Welcome to Ubass.co.uk
I live in the UK and I’ve been playing the UBass for several years. I heard about the U-Bass at my local ukulele group where I was strumming away with a standard soprano model. I was already used to short scale basses as I already regularly used an Ashbory Bass. I ordered my first U-Bass 1 Acoustic Mahogany at Christmas 2011 and I have had many great times playing . I’ve since started using a SUB U-Bass solid body about 18 months ago. Since the U-Bass hasn’t really caught on in the UK, this page is my attempt to centralise a bit of knowledge on the U-Bass for the UK players.
What do you want to find out:
I’m currently re-writing this site so please come back in a few weeks and see what’s happening.
What is a Ubass and why should you be bothered?
The Ubass is a rather unusual bass instrument. It is based a baritone ukulele body with proprietary polyurethane strings which allow it to sound like a full bass guitar. The Ubass is designed to be amplified and produces a sound is a very acoustic sounding one and has a lot of bottom end despite the strings only being about 22 inches long.
The ubass looks strange at first but it is an absolutely brilliant instrument to play!
Here’s Kala guru Mike Upton demonstrating the acoustic Ubass.
The Ubass was developed from initial experiments by a guy galled Owen Holt who runs Road Toad Music which is a site selling hand-made ukulele in California. He then teamed up with ukulele manufacturer, Kala in order to create and market the acoustic version of the Ubass. This was the first model I bought. They are available as fretted or fretless versions and right or left handed. The strings are tuned by 4 large Hipshot tuners and the sound is picked up by a piezoelectric based Shadow pick-up that is embedded in the bridge. There is a single jack socket embedded in the body as a strap button.
Kala have gone on build a solid body version which takes the basic construction of the acoustic Ubass but with a longer fretboard, a solid body shaped like a small electric guitar, and a volume and two tone knobs. The solid body was initially bought out as Californian made models and suplemented with cheaper Chinese built models on the same design known as the SUB Ubass range. I have a SUB Ubass in sexy black.
Kala have adjusted the branding and now the trading name seems to be “U-BASS” or “U.BASS” with a very nice modern blue and white logo. Check it out on the Kala site.
A short scale with big bass!
It is a short scale (20″) bass that still manages to produce the same pitches as a normal bass guitar.
It is strung the same as a bass E A D G and has a really deep bass sound that I think is much richer than a standard bass guitar and I have used one in a full rock set-up with great success. The sound has a more organic feel like the double bass. Also, I have never had it feedback on stage.
The bass sound is generally a source of amazement for people who have seen me playing in pub sessions. They usually take a while to work out where the bass sound is actually coming from. One person refused to believe it was possible and accused me of using a pitch shifter pedal. I keep a small Roland Microcube battery amp under my chair which can more than compete with array of guitars, accordions and violins I usually come up against.
Weird plastic strings
Besides it’s small size, the other weird and wonderful thing about the U-BASS is their proprietary polyurethane strings. They are at a low tension and are really easy to play. They can feel a bit weird under the fingers and sometimes its really easy to slip the bottom E over the side of the fretboard. Most bass players who have a go with a Ubass thing its easy to play. Because of the low tension, it is not suitable for slap bass techniques.