BY EDDIE SCHER | FROM THE WINTER 2019 ISSUE OF UKULELE
The Klos website features photos and videos of their carbon-fiber ukuleles smashed by cinder blocks, crushed by cars, carried through snow and ice, and soldiering on without missing a beat. This is a very attractive feature for anyone who ever lost a wood ukulele to an overheated car in summer or a dry overheated room in winter. I’ve never heard of anyone losing an instrument to a car tire, but you can’t be too careful.
The first thing I noticed unpacking the deluxe acoustic-electric tenor uke from its soft case was its space-age looks. The body is made of a woven dark-silver-on-black material that looks like fabric. Carbon-fiber is most commonly used by the aerospace industry and in exotic cars, built by molding layers of carbon-fiber fabric soaked in resin that dries into a stiff, nearly unbreakable lightweight material. The instrument feels good in your hands; it’s not lighter than a comparable wood ukulele but tapping the body you can hear that it is resonant and responsive. I like using a strap on tenor-size ukes, so I appreciate that this Klos came with strap buttons on the back and top side bout.
The mahogany neck is reinforced with carbon-fiber rods and, with the jatoba fingerboard, feels equally resilient as the body. (Adam Klosowiak of Klos responds: “We are moving to composite fingerboards.”) The neck is comfortable, and the Klos was set up properly with great action and intonation that remained musical all the way up to the 19th fret. The headstock is just big enough to fit the tuners, which saves space, but also accentuates the ukulele’s nontraditional look. The one traditional feature here may be the walnut bridge.
Regardless of the promise of worry-free travel, the sound remains the most important way to judge any instrument. I was impressed by the volume and beautiful acoustic tone of the Klos. Despite its weight, the sound is warm and compares favorably to a lightly built, tap-tuned, wood ukulele. Plugged in through the onboard Fishman Kula preamp, the Klos accurately delivers that warm acoustic tone. The volume and bass, middle, and treble EQ controls make it easy to dial in your tone for stage performance or direct recording.
It’s fortunate for ukulele players who want to play regardless of the weather or the rigors of travel that Klos thought to create an affordable, American-made carbon-fiber ukulele. But while the tech is cool, it’s the tone of this ukulele that speaks for itself.
BODY Carbon-fiber composite body; gloss finish back and sides, matte finish top; walnut bridge with black Graph Tech Tusq saddle
NECK 17″ tenor-scale mahogany neck with 19-fret composite fingerboard, flat radius; 1-3/8″ wide at nut, black Graph Tech Tusq nut; small headstock with black Graph Tech Ratio tuners
ELECTRONICS Fishman Sonicore undersaddle pickup and Fishman Kula preamp, with chromatic tuner and 3-band EQ, 1/4″ output jack
OTHER Gig bag and gig bag rain cover, strap buttons, strap, D’Addario fluorocarbon strings
MADE IN USA