January 16, 2013 by Tim
Just kidding, these are stickers.
I asked Kala for a tenor uke to compare other low end tenor ukes to it, since it is the standard for beginner tenor ukuleles. They were nice enough to send it to me with no expectation for a review. So I decided that I should experiment on it!
Some might say that this is like putting lipstick on a pig, and they might be right. A crap-a-lele is not going to be better when it looks “pretty”, but it does make a statement. One of the greatest things about ukulele players is that they want to be different in some way. Some have interesting voices, some have crazy custom ukes, some just decorate their instrument, and some review them! These decals offer a great way to customize your instrument.
Read on for my thoughts on the inlay stickers.
First look: (5) when they are on the uke, from about 5 feet away, they look like real inlay. When I bring the uke to uke jams people will pick it up right away. Then they realize it is a ruse and it is not real inlay, then they play it anyways.
Fit and Finish: (4) The quality is there, and they are made really well, but when you look really close you see the printing dots. The material is really nice and thin and iridescent. You have to look from the side or feel it to realize that it is not inset to the wood. The sticky material has also stood the test of time of hard playing and other abuses such as heat, cold, and humidity.
Applying them was pretty easy. the head stock and body decals had to be easiest since all I had to do was center them and press them on. the Sound hole was the tricky one since I did not have the whole thing exposed, but the decal was a full circle. I centered it and stuck it on and cut it at the edge of the fret board and it worked great.
The fret board decal was the hardest, but not that bad. the decals are cut to fit between the frets of a tenor (I ordered a tenor set). Just had to make sure that it would stay straight all the way down so that when it came time to apply the 12th fret that it would be center. Next time I will start at the center and work it from there in both directions.
One of the coolest things is that the fretboard stickers cover the fret markers perfectly. the flowers and others covered the double dots. They even had some extra material to finish a longer fret board.
There is no difference in sound after the stickers were applied.
Frets: (5) While playing you would never know they are there. I tried everything I could to hurt them by playing hard and a lot of bending. The strings just slide over them and they look as good as new.
Would I put these on my Kanile’a? Nope.. I think these are a fun way to jazz up a ukulele that is not all that jazzy, and not worry about it. I had an easy time putting them on, just follow the directions and they just work. You have to be patient and pay attention, but it will pay off and look pretty good.
I will admit that I may have gone too far with my choices, but I can always take them off.
All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews
|Fit and Finish||4|
Places to buy on the web:
I spent $30 for all the decals I used, and they are coming from Japan, they take a few weeks to come in, just an FYI