Kala U•Bass Artist Bakithi Kumalo at Bass Player LIVE! 2017

U•Bass® Timeline

Since Kala first launched the original short scale U•Bass back in 2009 it has taken the music world by storm. The immense, upright bass sound coming out of the compact U•Bass turned heads and found a community of like-minded enthusiasts. Today there are blogs and lessons dedicated to the U•Bass, with more resources popping up everyday. We are always testing and updating the U•Bass design to ensure that players get a consistently playable instrument that sounds and looks great. Whether it’s developing new strings or a making a cosmetic adjustment like moving the fret markers to make them more visible, we strive to make your experience the best it can be with every U•Bass.

Here is a brief but detailed timeline of the U•Bass.


Kala owner Mike Upton meets U•Bass architect Owen Holt at a luthiers convention.


Mike and Owen develop and finalize the definitive design of the original U•Bass.

The Original Kala Solid Mahogany U•Bass


The fretted Solid Mahogany U•Bass debuts at Summer NAMM. The fretless Solid Mahogany U•Bass follows soon after, debuting at Bass Player LIVE!


Fretted and fretless Solid Spruce Top Mahogany U•Basses and the fretted Solid Acacia U•Bass are introduced at Winter NAMM. The first left-handed U•Basses hit the market.


At Winter NAMM, the Hutch Hutchinson Signature U•Bass joined the lineup. In the spring, the first U.S.-made U•Basses, the California Series, are launched featuring fretted and fretless 4-and 5-string Solid Body U•Basses. The 4-string SUB Solid Body U•Bass followed at Summer NAMM.

Kala Exotic Mahogany U•Bass


Fretted Exotic Wood U•Basses, including Exotic Mahogany and Spalted Maple models, are presented at Winter NAMM. The U•Bass is celebrated at U•Bass Day at the Musicians Institute featuring Abraham Laboriel Sr., Bakithi Kumalo, and Stuart Hamm, and again at a workshop at Berklee College with Hutch Hutchinson joining Abraham and Bakithi.


The fretted Rumbler Mahogany U•Bass at Winter is released NAMM along with Aquila® Silver Rumbler strings. Exotic Top 4- and 5-string Solid Body U•Basses join the California Series at Summer NAMM, featuring tops of Koa, Maple, and Walnut. A custom-designed Shadow® Electronics pickup system with EQ and built-in tuner becomes standard on all import U•Basses.

Kala Bakithi Kumalo Signature U•Bass2014

On the 5th Anniversary of the debut of the original U•Bass, the Bakithi Kumalo Signature U•Bass is announced at Winter NAMM. Solid Koa and Maple Acoustic/Electric U•Basses are added to the California Series, equipped with an exclusively designed LR Baggs® pickup and preamp system. The LR Baggs system also becomes standard for all California Series Solid Body U•Basses. Bass Player LIVE! hosts a U•Bass clinic featuring Abraham, Bakithi, and Hutch.


The 5-string SUB Solid Body U•Bass along with the fretless Rumbler Mahogany U•Bass are introduced at Winter NAMM. The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA features a U•Bass in their exhibit “LOW: The Power & Beauty of Bass.”


At Winter NAMM, the Bubinga U•Bass and the fretted Exotic Mahogany U•Bass with Round Wound strings are released.

Kala Nik West Signature U•Bass


The redesigned California Series U•Basses with updated neck, body, and string alignment are shown at Winter NAMM. The 4-string Nik West Signature U•Bass debuts in August and is followed by the 5-string model at Bass Player LIVE! The Musical Instrument Museum in Arizona displays a 2012 Solid Spruce Top Mahogany U•Bass.

2018 and beyond

Stay tuned…

Let us know which U•Bass you have and how you’re using it in the comments.
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