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Kala Guitalele Review and Overview: 2021 Edition

If you’re looking for a Kala guitalele review, this post is for you!

For context, I’ve played guitar since 2003, the ukulele since 2011, and the guitalele since 2019.

I don’t know everything there is to know about these instruments, but I do have some personal experience with them!

And I hope this post helps you think through whether this instrument is right for you.

Also, I don’t actually own a Kala guitalele.

I ended up purchasing Caramel’s guitalele here, and I will explain why I made that purchase decision later in the article.

But when I was researching guitaleles to purchase, Kala’s instrument came up.

And I thought I’d include my research on the Kala guitalele here on the blog.

The Kala KA-GL

Kala has made guitaleles and ukuleles for several years.

The KA-GL series offers a variety of models ranging from affordable acoustic to piezo-based electric/acoustic guitarleles.

Here are some of the specs of the KA-GL models.

  • Body Materials: Mahogany
  • Neck Materials: Mahogany
  • Fretboard Materials: Pau Ferro
  • Top Materials: Mahogany
  • Frets: 19
  • Scale: 17”

Kala Guitalele Review: Size and Materials

Model
Length
Width
Depth
Kala KA-GL
29.25
12.6
3.6

By making it all-mahogany, Kala made sure that you would get an instrument that leans towards darker sounds. This means that you can expect less bright sound than a ukulele, but a stereotypical bigger sound that you can expect from a guitalele versus ukulele.

The bone bridge and nut likely contribute to this bigger sound helping the strings resonate more than a plastic bridge and nut.

Also, having a bone as opposed to a plastic bridge and nut is a nice feature and fairly uncommon on less expensive guitaleles.

And of course, the size is great if you are looking for a travel-sized instrument with a decent sound.

You can get a sense of the sound of this instrument in the video below.

In this quick review, Terry Carter shows us how the KA-GL guitarlele has a decent sound with a fair price.

Strings

As you probably know, a guitarlele’s standard tuning is in the same intervals as a guitar, but in a higher register – ADGCEA.

(If this is news to you, you can learn all about the guitalele here.)

Thus, if you’re a guitarist, you can play all the same chord shapes and licks you already know from the guitar on the guitalele.

And in case you come from a ukulele background, you will know part of the chord shapes from the uke since its four strings are in the same tuning as the top four on a guitalele.

All Kala guitaleles come equipped with Aquila nylon strings, specially made for the guitalele.

Tone

In terms of tone quality, the KA-GL provides a well-rounded sound in both the high and low registers. However, you cannot expect too much sustain given the size of the instrument and its nylon strings.

Nevertheless, you can still get a sound that is fairly good for strumming chords or arpeggios.

In short, this instrument is more suited for the living room rather than the concert hall.

Kala KA-GL KOA Guitarlele

Specs:

  • Body Materials: Hawaiian Koa & Mahogany
  • Neck Materials: Mahogany
  • Fretboard Materials: Rosewood
  • Top Materials: Solid spruce
  • Frets: 19
  • Scale: 17”

Kala Guitalele Review: Size and Materials

Model
Length
Width
Depth
Kala KA-GL KOA
28
11.75
3.1

By using Hawaiian Koa wood Kala managed to craft an instrument that provides greater resonance than the KA-GL.

The wood quality in combination with the size provides greater projection.

In terms of size, the KOA is slightly smaller than the GL model but maintains the width of the frets.

The quality of the materials is decent considering the price.

The bone bridge and nut are the same used in the GL model mentioned above.

Strings

The KG-GL KOA model also carries the same Aquila strings that come on the KA GL model.

Tone

The sound is bit brighter than that of the GL model. This is likely thanks to the smaller depth and the Koa wood.

In this video you can see how both rhythm and lead parts play reasonably well in the instrument. However, as is often the case with guitaleles, it can sound a bit thin at times.

Also, the rosewood fretboard helps to create a mellower sound than that of the GL. Most ukulele players will feel at home with this kind of sound. On the other hand, guitar players may feel the lower strings lack some depth.

Kala Guitalele Review: Conclusion

As I mentioned in the introduction, I do not own a Kala guitalele.

Instead, I chose to purchase a Caramel guitalele for my instrument.

I chose a Caramel over a Kala because they are less expensive, they have truss rods in their necks to provide more stability, and they seem to have more positive Amazon reviews.

Also, one of the big differences between a Kala and Caramel guitalele is that a Kala has a bone nut and bridge.

This is an easy and inexpensive upgrade for a luthier to perform on an instrument, and that difference alone does not justify the more expensive Kala in my opinion.

Of course, there are other differences between these instruments, and this is just my take.

Do you own a Kala guitalele, or are you considering purchasing one?

Let me know in the comments!

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