Kala Solid Body U-Bass (4-String, Fretted, Satin Red) Reviews5.0/5.0 based on 1 customer review
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from Southern CA
September 4, 2011Music Background:
Pro Musician, Music Teacher
Mini Monster!This is one MONSTEROUS sounding axe!! I absolutely love the sound I get from this bass. All that said, I think the price is way too high. I don't see nearly $1,000 worth of instrument here. I am basing this on a comparison with my recently-acquired Traveler Guitar TB-4P basses which are made in China and are of top-notch quality gloss finish plus a built-in headphone amp which enables you to practice thru headphones. I also base my opinion of the quality on my experience with Fender American Standard Precision basses which are in the $1,100 price range and are of high quality finishes and refinement. The U Bass has a beautiful swamp ash body, but the finish is not the quality I would expect from an instrument with this price tag. I used a high quality polish to try to smooth out the finish, and the rag came out pink! In other words, the red stain came off onto the rag! When I completed my detailing of the body it was very nice and satiny smooth, and the color was pretty. The finish on the headstock is rough, and the neck itself is more of a satin feel which is nice. The headstock "boasts" cheap black stickers for the Road Toad Logo and the Kala name and a black sticker reading "Made In U.S.A." on the rear of the headstock. For nearly a thousand bucks I would like to have seen nice pearl or paua inlay on the headstock front. The rosewood fingerboard is a nice thick plank, but its finish does not have that nice satiny feel either. The frets stick out along the edges of he fingerboard and could actually cut your fingers. Overall I got the impression that this instrument was made in a rush in order to get them out the door and shipped to the dealers. And now for the sound...FABULOUS!! I absolutely LOVE that quasi-upright sound, and the active EQ is very functional. I play it thru my Markbass CMD 121P 1X12 and my Markbass 1X15 Jeff Berlin model amps, and it sounds thunderous through both. It blows away the aforementioned Traveler Guitar basses. It has more GUTS than any of my basses, including my MusicMan Sterling. I often play up the neck on the E and A strings in order to get a gutsier sound on my other basses, but on this U Bass the open A, and D strings match the gutsy timbre of the E and A strings fretted at the fifth fret. The G string isn't all that gutsy, but is more so than on the other basses. The usefulness of the short scale runs out above the 12th fret on the U Bass. It loses it's wonderful timbal qualities when played far up the neck. This is the area where my MusicMan shines. The 21" scale of the U Bass is extremely comfortable for my hands up to the 12th fret. It is possible that folks with large hands/fingers will have a bit of difficulty adjusting, but such was not the case for me. It feels like playing a guitar. The intonation gets a bit "iffy" as you progress up the neck. It is good when fretting at the 12th, but the harmonics at the 12th are sharp. I did not have the opportunity to try a fretless, but maybe that would the answer to getting "perfect" intonation as you progress up the neck?? The polyurethane rubber strings are very comfortable, but a slight bit "sticky" when trying to slur (slide) from and to notes, but at the same time you don't get that irritating string squeak associated with round wounds. For slapping stick with your regular bass with round wounds, but for fingerpicking or even flat picking funk lines this bass is THE BOMB!! I wouldn't refer to this model as a bass "ukulele." I think of it as a travel-sized electric bass. I will definitely gig with this bass. In fact, it will probably be my main axe for gigging. Between this axe and my Markbass amps I have one killer, gutsy rig which cuts through any mix. BTW, I am very impressed with the MI-SI Align pre-amp system, but it would be nice to have some kind of indicator light which signals the need to re-charge. The way you find out that it needs to be recharged is the E and A strings start to sound like you are playing thru a blown driver or the strings are "buzzing" giving a distorted sound. It scared me at first 'cause I thought I had blown my 1X15 rig! As soon as I recharged the Mi-SI for 60 seconds, Voila! The distortion disappeared. One more thing: For an axe of this price range I would expect to find an Owner's Manual and a Warranty card. Not included. The gig bag is pretty nice with nice back-packing straps which can be concealed within a zippered compartment. It also has a neck tie-down strap on the inside which is nice -- prevents the bass from slopping around in the bag. Sorry for the long-winded review, but you can't say this wasn't complete! If you don't mind putting out the extra $$$$ buy this bass from Sweetwater! You will get GREAT service and followup by your "sales engineer" and you will love the axe!