In 2013, Ohana decided to look into producing a short-scale bass with steel strings and premium on-board amplification. Our goal was to create a compact bass that is ideal for on-the-road gigging and provides a true acoustic bass sound.
The OBU-22 is a 25 inch short-scale bass that holds, feels, and plays like a traditional acoustic bass, with a top-of the-line on-board pre-amp and pickup system for maximum control, performance, and quality.
Ohana OBU-22 Acoustic Compact Bass
Debuted in 2014 at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, the OBU-22 comes with standard Fretted, Fretless (FL), and fretless-with-marks (FLM) versions, as well as left-handed models (LH or FL-LH) — all equipped with custom phosphor bronze round-wound strings and a premium Fishman® Presys+ Pickup with built-in tuner to provide ample controls including bass, mid, treble, and volume, along with notches for feedback and brilliance for optimum tone-shaping and phase switch. Custom stainless steel flat-wound strings are also available for special order — each of these strings are handmade and tailored specifically for the Ohana OBU-22 bass for maximum tone, intonation, and smoothness. The combination of a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides results in an instrument with bright, warm tone and lots of volume and punch. The entire bass measures just 36 inches long and weighs 3 lb. 8 oz.
Each version of the OBU-22 has its benefits. The standard fretted bass is beginner-friendly, requiring less precision to achieve tonal clarity in a piece of music. The fretless version requires more familiarity with the instrument but allows for smoother techniques such as glissando and vibrato, and makes playing microtones possible. Fretless-with-marks is an in-between version that plays like the fretless, but has guiding lines where the frets would normally be. And of course, the left-handed fretless and fretless-with-marks basses were created with our lefty friends in mind.
England Based Multi-instrumentalist, James Agg, demonstrates the smooth and fast note transition the Ohana Fretless Bass, OBU-22FL provides in the video below!
There are tonal differences between fretted and fretless, as well. Since a fretless bass is intonated with just the fingers, flesh-to-wood, it has a slightly muted, smoother sound, especially when sliding up and down the fingerboard. Meanwhile, a fretted bass rings out with all the sounds of the fingers and frets, for a louder, crisper voice.
With the OBU-22 and its many variations, we hope that there can be an Ohana bass for everyone. Whether you are checking out basses for the first time, looking to upgrade your current bass, or are a seasoned bass veteran, you deserve a high-quality instrument that can be carried around with pride to your next gig. The OBU-22 is sure to be an invaluable addition to your ukulele group, providing the needed rhythm and a fantastic bass sound.