It Doesn’t Get Any better Than This

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Nik West with her Signature uBass at the Kala booth at Winter NAMM.

 

Kala and Nik West.

About as close to perfection as you can get.

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A Unique Concept in Uke Music

UniKuE

The 6-song EP from Sweetwater Studios features music played with Kala Ukuleles and uBasses.

 

Progressive Rock played on Ukuleles? Including the uBass?

Well, yes. That’s the concept behind the band UniKuE (Get it? It spells unique and Uke at the same time. Clever, huh?)

UniKuE is also the title of a six song EP created with Kala Ukuleles, uBasses, drums and vocals. There is not a guitar in sight. Not even a Kala Tenor Guitar.

The concept is pretty simple – and impressive:

The UniKuE concept was born when South African bassist Bakithi Kumalo (Paul Simon) made a visit to the Sweetwater Studios with his Kala U-Bass. Producer Mark Hornsby loved the sound of the bass and wanted to do something that featured the instrument. Mark, along with drummer Nick D’Virgilio and guitarist Don Carr, came up with the idea of recording a few songs using not only the Kala U-Bass, but the whole Kala Ukulele family.

The tracks on the EP include:

  1. Living In The Past (Jethro Tull)
  2. Closer To The Heart (Rush)
  3. Frame By Frame (King Crimson)
  4. Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan)
  5. Going To California (Led Zeppelin)
  6. Roundabout (Yes)

Sweetwater music, the online music retailer, produced the EP in their studios, recruiting top-tier musicians and producers. Bakithi Kumalo plass uBass on Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” and Jethro Tull’s “Living In The Past”. Adrian Belew plays on King Crimson’s “Frame by Frame”.

You can purchase the EP as an audio CD or download for $9.99 from Sweetwater.

The Original Mahogany is Mike’s Favorite

 

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Kala’s Mike Upton with the original Mahogany uBass. Photo: Kala “Me & Uke” Blog

In Kala’s new blog, “Me & Uke,” there’s an interview with founder Mike Upton, called “Meet Mike Upton.” He talks about such things as where he’s from (Mountain View, California) and when he first started playing the Ukulele (when he was two years old).

But it’s the last question that’s of most interest to us here:

Q: Last question, what is your favorite uke or U•Bass and why?

A: I just love the original Mahogany U•Bass with the black strings. To me, those were the magic. They just sound so great. The solid bodies are cool, but that’s not really my thing, I like the woody sound of the acoustic.

So there you have it folks. Mike likes the original Mahogany. There’s always something special about the first one.

Of course, I’m sure he likes all of Kala’s other instruments just as well, even if he didn’t say as much in the interview.

You can read the entire interview HERE.

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You…

 

Kala plans to launch a blog on October 13.

 

…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.

Meet the Paddle Bass’s Co-Inventor

 

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Kalani Das, co-inventor of the Paddle Bass, explains how the instrument works in a new video.

 

Kala’s new Paddle Bass, which was introduced at Winter NAMM 2017, was co-developed with Kalani Das.

Das, a world-renowned music educator and percussionist, has a video explaining the Paddle Bass and how it can be used.

Check out the video HERE.

The Paddle Bass hasn’t shown up on Kala’s web site yet and there’s no word on when it will be available and how much it will cost.

Stay tuned.

Kala Affected by Rosewood Restrictions

 

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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:

INTERNATIONAL ORDERS
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.

Acoustic Bridge Names Us One of Top 23 Ukulele Blogs of 2016

 

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A big Thank You to Andy and the guys over at Acoustic Bridge blog for naming the uBass Appreciation Society one of their “23 Ukulele Blogs You Need to Tune Into This Year.” He also provided this cool badge for us to use on our site.

We were listed 18th among the 23 Top Ukulele Blogs, though I don’t think the blogs were listed in any order. With blogs like Uke Hunt and Ukulele Underground on the list, we’re in pretty good company.

Here’s what Acoustic Bridge had to say about us:

This site focuses on those who are interested in the Kala brand uBass, which is a combination baritone ukulele and bass guitar. They offer playing tips, news and lots of info!

In case you’re not familiar with Acoustic Bridge, they cover piano, ukulele and guitar for beginning musicians and those interested in acoustic instruments. Go check out the blog and tell Andy the uBass Appreciation Society sent you.