First Look: Nik West Signature Solidbody

 

Nik West Signature

A sneak peak at the Nik West Signature uBass.     Photo: nikwestbass Instagram

 

Here it is. A first look at the newest in the line of Kala Signature uBasses. The Nik West Solidbody, in – what else – Purple Sparkle.

This one is a four string. No word yet on when these will hit the shelves or how much they’ll cost.

Ms. West previewed this on her Instagram. She notes it’ll have Roundwound strings.

I’m sure she’ll let us know when they are ready for the masses.

Stay tuned.

Advertisements

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.

 

Go East Young Man

16388147_10150785126609957_4602369277425381526_n

Nathan East in the Kala Booth at Winter NAMM trying out the Koa California Solidbody uBass.

 

Nathan East, one of the most recorded bassists in music, has played with everyone from Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton to Phil Collins. He has appeared on more than 2,000 albums in the past 35 years.

Here he is at the Kala booth at Winter NAMM trying out a Kala Koa California Solid Body UBass.

Black Friday California uBass Sale Coming!

Kala is offering 10% off its California Series uBasses in a Black Friday sale.

Kala is offering 10% off its California Series uBasses in a Black Friday sale.

 

Kala announced it is holding a Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale on its California Series uBasses.

From Nov.25 to Nov.28, Black Friday Weekend here in the U.S., the company is offering 10% off its California Series uBasses. You’ll also get a free Kala USA T-Shirt with your purchase.

The deal is only available for purchases through Kala’s web store.

How to Restring a Solidbody uBass

Chris demonstrates how to put Kala metal Roundwound strings on a solidbody uBass.

Chris demonstrates how to put Kala metal Roundwound strings on a solidbody uBass.

 

If you’ve ever wondered exactly how you would go about restringing your new (or even old) solidbody uBass with Kala’s metal Roundwound strings, wonder no more. The good people at Kala – namely Chris – have released a video that will walk you through the process.

The video shows Chris restringing a 5-string Solidbody, but the same techniques apply to a 4-string as well.

For those of us who don’t have a bass tech waiting in the wings, being able to change strings ourselves is a fundamental skill to have. It’s not very complicated. So don’t be afraid to dive in and put on a new set of strings.

Happy Birthday To Us!

 

The uBass Appreciation Society is Celebrating its Sixth Birthday Today.

The uBass Appreciation Society is Celebrating its Sixth Birthday Today.

 

Today is August 23 and it’s our Sixth Birthday.

On this day in 2010, the uBass Appreciation Society sprang to life, celebrating everything that is the Kala uBass. As with our first post, our singular focus was then, and still continues to be, the uBass that Kala brought into this world in 2007.

So sit back, pop a cold beverage, get out your uBass and read a few of our previous posts to celebrate our birthday. Click on any month in the Archives links to the right and relive the past of the uBass.

Not to toot our own horn or anything…well, OK, to toot our own horn…We’ve seen our traffic steadily increase over the past six years. We’re not talking Google-size traffic or anything, but it’s pretty good for a little ad-free blog covering a very narrow subject area.

WordPress tells us that in the past six years we’ve had more than 55,000 visitors and more than 182,000 views of our 254 posts. So far we’ve got 31 followers (with a number of them with us for five years). And that’s to say nothing of the people who pop in and out at various times.

I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for your loyalty. Keep reading. And we’ll keep writing.

Bakithi Covers Bass Player Magazine

Bakithi Kumalo and his signature uBass on the cover of the October 2016 issue of Bass Player magazine.

Bakithi Kumalo and his signature uBass on the cover of the October 2016 issue of Bass Player magazine.

 

Bakithi Kumalo and his signature Kala uBass cover the October 2016 issue of Bass Player magazine.

It should be hitting the newsstand any day now, so run out and pick it up.