A very inexpensive instrument that’s popular with beginners and experts alike, the Kala KA-15S Soprano ukulele offers a classic appearance via a mahogany body and neck in a warm brown tone. A contrasting rosewood fingerboard and bridge add to its pleasing appearance, and a simple satin finish completes the look. This top-rated soprano ukulele features 12 brass frets and offers fret position marks at the 5th, 7th, and 10th frets. Its geared tuners help it keep its pitch, and it arrives pre-strung with Aquila nylgut strings. Any ukulele enthusiast looking for a good price on a decent instrument will appreciate what this Kala has to offer. Its sound is bright, sweet, and cheerful, making it a pleasure to play. Not surprisingly, the Kala KA-15S Soprano ukulele gets mostly outstanding reviews. Here’s what people have to say about it.
Coming in at around the $50 USD mark, you might expect the Kala KA-15S to get fairly mixed reviews but for the most part, buyers report having positive experiences with the instrument. While it costs a touch more than others in its price range, people who compare this instrument with similar ones report that it is of better quality. Here are some of the most popular features.
- Fair price tag:If you’ve purchased a cheap ukulele in the past and have been disappointed, you might be worrying about similar issues with this instrument. The workmanship is excellent particularly given the low price. It’s definitely not a cheap plastic toy.
- Effective design: The fretwork is exemplary, with the brass frets being properly seated and well-finished so that there is no unpleasant sensation when you play. This is very unusual in a beginner’s instrument like this one, particularly at this low price.The nut is properly cut so that the strings move without binding. While it is made of plastic as many cheap ukulele nuts are, it was made with attention to detail.
- Reliable shipping: The ukulele was well-packaged by the company and the shipper, with plenty of padding. It arrived in excellent condition.
- Easy to use: The Kala KA-15S isn’t just playable, it’s also a lot of fun to play. You get a huge “dollars per smile” ratio with this instrument.
- Solid strings: The strings feel soft and comfortable to play. You can play this instrument with or without a pick or fingerpicks.
- Quality materials: Many cheap ukuleles are made to appear as if they’re made with real wood when in fact they are plastic. This one is made with real mahogany, complete with the dark pores that make the wood so attractive. It is very pretty and it feels nice to hold. You can feel comfortable about taking this uke out on the beach, or enjoy playing it around the campfire. It’s cheap enough to be replaceable, yet the sound is very pleasant.
- Tone: The sound is nice and it rings out loudly when you strum. You don’t have to work very hard at all to enjoy playing this Kala ukulele.
- Suited for all ages: Many buyers report purchasing this ukulele for children and/or grandchildren to play and appreciate the fact that it is a real instrument rather than a cheap, plastic toy. Music teachers endorse it for its ease of playing, its pleasant tone, and its quality workmanship.
There are a few downsides to this ukulele, mostly having to do with tuning. It’s important to note here that this ukulele (and all soprano ukes, really) use re-entrant tuning with the strings at 3,1,2,4 instead of at 1,2,3,4. If you’ve never played a soprano ukulele, then this might come as a surprise.
- Tuning can be tedious with this ukulele, but considering that most high-quality tuning machine sets cost more than this entire instrument, it’s normal for them to be merely utilitarian. They slip a little bit while tuning but taking your time and being patient will get you to the right pitch.
- The strings stretch and will need to be tuned and retuned several times before this ukulele finally holds its tuning. This is normal but many people find the process to be irritating.
- If you have big hands, you might have trouble playing this instrument unless you’re already familiar with the soprano ukulele. Larger people might want to look at a tenor uke as it’s easier and more comfortable to hold.
- A few buyers reported sharp edges on the frets, which had to be filed down in order to prevent discomfort during playing.
- Some buyers report manufacturing defects, which is to be expected with anything that has been mass-produced. At the same time, those who had to return a ukulele to the company reported that customer service was very good, and that replacement instruments were of good quality.
Anyone who is looking for an entry-level ukulele (either for themselves or for use as a gift) is likely to appreciate the Kala KA-15S mahogany soprano ukulele. It’s small, perfectly portable, and well-made, so you can take it anywhere and have fun playing and singing along. Beginners tend to appreciate this instrument since it sounds nice right out of the box, and music teachers who purchase several for large classes recommend it for its pleasant tone and easy playing. The mahogany wood offers a classic appearance that stands the test of time, and the fact that it arrives pre-strung with good quality Aquila strings is a nice touch. While you are pretty much guaranteed to spend a lot of time tuning it when it first arrives, it should stay in tune for you once the strings have stretched and settled. Note that this is a very small instrument, just 22 inches long and 8.5 inches wide, and that it can be difficult for people with large hands to play especially if they’re beginners. If you’re worried about the size, it’s probably best to skip soprano ukuleles altogether and go with a larger tenor or bass size. All in all, the Kala KA-15S soprano ukulele is a very nice instrument, particularly considering its inexpensive price. We were able to find several video clips within reviews, demonstrating its sweet, classic Hawaiian sound!