Kala U-Bass Review – Variety of Choices

U-Bass is an original and interesting product, that does not receive as much attention as it deserves. Let us take a look at some of Kala`s U-Basses and find out why this product is worth considering at the very least.

Kala Brand Music

Kala Brand Music is a small and really young (but rather successful as well) company, manufacturing string instruments. In fact, there are only three choices: guitars, ukuleles, and original U-Bass (which is basically is bass ukulele). Although the brand is 13 years old only, its` production is known for reliability and uniqueness. There are even some hand-made models available.

What U-Bass is

U-Bass is really what it seems to be. It is a bass ukulele. To make it easier, imagine a bass-guitar, but much smaller and that it has warmer sound. There are U-Basses with 4 and 5 strings, solid and electro-acoustic models.

U-Basses are not cheap and are rather hard to play, so it might be not the first priority item, if you are beginner. However, it is always useful to get acquainted with something new and unusual, so let us take a look at some basic models, their alternatives and make some logical conclusions afterwards.

California Solid Body U-Bass

The first thing to get started with should be something closer to classical guitars. So, here is the solid body U-Bass. Let us take a look at its` physical characteristics firstly.

Material The material for ukuleles differs from one used for manufacturing guitars. For example solid U-Basses usually have ashwood body and maple neck. As ukulele is all about the comfortability, body and neck are cut and sanded, and afterwards finished with gloss. This makes the device truly durable and nice-sitting one.
Dimensions It was a little wrong to call ukulele a small guitar. It is smaller indeed, but it`s not like a ½ guitar for example. The shape and dimensions differ. The dimensions are 34,5’’  14’’ * 4,7’’ inches (which is 876.3 * 356 * 120 in millimeters). So, the shape does differ from guitar`s. It is still comfortable for young players and the ones with small hands. Adults may feel a bit unusual playing this one though (getting used to it won`t take much time). It`s also important to mention that U-Bass solid weighs around 6.5 pounds (which is around 3 kg). In comparison to normal-sized guitars ukulele is lighter.
Strings Ukuleles are packed with Kala`s polyurethane strings (usually 4 of them). This material is a balance between softness and adjustability. It is not that painful to play, and the tune is being saved for a rather long time. However, the material that has no major cons, has no major pros as well. Just a reasonable one.

With that being said, let me go straight to describing the sound qualities.

How it Sounds

Well, U-Bass sounds pretty much like a regular bass. It might be not as bright, but all the main sound characteristics remain the same. So, here are some reasons for choosing U-Bass over normal bass-guitar:

Different sounding

It is somewhere worse, but somewhere better as well. What I mean is that this instrument provides an opportunity to make the completely new sound in combination with the others. Even by itself it sounds decent enough to be a reasonable opponent to classical bass.

Portability

U-basses are much more portable than casual guitars are. In fact, you don`t even necessarily need a gig-bag for it. In case you really need to take it somewhere, it can be stored in a backpack or a bag (this might be dangerous of course, but, as I`ve already mentioned, Kala`s products are durable enough).

It is easier and funnier to play

The fact that ukuleles are usually seen as toy guitars, might be an advantage. Noone expects a lot from toy guitar, right? Playing an ukulele is not like playing a badass bass, when everyone expects a monster solo. It does feel much more comfortable to have and play an ukulele in psychological aspect.

John, 19, Student

  • I wanted to start playing guitar, but I felt uncomfortable thinking of how I`ll be asked to play something. Ukulele was an unexpected decision to my problem. Although nobody took it too seriously, nobody expected a lot from it as well. That is why even my first attempts did not feel awkward.
    Furthermore, when I learned to play in a decent manner, everybody around was surprised, that this thing could sound so nicely. So, if you are not confident about your device, think of getting an ukulele. This will be a positive experience for sure.

Some Solid Ukuleles to Pick

Kala doesn`t have thousands of products on the market, but even among the available ones, there are such that deserve a little more attention than the others. Here are some of them that I chose:

Kala`s Solid Body Ukuleles
Kala U-BASS SB4FS This particular ukulele is a representative of classical ukuleles with solid bodies. It has polyurethane strings. The manufacturers claim that is has been designed to provide the deep “marine” sound. In reality it provides some nice reggae-like tones. It is worth mentioning as well, that this one is leight-weighed and compact.
Kala U-Bass all solid Mahogany As you could`ve understood from the name, one of the features of this ukulele is that it uses mahogany body, which is more common for usual guitars. This item has been presented by Kala on its` 5th anniversary and had some other innovations as well. For example, there is a unique Kala pick-up system and EQ, which make adjusting and tuning easier. The sound has been improved, so if you want you can make it sound like a solid full-sized bass.
Kala U-Bass solid spruce Fretted This one has frets, which makes it a little easier to play for the beginners. All the other aspects are pretty much the same as the other ukuleles have. It is compact, provides a nice sound.

That was all the basic info you should about solid U-Basses. However, there is more to learn about Acoustic-Electric U-Bass, so let us not hesitate.

Acoustic-Electric U-Bass

The name does speak for itself. Electric-acoustic U-Bass can be played both an acoustic ukulele and electric one. Let us start discussing this one just like the previous, with its technical characteristics.

Material The average ukulele of this type has either mahogany or ashwood body, rosewood fretboard and satin finish. This is a decent pick of material which makes ukuleles comfortable to play and hold. There are also some laminated ukuleles, that are especially durable.
Dimensions Electro-acoustic ukuleles are a little smaller than their solid analogues. An average model would have following dimensions: 27’’ * 10’’ * 5’’ inches (which is 686 * 254 * 127 in millimeters). This a highly portable device, especially that it only weighs around 4 pounds (which is less than two kilograms). So, even the smallest and the youngest players won`t have any trouble handling it.
Strings Kala produces its` own strings, which are made of polyurethane. They are durable, rather soft and easy to tune. They that the perfectly made detail attracts no attention. This expression is perfect to describe Kala`s strings. You`ll never have to worry about them.

These was the information about physical aspects of electro-acoustic guitars. Without further hesitation let us take a look at some nice electric and electr-acoustic ukuleles from Kala.

Kala`s Electro-Acoustic Ukuleles
Passenger Electric-Acoustic U-Bass Passenger model speaks for itself. It is a compact mahogany ukulele. Despite the size is really small, it still provides deep and warm sound when being played acoustically. If it is plugged-in it sounds more powerful and juicy. As a bonus, it has a nicely designed gig bag.
Journeyman Electric-Acoustic U-Bass Journeyman is the top device of Kala`s latest line-up. It has powerful electric potential as well as rich acoustic sounding. It still remains portable and light-weighed. I would like to mark out its` outstanding design, which looks absolutely superior. Journeyman is the best choice for travelers and those who play guitars is small companies.

Mathias, 33, tourist

  • I love travelling a lot and my ukulele makes this experience unforgettable. My Kala device is already five years old, but is still serving really well, despite all the hard times it experienced during the process. Neither water nor sun managed to spoil its` fantastic sound qualities. The sound remains warm and clean after all this time.
    Probably it is the strings material (I`ve never touched anything like that before) or the construction of high quality, or everything combined. Hard to tell. Well, another thing is that this device is perfectly customizable. I painted it green partly and adjusted some pins. Everything holds well. So, ukulele is a thing that every travelling person should try playing.

Finally, I think it is worth mentioning, that despite all the advantages it is not the best choice for a new player. There are some ¾ sized guitars which are more convenient. However, if you are looking for some fun rather than serious development, ukulele should be considered. It is a fun-to-play instrument that you can always carry with you.

Summing Things up

So, here is the shortcut of everything said above:

  • U-Bass is a rather rare type of ukulele developed by Kala Brand Music in the U.S.A.
  • There are solid U-Basses and electro-acoustic ones.
  • Both types are small and easy-to-play and carry. However getting used to an ukulele might take some time due to its` size, especially if you`ve been playing normal-sized guitars before.

With that being said I can now only wish you good luck with your further development, whichever instrument you decide to pick for yourself.

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