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This article was originally published in issue #15
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Now this is a beast that has caused quite a stir for at least three years! It's generally marketed as a baritone uke that sounds like a bass, but could also be equally pushed as a bass guitar that has the proportions of a baritone ukulele. And I want one! To be frank, I want one more as a bass as it isn't fabulous acoustically but plugged in and EQ'd in the right way this instrument can have a full, rich tone that is so far beyond any usual bass-substitute, or novelty instrument. OK, now if you're a dedicated bassist then you're going to scoff, seeing that you've spent aeons selecting your instrument and strings and amp, just like anyone who is serious about their instrument. But either as an addition to your present arsenal of basses, or as a very convenient travel bass, or as the ultimate bass addition to a ukulele ensemble, the Kala does excel. The body is solid mahogany, and it has the regular bass tuning (E,A,D,G). The strings can feel a tad strange at first, with a loose rubbery sensation that is quite alien and unlike traditional bass strings, but once you learn to utilise the instrument without the preconceptions of how a bass ought to be, then you can get down to the possibilities that it has to offer. One major gripe though. Access to the electronics happens to be via a wooden plate on the back that is very ineffectively held on by magnets. It just throws itself off at the least excuse!
All in all though, it is a truly fun and innovative instrument. If one of these appeals, and it should, it's well worth getting one in person from a music shop and getting it properly set-up for you. After any glitches have been ironed out, it ought to be irresistible. Hard case included.