Time for part three of my string test and a demo of the first part of the new song Jam Afrique (working title). See these earlier posts for some background info. Post 1 | Post 2
Besides the YouTube video below I also uploaded some versions with less instrumentation (and maybe a bit better sound) on my Soundcloud.
The only thing I have done with the sound during mixing is some EQing. (The last two sound bites have no EQ!)
The recording path is as follows:
Track 1: UBass into Sheer Acoustic Headway EDB-1 then DI out to Universal Audio Apollo (sound card with built in digital mixer and effects from their UAD family).
Track 2: AKG C414 condenser mic.
There are four bass parts. 1. Regular bass part
2-3. African inspired single string riffs
4. Bass melody
Bass parts 1 and 4 is recorded with both line and mic while parts 2-3…
I have come to the following conclusion based on the recordings. I guess I like both string types but they do have some things that sets them apart.
I have played these strings (that come as stock/standard strings on new Kala Ubasses) for more than two years. I have actually been using the same strings the whole time! I did buy a spare set early on to be safe and prepared for emergencies… Since the strings are solid plastic rubber they are unlikely to break and there are no place for sweat and dust to ‘creep’ in. (As with regular wound strings). I have not felt the need to change them. I have however felt that I should have restringed and rewound them to get rid of the extra turns of string that I got. Especially on the A-string post.
One more reason for the strings to be able to stay on for so long is that I felt it would be hard to part from playing my beloved UBass for that time it would take the strings to ‘settle in’ 🙂
This is also one thing that sets the strings apart. There are quite a lot of tuning to be done in the beginning but once they settle in you’re fine. As I wrote earlier restringing one or two strings, stretching them a bit more, would have been a good thing to do! I know there are players that have done this a few times and then they felt they stayed in tune better. More about this in the Thunderguts section.
Ok. How do I feel about the sound and playability of these strings? Well, I have got quite used to the feel of the Pahoehoe strings under my fingers. I took a while to get used to the rubbery feel – well, it’s almost rubber so that alright I guess 🙂 I think you should try to ‘forget’ about how it feels playing this or that bass and/or strings. If you instead try to do the best of this ‘new and maybe strange’ feeling you’ll soon be on the way to make great music with these strings.
I have had these strings on my acoustic UBass for just a couple of weeks and decided to compare them to my ‘trusty’ Pahoehoe strings. There are a few differences. First of all. They are not that rubbery and the tension is a bit higher. This is on the plus side because of a couple of things. First they don’t take as long as the Pahoehoe strings to settle in making the switch quite fast. (It only took a couple of days untill the (almost) stay in tune). Another reason I like them is that because the higher tension they have a bit more ‘core’ to the tone. (I will make a video showing this soon!)
On the minus side. The Thunderguts have a ‘sticky’ feel. Especially on the thicker strings. This makes them a bit harder to play. Since I have the fretless version I do want to have the option to do slides and this is a bit diffucult to do when you feel like you get ‘stuck’. I don’t know if this will disappear after some use!? But I have read about other UBassists that have had the same feeling.
I will keep the Thunderguts on for a while longer to try some more playing techniques! Stay tuned!
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The E and A strings are ”sticky” making it very difficult to slide on my fretless. I was about to change them to Pahoehoe, but the Thundergut strings sound much better. I used some Dr. Stringfellow cleaner and this improves the feel. I am very happy with the Thundergut strings.
Great tip, Greg! I wonder if I can get a hold of that in Sweden? Guess I could order it. Do you know anyplace online that has it?
Dr. Stringfellow is easily purchased here in the US. It might be difficult to send (legally) by post, because it is a petrochemical. There should be a similar product in European countries.
Thanks! I’ll try to find something similar here in Sweden.