Build your own solid body Ubass – all you need to know | instructions and phase 1

ubass-finished body+neck
5-string fretless. Body finish done with neck in neck pocket


I’m finally done with phase 1 of my ”Build your own ubass” series. In this series I will build a Kala Solid Body Ubass. All the parts are from the Kala web shop!

In the first phase 1 worked with the finish of the body. As you might have seen on my instagram or facebook page I wanted to get close to the finish of my Bakithi Kumalo signature solid body 4-string fretless. I’m quite happy with the result and learned a lot in the process!

All associated blog posts regarding this project will be accessible on the DIY page!

I will go into the details about the first phase, but first, let’s check what you need to build your own ubass.

Step 1 – Buy the parts
You need to decide what model you want to build. There are four options:

  • 4-string fretted
  • 4-string fretless
  • 5-string fretted
  • 5-string fretless (the one I’m putting together!)

When I got the parts to my UBass there was a kit option with all the parts included. This is not available anymore so you need to add all the parts yourself at the Kala Web Shop.

Here’s a PDF with all the info about what’s needed for a Solid Body fretless 5-string:
Build your own Solid Body Kala Ubass – parts needed

Step 2 – Decide on the body finish
I choose to mimic the look of my Bakithi Kumalo signature ubass and went for a so called ”tar” finish. I will not go into detail of the different products I used since these will differ from country to country. It is of course possible to do whatever you want with the body finish!

Please send me pictures of YOUR custom UBass finish so we can show them to the world! 🙂

Step 3 – Put the ubass together
I have compiled a guide from the instructions you could find on the previous version of the web page.

Download my PDF instructions below:
U-Bass Kit Assembly Instructions compiled by playubass

I will guide you step by step – phase by phase through this process in my series of blog posts!

First up: Body finish!
This first phase is documented in the movie below!

Good luck with the making of your own solid body ubass!



4 reaktioner till “Build your own solid body Ubass – all you need to know | instructions and phase 1

  1. Hello Magnus, I found a used kit for sale and I am planning to build the 5-string fretted California U-bass within the next few weeks. Currently playing a 4 string exotic mahogany, but I would like to have a little more range. I have watched your videos and read the instructions that you posted. So far, your website is the only one I can find that goes over the steps involved to build the U-bass kit. I have a question about one of the steps. What is the purpose of the zip-tie that is installed underneath the pickup wire?

    1. Hi Emma,
      I’m glad you have found a kit. It’s a bit sad they they’re not available any more…

      The zip tie is there to help push the pickup wire against the saddle. This will help to get a better and more even sound/volume across the strings!
      I still have a half finished video that shows the last step. I put in a lot of time doing these videos and essentially able to find time to make the last one. Mostly because I found out they stopped making the kits.
      Good luck with the build! Please let me know if you have any more questions and when your done I would love to see how the ubass turned out!
      All the best,

  2. Hello Magnus. I’ve built several ukuleles including a couple of LP style electric tenors and now I would like to build my own solid body ubass. The problem is that I can’t find an under saddle pickup and preamp that is designed specifically for a ubass. Kala don’t stock parts for their kits anymore and I’ve tried contacting other preamp manufacturers but without success. I simply don’t know enough about electronics to just buy something online and be sure it will work. Could you direct me to any manufacturer who would supply what I want? Many thanks, Derek

    1. Hi Derek,

      I will try to help out. The manufacturers I know of are LR Baggs, Fishman and Shadow. I don’t know where they but their parts I’m afraid. Have you tried to connect with those three companies?


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