New Product & NAMM Highlights: 2021
Each year, music professionals from around the globe gather for The NAMM Show presented by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). The annual NAMM show is the largest international gathering of instrument manufacturers, sellers, and musicians in the music world, taking place each winter in Anaheim, CA. This show is a remarkable opportunity to debut and explore the newest instruments and gear for the year.
As many are aware, this January’s Believe in Music NAMM Show was the first ever online-only NAMM. Kala, along with so many wonderful manufacturers, retailers, and musicians, was proud to take to the platform to connect with one another, teach, and release our new 2021 product line!
Take a look at some highlights from the show, complete with exciting new additions to keep an eye out for this year:
Perhaps the most difficult to keep quiet about for so long was our collection of 6 brand new designs for the Kala Novelty Series!
Each ukulele is backed by a reliable mahogany build in the soprano pineapple size.
New Beautiful Budget Additions: KA-20 and Teak
Priced right around our flagship KA-15 Series, the new KA-20 Series and Teak offer their own distinct, toasted brown natural looks with Burled Meranti wood and Teak wood, respectively.
Another major highlight was our Teak Tri Top series, which has become our lowest priced Concert and Tenor ukulele with both Cutaway and EQ. They have a sharp visual appeal too-- the teak body enhanced by a long, triangular strip of mahogany down the center. These have been an early favorite!
The International Ukulele Teaching Symposium
A great focus of Kala effort’s at the 2021 NAMM Show was as the coordinating sponsor for the International Ukulele Teaching Symposium, hosted and curated by Kala Artist and renowned educator Peter Luongo.
Hosted by NAMM, this three day digital summit provided a platform for some of the sharpest minds in ukulele education to share thoughts, strategies and opinions on ukulele education in our current times. Guest panelists included ukulele virtuoso and Uketropolis founder James Hill, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Instructor Byron Yasui, GRAMMY-winners Marcy Marxer & Kathy Fink, ‘Ukulele player extraordinaire Bryan Tolenntino, GNUF’s Mary Agnes Krell, Deloitte Canada’s Peter Tulumello, and Michigan educator Ben Hassenger.
Full sessions of each are still available through the NAMM Believe in Music portal and will be posted to Kala’s YouTube channel soon. Event sponsors included the Kala Brand Music, the NAMM Foundation, Kamaka Ukulele, and Aquila Strings.
Sleek Re-Design for Solid Satin Mahogany
On the horizon for this summer is a sleek re-design of our Solid Satin Mahogany series.
Coming in at a more competitive price than the current spec Solid Mahogany series, our new Solid Mahogany Series accentuates the reddish-brown glaze of its Indonesian Mahogany with onyx black binding, a Rosewood fretboard, and black & bronze open gear tuning machines.
They will come in both Concert & Tenor size, featuring D’Addario® strings.
Re-Visiting our Environmentally Friendly, Solid Bamboo
A new favorite of ours here at Kala has been the Solid Bamboo series. One of, if not the most underrated instrument materials to date, Bamboo delivers a phenomenally natural look and tonal clarity with a hyper-sustainable resume.
Part of what makes bamboo so eco-friendly in comparison to more commonly-used instrument tonewoods is its vast abundance and rapid regenerative ability. We offer Bamboo now in 3 sizes of ukulele -- Soprano, Concert, & Tenor -- in addition to the Solid Bamboo U•BASS®.
Kala Ambassadors Showcase an Array of Kala Instruments & Styles
2020 was the very beginning of our Kala Ambassador program: a global network of music enthusiasts, teaching artists, and content creators who inspire their communities through innovative expression on their Kala instruments.
Three of our first ambassadors, Boris Mogilveski of the Netherlands, Adam Pergande of Spain, and GussWhat? of Portugal, got together this week to perform and produce their own rendition of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Check it out below!
Classy & Vintage Styles on the Horizon: Flame Maple Burst and Re-Designed Archtop
Also on the horizon for this summer are two eye catching designs for lovers of vintage guitars: our Gloss Flame Maple Burst series and our re-designed Archtop collection.
Inspired by the array of popular classic guitars in our lives, our Gloss Flame Maple Burst series uses a vibrant gloss and stain to accentuate the flame maple wood in two memorable looks: Cherry Burst and Tobacco Burst!
It has also been a great pleasure to share the first few images of our upcoming Archtop Ukuleles. Now coming in gloss, we have been hard at work dialing in our favorite color schemes on a tried & true Kala ukulele design. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this phenomenal new collection later this year.
The Biggest Kala Guitar Showcase to Date
For those of you that have enjoyed our guitar offerings in the past-- from the Guitarlele to the Parlor Guitar -- we are proud to announce our three newest additions to the Kala Guitar family: Classical Student Guitar, Travel Guitar, and the Orchestra Mini.
These new series contain a variety of nylon and steel string offerings, featuring fan-favorite woods like Mahogany, Cedar, Spruce, and even Ebony.
Ukulele Breaks w/ Ukulenny
Maintaining a tradition of several years of the in-person NAMM Show, Kala Artist Ukulenny held the event’s “Ukulele Breaks” -- three brief play-along info sessions to build confidence and skills on the ukulele. These events were free and broadcast to thousands of online attendees for the Believe in Music NAMM show!
Ukulenny holds an ongoing online workshop and jam session for ukulele players of all skill levels several times each week. For more information on how to participate for free, check out his website.
New Vegan Straps Made in Brazil
A much requested accessory over the past few years is finally here: vegan ukulele straps! These 3 faux leather colors -- Black, Brown and Whiskey -- are handmade in Brazil and made of 100% non-animal synthetic material. They are also 100% recyclable.
Also hand made in brazil are 11 additional varieties of vibrant, multi-tone straps: Heather Blue, Heather Grey, Olive Herringbone, Heather Rust, Amazon Stripe, Heather Brown, Rastafarian Stripe, and Blue Stripe.