Welcome All Kala uBass Enthusiasts

If you have an interest in the Kala brand uBass, then this is the blog for you.

The uBass Appreciation Society is the first blog on the Internet solely dedicated to those who play, or are interested in, the Kala brand uBass, a combination baritone ukulele and bass guitar. This ground-breaking 21″ short scale bass guitar produces the same pitches as a standard bass and is the closest you can come to the sound of an upright acoustic bass without an actual upright.

This blog is for all those interested in playing tips, news and information about the Kala brand uBass.

*We are not affiliated in any way, nor are we supported by, the Kala Brand Music Co., its employees or related companies.

— Dean Tomasula – uBass Appreciation Society

What’s the Difference?

A portion of the uBass Comparison chart put together by Magnus Sjöquist. © PLAY UBASS

A portion of the uBass Comparison chart put together by Magnus Sjöquist. © PLAY UBASS!

Now that Kala has like 1,000 different models of uBass, I bet you’ve often wondered what the difference between them are. Well, wonder no more, because our friend Magnus Sjöquist at PLAY UBASS! has put together a very useful chart explaining the differences between the various models, both Acoustic/Electric and Solidbody.

The chart includes such information as Model Name, Retail Price, whether it’s available in Fretted and/or Fretless, what options are available and the type of strings it comes with.

Take a look at the chart and download one for yourself. It’s a very handy reference guide.

You can download a PDF copy of Magnus’s chart HERE.

The Mike and Ukulenny Show

Kala's Mike Upton and Ukulenny jamming on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"

Kala’s Mike Upton and Ukulenny jamming on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”


Mike Upton of Kala Brand Music Co. not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk.

Here’s Mike accompanying Uke player Ukulenny on the uBass to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

Check out the VIDEO  HERE.

Nik West on the uBass: It’s Brilliant!

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Jon Liebman of For Bass Players Only recently interviewed bass player and uBassist Nik West and asked her about playing the uBass.

“They sound amazing,” West says. “I slap on the acoustic one. I’m a funk player and I try to utilize that uBass with everything I do.”

Ms. West says the main reason she likes the uBass, aside from its huge sound, is that it’s small. She can play it in hotel rooms on the road if she needs to practice or if whomever she’s playing bass for decides to change the set list at the last minute. She’s even played it on airplanes, she says.

Check out the video interview with Nik West HERE. She talks about the uBass starting at 3:03.

By the way, we agree with Nik. The uBass is brilliant.

Kala Debuts New Bubinga uBass

Kala's new Bubinga uBass.

Kala’s new Bubinga uBass.


Bubinga. A wood you know and love if you own a boutique bass. And now you can have your uBass made out of it.

Kala just announced it is making the uBass available in Bubinga wood.

Here’s what the company has to say about the new uBass:

The 21” scale bass features distinctive grain patterns of Bubinga wood on the top, back and sides and comes with a custom fitted padded logo gig bag.  Other specifications include a mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, Exclusive Hipshot Licensed black anodized tuners, Graph Tech Labs™ Black TUSQ Nut, and a Truss rod.

The company says the uBass will retail for $499, with a gig bag. No word on when it’ll show up at retailers though.

Kala vs. the Acoustic Competition

Bass Direct in the U.K. pits the competition against the Kala uBass Standard and Rumbler models.

Bass Direct in the U.K. pits the competition against the Kala uBass Standard and Rumbler models.


Ever wonder how the little Kala acoustic uBasses stack up against the competition? Well, this video, posted by U.K. music retailer Bass Direct will give you a good idea.

In the video, Bass Direct pits the Kala uBass Rumbler Mahogany, the Kala Spruce Fretless uBass and the Kala uBass Mahogany Fretless (with both Pahoehoe and Pyramid strings) against the Tanglewood Roadster Travel Bass Fretless, the Countryman Ukulele Bass Fretless, the Aquila Short Bass One Basic Fretless.

Which one sounds the best? Watch the video and decide for yourself. I will say that they all sound good, though I think the Kala uBasses sound more focused and refined. Except the Mahogany Fretless with the Pyramid strings. That one sounds horrible. And it’s not the uBass, it’s the Pyramid strings and the lackluster playing. Among the competitors, I think the Tanglewood sounds the best.

Though, to be fair, the Countryman and the Short Bass One have horrible setups (with string buzzes everywhere), so they don’t sound their best in this clip. Interestingly, the Short Bass One–which looks to have the largest body of all the uBasses–is the quietest. It does not project sound very well.

While it may not be a very “scientific” test of all the uBasses, this video will give you an idea of what they all sound like.

Cheeseburgers and uBasses in Paradise

Jimmy Buffett bassist Jim Mayer and his uBass.

Jimmy Buffett bassist Jim Mayer and his uBass.


Jimmy Buffett’s longtime bassist Jim Mayer has played his uBass on several of Buffett’s albums. In fact, he says it’s usually a hit with the fans at their shows.

Mayer recently spoke to For Bass Players Only:

At Buffett’s concerts, one of the things that really helps the bassist stand out is his diminutive Kala U-Bass, which is essentially a ukulele built to play as a bass. While it may not have the girth of other basses, Mayer consistently blows audiences away with its sound.

Mayer has played the U-Bass on several of Buffett’s albums and taken it on tour with the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band to Europe. He told FBPO that it does “an excellent job filling in the gaps in the midrange tones” in Buffett’s music. He also said it sounds great on reggae tunes too.

“Everybody I’ve played it for or played it with just can not believe how huge the tone is out of that tiny instrument,” the bassist says. “It still sounds enormous!”

Calling the uBass an “amazingly versatile instrument,” Mayer says he usually always has one on stage with him.

You can read the full interview HERE.