Kala Affected by Rosewood Restrictions



East Indian Rosewood is one of the Rosewood species restricted for export.


Like all companies selling instruments and products containing Rosewood, Kala is affected by the new regulations restricting Rosewood species sales across borders.

The company has placed this disclaimer on its web site:

Please bear with us—due to new International Export Regulations regarding all species of Rosewood there will be an undetermined postponement of orders containing Kala Elites, California U-Basses, and USA Banjo Ukulele shipping outside the United States. We hope to have this resolved as soon as possible.

The Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) held a conference from September 24 to October 4 this year in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it was decided that all species of rosewood under the genus Dalbergia and three bubinga species (Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii) will be protected and its export restricted, according to Reverb.com.

The restrictions went into affect January 2.

Kosso – sometimes called African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) – will also be protected, they note.

While Brazilian Rosewood is was already under CITES protection, now all the nearly 300 other species of rosewood are under similar regulation. This includes East Indian rosewood and Honduran rosewood – as well as woods like cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa) and African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) – that are widely used in the manufacturing of stringed instruments, marimbas and some woodwinds.

Rosewood is the world’s most trafficked wild product, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, accounting for a third of all seizures by value, more than elephant ivory, pangolins, rhino horn, lions and tigers put together.

So, if you’re an overseas customer of Kala’s, prepare for delays if you buy an instrument form them. Sales shipped within the United States are not affected. If you already own an instrument with rosewood and have it in your possession, there’s no need to worry. You can also travel with previously purchased instruments with no restrictions.


The Mike and Ukulenny Show

Kala's Mike Upton and Ukulenny jamming on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"

Kala’s Mike Upton and Ukulenny jamming on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”


Mike Upton of Kala Brand Music Co. not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk.

Here’s Mike accompanying Uke player Ukulenny on the uBass to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

Check out the VIDEO  HERE.

Is it a Bass or a Ukulele?

Ohana Ukuleles OBU-22 Uke Bass

Ohana Ukuleles OBU-22 Uke Bass


It looks like Kala has created a monster. These days uBass clones are popping up everywhere. And that’s a good thing. Competition is good for the industry and for the consumer.

There also seems to be a trend to make Ukulele basses that use traditional metal bass strings, instead of the polyurethane Pahoehoe string the uBass uses. Manufacturers do this to distinguish their instruments from all the others out there.

At Winter NAMM this year, Ohana Ukuleles debuted their OBU-22 Ukulele Bass. It features a 25″ scale and metal strings. Like the beloved uBass, it’s tuned like a regular bass (EADG). According to Ken Middleton of Ohana, it shouldn’t even be called a Ukulele.

“I suppose strictly speaking, like most basses, it’s not really a Uke,” Middleton told Aldrine Guerrero of Ukulele Underground.

And he’s correct. It really isn’t a Uke. It’s a bass. A small bass, but a bass nonetheless. Anything larger than a baritone Uke body takes it out of the Ukulele range and into the short scale bass range.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the Ohana bass. I’ve been a bass player for more than 30 years and prefer short scale basses (that’s why the uBass is right up my alley). And the Ohana OBU-22 looks really nice and sounds great. But we don’t need to call it a Ukulele. It isn’t. We should just call it a bass and leave it at that.

Ken Middleton told Aldrine at NAMM that the reason Ohana went with metal bass strings, rather than Pahoehoe strings, is because the market “seems to be a little bit saturated” with uBass instruments. He stopped himself short of saying the market is already over the sound of the uBass (probably because he knows that’s not true). It’s that upright bass sound that makes the uBass what it is. If it sounded like a regular bass (which the OBU-22 does) it would just be another small acoustic bass.

You can watch Middleton and Aldrine discuss the Ohana’s ukes here. The OBU-22 discussion starts at 5:20 in the video.

Ben’s A Star. You Read it Here First.

Ben Rouse and his Ukulele.

Ben Rouse and his Ukulele.


Ukulele player Ben Rouse and his uBass are getting some well-deserved press these days. The YouTube video of Ben playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1-Prelude on his uBass is making the rounds.

The bass blog No Treble noticed his video and wrote about it today.

Of course, we told you about Ben a full five days ago! Still, it’s nice to see the uBass getting noticed by other outlets, even if they are a bit late to the party.

By the way, Ben’s only got 528 views (as of this writing) on his YouTube video. I think he needs a bunch more than that. Tell everyone you know to check him out. Let’s get those views up people.

Ah, Bach!

Ben Rouse playing the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 on the uBass.

Ben Rouse playing the prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 on the uBass.


Who says the uBass can’t do classical?

Check out this video of the prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 by ukulele player Ben Rouse.

Ben does a good job of making the uBass sound like it belongs in a classical orchestra.

It’s A RoguBass!

I came across THIS VIDEO on YouTube recently. This guy built his own uBass from a Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 12.41.34 PMRogue Baritone Ukulele, Pahoehoe strings, a Belcat EQ and some odds and ends.

For those of you that don’t know, Rogue is the house brand of online musical instrument retailer Musician’s Friend. They produce inexpensive guitars, basses and ukuleles in Asia.

This RoguBass is a valiant effort, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Also, it’s hard to tell how it turned out because the recording is terrible (with feedback and distortion throughout).

I give him an “A” for effort and “C-” for execution.

Need to Tweak Your uBass?

Then Kala’s got you covered.

The company just announced that it has started a Service Department–called Kala Custom Services–which is run out of its Custom Shop. Kala also set up a dedicated web site for its Custom Services Department.

Kala says that basic service for the uBass (which includes cleaning, conditioning and restringing) costs $55 plus the cost of strings. You can have them put on any set of strings Kala sells.

Other services include:

  • Fine tune nut slots to optimum depth $10
  • Install premium Graph Tech Tusq nut $15
  • Fret Leveling, crowning, and polish on entire fretboard $60
  • Install black, gold or chrome strap button $15

The Custom Service guys also offer services for Kala Ukuleles.

According to Kala:

Every instrument that comes to the Kala Custom Shop for service receives a thorough cleaning and polishing using a high-quality instrument polish. The turn-around time for most services is within 2-3 weeks, although some services can take a little longer.  

All services include shipping to the Kala Custom Shop in California and shipping back to the customer.

For uBass service, fill out the Service Form on Kala’s web site. Once they receive your instrument they’ll evaluate it and get back to you with an exact price for the service required. You’ll also get a shipping label by email so you can send your instrument to Kala postage paid.

The Custom Service Department will perform repairs and upgrades on both the acoustic and Solidbody uBasses.

“We have been getting a lot of people asking us for info on getting their instruments renewed, upgraded or customized,” says Kala’s Lead Product Technician Jason Villa. “Some of our dealers are setup to provide these types of services, but there are still many folks who play our instruments that don’t have easy access to a skilled technician.”

All services will be performed at Kala’s Custom Shop in California by the same technicians who customize and set up the uBasses and Ukuleles for the company’s endorsing artists.