Kala KA-CG Concert

When people ask what their first ukulele should be, I point them to the Kala KA-CG. It may not be the best uke ever, but it ticks a lot of boxes and, as a compromise instrument, works really well.

The concert size, for instance, is comfortable for most adults since it’s not as cramped as a soprano, but not as deep and wide as a tenor and it still features that happy uke sound.

It’s also pretty, which matters. People say looks don’t matter, but I say “bah” to that. Looks matter. If they didn’t, all ukes would look the same. If you buy a pretty ukulele, you’re more likely to display it, perhaps on a stand next to the couch, and since it’s out, you might as well play it for a little while. The more you play, the better you get, and the better you get, the more you play. As far as vicious cycles go, this is probably the most enjoyable.

So it fits you and it looks good, but what else?

Well, there’s the fact that it walks the line between “too expensive to be a toy” and “too cheap to be a real instrument.” Look, I know that there are cheaper ukuleles out there and some of them are even quite nice, but I believe cost has a psychological impact on your playing. If you pay too little, it’s too easy to discard the second it becomes inconvenient or you reach a difficult point. If it costs too much, you won’t want to play it for fear of damaging it. And if this is your first uke, there’s even more of a risk. So you want to spend just enough for it to sting, but not so much it scares you away from touching it. You basically want to buy an instrument you feel okay with scratching up, but one that is still an instrument.

And make no mistake, this is indeed an instrument. It has a mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, nice frets, and smooth tuners. There’s nothing exemplary, but there’s nothing that drags it down either. Everything works as it should, it plays well, it stays in tune nicely, and it sounds good.

The best part about it, particularly as a first uke, is you can learn so much about yourself through it with little risk to the uke or your wallet should the uke not make it. For instance, you may play it for a couple months and wish for more space on the fretboard and end up buying a tenor (or vice versa). You may decide that you love the ukulele and want to upgrade to a different brand/model/selection of tone woods with the experience you gained though the months/years. You may decide the Kala is great, but you would like more experience with different sizes and find out that this model is part of a series that covers the other sizes nicely. I mean, if that’s what you decide, you can basically own all three sizes for around $500 (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)and that isn’t too bad at all!

There are those that would criticize the KA-CG as a cheap thrill, but they would be dismissing it too quickly. It’s a quality instrument that you can learn on that won’t let you down wherever you go. It’s attractive enough to make you want to pick it up, expensive enough to motivate you to play while cheap enough to make you happy to play it, and the function is exactly as it should be. This is what I looked for in a first ukulele and it worked out well. I think it would work well for you too.

Comments 5

  1. I very much agree that this would be a good choice for your first uke. It’s built well, much better than cheap “toy” ukuleles. If this isn’t your first uke, I’d suggest going for higher quality. A little more money is worth it. The sound isn’t my favorite, it doesn’t project like some higher quality ukes and I prefer a warmer sound.

  2. These reviews are extremely helpful for anyone interested in purchasing a ukulele. I ordered my first ukulele from Hawaii Music Supply and these reviews ensured that I made the correct decision. Without a chance to play a ukulele before purchasing, the videos allowed me to get an idea of the sound quality produced by the instruments. Thank you for all the valuable tips and tutorials located throughout this site!

  3. This is my second uke. I wish it was my first. I purchased a Córdoba at the same price point first. This kala is so much nicer in warmth , tone, string action, and how loud it can play.
    A nice joy to play for a beginner.

  4. This was the first uke I ever bought!

    Before buying it I did a lot of research and read about different brands and sizes. In the end, I bought this one. And I could not have chosen a better first ukulele. I taught me a lot!

  5. I think this post is particularly useful because it makes recommendations on what to look for when buying your first ukulele. Essentially one should consider aspects such as the instrument’s quality, if it fits you (the concert size is what the author recommends for adults), if you like its “looks”, and its price. The Kala KA-CG suits the needs of a uke beginner, and seems a good bet for its price; notwithstanding that, you can upgrade for another model or experiment with different ukulele sizes later on.

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