned about making more profit so do not care much about quality but quantity.
Ukuleles from such manufacturer may either have one default or another or have poor playability.
Kala is one of the renowned ukulele builders in history that have remained consistent. They produce fairly priced ukuleles and also put the need of players into consideration.
The KA-SSTU-C is a representation of the great value Kala brings to the table. The production to me is flawless and with the great attention given to this ukulele, rating it as the best concert ukulele for beginners won’t be out of place.
Features and Buyer's Benefits of the Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele
Benefits for players
Solid spruce top & arched back
Greater volume and sturdiness
14 7/8" concert scale & 24 3/8" overall length
Better fret spacing & easy for players to navigate
Mahogany neck, Back & sides
Laminated mahogany back and sides with no bracing reduces weight
Rosewood fretboard & bridge
Perfectly fretted, delivers warm and clear sound
Aquila nylgut strings
Smooth & Great for fingerpicking/strumming
Die-cast chrome tuners
Stable, user-friendly and holds tune well
As a beginner, go for a ukulele you can play with ease. Consider the action, which if too low can cause buzzing, and a high action.
On the other hand, can make the instrument more difficult to play because the strings will require more force to press down when playing.
Kala KA-SSTU-C Concert Ukulele has great playability, with a smooth action that is not too high or low. The instrument does not require a herculean amount to play like other ukuleles at this price point.
The frets have better spacing than a soprano ukulele, giving more room for players with larger or fatter fingers to navigate easily. You will also be able to hit all your keys with ease.
2. Sound Quality
Nothing can be more devastating than playing a poorly sounding ukulele. Even though you are just starting out, the sound quality is also of great importance.
The KA-SSTU-C concert ukulele is thin but sounds like a full-sized concert ukulele. In addition to its size, it comes with superior Aquila strings and has good sustain.
It holds tune better than most ukulele at this price point, allowing you to practice for extended periods without stopping in between practice to retune.
The instrument has a bright and clear sound which is soothing to the ears, and let you want to play non-stop. It also has great projection, which even though not the best among the other brands but stands it out at least for this price category.
3. Wood & Finishing
The quality of the wood material is of great importance. And even though you don’t buy a ukulele with the much-talked about Koa wood, there are others that make great substitutes for the expensive and not so available Koa.
The Kala KA-SSTU is made of a perfect combination of arched back, a solid and bright spruce wood, making it look more on the expensive side.
This combination gives it an amazing volume, which will cause you to stand out in group settings.
This instrument is great looking all around. The back and sides are made of laminate mahogany, but then the flawless satin coating makes both sides even more attractive.
4. Body shape & Size
The KA-SSTU is a lightweight, great looking, uniquely thin and sturdy ukulele you can carry along to any destination. You can take along with you for camping and hiking as you won’t feel any discomfort throughout the journey.
The body is flawless and the laminate back is arched. It does not require bracing, which is great because it helps to cut down on the weight.
The shape is same with other Kala ukuleles, figure-eight. However, the shape, lightweight, and solid construction make it comfortable to play without a strap.
5. Neck & Fretboard
The neck is not just attached solidly to the body but topped with an even colored and clean rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood is a great choice of material to use, as it can tame unwanted overtone, giving that clear and calm sound pleasing to the ears.
Finish on the fingerboard is perfect, so is the edging neatly applied. It has a total of 18 nickel frets that are neatly dressed. So there is no complaint of buzzing.
Position markers are printed on the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th.
6. Tuning Machine & Tuning
Most inexpensive ukuleles are very discouraging to tune. Evening when you manage to tune them up, they tend to slip back or slacken a bit in a matter of seconds. However, Kala has gone past this stage in their productions.
With the die-cast chrome tuners, the KA-SSTU can satisfactorily hold its tune even after robust strumming. The tuners have some really nice looking black buttons on, but what matters most is being user-friendly.
Ukuleles come in different grades and types of strings. However, the strings of most new inexpensive ukuleles need to be upgraded to make the instrument sound better.
Kala presents you with the much talked about and revered Aquila nylgut strings. They really sound great and have no complaint whatsoever.
Also, there is no need to move for strings upgrade, as they are not like those poor quality strings most inexpensive ukuleles have.
The Pros & Cons of the KA-SSTU-C Ukulele
The next thing to consider in this Kala ukulele review is the pros and cons. It is better to consider both before taking a decision.
Mind you, some cons or downsides are easy or inexpensive to fix.
- Great travel ukulele
- Lovely gig bag
- Clear and bright sound
- Awesome craftsmanship
- No strap buttons. Too thin and the case might split up while drilling a hole.
- Has no built in pickups, but is a great instrument at this price point.
My Recommendation (Final Verdict)
I usually advise ukulele beginners or players in general, to buy an instrument that meets their needs. What are those needs?
First, consider your budget, and the instrument in question must have a great sound, playable, easy to tune and durable. If you have other features in mind, make sure what you are buying satisfies them.
The KA-SSTU-C Concert Travel Ukulele fits the bill and offers even more for beginners. In fact, it is, without bias, the best concert ukulele for beginners at this price point. Highly recommended!