Kala uBass on Display at MIM

 

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This spruce acoustic Kala uBass is on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Arizona. Photo: MIM

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona, has a 2012 spruce Kala uBass on display as part of its collection of instruments. The uBass was a gift from Kala to the museum.

The MIM, which has more than 6,500 instruments on display from more than 200 countries around the world at any one time, boasts more than 16,000 instruments in its permanent collection. The organization says all of its instruments have artistic and historic merit.

The display card for the uBass reads: “U-Bass (plucked Lute). China 2012. Mahogany, Spruce and Ebony woods; metal. Kala Brand Music Co., maker. This 21st-C[entury] version of the ukulele generates a rich bass tone when amplified. Gift of Kala Brand Music Co.”

Sales/Marketing Mgr. Rick Carlson Leaves Kala to Join Phil Jones Bass

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Rick Carlson is leaving Kala to become head of marketing at Phil Jones Bass. Photo: Rick Carlson

Rick Carlson, head of sales and marketing at Kala Brand Music, has left that position and will join Phil Jones Bass/Pure Sound as Director of Sales and Marketing.

Carlson was instrumental in the introduction of the Kala uBass. No stranger to the bass market, Carlson also worked at SWR Engineering Inc. and ACE Products Group.

Phil Jones, head of Phil Joes Bass, said,“Rick brings a proven industry track record along with a pedigree in the bass world that fits perfectly with our plans for the future and the expansion of our brand.

Carlson said he is happy to work with Phil Jones, whom he noted creates bass amp designs that “are at the cutting edge of engineering in bass amplification.”

Carlson did not say why he left Kala.

 

The Polls Have Now Closed

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Nearly 90% of respondents voted for us to expand coverage to non-Kala uBass models, so that’s what we’ll be doing.

 

The people have spoken.

The votes are in. The ballots have been tabulated. And we have a winner.

By a significant margin, with 45 votes cast, you have voted for us to expand coverage to include non-Kala brand uBasses. The poll closed at 40 votes Yes and 5 votes No. That breaks down to nearly 90% of respondents voting Yes.

So there you have it folks. Democracy in action.

Look for the new and improved uBass Appreciation Society real soon.

Magnus Demos the Paddle Bass

 

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Magnus Sjöquist puts the Kala Paddle Bass through its paces.

 

Our friend Magnus Sjöquist of PlayUBass fame, posted a video of himself and his bandmates putting the new, as yet unreleased, Kala Paddle Bass through its paces.

Check out the video here.

As Magnus demonstrates in the video, the one-string bass can be adapted to any genre of music and can be played on the lap, mountain dulcimer style, or it can be held like a guitar and played that way.

He also did a Facebook Live video, explaining how the Paddle Bass works. Check that video out here.

 

You Now Have (String) Options

 

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Kala uBasses (from left) The Rumbler, Bubinga and Exotic Mahogany are now available with string options.

 

As pointed out by Bass Player magazine, Kala is now offering its uBass models with different string options.

In an article on their online site, they point out that Kala is now offering Road Toad Polyurethane Pahoehoe, Aquila Silver Rumbler and Kala Roundwound strings on some models.

Not exactly new, the uBass models have been available for a while (all except the Bubinga, which is fairly new) and you could get the strings separately and restring your uBass if you were so inclined. Still, it’s nice to know Kala is offering options if you are not a fan of the original Pahoehoe strings.

You can now get The Rumbler U-Bass with Aquila Silver Rumbler strings, which are designed “with increased density and stability for a clear, resonate low end.”

You can buy the The Bubinga U-Bass strung with Road Toad Polyurethane Pahoehoe strings, which gives “it a deep, punchy low end.”

Or you can buy The Exotic Mahogany U-Bass with Kala Round Wound strings that adds “treble while retaining the immense low end.” Pahoehoe also are available on the Exotic Mahogany if you prefer.

Kala Affected by Rosewood Restrictions

 

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East Indian Rosewood is one of the Rosewood species restricted for export.

 

Like all companies selling instruments and products containing Rosewood, Kala is affected by the new regulations restricting Rosewood species sales across borders.

The company has placed this disclaimer on its web site:

INTERNATIONAL ORDERS
Please bear with us—due to new International Export Regulations regarding all species of Rosewood there will be an undetermined postponement of orders containing Kala Elites, California U-Basses, and USA Banjo Ukulele shipping outside the United States. We hope to have this resolved as soon as possible.

The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) held a conference from September 24 to October 4 this year in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it was decided that all species of rosewood under the genus Dalbergia and three bubinga species (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) will be protected and its export restricted, according to Reverb.com.

The restrictions went into affect January 2.

Kosso – sometimes called African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) – will also be protected, they note.

While Brazilian Rosewood is was already under CITES protection, now all the nearly 300 other species of rosewood are under similar regulation. This includes East Indian rosewood and Honduran rosewood – as well as woods like cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) and African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) – that are widely used in the manufacturing of stringed instruments, marimbas and some woodwinds.

Rosewood is the world’s most trafficked wild product, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, accounting for a third of all seizures by value, more than elephant ivory, pangolins, rhino horn, lions and tigers put together.

So, if you’re an overseas customer of Kala’s, prepare for delays if you buy an instrument form them. Sales shipped within the United States are not affected. If you already own an instrument with rosewood and have it in your possession, there’s no need to worry. You can also travel with previously purchased instruments with no restrictions.

Paddle Bass First Look

 

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Magnus Sjöquist demonstrates Kala’s new Paddle uBass at Winter NAMM 2017.

 

Last month we told you that Kala introduced a new type of uBass called the Paddle Bass, aimed at the educational market and first-time bass players.

We mistakenly told you that it was not a uBass. Well, according to Mike Upton, it indeed is a uBass.

Thanks to Bass Musician magazine, we have a video of Mike and our friend Magnus Sjöquist demonstrating the Paddle Bass at Winter NAMM.

Click Here to watch the video.

As usual for Bass Musician, the camerawork is not the best, but the video is still watchable and informative. Besides, they are a bass publication, not a video publication, so I guess I should cut them some slack.

Mike says the Paddle Bass is the “most simple uBass” that Kala has created.

He explains that the new uBass is a one-string instrument meant for new players and kids. It comes in three tunings: the keys of “E,” “F” and “G.” It also features magnetic fretboard overlays for each tuning marking the notes at each fret.

The Paddle is meant to be played in your lap, mountain dulcimer style. But it looks like it would be a lot of fun to put a strap on it and play it like a one-string bass guitar.

If you belong to a mountain dulcimer club or a ukulele club, I can see this as being a fun addition to the group, enabling you to lay down some simple bass accompaniment.

No word yet on availability or price. But stay tuned. As soon as we know anything, we’ll let you know.

I’d love to get my hands on one and do a proper review for you guys and gals. Keep it tuned here for more information as it comes in.