The Kala Makala MK-T Tenor Ukulele is Perfect for You!

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Amazon User Rating: 4.5/5 stars

45The Kala Makala MK-T is often said to be the premium beginner’s ukulele on the market. It is inexpensively priced, yet the sound quality is still fantastic. No, I mean… it is really fantastic.  Most experienced players generally would advise you to look at spending at least $150-$200 for a decent starter ukulele if you don’t want a cheap, plinky sound.  The MK-T is very much an exception to that rule, retailing at $95.00 (though often on sale for quite a bit less.

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The Makala MK-T is a tenor size, which is easier to learn on rather than the standard uke, and it has a comfortable D-shaped neck for any size hands.  Makala ukuleles have a very consistent reputation for sound quality and consistency, something that not all ukulele makers are known for. Most people prefer to get the MK-T uke in a starter pack that contains the ukulele itself and also a protective gig bag and a high-quality tuner for around $100.

makalaHere are some of its best features:

  • Lightweight, sturdy construction – The way it is constructed is with a little thinner laminate wood than usual, which results in a very lightweight instrument that has great resonance.

    Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele.

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    Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele .

    The Kala Makala MK-T is often said to be the premium beginner’s ukulele on the market. It is inexpensively priced, yet the sound quality is still fantastic.

  • Agathis wood laminated top, back & sides – Agathis wood is a budget-friendly South
    American wood that has similar properties as Mahogany, with a warm and rich tone.  It is dense yet lightweight, doesn’t dry out and shrink like many budget woods can tend to do.
  • Satin stain – Protects the wood while imparting a natural look and feel. Another benefit to a satin stain is that it doesn’t show wear and tear the same way a glossy finish would.  Hint – don’t use a guitar polish to clean this one, you might end up with some shiny areas on the wood.  Just use a soft cotton cloth and a bit of water if necessary.
  • Rosewood fingerboard & bridge – Rosewood has a particular kind of oil in the wood which helps it “give” just enough to adjust to the way you play, and gives the tone a warm and lush sound.  It is generally considered to be one of the better woods to use on a fretboard.
  • Mahogany neck – Mahogany is a preferred wood for ukulele necks.  It is a nice hard wood that won’t warp and gives a rich sustained tone.
  • Geared tuners – Geared tuners are preferred by many, especially entry-level players, because it allows for greater control of the tuning as opposed to friction tuners, which can have a significant pitch change with the slightest turn of the knob.  You definitely have a better ability to fine-tune with geared tuners.
  • Tenor size – The tenor size is two sizes up from the traditional soprano size ukulele.  It is probably the most popular size overall for modern ukuleles, since the larger size makes for more comfortable playing (as in, no cramped contorting of fingers) but still has that characteristic sunny ukulele sound.
  • 18 frets – Traditionally, ukuleles only had about 12 frets but musicians preferred having more for a little wider playing ability.  18 frets gives you a greater variety of possible notes which, simply put, gives you the ability to play more complex tunes.
  • High quality nylon strings – While not name-branded, the included strings are black nylon and play surprisingly well.  They stay in tune once fully stretched better than most budget ukulele strings.
  • D shaped neck – The D shape of the neck (cross-section) makes for a natural feel and hold.
  • Excellent sound quality – Something of note is how many owners have been very surprised at the great sound quality coming out of this uke.  It is very uncommon for a ukulele at this price point ($99 with the starter pack) to have such a full and bright sound.

The Starter Pack

Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele.

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Kala MK-T Makala Tenor Ukulele .

The Kala Makala MK-T can be purchased on its own but most people have been buying a starter pack on Amazon.com.

The starter pack includes the ukulele, a gig bag and a tuner.  Not only that, but one particular seller on Amazon is free monthly ukulele video lessons with purchase, and all of this for about $100.  That’s a phenomenal deal considering the retail price of the ukulele alone is $95.00!  Let’s take a look at more detail about these extras:

  • Gig bag -A nice way to keep your uke clean and safe.  It is constructed with 12mm padding using a Black Cordura material, and includes an accessory pocket and adjustable shoulder strap.
  • KC-02 Chromatic tuner– Made by Kala, it has a single button that cycles through various modes, a clearly backlit screen, and comes with a battery and instruction manual.  This is a very easy-to-use tuner.
  • Music Ukulele Club – Actually, it isn’t just video lessons like I said above – this particular seller is including a free entrance to their Music Ukulele club with free monthly ukulele lessons, articles, product reviews, and tons of information.

Put together, all of these extras make this the perfect entry-level package for the beginner ukulele player.  It makes a great and affordable gift that will reward the player with great music and wonderful memories for years to come.

Let’s hear what it sounds like in this video:

Before I recommend any ukulele (or anything, really) I always do my best to get the lowdown.  I talk to owners, read countless reviews, and scour the internet for discussion comments to see what people really think of that particular instrument.  Here are a few of the comments I’ve heard about the Makala MK-T:

The Pros

  • Fantastic for the money
  • Way easier to play than my soprano
  • The MKs are the best sounding of the low end ukes.
  • This tonal range is shockingly awesome!
  • Great action with no buzzing and a comfortable play
  • Great for anyone who wants to discover the tenor size without breaking the bank.

The Cons

  • Don’t care for the sticker rosette
  • The laminate wood body is not quite as good as the solid wood body of a higher priced ukulele

Best Price for the Kala Makala MK-T
Like I said above, the retail price for the ukulele itself is $95.00.  The best deal, though, is definitely the deal I listed above – the starter pack.  I can’t really quote a price but it generally is around $100 for the ukulele, gig bag, tuner, and monthly video lessons.  It’s a phenomenal deal that you should not pass up!

Here’s what one of the Kala Makala owners had to say about his uke:

My MK-T arrived from Amazon packed very well, so there was no blemish on the uke. The nylon strings it comes with are good quality and have held a tune almost immediately.  All the frets are smooth and the action is nice, and it has a nice, rich tone. I have a Mahala soprano ukulele but I find it a bit too small for me and a little tinny sounding, so I decided to try this one. After using it I would definitely recommend it as the perfect starter instrument for any ukulele beginner.

Joseph…
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