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!

Need an Amp for Those Busking Sessions?

 

 

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The new Vox Adio Air BS bass amp. Photo: Vox Amplification

 

If you’re looking for a small, portable, lightweight, yet powerful amp for your subway busking sessions, or just to practice your uBass at home, you may be interested in the new offering from Vox Amplification Ltd.

Vox, well know for their guitar and bass amps, in July plans to release their Adio Air series of modeling amps in both bass and guitar versions. The bass version, curiously named the Adio Air BS, features 50 watts, two 3″ speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, battery or AC power and it weighs just over 6 pounds without batteries. It can be powered by eight AA batteries, or the included AC adapter.

The Adio series of amps feature 11 amp models built in, or 17 models with the company’s Tone Room software. They also have a built-in tuner.

The company notes that:

The unique slanted design of the Adio allows you to position it with the speakers pointing diagonally upward so that the output reaches your ears directly even at short distances. This means that you can enjoy always performing or listening in the sweet spot. The chassis is designed to minimize parallel surfaces, delivering a smooth sound that suppresses any internal resonances.

Check out Vox’s video of the Adio Series amps in action HERE.

The amps should be available in July, and retail for $299.99.

 

 

I’m Ringo and I Play Drums

 

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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.

 

Sales/Marketing Mgr. Rick Carlson Leaves Kala to Join Phil Jones Bass

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Rick Carlson is leaving Kala to become head of marketing at Phil Jones Bass. Photo: Rick Carlson

Rick Carlson, head of sales and marketing at Kala Brand Music, has left that position and will join Phil Jones Bass/Pure Sound as Director of Sales and Marketing.

Carlson was instrumental in the introduction of the Kala uBass. No stranger to the bass market, Carlson also worked at SWR Engineering Inc. and ACE Products Group.

Phil Jones, head of Phil Joes Bass, said,“Rick brings a proven industry track record along with a pedigree in the bass world that fits perfectly with our plans for the future and the expansion of our brand.

Carlson said he is happy to work with Phil Jones, whom he noted creates bass amp designs that “are at the cutting edge of engineering in bass amplification.”

Carlson did not say why he left Kala.

 

All About That (Kala) Bass

 

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Colin D’Cruz wrote a love song to his uBass.       Photo: Video Screengrab

 

Colin D’Cruz, a musician based in India, just posted a neat little song he wrote about his Kala uBass. The song, entitled “I Love My Kala Bass!” can be heard here at his ReverbNation page, along with some of his other work. It’s sung to the tune of “All About That Bass.”

He also posted a video to his Facebook page.

“Yeah, it’s pretty clear, this ain’t no toy. When I pluck and play, it sure sounds like a big boy.”

Indeed.