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View Full Version : Kala Ubass new/old models?



FinnP
09-01-2015, 05:56 AM
Hi
Go a special offer in a shop today for a Kala Ubass.
I wonder if Kala has made newer editions of the ubass, if so, how can I tell the difference.
Thanks
It looks like this one:

pbagley
09-01-2015, 06:26 AM
Does the bass have a preamp with tuner?

When I started looking at U-Basses in the fall of 2013 one sales guy said that the older stock had no preamp, just a pickup. The newer stock had the preamp and tuner built in. I was looking at a mahogany plywood with no preamp at the time, which I decided not to buy.

Jon Moody
09-01-2015, 06:38 AM
As mentioned, old models had the piezo pickup wired straight to the jack, with no preamp. I actually preferred this, because then you could use your own standalone preamp instead of whatever one they put in. My former Hutch Hutchinson model U-Bass was the no preamp model, and it was nice.

FinnP
09-01-2015, 07:44 AM
Thanks. It had a tuner and EQ, so I guess it's up to date.

FinnP
09-02-2015, 02:58 AM
Brought my tuner to the shop to test the intonation. The two ubasses was both very bad :-( they were about a semitone off above the twelfth fret. They were playable to the 7th fret. Are they all so bad? Think I'll try out the fretless models when I get the chance.

katysax
09-02-2015, 05:38 AM
It's an issue because the neck is so short. They are generally a bit off after the 12th fret. On the solid body ones there is a little more ability to adjust the intonation. I don't think fretless is the answer. Because the neck is so short with fretless you have to be very accurate or you are off. And as you go up the neck the amount of room you have to deal with to get the note is less. On the whole the u-bass works best on the first seven frets.

mrufino1
09-04-2015, 02:18 PM
On the whole the u-bass works best on the first seven frets.

True of just about any bass! That's why they call them the money notes... ;-)

oldpoidog
09-18-2015, 12:30 PM
I am new here and would like to know the opinions of ubass owners. Are the newer ubass with the preamps and hipshot tuners better/same/ less than the older ubass with just the passive pickups and hipshot tuners? I hope I phrased it correctly. Thank you friends...

katysax
09-18-2015, 12:39 PM
I am new here and would like to know the opinions of ubass owners. Are the newer ubass with the preamps and hipshot tuners better/same/ less than the older ubass with just the passive pickups and hipshot tuners? I hope I phrased it correctly. Thank you friends...

It depends. I have one of the older ones with just a passive pickup. I prefer it to the active models because (a) the stock built in preamp is a cheap thing and when I want to use a preamp I use an external Fishman, and (b) I've had a u-bass preamp battery die on me in the middle of a gig. Other people prefer the built in preamp. Other than the preamp the actual U-Bass is the same.

oldpoidog
09-18-2015, 04:00 PM
Thank you katysax

Is there a way then to bypass the preamp on the newer ubass and wire the pick up to an external preamp? Would a luthier be able to make such a modification?

SailingUke
09-19-2015, 05:42 AM
It's an issue because the neck is so short. They are generally a bit off after the 12th fret. On the solid body ones there is a little more ability to adjust the intonation. I don't think fretless is the answer. Because the neck is so short with fretless you have to be very accurate or you are off. And as you go up the neck the amount of room you have to deal with to get the note is less. On the whole the u-bass works best on the first seven frets.

I found it much easier to play a fretless. I do not have near the ear Katysax has, but I find cleaner notes on the fretless. I never played bass before getting my U-Bass a few years ago.

gaichele
12-22-2015, 09:36 AM
Instead of modifying it why not do what katysax said and just plug in to an external pre? (You might need to still keep batteries in the onboard pre, but it's no big deal just to check frequently and carry spares in your case.) I use an Eden WTDI. Works fine along with the onboard one.

oldpoidog
11-20-2016, 10:13 AM
Aloha,

Just thought I would update this thread. I was able to find an older pre-amp Kala Ubass with Hipshot tuners and, also fortunate to pick up a Fishman BII pre amp. I've been playing the ubass for several weeks now and really enjoy it. Much easier grabbing the ubass for practice vs. my bass guitar. Having much fun.. Hope all of you are also enjoying your ubass. :shaka:

kohanmike
11-20-2016, 12:32 PM
Look at my signature to see how much I'm enjoying small basses, none over 25" scale, and more to come.

katysax
11-21-2016, 06:38 PM
I would not mess with it. Not worth it.

oldpoidog
11-23-2016, 12:44 PM
No worries....
I re read my update post. What I meant to say is that I found an older Kala UBass. The type that does not have the onboard pre-amp. Nothing to mess around with on my UBass. Sorry for the confusion...and thank you for friendly advice.
:shaka:

katysax
11-25-2016, 02:10 PM
I'm still enjoying my ubass but lately I'm practicing more on a full-sized bass. I never bother any more with a pre amp on the original ubass. There's a preamp in every amp that I use. All the ubasses are really just passive piezo pickups with an active preamp. The only real use for the preamp is to adjust volume on the bass.

Having played the ubass for about 3 years now, I have found that for a long time I enjoyed the fretless more than the fretted but lately I'm back to fretted more. The reason is that with fretless you have a very narrow spot to put you finger on to get the note with proper intonation. If you move your finger, you slide out of tune. If you hit a little bit off you have to slide into place (which gives the "mwah" sound associated with fretless). Being a little off can be OK for some kinds of music but it can sound really bad with others. I'm not accurate enough to hit all the notes exactly right and not move. The "better" I get the more I realize my limitations with the fretless.

Likewise I've gone back to full-sized or short scale basses for some uses and practice with that more. The reason is that the UBass neck is too short to have great intonation after about the 7th fret. And the higher up the neck you get, the less space you have to work with on a fretless. The fretless also doesn't work very well for chords. I've been experimenting more with chords on the bass. Chords on the bass really work best on frets closer to the bridge.

By the way I don't have "golden ears". I don't even have that great of an ear for someone who has studied and played as much music as I have. One reason I'm moving away from fretless is that playing it right requires putting in the effort to listen closely. That's not so easy to do when you are playing with a bunch of people.

kohanmike
11-25-2016, 08:16 PM
One of the reasons I did not choose a U-bass was because of the short scale, that's why my first was a 23" Gold Tone GT Microbass, then I had a custom fretless made 21.5" with more frets than the Kala. I do prefer a builtin preamp (with builtin tuner) so I can control the volume easily, and the EQ controls do help at times. I use a wireless system for my basses, so sometimes I'm not near the amp to make adjustments.

Croakie
12-15-2016, 04:40 AM
What do use for a wireless system?

kohanmike
12-15-2016, 08:48 AM
A Sony DWZ B30. Both the transmitter and receiver use a battery so it's very portable. The receiver also has an a/c cord.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Sony DWZ B30.jpg

spigmu
06-29-2017, 05:23 AM
I have an early run passive Kala, as well as a bunch of other same scale basses (Hadean UKB-23, Hadean UKBE-20, Ashbory) and I can say confidently that the bad intonation on my Kala is not due to its short scale. The intonation is just off : ) much more so than the similar in concept and scale UKB-23 and especially the UKBE-20 solid body, which is the same scale. The Kala is the only one that can't be used if I'm going to be free with where on the neck I'm going to play. Can't say how much has changed in that regard since then, but I have to assume (hope) a lot because it's more than just a little off. No idea how this this made it out of the gate : ) My cheaper UKB-23 has no such issues.

gaichele
08-23-2017, 02:26 PM
[QUOTE=katysax;1914575]The only real use for the preamp is to adjust volume on the bass.

I wouldn't say that. I have a California acoustic-electric (L.R. Baggs electronics). I find that all 3 of the control knobs make a significant difference in the sound, each in its own way.