This year, Northern California’s Kala Brand Music Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the ukulele business. Founded by Mike Upton in 2005, Kala has quickly become one of the most important and innovative uke manufacturers in the industry. We connected with Upton at last month’s NAMM show, and he took us on a tour through Kala’s latest creations.
Perhaps most significant is the introduction of the Elite Series, which is handmade at their Petaluma, California, headquarters and features solid Hawaiian koa construction along with a number of other impressive appointments and design elements. Also of note are the Tri-Back tenor, which features a spruce top and three-piece back of rosewood and mango, and the Comfort Edge tenor, which has a beveled padauk edge on the lower bout, built-in EQ and tuner, and a striking Florentine cutaway option. Finally, Upton shows off his limited-edition 10th Anniversary “Sweet Pea” Acacia tenor.