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Kala U-Bass

Tal-kala-bass

I've played bass about twice in my life and so I'm really not someone with an informed opinion about what would make a good travel bass.  But, I must admit, the Kala U-Bass looks pretty cool.  Or at least it looks pretty cool when Tal Wilkenfield played it at this year's NAMM.  

If you've never heard of the Kala U-Bass, don't feel bad.  Kala was just announcing some new models this year and it's definitely not a conventional bass.  Kala is best known for their range of Ukeleles (get it?) and has made acoustic Ukelele basses for quite some time.  But what they've come up with here is pretty interesting.  It's a 21" scale solid body electric bass, with unique polyurethane strings that give it a surprising amount of bottom.  Components look to be high quality with custom HipShot tuners and a Shadow active pickup system.  

Because if it's compact size, the Kala U-Bass weighs in around 4 pounds.  That makes it smaller and lighter than even a traditional 30" short scale bass like the Hofner violin "Beatle bass".  And even though this is an unconventional bass, it's not quite as an extreme departure as the Ashbory Bass which has an 18" scale and is strictly fretless.

You can get the "made in California" U-Bass, with all kinds of ameneties, for around $1,200.  You can choose the finish, 4 or 5 string, fretted, non-fretted, and presumably half-caf-decaf.  The Asian made SUB U-Bass series is somewhat more modestly outfitted and ranges from $450 - $550 street price depending on the finish.  All prices include a nicely padded custom gig bag, suitable for carry-on travel.

Take a look at this video from Bassix for a sample of what the Kala U-Bass sounds like.  And if anyone has used this bass, please add your comments below.


Glen Matlock, Hugh Cornwell Live!

Glen Matlock 2

Saw one of the best gigs of my life a few hours ago -- Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols as well as Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers.  These were two separate sets, but featured Clem Burke and Steve Fishman on drums and bass for both sets.  Guitar virtuoso James Stevenson also joined Matlock on lead guitar adding great melodies and leads.  I'll post a more detailed review in the coming days, but in short, this was a fantastic evening.

Glen Matlock opened the show with a ton of energy and really set the tone.  He played songs from throughout his career including songs from the Rich Kids (a band that never quite got the fame they deserved) as well as earlier Pistols songs and later solo work.

Hugh Cornwell came on after a short break with an equally intense set that drew heavily from the Stranglers back catalog and also included more recent songs from his solo albums "Hoover Dam" and the soon to be release "Totem & Taboo".  

Hugh Cornwell

The arrangements for the songs were great and really showed what top caliber musicians Clem Burke and Steve Fishman are.  I used my Canon G9 camera so the sound quality should be pretty decent.

I've posted a few videos with more to follow --so check it out!

Also note there are only two remaining shows on this current tour: San Francisco friday and LA Saturday.  This is quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime gig.

Update: I've posted additional videos on youtube.

I'll follow up with more details, more photos, more videos and an interview with Hugh Cornwell.