Makala Baritone Ukulele Review

Makala is a popular line of one of the most well known Ukulele manufacturers – Kala. Formed in the early 2000s by Mike Upton in California, Kala has introduced many phenomenal ukuleles and ukulele accessories. The company is known for affordability and build quality, and the Makala baritone MK-B ukulele that we will be reviewing today is no different. If you’re looking for a great beginner to intermediate baritone ukulele that isn’t flashy but simply offers great sound and quality for the price, the MK-B might be for you. In this review we will look at specs, build quality and design, sound quality, playability, and summarize with some pros & cons to give you a good idea of if the MK-B is the right instrument for your needs. We will also include some alternate options in case it turns out to not be the best choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Great low and mid frequencies

  • Deep, resonant tone

  • Good durability, feel, and playability

  • Not too expensive

  • Weak high end frequencies

  • Doesn't include any extras (tuner, gig bag, etc.)

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Specs

  • Size – Baritone
  • Top – Mahogany
  • Back & Sides – Mahogany
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Finish – Satin
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Headstock – Standard
  • Strings – 21U Aquila Super Nylgut
  • Nut & Saddle – Plastic
  • Scale Length – 20”
  • Total Length – 30.25”
  • Number of Frets – 18
  • Fingerboard width – 1.875”
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Gear tuners

Build Quality & Design

The Makala MK-B is an all-laminate mahogany uke and has a minimalist, simple design. It comes with 21U Aquila strings (basically the standard for mini baritone ukes), two of which are wound, and surprisingly has an adjustable truss rod despite the modest price. Overall, the MK-B is a no frills, well constructed instrument that looks nice and will last awhile if you take good care of it. Kala always uses quality materials in their musical instruments, and while the MK-B does use some cheaper parts than other popular Kala ukes (laminate wood, plastic ivory colored nut/saddle), we didn’t see a noticeable drop in quality because of this.

Sound Quality

The Makala MK-B sounds exactly how you’d want a baritone ukulele to sound as it has really good performance in the lower frequencies. The higher frequencies aren’t super bright, which could be due in part to the fact that this is a laminate uke. The glue holding the layers together in a laminate don’t vibrate the same as solid wood, which leads to a more mellow sound with less sustain. This isn’t a huge deal for a baritone uke, and some would even prefer a less pronounced sound in the high frequencies when playing baritone. The action is on the higher side but nothing ridiculous, and the intonation was great right out of the box. Overall, the Makala MK-B has a nice, deep and mellow sound with good resonance.

Playability

 Just as important as a musical instrument’s sound is feel and playability. There’s nothing like finding a baritone ukulele that not only sounds great, but also just feels right and is a ton of fun to play. Now obviously this is going to be different for everyone, but we found the playability of the MK-B very good. The fingerboard and Aquila strings transitioned smoothly between frets, and the weight feels steady but not heavy. The Makala MK-B has great action and is playable right out of the box, whereas a lot of entry level ukes will require you to work on them a bit before you get a decent sound quality.

 Conclusion

 If you’re looking for a cheap yet effective entry level or even basic intermediate baritone ukulele, look no further than the Makala MK-B. It boasts fantastic sound and playability at a good price, you really can’t go wrong here. Our only complaint is that you’ll need to pick up things like a gig bag or tuner separately. If you read this review and somehow decided the Makala MK-B wasn’t for you, check out this list instead.

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