Destroyed Guitarron and the Kala U-Bass

So, one of my biggest shortcomings is my memory.... or, rather, complete lack of long-term memory.  So, lately I've been heavily relying on my Google calendar.  That way, wherever I am, whatever I am doing, if I happen to be lucky enough to remember something, I pretty much enter it in my calendar right away.  Sometimes, I need a little help making sense of what entered, but it's better than nothing.

So, where I'm going with this is that I was at the grocery store and I remembered that my brother, Bryan, had always really wanted a giant acoustic bass guitar.  What he really wanted was a bass like Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes plays.

But, I'm pretty sure that's a custom job.  Or, at least, I couldn't figure out where to get one.  So, I started thinking.  Ya know, I bet he'd like one of those giant mariachi bass guitars.  So, I put it in my calendar for August 1st (his birthday is August 17th) and I promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward to August 1st, 2011.  My Google calendar tells me that I need to "buy giant bass guitar for Bryan".  So, I do some research and discover that those mariachi bass guitars are called guitarrons.  What is cooler than that is the fact that they have 6 strings and weird tuning.  I was roughly Bryan's age when I first got my ukulele and it was right before the birth of my first son.  Well, Bryan and his wife are expecting their first baby sometime in October.  So, I thought maybe this guitarron could launch him down a new path in life and figuring out how to play it would open his mind to new ideas.  Long story short, the ukulele changed my life and I was hoping to give him a similar experience.

So, I order a guitarron on eBay and when I get it... there are problems.

What's worse is that the replacement guitarron that they sent me also had problems.  I think the brand is just trash, which isn't what you would expect for nearly $400.  Well, now I'm in a pickle.  I got the replacement guitarron on August 18th... the freaking day after Bryan's birthday.  So, even though I started off ahead of the curve thanks to my new calendar-brain, I still ended up blowing it.

Almost.

Guess what saved the day?   The Kala U-bass!  Although, that almost didn't happen.  I called my local music store because I know they sell U-basses, but they informed me they were all sold out.  They checked with Kala and I guess they are back-ordered for like 4 months?!  Crap!  So, I headed to eBay and I found plenty of left-handed U-basses, but only one Spruce right-handed U-bass.  I snapped that mother right up.  Now, I should mention that there were some mahogany right-handed U-basses available but those are nearly $550, I think?  I love my brother, but I apparently don't $550-love him.  Heh.

What's neat is that the U-bass I bought for him is fretless, so it sounds like a freaking upright bass.  It rules!  Now I can finally play Lovecats by the Cure without having to bend strings.  Wait.. what do you mean it's his bass?  Crap!  Heh.  I'm sure he'll let me play it.

Our next step is to get him a battery-powered amp.  You see, although the U-Bass sounds amazing, it's not terribly loud.  So, if you were rocking it at a campfire, you should probably have a little amp.  Right now we are looking at the Roland MicroCube Bass Amp or a Pignose HOG-30 amp.  I'll letcha know what we decide on.  I'm sure we'll make some videos after we get the amp.  So then you'll know what a U-bass sounds like through a little battery powered amp.

  1. Retro says:

    I’ve played my fretless Kala U-Bass through both amps you are considering; I went for the Roland, because of the additional features it has (modeling, flanger, reverb, etc.).

  2. Uke Guy says:

    Good to know, thanks man!

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