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View Full Version : Considering either a Kala ubass or Gold Tone m bass 25



dhbailey
02-05-2017, 01:15 AM
I'm new to the ukelele world, having owned one and practiced for only 2 weeks now, but I've been a professional in the music world (band instrument repair, private lessons, performing on brass/woodwinds) for over 40 years.

I'm intrigued by these basses and am seriously considering buying one. I notice that most of the threads in this bass forum are fairly old so I thought I would start a new thread. I have read through many of the old threads.

Whenever I search on youtube all the demos have these instruments plugged in. I want to know how they sound acoustically. None of the music stores near me sell any so I can't get my hands on one to try.

My wife is a violinist/fiddler so it would be fun to jam with her around the house.

Also we both teach at a violin-oriented music camp for a week each year (I conduct the student orchestra) and I'm wondering how these would work acoustically for small fiddling classes of between 5 and 10 people.

Any insights into how these sound acoustically will be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Croaky Keith
02-05-2017, 01:59 AM
From what I've read on the forums, they are OK for quiet practice at home, but really need to be plugged in to be heard.

That's not too much of a downer though, as you can buy mains/battery powered amps. :)

dhbailey
02-05-2017, 05:32 AM
Thanks -- that's the impression I got reading the forums, too. And I've got a battery/mains powered amp so I'm all set in that regard.

bnolsen
02-06-2017, 03:12 AM
Don't discount the rondo hadean omegas. If you've done instrument work in the past you can hack into the hadean omega bass without too many regrets. Might be better to hold out for the longer scale and also consider going fretless as these ubasses have poor adjustment options.

SailingUke
02-06-2017, 05:56 AM
The acoustic U-bass is almost silent when not plugged in. The Ohana is a little bigger and uses wound strings and can be heard in a small group unplugged.

PTOEguy
02-06-2017, 11:03 AM
I agree with bnolsen - my recommendation is to go with the Hadean uke bass from Rondo Music. They are about $150 plus $20 for shipping, and appear to be similar quality to the basic Kala U-bass (starts in the mid-$300s). I've had one for a year now and other than the onboard tuner ceasing to function (I just use a snark), it has functioned perfectly (I got the "curly maple" version, which looks cool, but the curl in the wood results in a rough surface). It also fits tightly into a Musician's gear baritone uke hard case.

My kids take violin, and the Hadean uke bass would be great for adding bass to a fiddle group, but you would need an amp.

Tele295
02-06-2017, 02:38 PM
A solid vs plywood top makes a HUGE difference on these instruments. Solid top will give more acoustic volume, although still not enough to play with a campfire group and be heard.

lfoo6952
02-07-2017, 04:08 AM
In my humble opinion, none of the uke basses on the market will be suitable unplugged when playing in a group. To be heard, you must plug into an amp.

dhbailey
02-07-2017, 11:06 AM
Thank you all for your replies! You've given me a lot to think about -- I now realize that in addition to the expense of the instrument itself I'll need a small amp. The BlackStar Fly 3 with extra speaker is mentioned in another thread and it seems like a nice portable solution to getting some volume. I've got a very nice amp which the bass will sound great through for larger rooms but I would want to get a small portable amp which would do a good job with the bass sounds.

KyMojo
02-07-2017, 11:53 AM
They sound remarkably like an upright bass! I play uke while my friend plays his ubass, and they oth can be heard unplugged. If you are in a group, or a noisy environment you may need to amp it

kohanmike
02-07-2017, 01:12 PM
The BlackStar Fly 3 with extra speaker is mentioned in another thread and it seems like a nice portable solution to getting some volume.

As I mentioned earlier, I have the Blackstar Fly 3 Bass dual unit that I attached together and added a shoulder strap. I "wear" it when we do hospital gigs because we can't carry anything extra and are in tight spaces. (That's my custom bass uke, 21.5" scale with Aquila Thunder Reds and a mount I added to hold my iPhone with the lead sheets.)

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Wearble Fly 3.jpg

dhbailey
02-08-2017, 12:18 AM
Thank you for posting those pictures! They are an inspiration and I can see myself buying that amp when I finally decide on which bass to purchase. I see that you have the Gold Tone MicroBass 23" along with other acoustic basses. Have you tried the Kala ubass? How would you compare the Gold Tone 23" with your 21" acoustic basses? I'm considering the Gold Tone 25" as well as the 23" and the Kala ubass which is 21". There's no place around here which sells this sort of bass so I'm left trying to figure things out from comments and suggestions from those who have made the plunge before me.

Thanks!

kohanmike
02-08-2017, 10:06 AM
Thank you for posting those pictures! They are an inspiration and I can see myself buying that amp when I finally decide on which bass to purchase. I see that you have the Gold Tone MicroBass 23" along with other acoustic basses. Have you tried the Kala ubass? How would you compare the Gold Tone 23" with your 21" acoustic basses? I'm considering the Gold Tone 25" as well as the 23" and the Kala ubass which is 21". There's no place around here which sells this sort of bass so I'm left trying to figure things out from comments and suggestions from those who have made the plunge before me. Thanks!

All the Kala acoustic U-basses I tried where just under 20" scale. I really like the Gold Tone 23" scale, because I also like a cutaway (all of mine are cutaway). I actually replaced the preamp in my Gold Tone to one that faced me, that's just my mishigas (Yiddish for craziness). I find I move around these sub-short scales without much problem.

dhbailey
02-08-2017, 11:45 AM
Thank you very much for your insights -- I think I'll go with the Gold Tone. Now it's just a question of whether to get the 23" or the 25" scale. I really wish there were a store nearby which actually carried these things!

kohanmike
02-08-2017, 06:01 PM
I actually bought my 23" sight unseen by recommendation of U-Space in Downtown Los Angeles. After changing the strings to Pahoehoe I was very happy.

dhbailey
02-09-2017, 04:06 AM
Is the only source for 25" Pahoehoe strings through roadtoad music? I sent Owen a message two days ago to ask how much a 25" set of strings would cost (he's got 21-24" sets listed but says to inquire about longer sets) and I haven't heard a thing. All the other string sites only have the 20-21" sets available and since everybody is suggesting that the Gold Tones (23" or 25") sound better with the Pahoehoe strings I'd like to have a set available once I finally order my bass.