If you play the ukulele, the chances are good that you are already familiar with the four standard sizes, which include soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. There is also a ukulele that is slightly larger than the baritone, and it is called a best bass ukulele.
A fairly new invention, the bass ukulele may be big when compared to other ukes; however, it is still much smaller than a bass guitar, although its sound is just as phenomenal. Here is a list of the best ukulele rankings.
The bass ukulele started with a company called Road Toad that manufactured a great product but one that was too expensive for many musicians. Around 2007, the small company teamed up with a well-known manufacturer of ukuleles called Kala and a newer, cheaper version was born.
The first product, which is described below, is the U-Bass and it is still the most popular type of bass ukulele played today. It is a high-quality instrument that most musicians can afford, which is one of the reasons for its popularity.
If you’re going to play the bass ukulele, it is best if you’re already familiar with either the bass guitar or a standard ukulele because the bass uke is essentially a combination of these two instruments.
It is not required, of course, but switching from either the bass guitar or a standard ukulele to the bass ukulele is a very simple process. Of course, playing the bass ukulele also requires knowing both the similarities and the differences between this and other instruments, which is what this article is here to teach you.
From its strings to its shape and even the way it is played, bass ukuleles are both similar to and different from ukuleles and bass guitars in many ways. Once you become familiar with these similarities and differences, you’ll have a better understanding of what to do next.
What Are The Best Bass Ukuleles On The Market?
Many experts recommend the following models when you’re looking for the best bass ukulele on the market so these descriptions should go a long way in helping you decide which bass uke to purchase in the end.
1) Kala U-Bass:
This is one of the highest-quality bass ukuleles available and includes features such as polyurethane strings, the same range as a contrabass, piezo pickup, and both fretted and fretless options.
2) Kala Rumbler:
This is very similar to the Kala U-Bass but with some minor differences, including updated electronics, new Silver Rumbler strings, and the best part - the much lower price
3) Hadean UKBE-22:
This bass ukulele is about half the price of a Kala U-Bass but has a very similar tone and overall sound quality. For the price you’ll pay, it is an exceptional value for bass ukulele players.
4) Luna BASS TAT:
The manufacturer claims that it is the only bass ukulele that can be played acoustically; this is because it has flat wound strings that have more acoustic volume than the strings made of polyurethane and because of the one-octave-higher tuning, which is easy to hear even if you’re not using amplification.
5) Kala SUB Solid Body:
Sounding much the same as a miniature electric bass ukulele, this bass ukulele gets up to eight hours of active playing after it is charged.
6) Kala Hutch Hutchinson:
This one has two very significant features - its uniquely shaped sound hole results in much less acoustic feedback, and it has an attractive cutaway body. It also provides excellent craftsmanship and tone.
Getting Started With Bass Ukuleles
If you’re trying to find the best bass ukulele on the market, it is best to start by becoming familiar with the instrument, including its size and many advantages. The bass ukulele is usually around 30 to 32 inches from one end to the other, so it’s comparable to the baritone ukulele.
Its deep, rich sound is one you will certainly never forget. In fact, when you see its small size and hear its huge sound, you are likely to be very pleasantly surprised. Bass ukuleles resemble either small bass guitars or giant ukuleles, and they come in two separate body types.
The hollow body type looks similar to bass or even acoustic guitars, and its sound resembles that of an upright bass. The second type, the solid body type, makes the ukulele look and sound much closer to an electric guitar.
As you can see, the shape of the body not only affects the way the instrument looks but also the way it sounds, which is important to keep in mind when choosing the right bass uke. If you’re looking for the best bass ukulele but have a particular sound or look in mind, it is important to know these differences so that you get just what you want in the end.
What Type of Strings Should You Use for Bass Ukulele?
In most cases, you can do one of three things to lower the tone of the strings on a stringed instrument: make them thicker, longer, or looser. With a bass ukulele, however, this rule doesn’t apply because the instrument is too short and the strings can be rendered unplayable.
The notes can also sound lifeless and dull, but the bass ukulele, fortunately, offers a fourth option - adding density. String manufacturers accomplished this by developing a type of string that is usually made of polyurethane. Some are also made of either a silver or copper plating or a silk/nylon combination.
The Aquila Thunderguts and the Kala Silver Rumblers are the two most popular types of strings for the bass ukulele, and both sets usually cost under $30. With strings such as these, the overall “feel” of the strings is similar to that of a standard bass, although they do tend to cost a bit more than other types of strings.
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing polyurethane strings for your bass ukulele is that they require a “break-in” time of at least two weeks because this is how long it takes for them to stretch out completely. A little patience is therefore highly recommended and much needed.
Bass Ukulele Sizes Can Vary
There are also two distinct sizes of bass ukuleles. The first is the regular bass ukulele, which is usually around 30 inches in length. It has the same four notes as the bass guitar - E, A, D, and G - but they are played one octave up.
The second is the contrabass ukulele, which measures around 32 inches in length and plays the four notes on the same octave as the bass guitar.
As you can see, you cannot lump all bass ukuleles together in the same category so if you want to purchase the best bass ukulele, in the end, it is good to consider the tone and sound of each type so that you get just what you’re looking for every time.
Active Playing on the Bass Ukulele
There are a few other things to consider when you’re shopping around for your first or next bass ukulele. This includes the type of pickup used on the instrument.
Simply put, while bass guitarists usually use a type of active electronics pickup and ukulele players usually use a type of piezo microphone pickup, the bass ukulele can actually utilize either of these options.
If you purchase a bass ukulele with a hollow body, the piezo pickups are usually recommended while the active pickups are recommended for bass ukuleles with solid bodies.
Another consideration is the fret versus fretless decision. While it is true that most bass players choose the fretted option, there are a few advantages to choosing the fretless option for your bass ukulele.
- Polyurethane strings will stretch in the beginning, but fretless bass ukuleles allow you to compensate for that and play less flat.
- Some ukes offer bad tone and quality; the fretless basses enable you to play much higher on the fret and still remain in tune.
Unfortunately, this does not always apply to beginners playing the ukulele, so if you’ve never before played a bass ukulele; it is best to start out with frets until you get more used to the instrument.
Final thoughts on the best bass ukulele:
Searching for the best bass ukulele is not difficult if you’re already familiar with the instrument and therefore know what to look for.
Whether the model you’re researching comes with or without frets, is made of mahogany or spruce, or comes with flat wound or polyurethane strings, you can easily choose the uke that will suit your needs once you determine your own preferences and tastes.
For an instrument that you can fit into your backpack, the bass ukulele has an amazing sound for its size. Although some people consider it a novelty instrument, the truth is that few music fanatics will be able to resist its charm once they become familiar with those charms.
With a wide range of features and a reasonable price - at least for most of them - the bass ukulele provides a little ambiance to your musical instrument collection and has a sound that you are guaranteed to love.
They are also a lot of fun to play, which just might be the main reason why you end up purchasing one once your research is complete.