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LR Baggs options for a Rondo

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jon Draffan, Dec 27, 2017.


  1. Jon Draffan

    Jon Draffan Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2017
    Hi Everybody!!

    I bought a 2016 Kala California 5 string and do not like it at all, I think it was badly designed. Anyway, the Kala does sound amazing and I am going to try and upgrade the pickup in my Rondo uBass Solidbody, which suprisingly will be a better bass with a fret job and new pickup.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on what I need to get for the electronics? e.g. which LR Baggs system Kala uses?
     
  2. spigmu

    spigmu

    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I can't offer and wisdom (currently in a similar situation) but will echo your sentiments. I have a Kala UBass which has been stripped piece by piece of hardware and strings for other instruments as its intonation was simply beyond usable and was very inconsistent up and down the neck, both in volume and resonances. The Rondo uke bass I purchased as a backup has no such issues and it simply took the UBass' spot.

    I'm surprised the California 5 string disappointed you though I've never played one. I checked out several Kala imported solid bodies and found they didn't compare all that well to the Rondo Hadean given the price. (I have a Hadean solid body use that plays great, intonates perfectly, but seems to have a wonky preamp). I didn't even consider a California, as they weren't making lefties and the price was too rich for me, but have heard good things about them.

    I had tried to get the rechargeable preamp the Californias had from Kala for the Hadean (Kala has changed both the preamps used in the basses and the upgrades they sell) but they weren't offering them as the preamp upgrade from their site. What they currently sell are the Baggs 5.0 which have all pots rigid on the same circuit board and they don't line up with the Hadean. There was a thread on ukuleleunderground from someone who had successfully upgraded his Hadean with a upgraded preamp from this Baggs or similar and it required more luthier fudging skills to make it line up than I can fake. For more than a single pot system (what I'm interested in) it would have to be where only one pot is soldered to the board as I don't believe any available where more than one is will line up for the Hadean.
     
  3. Jon Draffan

    Jon Draffan Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2017
    That new pre (5.0) also has the battery holder right on the circuit board so it wouldn't be good for the Rondo. I have the 23" scale Hadean solid body which I love (with pahoehoe's). That's the only reason I decided on the California 5 because the 2016 version is 23.5" scale. The Kala sounded amazing, the neck was perfectly shaped, the body top wood was gorgeous, but the body was at least 1.5 lbs underweight and there was so much neck drop I couldn't deal with it. Also the holes for the bridge posts were a little large and the bridge could wiggle. Also the neck heel was an ugly design. I could have fixed the neck drop, but I did not pay $1200 to 'fix' something. OK rant over.

    I emailed Rondo for any thoughts on a pickup/preamp upgrade, and I'm about to email Stewmac. I will repost if I hear anything.
    ---

     
  4. spigmu

    spigmu

    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Rondo didn't have any advice on upgrading the pre when I asked last month, but maybe that has changed.
    Stewmac has this Shatten Mini Pre, which I haven't seen elsewhere, and is for only $65 will do as an external for me. I'm personally not looking for any tone shaping in the pre as between the pedals and amp it's covered and for recording also I'd probably keep it off anyway.

    Interested in what you find : )

    Cheers
     

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