New Instruments from Kala Brand Music Co.

Kala Brand Music Co. had an excellent display booth at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California this past June.  Two of the new instruments that they released that caught my eye and that Maverick received for review was the new Emi Sunshine signature Ukulele and the Bakithi Kumalo Signature U-BASS.   

Emi Sunshine has been featured in the pages of Maverick Country in the past and she continues to be a shining star Appalachian, Americana, and Country music.  Emi is known as a multi-instrumentalist, but she is frequently associated with the Ukulele.  Her signature model is a Concert model uke with her mockingbird logo on the headstock and a custom black vine rosette around the sound hole.  The body features black binding, satin mahogany neck, back and sides.  The neck shape is easy to play, and spruce top is full sounding.  Graph Tech NuBone nut and saddle increase the tonality.  And the closed back tuners keep the Emi Sunshine Signature Concert Ukulele in tune.  The included gig bag also has Emi’s mockingbird logo on it. 

Bakithi Kumalo has endorsed Kala instruments for over a decade, and he is best known as a bassist and collaborator for Paul Simon.  Kumalo was a part of the popular 1985 album by Simon “Graceland.”  Bakithi worked with Kala to design his ultimate U-BASS.  The first thing that surprised me was the usage of Kala’s Round Wound U-BASS strings that have more of a traditional bass string feel.  Kumalo’s Zulu shield logo is on the headstock of the U-BASS and on the gig bag.  The tone of this U-BASS is very warm and full thanks to its Mahogany top, back, sides and neck.  The U-Bass Active built-in electronics feature three EQ bass, middle and treble an LED tuner and battery check light.  The opened geared tuners are solid and consistent.  The sound unplugged is great but plugged in is where the Bakithi Kumalo Signature Acoustic-Electric U-Bass really shines.  Whether you are trying to deliver a traditional bass sound or an upright tone you can achieve it with this instrument.  The fretted rosewood fingerboard is easy to navigate too.  The custom Kumalo gig bag also has neck support to keep your U-Bass from shifting in the gig bag.  Both of these new signature instruments from Kala Brand Music Co. are extremely well built and affordable as well. 

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