Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kala KC-02 Clip-on Ukulele Tuner


I got my Kala KC-02 clip-on ukulele tuner for free when I bought a ukulele, and it is not a bad product. But, after working with it awhile I would not purchase another because it is not very versatile nor is it the best value for the money.

It is a basic tuner that works like many other products on the market (they are probably all made by the same company). It clips to the headstock and uses vibrations from the instrument to display whether the instrument is in tune. Unlike some other tuners out there it does not have a built-in microphone, so it has to be clipped to the instrument to work.

Operation is very simple – there is one button on the front that is pressed to turn the unit ON or OFF, and if the button is held it can be switched between C tuning, D tuning or Chromatic (meaning you can tune other instruments besides ukes).

The notes is displayed on the LCD screen along with a needle showing how close the string is to being in tune. When the pitch is correct, the needle swings to the 12 o’clock position, and the display tunes from blue to green. Simple, huh?

It is well-enough made. The clip is rubber-coated so it will not scratch the finish on your ukulele, and the case is rubberized plastic so it does not feel too cheap. It uses some sort of large flat battery, and I shudder to think how much it will cost when it comes time to replace it.

I compared it to another cheap-ass tuner that I got for free (O’ahu brand – it looks almost identical), and they both seemed to provide the same readings. So the thing is consistent, at least.

But I am not sure that it is very accurate. There are other tuners in this price range that are adjustable, and that moves them ahead of the Kala on my list. And to take it a step further, there are $15 tuners (like the Snark) that are adjustable AND have a built-in microphone AND a metronome.

The Kala KC-02 tuner has a suggested retail price of $24.99, and a street price of about $16.00. Due to its Spartan array of features I would be hard-pressed to recommend it, especially when you consider the better options out there.

Stay tuned for my review of the Snark SN-1 tuner.


1 comment:

  1. You should check out the Tiki Uke Tuner by GoGo Tuners. They seem to be very hot. I purchased one from Sam Ash and to be honest the screen display was more vivid and sensitive than the Kala. Just my humble opinion...but I do love my UKE