Fretless U-Bass is a recent instrument creation based on a traditional Ukulele. They made all sorts of hybrid instruments like banjo Ukulele, electric Ukulele, resonator ukulele, and Guitalele.
The regular Ukulele types are soprano, concert, and Tenor. The Tenor Ukulele is the only traditional instrument I can play. The others are so small that I struggle way too much to put my big fingers in.
The Ubass is a fantastic creation. I am surprised that it is not more successful. I never saw any bass player using it, which is surprising when you know the instrument’s quality of sound and playability.
Fretless U-bass Vs Double Bass
You get the exact sound of double bass without the difficulty of this enormous instrument. It is also relatively cheap and so small that you can take it with you in a cabin flight bag without any problem and still have room for a laptop and whatnot.
Playing the double bass is hard. The instrument is enormous and takes so much place that it is a nightmare to move it around. It cost a fortune, and it is really hard to amplify.
The U-bass was made possible because of the invention of those strange polyurethane strings. They allow having a real double bass tone and definition without being too slack. (even if they are quite sloppy) The tension is almost non-existent, but the notes have a definition and do not buzz and vibrate anyhow as a metal string will do.
It is astonishing to have such a lovely bass tone on such a short-scale instrument.
The Ubass was developed from initial experiments by a guy galled Owen Holt, who runs Road Toad Music, a site selling hand-made Ukulele in California. He then teamed up with ukulele manufacturer Kala to create and market the acoustic version of the Ubass.
Kala has built a solid-body version that takes the basic construction of the acoustic Ubass but with a more extended fretboard, a solid-body shaped like a small electric guitar, and a volume and two tone knobs.
Kala also developed Metal Round Wound U-Bass Strings to go on electric solid-body U-bass. You can mount them on a regular acoustic U-bass too. The sound is closer to the electric bass.
Watch the video I made of the U-bass I bought on Lazada
I am Hervé Senni, a pro musician and performer for quite some time.
My main musical instrument is unquestionably the electric guitar. Nevertheless, I also perform bass guitar, mandolin, Ukulele, and invented string instruments. I am also a composer as well as an arranger. Over the years, repairing and trying to further improve electric guitars that a majority of times did not have to be upgraded converted me right into a self-taught luthier.