Unlike the more accessible soprano and concert size ukes, there is sometimes less choice when it comes to baritone ukuleles in each price category. But choice is not a problem when you have instruments such as Kala’s KA-SBG – a delightful baritone ukulele under $300 – because, chances are, you wouldn’t want more than this!
Compared to some other models featured on GuitarFella – from brands such as Luna and Fender in particular – the KA-SBG is quite simple in its design. But what it lacks in glitz, it makes up for in timeless elegance. This baritone sports a full 30.5” total length, with a classic wood pairing – solid spruce on the top, with mahogany laminate on the back and sides. These woods show off a wonderful grain and are finished in gloss, while a black binding edges the instrument, giving it a little added definition.
Joined at the 14th fret, the neck is also made from glossy mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard (this may be walnut in some instances), and a total of 18 frets. The neck is very sleek and fast to play, and perfect for bigger hands – as is the case with most baritone ukuleles. All in all, it feels worthy of the price tag, with admirable craftsmanship from Kala.
There are no electronics on the KA-SBG, but this uke is fitted with some solid hardware that enhances its tone, playability, and overall feeling of value. For example, there is a set of reliable closed-gear chrome tuners, a rosewood bridge (again, this may be walnut in some cases), and a GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle, while it comes strung with a set of Aquila Super Nylgut strings. Nothing extraordinary, but not a bad haul.
The KA-SBG offers a powerful baritone sound, with a lovely balance thanks to the crisp brightness of the spruce and the warmth of the mahogany. Projection is big and resonant, and – even without electronics – it sings loudly when played in a group setting. The use of solid wood on the top means the KA-SBG will open up as it ages, resulting in a fuller tone – give it a year and you should notice the volume and warmth increases even more.
There are no complaints over Kala’s KA-SBG, which proves a versatile baritone ukulele with a premium feel. The woods are quality in their selection and craftsmanship, the hardware is appropriate for a uke in this price range, and the overall tone is excellent. A beautiful uke and a great buy!