The Kala uBass Blog just published a brief timeline of the history of the uBass.
It starts in 2007 when Mike Upton of Kala and Owen Holt of Road Toad Music meet and goes to 2018 and Beyond.
Check it out HERE.
In Kala’s new blog, “Me & Uke,” there’s an interview with founder Mike Upton, called “Meet Mike Upton.” He talks about such things as where he’s from (Mountain View, California) and when he first started playing the Ukulele (when he was two years old).
But it’s the last question that’s of most interest to us here:
Q: Last question, what is your favorite uke or U•Bass and why?
A: I just love the original Mahogany U•Bass with the black strings. To me, those were the magic. They just sound so great. The solid bodies are cool, but that’s not really my thing, I like the woody sound of the acoustic.
So there you have it folks. Mike likes the original Mahogany. There’s always something special about the first one.
Of course, I’m sure he likes all of Kala’s other instruments just as well, even if he didn’t say as much in the interview.
You can read the entire interview HERE.
Ever wondered why every uBass has a dead toad on the headstock? Sure you have.
The toad, actually a Bufo marinus – or cane toad – which was introduced to the United States to control pests, is the “mascot” of Owen Holt’s Road Toad Music. As you probably know, Owen is largely responsible for the development of the uBass, which is based on his company’s Big Bufo bass.
Anyway, I’ll let Owen explain how the logo came about, as featured on Kala’s Facebook page:
Cane Toads are big and easy to spot while driving those slow Kauai highway speeds. The funny thing about the toad is while we were driving down the road, we said ‘Road Toad’ each time we spotted a dead toad… After about four or five ‘Road Toads’, we both thought it would be a cool name to use for something later down the line, so I photo’d one a block from the condo that we stayed in and that’s the logo…That logo is a flattened toad and that’s why it’s sporting the ‘chalk outline’ pose. Doesn’t Road Toad Music sound better than Dead Toad Music or Make Toad Music? Make (mah keh) being Hawaiian for dead.
According to Mike Upton, he decided to use the Road Toad as the uBass logo to honor Owen Holt and all the work he put into helping design the original uBass for Kala:
I had heard the story of the toad on the road from Owen. I wanted to show the collaboration between Road Toad Music and Kala by having the toad on the headstock. I thought that was a good way to show the connection with Owen.
So there you have it folks. The story of the Road Toad and the original uBass.
Our friend Magnus explains how he first encountered the uBass and what attracted him to it (Spoiler Alert: It was the big sound.)
This is Part I of the video with Magnus. Hopefully Part II will be up soon. And hopefully there’ll be more than just two parts.
I know Mike’s a busy man, but it would be great if this could become a recurring series of interviews with Kala uBass artists.
Unless you’re in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band, you probably do not welcome feedback while you are playing. But if you are plagued by feedback while jamming out on your uBass, Kala has got you covered. Or, more precisely, your uBass’s soundhole covered.
Enter the Kala Feedback Freezer. What’s a Feedback Freezer, you ask? Basically it’s a plastic cap you snap into the soundhole of your acoustic/electric uBass that dramatically reduces the instruments ability to feed back. Just snap the Feedback Freezer into any uBass with a 3″ soundhole, and off you go. It does not require any modifications to your uBass.
The Feedback Freezer won’t totally eliminate feedback, but it will dramatically reduce it, as noted in THIS VIDEO by Mike Upton of Kala.
You can pick one up from your favorite retailer that stocks Kala accessories, or through the Kala Web Store for $9.99. Some online retailers list the Feedback Freezer at $7.99.
So, if you’re looking to reduce the amount of unwanted noise your uBass makes in a band situation, go get yourself one of these for each of your A/E uBasses.
Spice up your playing and add a little color to your life by replacing those boring, old, black Pahoehoe strings on your uBass with a new set of brightly colored “Dreads” strings.
They’re the same Pahoehoe formula as the regular strings, but they come in black, green, yellow and red. And while you’re at it, might as well play some Reggae in honor of these colorful babies.
According to Mike Upton of Kala, the Dreads feel a bit smoother than the black Pahoehoe, even thought they are not significantly different in formulation. He also notes they are a bit brighter (in sound) than the black strings.
Check out Mike playing a set of Dreads in THIS VIDEO.