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View Full Version : Kona bass versus U-bass



ichadwick
12-10-2010, 01:34 AM
I picked up a Kala U-bass this summer, but don't play it nearly as much as I should. I want to work more on bass playing, but am tempted by the Kona bass - a three-string "stick" style bass tuned in G. I might get it and sell the U-bass.

Anyone have any experience with both (or either) who can comment on them?

Kekani
12-10-2010, 08:20 AM
Ian, funny, learning play bass has taken me away from really building (except I'm building my own bass) for the past year. I've seen and played the u-bass, and have only seen KonaBob's creation when I wasn't interested in bass (at the time).

I went online to view the concept behind the WalkingBass, and if I had never taken bass lessons before, and wanted to get into playing bass, I'd get it. For Hawaiian music, the WalkingBass can lay a very good groove - I've heard KonaBob a few years back, very nice. Of course, so can the Kala, but I prefer Owen Holt's solid body version for something in that scale length. Unfortunately, I think I'd miss the extra 4th string, especially since the guy I play with is all over the map with Gabby and Peter Moon stuff - I always sang their songs, but never noticed what it took to actually play their music, ie: How d'ya do, Flying, Kauai Beauty, Pua Lilia, et al.

Of course, no excuses from me, I just prefer more custom stuff, rather than off the shelf. But, if everything was off the shelf, I'd enjoy playing the WalkingBass more than the Kala, just because. And therein lies why I like custom stuff built for the player - if you're comfortable with your tools, and you LIKE playing them, the music you'll make will be that much better.

Personally, I'm in the final sanding stages of my neck-through P&J. I'll post that later I'm sure.

Aaron

Mike P
12-10-2010, 08:41 AM
Ian,
I own both instruments. I like the Kala U-Bass because it is very versitile and I can play very fast runs since the frets are so close together. I like the mellow sound and close to real Bass tone.

I purchased the Kona bass a few years ago from Kona Bob and prefer it for playing with Ukulele's since it has a very acoustic Bass sound. It's a little more of a challenge to play since it's fretless and open tuned. This also limits what you can play somewhat. However it's a real show stopper. I've had real bass players stop, stare and comment how much they like the sound.

Hope this helps your decision.
Mike

ichadwick
12-11-2010, 05:07 AM
Thanks. I feel the U-Bass is probably more versatile when playing with other instruments. I played bass (my fav was a short-necked Supra bass) many years ago, and remembering what I did back then is coming back slowly. the Kona/Walking bass might be more of a challenge because of the open tuning (although I wonder if it could be tuned GCE?) but it looks like a lot of fun. Can't find any on eBay or used on any forum, so I'll probably have to purchase new.

Kekani
12-11-2010, 10:46 AM
. . .Can't find any on eBay or used on any forum, so I'll probably ahve o purchase new.

Could be a sign that most who buy them, don't sell them. . .

ichadwick
12-12-2010, 03:40 AM
Could be a sign that most who buy them, don't sell them. . .
True. But I live in hope someone wants to trade a U-bass for one...

ichadwick
12-18-2010, 02:56 AM
I've discovered several electric upright bass models that intrigue me, including three-four and even five-string models.
Dean Pace makes one that really interests me:
http://www.drumza.com/images/DeanUprightPaceBass.jpg
Which seems quite playable according to this review (http://www.bill-lewington.com/Dean/articles/pace_bass_rev.pdf). Traditional four-string tuning. Then there's the Stagg 3/4 electric upright:
http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/stagg2.jpg
Any uke players also play one of these? Would like some comments on them, if so.

Brad Bordessa
12-18-2010, 07:39 AM
I love the walking bass. Konabob could back me up any day. I don't own one or claim to know how to play it well, but I've been around a Walkingbass long enough to know that it is one of the most simple to learn instruments ever. Konabob's teaching material makes it possible to play along with any Hawaiian song in like 2 minutes (without any previous music knowledge). So yes, it's easy and fun. All of the "frets" are marked and the scale is so long that it's hard to sound out of tune.

My observation of the U-Bass is that it sounds like a tuba.

Pippin
12-18-2010, 08:16 AM
Thanks. I feel the U-Bass is probably more versatile when playing with other instruments. I played bass (my fav was a short-necked Supra bass) many years ago, and remembering what I did back then is coming back slowly. the Kona/Walking bass might be more of a challenge because of the open tuning (although I wonder if it could be tuned GCE?) but it looks like a lot of fun. Can't find any on eBay or used on any forum, so I'll probably have to purchase new.

I am surprised that you never played a Hofner being such a devoted Beatles fan, Ian.

ichadwick
12-18-2010, 09:51 AM
I am surprised that you never played a Hofner being such a devoted Beatles fan, Ian.
Started with a Kent in the mid-60s. Never had a Hofner (too expensive). Never had a Rickenbacker, guitar, either, though I've played them. Had a Fender bass, but liked the shorter scale of the Supra the most.

As for the U-bass: to me it sounds like whatever I set the amp to. While it's fun, I just haven't warmed to it as much as I expected, so I will sell it and move on. The big difference between the Stagg and Pace is that the Stagg has a radiused fretboard and thus can be played with a bow. It also has a preamp and headphone jack.

UkeNukem
12-19-2010, 03:37 AM
You might think about one of these!

http://www.edencompanies.com/bogdon/images/dte/IMG_3039_1_web.jpg

From http://www.edencompanies.com/bogdon/orders.html

ichadwick
12-19-2010, 12:02 PM
Love it! I'm hooked - gotta get one!