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 Post subject: Kala U Bass?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2003 10:32 am
Posts: 568
Location: Lancaster, PA
if anyone out there has experience with the kala U Bass, please shoot me a PM.

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 Post subject: Re: Kala U Bass?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:33 am 
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Location: San Diego, CA
Not really worth a PM ... But yes, I've tried one out in the music store for a few minutes. A nice sound when amplified properly, if you want/need such a compact bass instrument. The proprietary strings would make me nervous about replacements, though they should last a good long while. Otherwise, I'd prefer a longer scale acoustic bass guitar that takes readily available string sets and may be priced comparably to the U Bass.

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 Post subject: Re: Kala U Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:59 am 
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It's not a bad sound for trad music, but if I'm going to settle for something that's not an acoustic double bass then I would just as soon make another substitute. Personally, I still think the Steinberger headless bass with the right small amp, carefully EQed, can produce a very serviceable bass tone for trad music while providing the compactness and portability. The strings for that are readily available and not in any threat of going out of production. There are a few decent clones of the Steinberger that are still quite nice and very affordable.

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 Post subject: Re: Kala U Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Location: Stout's Valley, PA, USA
Hi Tommy. I've played a Kala. They make a few models now easily divided among acoustic U bass and solid body SUB types. I've played the solid body model. I see no value in the acoustic electric model. I would have strong doubts it could be used as an acoustic instrument. I've owned an Ashbory bass - the original rubber string compact bass. I've also owned a Steinberger.

You have not really said what you are looking for in the Kala bass. So here is a shot in the dark with my thoughts

I won't disagree with anything said here already. But I actually like and embrace the concept of a compact bass with the silicone/polyurethane strings. As MTGuru said, you need a proper amplifier to use one. We could spend a day talking about what constitutes a proper amplifier. That's not the point though. The Kala is an obvious space save and it can be played to sound like a long scale bass. The strings can't be played very hard. They require a bit of a conservative touch. You can't slap and pop on these but you wouldn't want that for trad anyway. The Kala has a scale length about 2 inches longer than the Ashbory and I see that as an advantage. The Ashbory scale really results in flappy strings. The longer scale is a little stiffer. I liked the Ashbory anyway.

Silicone/polyurethane bass strings are available. You won't find them in the local music store. They are available online from several sources besides the OEM strings. So if you go the Kala route just make sure you have spares on hand. Buy 'em when you see 'em. Even in the dark days between the day Guild stopped production of the original Ashbory and the subsequent introduction of the DeArmond branded model by Fender you could find strings. Only the high G on the Ashbory was ever an issue for breakage. A few enterprising individuals found the right gauge of silicone and made spares available in bulk for that string. So just educate yourself and be prepared if you buy the Kala.

If you were hoping to use the Kala as an acoustic instrument I'd advise against that. A good acoustic bass guitar would be a better choice.

I have heard rumors of a few people using the polyurethane strings on regular Baritone Ukes. The Kala U-bass is based on one of their baritone Ukes. I have never seen or heard one however. I have no idea if they had to replace the tuners or bridge to make it work.

These days I play bass in one acoustic group - but not trad. I use a PJ type bass guitar through a compact amp. It's mobile. It's light. It works.

Feadoggie

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