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.

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Bass Player Live 2014 uBass Clinic

Abraham Laboriel Sr. and Bukithi Kumalo on stage at Bass Player Live 2014.

Abraham Laboriel Sr. and Bakithi Kumalo on stage at Bass Player Live 2014.

 

If you were lucky enough to be at Bass Player magazine’s 2014 Bass Player Live show on November 8-9 in Los Angeles, then you probably saw the uBass clinic live. If you weren’t there, you can still enjoy the clinic thanks to Kala, which posted the highlights in a vide on its YouTube channel.

The clinic was hosted by Abraham Laboriel Sr. and Bakithi Kumalo. Those in attendance were treated to a duet by the two bass greats, with Laboriel on an acoustic uBass and Kumalo on his signature Solidbody.

Check out the video Here.

Highlights from the show include:

The presentation of Abraham Laboriel’s Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award, followed by a performance by Open Hands, with Abraham, keyboardist Greg Mathieson, saxophonist Justo Almario and drummer Bill Maxwell.

A VSOP clinic performance by Abraham Laboriel, Bakitihi Kumalo (Paul Simon) and Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt), presented by Kala.

If you play bass, then the Bass Player Live event is like heaven for you. All that bass talent in one place would make anybody want to immediately run out an buy a uBass – or two.

The Kala Booth at NAMM is the Place to Be

Abe Laboriel playing a uBass in Kala's booth at WInter NAMM.

Abe Laboriel playing a uBass in Kala’s booth at WInter NAMM.

Do not under any circumstances find your way over to Kala’s Facebook page. Or if you’re lucky enough to be at the NAMM show, stay away from their booth.

Why? Because after watching all the videos of great bass players playing a uBass, or actually seeing these guys in person playing one, you’ll 1). question your talent as a bass player, 2). want to buy every model uBass Kala has on display and 3). wonder why anyone would want to ply any other instrument.

Over on Kala’s Facebook page, there’s a nice video of Abraham Laboriel playing one of the new USA-made acoustic/electrics. And at 0:24 in the video Abe apparently is very impressed, because you can hear him say “Wow!” That tells you everything you need to know about the new uBasses.

By the way, Mr. Laboriel’s son, Abe Jr. is currently Paul McCartney’s touring drummer. He’s been with McCartney since 2001.

There’s also a video of Hutch Hutchinson playing a Spruce acoustic/electric.

There’s also pics and videos of Mike Merritt, Steve Bailey, Philip Bynoe and others who stopped by the Kala booth to check out the new uBasses.

I think it’s fair to say that the new models will be just as big a hit, if not bigger, than the originals.

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.

2012 uBasses on Sale at Gollihur Music

Gollihur Music is Offering 10% Off Select 2012 uBass Models

Gollihur Music is Offering 10% Off Select 2012 uBass Models

UPDATE 5/23: I’d like to thank the guys at Gollihur Music for reading the blog and appreciating what I do here. Thanks for your support and keep reading!

If you’re looking to pick up a Kala uBass, there’s no better time than right now, because New Jersey-based retailer Gollihur Music is running a sale on the 2012 models.

Gollihur is offering 10% off the following uBass models for a limited time:

  • Fretted – Gloss Black/Mahogany $465 $418.50 with basic gig bag
  • Fretted – Spruce/Spalted Maple $575 $517.50 with basic gig bag
  • Fretted – Hutch Hutchinson Signature $455 $409.50 with padded gig bag
  • Fretted – Solid Acacia $650 $585 with semi-hard foamshell case
  • Fretted – Spruce Top/Mahogany Back $450 $405 with basic gig bag
  • Fretless- Solid Mahogany $550 $495 with semi-hard foamshell case
  • Fretless – Spruce Top/Mahogany Back $450 $405 with basic gig bag

You can call them at 856-292-3194 or buy from their web site. Just put the uBass you want in the shopping cart and if it’s still in stock, the discount will be applied automatically. If the uBass you want is not in stock, you can substitute any of the 2012 models in stock and still get the discount.

In case you’re worried about Gollihur not being reliable, don’t be. They are an authorized Kala dealer and one of the best retailers to deal with. I bought both my Mahogany acoustic and Hutch Hutchinson models from them on Kala’s recommendation.

There’s a Rumble in Petaluma Tonight*

*With apologies to Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats

01.21.13RumblerIt looks like the new Rumbler uBass is having a major influence on Kala’s Acoustic uBass line. Apparently the entire line is being refreshed with the same EQ and tuner electronics as the Rumbler.

The company’s uBass Web Site sports the new models. Updated photos should get posted soon.

The original solid Mahogany uBass is getting the Rumbler electronics, as does the Exotic Mahogany model. The Hutch Hutchinson Signature also is getting the Rumbler electronics and tuner.

It’s nice to see a refresh of the uBass line. Since the Rumbler sells for $399, it would be nice if Kala would lower the price of the updated models. Though I doubt they will.

I’m looking to get my hands on a Rumbler soon. Then again the Hutch Hutchinson with an EQ sounds really, really interesting. It would be a nice compliment to my acoustic HH.

Hmmm…Decisions, Decisions.

UPDATE: According to Mark Milazzo, Kala’s Branding Manager, the entire line of Acoustic-Electric uBasses will be updated with Rumbler-like electronics – that’s EQ, Shadow pickup and tuner – for 2013.

The Rumbler, however, features slightly different electronics than the other models. Its electronics package is proprietary to Kala, Milazo said.

He also noted Kala plans to hold the line on pricing for the updated models. They should have the same street prices we see now.

Get Thee to Berklee

Bakithi Kumalo

If you’re anywhere within shouting distance of Boston on December 7, get on over to the Berklee Performance Center at 1:00 pm for the U-Bass Summit.

Steve Bailey, the bass chair at Berklee College of Music, has invited three of the world’s greatest bass players (who also happen to be Kala uBass endorsers) – Abe Laboriel (Herbie Hancock, Madonna, Michael Jackson), Bathiki Kumalo (Paul Simon), and Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Rait, Willie Nelson) – to present a workshop on the uBass. The event is open to the public and will run from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

And the best part is, it’s free.