The story behind the Kala U-BASS

How this low-range ukulele has caught on with a fast-growing number of the bass players all over the world!

By Jon Liebman
January 7, 2015

The situation is almost always the same: A bass player is shown a tiny instrument, called a “U-BASS,” and immediately shrugs it off as a toy, finding it difficult, if not impossible, to take seriously.  The bassist picks it up, plays a few notes and inevitably utters – or at least thinks – This is not a toy!

It may be small, but it packs a punch.  The U-BASS, made by Kala Brand Music, is a 21-inch scale bass, tuned the same as a standard bass, E-A-D-G, covering virtually the same range.  String options include several varieties of polyurethane “Pahoehoe,” as well as silver-plated copper wound on a nylon silk core.  Hardly a one-size-fits-all novelty, the U-BASS is available in fretted and fretless, 4- and 5-string, acoustic-electric and solid body models.

Since Kala launched the U-BASS five years ago, its popularity has catapulted as a favorite of players in all genres of music, both amateur and professional.  Among the more notable U-BASS artists are Abraham Laboriel, Bakithi Kumalo, Hutch Hutchinson, Leland Sklar, Dave Pomeroy, Nathan East and Tal Wilkenfeld.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman caught up with Mike Upton, founder of Kala Brand Music Company, to learn first-hand about the instrument’s origin and versatility, as well as what Kala has in store for the next generation of U-BASS.

See the story behind the U-BASS

Comments on The story behind the Kala U-BASS

  1. Kevin Butler says:

    Interesting to say the least man! Now I feel like I have to get one, just to hear what it sounds like!

  2. William Wood says:

    Thanks Jon. Great interview.
    I was curious about it too.


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