Subject: RE: Show Us Your Instruments
SteveyD - 2012-01-03 3:29 PM Can't quote on iPhone but what's the kala u bass like ? Tempted for a while now. Also love oud !
The U-bass is very fun to play. It takes a little time to get used to the really short scale, and it is pretty sensitive to finger placement on the fretboard to keep it from buzzing. I've heard intonation is tough on the fretless version due to the short scale. Once you figure out the fretboard, you need very little finger pressure. You can also get away from the one-finger-per-fret bass guitar technique and do some interesting things, I can reach 7 or 8 frets from index to pinky.
It's nice that it's so portable. It's loud enough to play by yourself and hear it just fine, without disturbing anyone else. To play with anybody you will need an amp. The downside is that there are no controls on it, not even a volume, so if I giged it I would probably either sit within reach of the amp or use a small preamp. Some amps might need a preamp due to the high impeadance pickup, but it's fine without on my Genz. The sound is unique, halfway between an upright and a p-bass with the tone rolled off, with very little sustain. Playing with right hand attack I can get anything from a smooth thump to a pop (but slaps really don't work). It's pretty easy to tap on too, and very responsive to hammer-ons and pull-offs.
The only real issue I've had is tuning. It's a bit tricky because the strings don't slide well over the nut. I pull the string up out of the nut every time a touch a tuner to keep the tension on the string even on either side of the nut. The strings are still stretching a lot, so hopefully they will stabilize soon.