U•BASS® Manual

Congratulations on the purchase of your Kala U•BASS®

You are about to embark on a new musical journey with this portable and powerful instrument. It is our goal to provide you with a versatile new bass instrument that is capable of producing remarkable bottom end in live and studio applications. The heart of the U•BASS® tone lies in the strings, specially designed to fit the shorter scale, and a pickup system that creates a sound that is both traditional and progressive while being fun to play. Coupled with a high-quality amplification or recording system, the applications for the U•BASS are limited only to your imagination. This owner’s manual will give you an overview of setup, care, and maintenance of your U•BASS. If you are looking for up-to-date, detailed specifications, please visit the specific instrument webpage. If you are looking to troubleshoot an issue you’re experiencing, please visit our FAQ webpage at: kalabrand.com/support.

Set-Up & Operation

To achieve the fundamental tone and feel of the U•BASS®, specially designed strings are used. When you first open the case to your U•BASS the strings will be slackened. Strings will need to be stretched and tuned multiple times until they settle. You can speed up this process by gently tugging on the strings and tuning them to pitch. Do this several times until the strings no longer drop in pitch when tugged. Upon inspecting the instrument you will notice that the string posts of the tuning machines are larger than your average bass guitar. This is to accommodate the large diameter of the specially designed U•BASS strings.

Similar to most acoustic instruments, your U•BASS has its intonation pre-set. The saddle and bridge are positioned in such a way that proper intonation is achieved by using a compensated saddle assembly. This means that each individual string comes to its peak point at a different location than the adjacent strings on the saddle. This allows your U•BASS to play in tune on the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.

There should be two wraps around each string post for optimal performance. If, after stretching the strings, you have more than two wraps you may want to consider unwrapping the string and re-stringing it with fewer wraps. This may seem challenging but the time you spend on this crucial step will have considerable rewards in stability and sound.

While tuning your U•BASS, lift each string off of the nut to assist its movement to reach the proper pitch.


Whenever practical and possible keep your U•BASS® in its case or gig bag. Keeping your U•BASS in the case protects it from weather damage and other hazards that could void your warranty (car doors, small children, guitarists, etc.). Before placing your U•BASS in its case be sure to wipe the strings and other contact areas (neck, upper bout, bridge) off with a soft cotton cloth. Since the U•BASS is smaller than your average bass or guitar you may want to purchase a hanging-style instrument stand for breaks while recording, rehearsing, or performing. These allow the instrument to hang from the area where the neck and headstock meet, many include extra support for the back of the instrument.

The fretboard on the U•BASS should already be well conditioned. If after a period of time you see that the fretboard looks dry, apply a thin layer of lemon oil or mineral oil to a cloth and wipe the fretboard down evenly. After a minute or two wipe the excess oil with a clean cloth. This process should be done no more than twice a year. However, if the fretboard remains dry, your instrument may need to be brought back to its proper moisture content with a case humidifier (available through our webstore). Never leave your U•BASS in a hot or cold vehicle for an extended period of time. This leaves your U•BASS vulnerable to theft as well as damage that could void your warranty.

As with any fine acoustic instrument the U•BASS benefits from an intentional approach to maintenance. Unlike traditional electric bass strings that begin their lifecycle with a bright sound then gradually mellow, U•BASS strings are designed to have a warm, mellow tone similar to an upright bass. It is not uncommon for polyurethane U•BASS strings to last well beyond the traditional lifespan of traditional electric bass strings after their initial break-in period if you continue upkeep of your U•BASS.

In our ongoing quest to provide players with the best instruments and accessories at the highest value, all prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. For warranty information, please visit our Warranty page.

Kala Continues to Create & Innovate

The U•BASS® by Kala is the original, short-scale bass developed and brought to the market in 2009. Used by bassists around the world live and in the studio.  The portable U•BASS makes a great addition to any bassist’s arsenal. Known for its immense low end, the compact U•BASS packs a thunderous punch and is suited for any genre of music or style of play. 

Recognized as one of the music industry’s most innovative products, the U•BASS has received multiple BEST IN SHOW awards from its publishers, retail leaders and review websites.

Explore our full U•BASS® catalog to see the latest in Acoustic-Electric U•BASS® and California U•BASS®.