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Kala U-Bass - 4-string, Fretless, Mahogany Reviews

3.5 stars based on 4 customer reviews
  • d osburn
    from Kansas City, MO May 25, 2012Music Background:
    working musician

    kala uke bass

    Had the UBass for about 5 weeks now, and have been very pleased with it's overall peformance and sound and absolutely delighted with how light it is! I opted for the Mahogany topped fretless, which I did have some difficulty locating, but Sweetwater came through and the reviews i read before purchase have all proved to be correct. Warm tone with amazing bottom end and a fat, thick sound without losing the woody quality. She doesn't have the slow tone decay of my traditional double-bass, but still a wonderful sound for such a light-weight little gal. Took about a week for the strings to settle in, and I had to trim an inch or so total off to avoid overstacking the post as they stretched, but she's stabalized now and requires no more dramatic tuning than my electric. The only issues which prevent her from being a full 5 star would be some very minor finishing issues that probably only I will ever notice.

  • Bill
    from Mifflinburg, PA USA July 17, 2012Music Background:
    Amateur musician

    Nice bass

    The U-Bass is a terrific instrument (it's a serious bass with considerable authority when plugged in), and the fretless one has the added benefit of no fret buzz (given the small spaces between frets, and my fat fingers, this was a problem with my previous, fretted one). This one arrived with a slight scratch about a third of the way up the neck under the D string (which is the reason for 4, rather than 5, stars). Seems to play just fine, though. Highly recommended for any bass player who wants a serious acoustic thump, a bass that's very easy to travel with, or both.

  • Thomas Mackey
    from Madison, WI October 20, 2012Music Background:
    Imaginary Entertainer

    Mixed Bass Bag...

    The pros: This thing sounds great. It's like a mini-upright, only without much sustain. Acoustically, perfect for playing late at night or in tiny apartments. Plugged in, or through my Vox headphone amp, some pretty major bass from so little space. Run through an Art tube pre-amp into my MacBook, I get a great sound with minimum fuss. And finally, it's just addictive fun to play.

    The cons: Build quality is pretty slipshod. On one I got, the body and binding are good; however, the neck and headstock look a bit, well, improvised. The neck is built from several pieces of wood, and the differences in color and grain are fairly blatant. Especially under the headstock veneer, where it looks as though an extra layer was added in under the veneer to bring the headstock to proper thickness. While the fingerboard is decent, several smudges of glue (one complete with fingerprint) mar the edges. Most serious, on close examination I note that the nut (which appears to be wood also) is not glued to the neck for over half of its width. I'm not yet sure what I'll do about that- perhaps carefully add some wood glue to fill the gap.

    Unique to this instrument are the polyurethane strings, which take a bit of getting used to. Be prepared to spend at least a month playing a new U-Bass before the strings are fully broken in. Until then, you'll be tuning a lot. A whole lot. You'll also be rewinding the strings on the tuner posts several times as they stretch. While this is fairly simple on the E and A strings, the D and G strings need to be knotted under themselves to prevent slipping. The strings also have plastic bearings which (according to the instructions packaged with them) rest under the bridge plate when the strings are installed. However, Kala often installs the strings without the bearings. The Hipshot tuners work fine.

    All in all, this is a unique instrument which is great fun to play, and a sound you may love. But the manufacturing quality seems a bit sketchy for the price. By way of comparison, my other bass is a Fender Kingman acoustic, also made in China, which cost about $90 less than the U-Bass. The build quality of the Fender is excellent, especially the neck and fretwork. I suppose part of the difference is due to the size of the respective companies; but I hope Kala will step up the quality.
    I love playing the U-Bass; I just hope it holds together.

  • Frank Smith
    from Traverse City, MI USA September 30, 2012Music Background:
    Part-time pro musician. Travelling musician in the 50's fir a couple of years. Retired Electrical Engineer. 86 years old.

    loose output socket (bottom of bass

    Good news..............impressive sound.
    Bad news.................1/4 inch output socket on bottom of bass loosened about the second "outing" with my new U Bass. I managed to snug it up and hope it lasts.

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