Bakithi’s Baby is Official

It’s here. The Bakithi Kumalo Signature solidbody uBass that we told you about in

Bakithi Kumalo and his Kala Signature Solidbody uBass.  Photo courtesy Kala Brand Music Co.

Bakithi Kumalo and his Kala Signature Solidbody uBass. Photo courtesy Kala Brand Music Co.

September. Well, now you can buy one of your very own.

Per Kala’s Press Release:

Kala Brand Music Co. and bass legend Bakithi Kumalo have collaborated on a new signature model solid body U-BASS™ that is being manufactured by Kala in the U.S. Bakithi Kumalo is the revered longtime bassist for Paul Simon, who discovered Bakithi while seeking musicians in South Africa for his legendary Graceland album.

Bakithi, a U-BASS endorsee since 2009, has found the U-BASS to be an extension of his unique and distinctive playing style. The B.K. U-BASS is a 21” scale solid body electric 4-string fretless bass strung with Kala’s proprietary polyurethane strings. Other features include a select ash body with strong grain Espresso Brown finish, a black single-ply pickguard and Bakithi Kumalo’s signature on the headstock.

In addition there is a custom L.R. Baggs active EQ and pickup system developed in conjunction with Kala, a select maple neck, and lined fretless fingerboard. Each bass is set up to Bakithi’s specifications and includes a custom deluxe gig bag. The list price starts at $1099.

This is Kala’s second signature model, joining the Hutch Hutchinson acoustic in the lineup.

Hit up your favorite online music retailer for one. Or run down to your local Mom & Pop music store and tell the to stock them.

The One. The Original. But Not the Only.

Mike Upton of Kala Brand Music Co.

Mike Upton of Kala Brand Music Co.

For sure the Kala uBass is the original. And in my opinion, still the best. But it’s no longer the only one out there. A bunch of competitors have popped up lately and some of them are pretty good. There’s the Stevens Uke Bass. The Chinese Legpap models. And the Kamoa E3 Bass, to name just a few.

Well, all this competition is not lost on Kala. In a somewhat unusual move (and I think pretty damn gracious on his part) Mike Upton has put out a statement acknowledging his uBass competitors. He says he’s flattered that they’re copying the uBass.

Here’s what he had to say:

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Well if that is the case, then lately we have been very flattered. We are starting to see imitations of our ground-breaking U-BASS coming to market. Our product, support, marketing, and related activities are well advanced of the imitations.

In 2007, when I first met Owen Holt in Hawaii and played his original Big Bufo bass design, it would have been hard for me to imagine that six years later we would have an entire product line dedicated to U-BASS. But I knew, even back then, that there was something special with this instrument and I was hooked.

I was so excited about this slice of thunder that we didn’t just look at adding one instrument to our current line-up, but we built a dedicated brand and spent countless hours and resources improving the design, developing new models and introducing thousands of Bass players to the U-Bass.

Today we have over 35 different U-Bass models including Electro-Acoustic models, the SUB solid body series, and our top of the line California solid body models made right here in our Petaluma Custom Shop. We are also tooling up our production for custom California made Electro-Acoustic models of U-Bass! Stay tuned…..

But, then, Mike has always been a gracious kind of guy. From our beginning he’s acknowledged the existence of this blog and even reads it once in a while. He was even nice enough to include a link to us on the Kala web site. We didn’t ask him for a link (thanks Mike!) – he just went ahead and did it. And boy do we appreciate it.

In his statement he also acknowledged his fan base (that would be us and the other uBass blogs and forums out there:

The support of U-BASS has also gone viral across the web, and has spawned websites and forums dedicated to this very unique instrument.

That’s probably one of the reasons the uBass is so successful. Mike and the rest of the guys and gals at Kala know that they don’t produce instruments in a vacuum. Real people (even musicians!) buy and play them. If they weren’t top notch instruments, there wouldn’t be all this buzz about them. And if Kala didn’t care about its customers, they wouldn’t be customers for very long.

Kala is a class act. And worthy of your support.