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

Hi!

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!)

Update!
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.

Pahoehoe
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.

Thundergut
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!

Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 26 In my studio with musicians from São Tomé!

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Hi!

A while back I did a blog post about rehearsing with musicians from São Tome e Principe for a couple of outdoor shows. We did the shows in the end of August and after those I managed to invite Oswaldo, Guilherme and PA to my home studio for some jammin’.
The song featured in the YouTube-clip below (‘Mêcê’ (Desire) was one of the songs we played. The song is written by Oswaldo and Guilherme. The other song ‘Every day’ (Written by Guilherme) will hopefully end up on the upcoming Ubass CD! I’m overdubbing some parts and will start mixing that song soon!

Although the take of ‘Mêcê’ wasn’t perfect we sure had so much fun playing together and I hope this transcends through the computer screen!

A big thank you to Oswaldo, Guilherme and PA for those great musical moments in my studio that late August evening!

I have some video from the actual shows too. I’ll post this later. Stay tuned for more!

Guilherme de Carvalho, vocals and guitar
Oswaldo Santos, vocals and lead guitar
PA Larsson, djembe
Magnus Sjöquist, fretless kala ubass

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

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Hi!

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!

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[Rehearsal Report] Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | Blues: ”Long time no PLAY”

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Mattias Pettersson, Magnus, Hannes Nordgren

Hi!

Yeah! Finally I have once again played with my old friend Mattias Pettersson! We started to play back in the late 90s.
We had blues bands and played in the rhythm section in a small big band. Later on we had a band playing a lot of jam based music.
I guess it must have been at least 5-6 years since we last played together. Too long!
My brother-in-law (also featured in the last Jammin’ video) joined in on drums.

On this first rehearsal/jam we tried an old tune I started writing in the late 90s. I found it a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically a blues based around a bass riff. I ad libed a scratch vocal part based on the working title of the song, ”You took my blues away”.

We sure had a great time and will hopefully play more this summer. This song and maybe one more will probably end up on my recording project ”Speaking UBass!?” Read more about the project here.

I played on the Kala S.U.B. throughout the rehearsal/jam. I’m starting to get a bit more used to the fretted neck but I’m still more comfortable playing my fretless spruce UBass. A little more practice and I hope it will feel more relaxed with the SUB too!

We did record some audio and video. I might post some of it later!

Please check out some of Mattias playing on this YouTube channel!

Thanks for a nice jam/rehearsal guys!

Mattias Pettersson, guitar
Hannes Nordgren, drums
Magnus Sjöquist, Kala S.U.B UBass

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[Studio Report] – Record the UBass using mics! – Part 2

Miking the UBass! (Headway EDB-1 preamp, Røde NT1-A, Oktava MK-012, Golden Age R1 and AKG C414)

Hi!
Time for part 2!

Ok. Let’s listen to, and talk about, four of the five microphones I talked about in the previous post.
I will let you make up your own minds what microphone you like the best. But I have my favourite 🙂

What microphone you prefer can depend on quite a few different things.
Here are a few:

• Different playing styles (more of less muting, ‘index-middle’ or thumb playing…)
• Genre of music
• Solo UBass, duo settings or in a dense mix?

In this ‘lab-video’ I wanted to capture the beautiful tone you can get when you play a high register melody on the fretless version. But I think it also makes regular bass parts sound a bit more organic! This is of cause something you have to experiment a lot with and it will probably work with whatever mic you have. If you don’t have one then you could consider these mics a starting point in your search for one. In my test I recorded in my quite small and not so ‘lively’ sounding studio. I will try to record in bigger rooms and maybe in a church which of cause has a totally different sound and acoustics to compare. But that’s another ‘lab’…

Please let me know what you think! Write your thoughts in the comments below or send a email to ubasslessons@gmail.com

If you want I can upload more sound files to let you hear the different combinations with the added ‘lined-through-my preamp’ sound!

 

[Rehearsal Report] Kala Ubass goes Country!

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Let me introduce one of my guitar playing friends, Marcus Måttgård! Please check out some of his stuff on his YouTube Channel. In the photo above we rehearse some country tunes (by Jerry Reed) that hopefully will end up on my CD ”Speaking UBass!?”. The CD will feature different musicians and me playing UBass on all the tracks! (I might sneak in another bass on one or two tracks…) You can ‘REED’ 😉 more about it in my previous post or on the special page i just created that here at playubass.com!

On that page I will update the progress and and let you listen to some ‘snippets’ of the different recordings as I make them!

Yihaa ya all!!