Since Bill Monroe’s creation of Bluegrass music the upright Bass has played a foundational role. You will hear the high pitched frequencies of the mandolin and fiddle. The twang and drive of the five string banjo. The smooth baritone of the acoustic guitar. But musically the instrument that gives the heartbeat to the true Bluegrass sound is the Upright, Doghouse Bass. This instrument provides the deep soulful rhythm, tempo and pitch.
Traditionally the upright Bass is the largest member of the Viol family and is known across the world as the Double Bass due to its octave range. This deep range is created acoustically only by increasing the size of the wooden body. It can compete volume wise with the other acoustic instruments but is usually amplified with small pic ups for larger venues of music. But that is changing since the introduction of the Kala UBass.
The UBass is a small ukulele size instrument that is fitted with neoprene strings that create a similar sound to the much larger Upright Bass and is beggining to be used at many Bluegrass Jams across the country. https://youtu.be/-PjpXrXFI8c Its playability is becoming a favorite among musicians in many other venues of music also. The UBass is quite often used with a rechargeable amplifier to keep its portability when power is not available and also to create enough volume to compete with the other musicians and instruments. https://youtu.be/rw02ZMZ5LGY
The question to me is wether this Bass will be good enough to be considered acceptable for traditional Bluegrass? Is it the looks or the sound that will make or break this new instrument? One thing I do know is that it doesn’t break ones back to haul it around!