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.
As we noted in February, Kala has been informing its customers outside the U.S. that due to new restrictions on the importation of Rosewood and other exotic wood species, there will be delays in shipping its Ukuleles and uBasses.
Now Kala notes on its web site that it plans to discontinue using Rosewood in its domestic and imported instruments.
In a note on its web site, Kala said:
Because of the CITES prohibition on all species of Rosewood (Dalbergia), Kala will no longer be using Rosewood on our imported and USA-made instruments as of July 2017. We will still be shipping the remaining stock of Kala instruments with Rosewood to dealers until they are cleared out of our warehouses. You may see Kala instruments with Rosewood in stores for some time after our remaining stock has been sold. As early as February 2017 we began importing instruments with Walnut fingerboards and bridges. Along with Walnut, we will also be using Pau Ferro (Morado) and other non-CITES regulated woods to replace any components formerly using Rosewood.
So if you’re a fan of Rosewood fretboards, check your local dealer’s inventory for what’s left that can still be sold. Pretty soon Rosewood in Kala musical instruments will be a thing of the past.
…Is the brand-spanking new Kala Blog, featuring all things Ukulele, uBass and, of course, Kala.
The company says the blog is scheduled for launch on Friday October 13. Friday the 13th. Hmmm. They’ll initially post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Daily posts may come eventually.
Kala says: “The blog will feature news and updates on everything Kala, including Ukulele, U•Bass, and Artists. There will also be how to’s, tips, demonstrations, behind the scenes going-ons, and much more.”
So mark your calendars folks. The new Kala Blog on October 13.
Ubass endorsing artist, superb bassist, friend of this blog and all-around great person, Nik West, just dropped a new single.
If, after listening to the song, you say to yourself: “Hmm. That sounds a lot like Prince.” Well, that’s probably because Prince was a mentor to and a friend of Nik’s. And a big musical influence on her.
Also, check out the new Nik West Signature uBass in all its purple goodness on the cover!
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.
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.”
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 thought 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.