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Thread: Kala Ubass

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    8

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    I'm a Bass player from way back and now into Uke, so you would think the U-Bass would tick all boxes. Tried one last weekend while on holidays. Innovative, and they sure put some thought into getting a big sound (amplified) out of a small instrument. The bottom end was great, less impressed with the mid and high notes and think some equalisation would help the sound here. The strings, as others comment are a trial, and while got used to them, they slow the ability to get across them while playing, and make fretting and intonation more difficult. Some type of "string glide" would assist, and unsure if manafacturers suggest a product. There were good full scale basses at the same store for less $$s so why bother unless you want the visual of a quirky instrument?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    394

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    I've been playing bass since 1991 and started playing the UBass about 6 months ago. At first, I thought it would be similar to an acoustic bass, but for me it wasn't and still isn't. When I play the UBass I have to use a different approach than when I play a bass guitar or an acoustic bass. The strings give me a different feel and the size of its neck require me to think UBass, not bass guitar. I use an Ampeg Micro Stack with the UBass and it sounds really full. Nonetheless, to get the full satisfaction on recordings, I have to make full use of a compressor, something I hardly need with my Fodera or Music Man basses.

    In conclusion: I love the UBass and I wouldn't want to miss it anymore, even if it means more work than my up-scale basses when trying to make it sound at its best.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    39

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    I'm pretty much sold on the idea of playing a Ubass. But, I live nowhere near music stores and the few that are around tend to have guitars and marching band gear. Not even standard electric bass. This may be a stupid question, but what would be a cheap, decent Ubass that I could learn to like. I don't mind too much for aesthetics as much as quality. My price range is $0-$250. Or, just the cheapest you have come across.
    Wish List
    Kala Ubass
    A Banjolele
    A Concert ukulele
    A Tenor ukulele
    A Makala Dolphin

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Posts
    464

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calebcat View Post
    This may be a stupid question, but what would be a cheap, decent Ubass that I could learn to like.
    You're not likely to come across many used ones. They start at $399 new for the spruce top model like the one I have.

    - Steve

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Bassfiddlesteve, I was actually looking at one.
    Wish List
    Kala Ubass
    A Banjolele
    A Concert ukulele
    A Tenor ukulele
    A Makala Dolphin

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Collingwood, ON Canada
    Posts
    3,849

    Default

    I have the U-bass. I used to play a short-scale Supra bass, many years ago (a 25" scale). The U-bass is fun and has a nice, woody sound when plugged in (almost no sound unplugged but fair enough for quiet practice without accompaniment).

    Advantages: size, short neck, lightweight, cool looking. Standard tuning.

    Disadvantages: strings take a while to settle and stay tuned (like ukes, but better than the Ashbory which never really settles and continues to stretch). Strings are fat and rubbery, so they tend to roll under your fingers - you need to work on a different technique when playing to avoid this (not difficult but needs a bit of concentration) - escpecially when sliding. There are no active controls, and I find the output somewhat unbalanced in favour of the G string. Needs some moderation via the amp to sort that out. The short spaces at the higher frets make it more difficult to play above the 12th fret.

    It's been fun re-learning bass. However, I'm looking at changing to a different style - either a Kona Walking bass or an electric upright like the Dean Pace. Might sell the U-bass to help finance one.
    Ian
    -------------------------------------------
    “Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum, et tertium non datur. To err is human; to persevere in error is diabolical; there is no third option.”
    Seneca the Younger
    Ukulele reviews * Vintage Uke Music * Tequila * Henry Hudson * Harmonica reviews * Blog

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    949

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    I got a spruce-top UBass about a week ago and have been having a lot of fun with it. I have never played bass before so I have nothing unlearn or adjust to. This is my first amp too (a Roland Bass Micro Cube) and I haven't really messed with all the effects on it yet but it sounds great and runs on batteries. I love that.

    As far as the UBass, it seems easy to play, even for a novice. The sound is nothing special when it's not amplified but when plugged in it sounds fantastic. Lots of bottom end. The strings seem to be settling in but I do check the tuning each time I pick it up to play. The Snark tuners work great on the bass; the IntelliTuner 500 I have doesn't pick up the bass tones well enough to be useful.

    The tuners on the UBass work quite well. It takes quite a bit of turning to get the tone to change on these strings when you first start using them but once they're stretched out the tuners are great for the fine tuning. I do find it easier to play this with a strap.The finish on it seems quite nice. No rough spots or weirdness in the finish. bindings are nice and clean. Only complaint I have on the appearance is that the battery cover is a gloss while the rest of the uke is matte. What's up with that?

    I haven't played the mahogany top so I can't compare the sound of the spruce top and mahogany top. From the sound samples I found on youtube and elsewhere on the web I couldn't discern any difference so I went with the cheaper top (spruce) and spent the rest on a b-stock concert eleuke (hey, I had to get an amp for the UBass, might as well try out an electrified uke!) Another uke player mentioned to me that he didn't like the whiteness of the spruce top but in person it looks like yellowish spruce wood grain, not bright white to me.

    Not sure what else to say about this instrument but feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Collingwood, ON Canada
    Posts
    3,849

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    Mine's for sale, if anyone wants to make an offer.
    Ian
    -------------------------------------------
    “Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum, et tertium non datur. To err is human; to persevere in error is diabolical; there is no third option.”
    Seneca the Younger
    Ukulele reviews * Vintage Uke Music * Tequila * Henry Hudson * Harmonica reviews * Blog

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I was not a bass player...well I'm still not a bass player, but I had to have this thing. I've got the spruce-top fretted. I echo the others comments as far as sound and playability. I've had a peg break once, for the reason that Steve mentioned above. The string was doubled up and caused a lot of upward tension on the peg. My music store ordered a new one for free. I hope I can learn to play this thing properly.
    Here's a comparison of my UBass and Pocket Uke.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,966

    Default Bakithi Kumalo on UBass NAMM 2011

    I posted this to the "videos and links" forum, didn't get a lot of views, thought maybe some bass players might appreciate it. The stuff he does at 2:27 blows me away.

    Updated video that starts at 2:27 of the previous:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zKCLHjSI9A
    Last edited by Dougf; 09-21-2011 at 10:27 AM. Reason: update link

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