Ortega Caiman-BS-GB

Bass Ukulele

  • Top: Acacia
  • Back & sides: Acacia
  • Fretboard, bridge & rosette: Walnut
  • MagusUke preamp & pickup with built-in tuner
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Colour: Natural
  • Incl. Ortega gig bag and nylon strap

Further Information

Body Acacia
Top Acacia
Frets 15
Neck Mahogany
Pickup Yes
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carlfriedrich, 13.07.2017
I usually play electric bass, but I wanted to buy a bass for small acoustic gigs. Although the selection is quite clear, I have not found good comparisons between the different models, so I just ordered three of them to choose from. My tested models:

- Ortega Caiman BS GB
- Kala UBASS-SMHG-FS
- Kala U-Bass Rumbler

One point in advance: From the Caiman and the UBASS SMHG I also had the fretless version there. I did not get warm with them at all. Compared to a fretless e-bass (which I like from time to time) absolute bass precision is necessary. Due to the smaller scale, it makes a much larger sound difference, if you are 1 mm next to it. In addition, sliding is difficult or even impossible due to the string material, which is actually the most fun on a fretless bass. Therefore, I only present here comparisons between the three bundled models.

And one more thing: the strings have a decisive influence on both the feel and the sound, much stronger than the electric bass. Although the selection on the market is also limited in the strings, all three U-Bass models come with different sets at the factory. This makes the comparison of the actual instruments a little harder. I tried all three models only with the factory strings.

The Ortega Caiman I found the most attractive when looking through the Thomann offers. On the one hand, she was the most visually appealing to me on the pictures, and on the other, she has a cutaway as her only model. Unfortunately, in practice these are the only advantages. There are a few objective shortcomings compared to the Kala models:

- The built-in tuner reacts very slowly. Sometimes nothing happens on the display for a few seconds while you're twirling your vertebrae, and then you're suddenly too high. The tuner in the Kala models is VERY much more responsive. With the Caiman, tuning is no fun. And you have to tune often compared to an electric bass.
- Although the strings are unlikely to need changing often, the Caiman requires tools compared to the Kala models, with the cover on the back screwed in place (with Kala it is magnetically attached and can easily be removed).
- The Caiman has NO belt pin. Absurdly, however, he is the only model that comes with a belt from the house. This is even advertised. How should one fasten it ?!
- The Cayman has a bunch less than the Kala models (15 vs. 16), despite the cutaway.

The factory strings in the Caiman are the white Aquila Thunderguts. In my subjective sense, these are the worst of all three tested. E and A strings are extremely sticky. Sliding is not possible at all. Each touch of the strings also causes a squeaking, which is also clearly noticeable on the pickup. Playability extremely difficult. In addition, the sound sounds slightly impure (even if you play the empty strings). It seems a bit like having activated a chorus effect. The sound wafts and does not sound nice in my ears. This is already noticeable without amplification.
In the Thomann-Ratings of the strings (Item No. 272928) somebody writes that these are without alternative the best strings at all. I can only deny that. I find terrible and make me goose bumps. The feeling can be so different.

A sentence to the included Gigbag: He is solid, well padded and can be buckled on the back. Provides more protection than the Kala U-Bass Rumbler (which has almost no padding) but less than that of the UBASS-SMHG-FS (there's a really stable case).
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