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.
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.
As if my previous post about Kala’s solidbody uBass wasn’t enough to get your UAS (ukulele acquisition syndrome) churning, here’s a photo of Owen Holt of Road Toad Music–the man who designed the Kala uBass–at Summer 2010 NAMM, showing off a 5-string Solidbody uBass.
This one is a “Jazz” style in Tenor size. And it’s a singlecut!
It looks pretty cool dressed in Dreads, doesn’t it?
Hopefully we’ll see this one available for purchase soon.