Ubassists of the World – Abraham Laboriel

Abraham Laborial and me before the Open Hands concert in Sweden this past July
Abraham Laborial and me before the Open Hands concert in Sweden this past July


One day in July I got the news that one of my bass heroes would come to Sweden for one gig. We are both Kala Ubass Endorsees (which is pretty amazing to start with) so I managed to hook up with him through the company. 

The meeting/concert was in the southern parts of Sweden and I traveled there with two of my Kala solid body ubasses. 

Who is Abraham Laboriel?

Some of you may know about him and some don’t so I’ll give you a brief background here.

Let’s start with some of the artists he has worked with as a session musician in Los Angeles:

Al JarreauGeorge BensonAlan SilvestriAlvaro Lopez and Res-Q BandAlvin SlaughterDon FelderAndraé CrouchAndy PrattAndy SummersBarbra StreisandBilly Cobham, Carlos Skinfill, Chris IsaakChristopher CrossCrystal LewisDave GrusinDjavanDolly PartonDon MoenDonald FagenElton JohnEngelbert HumperdinckFreddie HubbardHansonHerb AlpertHerbie HancockJohnny HallydayKeith GreenKelly WillardLalo SchifrinLarry CarltonLee RitenourLeo SayerLisa LoebMadonnaMichael JacksonNathan DavisPaul Jackson Jr.Paul SimonQuincy JonesRay CharlesRon KenolyRuss TaffStevie Wonder, and Umberto Tozzi.

Abraham Laboriel Sr. (born July 17, 1947) is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks.[1] Guitar Player Magazine described him as ”the most widely used session bassist of our time”.[2][3] Laboriel is the father of drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and of producer, songwriter, and film composer Mateo Laboriel.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Laboriel

Abraham trying out my Solid Body fretted 5-string tuned EADGC
Abraham trying out my Solid Body fretted 5-string tuned EADGC


Meeting Abraham was such a joy. He’s a wonderful, warm human being with such a big heart. Hearing/seeing him play live has knocked me every time. He is an ”all in” performer that really speaks to you from heart to heart. He has been in my musical life for quite some time. I told him about hearing/seeing him at concert in the mid 80’s and even in the town where I work now on a gig probably more then 10 years ago. 

We started talking and I showed him what I have done on my blog, video lessons and recordings. What was supposed to be an interview became a nice chat about music and life, almost as we had known each other since the mid 80’s…

I really hope we can meet again soon and continue of talk and I might even get around to ask him my prepared questions! 🙂

As I wrote earlier my two solid body’s were on the trip with me and I wanted to show Abraham these. You might have picked up that I have experimented with ”new” strings on these two 5-strings. (I will do a proper blog post about these tests soon!) Anyway, Abraham started playing on the fretted one, unamplified, and after a while I grabbed the fretless one and join in on the quiet jam. It sure was nice to get to play with one of my bass heroes!

Here’s a little snippet of that jam…

All the best to all ubassists out there,


Some youtube videos featuring Abraham:

Esperanza! Solid body Ubass in a soul setting

Magnus, Josefin and Peter after the gig.
Magnus, Josefin and Peter after the gig


This is just a very short snippet from a rehearsal for a Summer concert I did with keyboardist Peter Burell and singer Josefin Larsson a couple of weeks ago.

We covered a lot of different music on that concert including a great song by Kala UBass Artist, Esperanza Spalding. The song is called Precious, from the 2008 CD ”Esperanza”. We did the song without drums so it’s really easy to hear the Ubass. The Bakithi Kumalo signature fretless solid body fits that song like hand in glove.

Esperanza is primarily a upright and fretless player so it felt natural to play the song on that Ubass.

Don’t know if she has played that song on a Ubass. If not she should! 🙂

Esperanza links

Magnus Sjöquist’s Submission in Bootsy Collins: Funk Bass In Your Space Competition!


Please help me out in the Bootsy Collins: Funk Bass In Your Space Competition! This is not all UBass but it all starts out with me jammin’ ‘with’ Ron Carter on my Kala UBass fretless! After that there are a couple of different bass players that I jam along side! Steve Bailey, Bootsy Collins and Victor Wooten are a few of them! Besides my acoustic UBass I play a fretless Ibanez Gary Willis 5-string and a Ares 5-string fretted (Custom built for me back in ’96!)

Click the link below, listen and them please vote for me!

Magnus Sjöquist’s Submission in Bootsy Collins: Funk Bass In Your Space Competition.

[Song Teaser-Test Report] Jam Afrique and String test | Part 3


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.

Soundcloud info.
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…

Test report
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!

[CD Project] Composing a new song for the UBass!



Inspired by the beautiful surroundings in my hometown and my mothers Malmsjo piano I started writing a new tune that will hopefully end up on my upcoming UBass CD!

I used GarageBand on the iPad. I recorded the piano, guitar and more using the ‘touch-screen-keyboard’ on the iPad. I overdubbed real drums and will add a couple of UBasses playing bass parts and melody. Not sure if it will end up being an instrumental or if I’ll add lyrics… I will let you hear a sample of the tune soon!


Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | ”Organ Jazz in Trollhattan”


I’m exited to announce some new jammin’ buddies! Recently I was back in my hometown to visit my parents and thanks to Facebook and a bit of luck I got to jam with two great musicians! I have known Mats [drums] for a long time. He was my first sound engineer teacher back in the late ’80s. Sven [organ] is a new friend that I met for the first time on the jam! I was lucky because everything was setup for recording direct to 2-track in the rehearsal room so I got our jams on ‘tape’ too! (And some of it on video…stay tuned for some ‘videosnippet’ soon…) We decided to play some more and I hope it won’t take long ‘til it’s time for some jammin’ again!

Sven has made a great ‘shell’ for his Key B Duo organ! It’s based on the exact measurements of his original Hammond B3 (that he has in his living room!). Check out these pics. It looks absolutely lovely!

You can have a listen to some of the music that came out that night right here:

Mats and Sven have played together for many years and have a project called Hammond Voyage Concept. Check out the links below!

Myspace  Facebook

If you like Hammond organ music please check out my 10th Jammin’ video too!

Sven Ericson, organ
Mats Berggren, drums
Magnus Sjoquist, kala ubass

Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 16 ‘Remix-mode’!

Fretless Rob Allen MB-2 and Fretless Kala UBass


Here’s some info on a remix I did recently. I used my UBass and Rob Allen basses and the ‘stems’ from Christopher Willis album ‘Tiger Flower Circle Sun’. Chris has been an inspiration for me in the ‘live-looping-genre’! So it was great to work with some of his sounds in this remix competition.
I downloaded all of the 12o something stems/loops/samples, choose the ones I liked best and imported them in Ableton Live.
Then I did a live remix choosing the loops (adding different effects) on the fly and recording UBass and my Rob Allen fretless on top with my SoftStep MIDI-Foot-Controller made by KeithMcMillen. After some tweaking I came up with this remix!

Willits Remix Session


Jazz: A little solo on a classic jazz tune!

I really like playin’ jazz on my UBass! This is a short solo on ”Ain’t Misbehavin'” by ”Fats” Waller. It’s recorded on my Korg Sound-on-sound recorder at a steady gig me and a couple of friends do at a water tower in Orebro, Sweden called ”Svampen” (The Mushroom :-)) This is from our 2011 gig. Besides me you can hear Daniel Bjornmo and Kent Larsson on guitar and Mats Nystrom on drums. Hope you’ll enjoy this! PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS AUDIO CLIP WITH HEADPHONES OR REAL SPEAKERS! UBass doesn’t sound good on bad computer speakers!

Link to soundcloud (if you’re on a mobile device): http://soundcloud.com/gigbyte/ubass-solo-on-aint-misbehavin