Magnus Needs Suggestions

 

Play Ubass

Magnus Sjöquist is looking for suggestions for cover songs to play. Photo: Facebook screen capture

 

Our friend Magnus Sjöquist at PlayUbass is planning on recording a new cover song and he wants your suggestions.

What do you think he should play?

Head on over to his Facebook page and leave your suggestions of songs you think would sound good on his uBass.

The Last of its Kind

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Once this Kala Solid Koa Acoustic U-Bass is gone, that’s it for the current California Series models. Photo: Kala Facebook Page

 

Like the dinosaurs, the original Kala California Koa Acoustic U-Bass is going extinct.

Kala posted on its Facebook page photos of the last California Koa Fretless available, saying once it’s gone, they will be gone forever. Only to be replaced by a new, improved series coming in 2018.

Kala had this to say about the California Koa:

Our finest creation in the acoustic U-Bass world. Meet the All Solid Koa Acoustic U-Bass made right here in Petaluma, Ca. Our manufacturing team has put a lot of effort into making sure this bass is everything you want it to be. Extravagant wood grain figure, a neck formed perfectly to your palm, the highest quality components and electronics, and hand finished for the best natural finish you’ve ever witnessed.

And this about its future:

This the LAST available model of this instrument EVER after this final fretless U-Bass sells this series will be discontinued and those wanting a California acoustic U-Bass will have to wait until 2018 for the next development in the U-Bass series.

Even though we have to wait a year for the new series to emerge, I’m sure it will be worth it. It’s hard to see how Kala could improve on the California Series, but then, not many people could envision a U-Bass in the first place, then Kala introduced one, so we’ll wait with great anticipation.

Win the One That Started it All

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To celebrate 100,000 Facebook followers, Kala is giving away an acoustic Mahogany uBass.               Photo: Kala Brand Music Co.

 

In celebration if it’s gaining 100,000 followers on Facebook, Kala is giving away a Fretted Solid Mahogany Acoustic uBass. The one that started it all.

Begin your Father’s Day weekend with the boom of the U•Bass. The Original U•Bass model—the thundering Solid Mahogany U•Bass—is where it all started. With the sound of an upright bass in a compact package, what better way to celebrate dads!

For a chance to win, check out Kala’s Facebook page. There’ll be a post there with all the details on how to enter.

Good Luck!

There’s Good News. And Bad News.

 

Mike

Mike Upton says Kala is working on a Ubass newsletter. Photo: Kala

 

The good news that now there’s a new source of uBass information you can sign up for.

The newest entry is from none other than Kala themselves. They’ve been sending out an Ukulele-centric newsletter for years. Now they’ve decided to do a uBass-centric newsletter as well.

Really, Kala?

Just kidding. We welcome the company.

Besides, what could be better than getting the info from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

According to Mike Upton:

We received feedback requesting a separate newsletter solely focused on the U-Bass. We took your advice, and you can now sign up to receive our brand new U-Bass newsletter.

You can sign up for just the uBass newsletter, just the Ukulele newsletter, or for both. At the bottom of every page on the Kala web site there’s a sign-up box. Just put your email in and you’re good to go.

If you’re already a subscriber to Kala’s Ukulele newsletter, you can update your preferences to include the new newsletter on their web site.

We can’t wait for the first issue to hit our mailbox.

And now the bad news: Kala says they are discontinuing the acoustic California Series uBasses, in order to make room for new and improved models.

In a note on the Kala Facebook page, the company had this to say:

The Kala Acoustic California UBasses will be discontinued and production on these beautiful basses will cease to exist as we put our heads down and start work on the development of our next generation of Kala California Acoustic UBasses over these next six months.

The company notes it has two fretless and one fretted Koa model available for purchase. Get them while you still can. Once they are gone, that’s it for the current Acoustic California uBasses.

I’m Ringo and I Play Drums

 

Ringo-Nathan

Ringo Starr and Nathan East with his Kala 5-string uBass.

 

Now how’s this for a rhythm section? Ringo Starr (you know who he is–the one on the left) and Kala endorsing artist Nathan East.

I swiped this photo from Kala’s Instagram. Hopefully they won’t mind.

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.”

Are Hadean Uke Basses a Kala uBass Alternative?

Hadean uBasses look similar to Kala’s Solidbody, but that’s where the comparison ends.

 

Three years ago we told you about Rondo Music, a musical instrument retailer that was (and still is) the sole importer of SX basses and Agile guitars – among other brands – here in the U.S. Back then, they had just begun importing the Hadean brand of Chinese-made acoustic uke basses and were introducing a solidbody version, no doubt to try to cut into the market that was solidly (and still is, not surprisingly) dominated by Kala with its uBass models. That ubass was known then as the Omega Hadean uke bass.

Rondo’s inventory of instruments – particularly SX basses and some Agile guitar models – don’t remain available for long on their web site, selling out almost as quickly as they come in stock. This seems to be the case with the Hadean uke basses as well. Probably because they are inexpensive, but surprisingly good instruments. They sell for about a third of what a new Kala SUB uBass goes for.

As of today, Rondo has three models of the solidbody Hadean uke bass in stock: the UKBE-22 33″ in blue; the UKBE-22 N Fretless in natural and the UKBE-22 Fretless in blue. They’ve dropped the Omega from the name and the headstock, but the Hadean ubasses seem to be the same as when they were introduced.

If you’ve always wanted a uBass, but don’t have the money for a Kala version, the Hadeans are a worthy substitute. Don’t expect them to be a cheaper version of the Kala, because they aren’t. But they are good instruments in their own right.

The fit and finish of the Hadeans are good, but not as meticulous as the Kala uBasses. I wouldn’t hesitate to gig with a Kala. I’m not sure a Hadean would stand up to the rigors of the road for very long. I could be wrong, but they don’t seem as sturdy.

The electronics on the Kala uBasses are superb. Each model has that upright bass sound. The Hadeans do not quite measure up. They sound good for what they are, but they don’t quite have that upright sound. To be fair, it may just be the Aquila Nylgut strings, which I never though sounded as good as the Kala Pahoehoe strings, particularly for that upright sound. The electronics on the Hadean basses sound a bit “scratchy”  and “thin” sometimes. I’ve never found that with the Kala uBasses.

Rondo is selling three models of the Hadean uBass: the UKBE-22, which features a swamp ash body and is a 33″ scale model (which seems to me to kind of negate the reason for a uBass to begin with). Just an inch shy of a typical long-scale bass guitar (which is 34″ scale), it’s more of a medium scale bass than a Uke bass. And two versions of the 30″ scale Hadean, the UKBE22, both fretless, both with Swamp Ash bodies, but one is in blue and one is in natural.

The UKBE-22 Blue model sells for $179.95. The UKBE-22 Natural sells for $169.95 and the UKBE-33, also in blue, sells for $179.95.

If you have some extra bucks lying around (come to think of it, who does these days?), these are good alternatives to the more expensive Kala solidbody uBasses. Just don’t expect them to be able to compete head-to-head with Kala, in any category.

You get what you pay for. But in the case of the Hadean uBasses, you get a lot for little money.