Kala were extremely excited to showcase the new striped ebony/spruce models to us way back at winter NAMM in January and my first thought at the time was that they already produced so many good solid spruce top models in this price range - did they really need to slot something new into the mix? I shouldn't have been so sceptical because as I write this today moments after playing this Ukulele against the other Kala's in the range - it has a completely unique look, voicing and a couple of unique features that make this Ukulele worthy of your attention over older more well known models in the range.
The KA-SSEBY-B-CE has a solid Spruce top, lovely thin and stiff laminate ebony back and sides and is one of the only widely available Baritones out there to feature a cutaway, Fishman active pickup and preamp (with built in tuner), and upgraded striped Ebony fingerboard over the known and often unpopular walnut fingerboard. The satin finish on this Ukulele and the classical guitar inspired herringbone binding and rosette really grab you with this one and the sound it produces really goes against the curve of other solid spruce top instruments and has lots of depth and a deeper more fingerpicker-friendly tone. If you strum this Ukulele you get a good amount of bark but there are definitely instruments out there more suited to that than this. This Ukulele has a quiet confidence and charm about it and depth of tone that dare I say enables this Ukulele to hold its own against similar Ukuleles at 2-3 times the price, if you want to play dynamically and hear your notes with with some character and definition then this one is a winner.
Solid Spruce Top
Laminate striped Ebony back and sides
38mm nut width
Herringbone front binding with black and white purfling
Striped ebony fingerboard
Aquila Super Nylgut strings
Kala open back tuners
Graphtech NuBone nut and saddle
Fishman pro active preamp, with built in tuner