They laughed when I picked up my Ubass...
Then their mouths dropped open!
I bought my Kala Exotic Mahogany Ubass a couple of weeks ago after eyeing the cute little basses for some time, reading reviews, and watching video clips. I had tried an earlier edition at a local music store but was less than impressed due to dicey intonation and a lack of onboard pre-amp. The one I bought was on a one week long sale and was too pretty to leave alone. My wife, who occasionally suggests that I might own enough basses and guitars, was taken in by the figured wood and the cuteness factor. She left the room and I plugged it into a bass amp and she asked, "is that your new toy? How does it sound like that?"
The sound is nothing short of remarkable. I've played it with my jazz quintet at an outdoor gig, with a classic country band in a fairly huge dance hall along side pedal steel, keyboards, electric guitar, fiddle, and drums, and after the initial laughter everyone in both bands told me how great it sounds. The fiddler, who used to play with Bluegrass legend Don Reno, literally cracked up when he saw what I was playing. It is a little instrument with a huge bass sound. It is, indeed, very close to an upright or an early Pbass with old strings ala James Jamerson. Even at dance hall volume I experienced no feed back issues.
Since I already own both 4 and 5 string fretless bass guitars, and a 4 string upright, and a 6-string EUB (maybe my wife has a point?), I don't mind the frets on this bass. Also, the feel of the strings, they are not slick, would make intonation micro-corrections a challenge. Keep in mind, I have not played a fretless Ubass, your results may differ.
Would I buy this bass again? In a heart beat. Any down sides? The gig bag is just that. The zippers are OK, but not totally smooth. I'll probably get a hard shell case.
If you are interested at all in expanding your bass pallette, buy one of these cute little basses. Then let them laugh until you plug it in!