Playubass goes Dixieland/Trad Jazz at the Classic Car Racing Track

The winning team! ”Hejåhå med Peter” at the Classic Car Racing Show at Gelleråsen, Karlskoga, Sweden

Out of the blue my dear old friend from my music study days in Jönköping, Sweden called me up and asked me if I wanted to SUB for the SOUSAPHONE player in the Dixieland/trad jazz band ”Hejåhå med Peter”. He called last Thursday and the gig was that weekend!

The regular tuba/sousaphone player wasn’t able to make the show. My friend thought about me because I live quite close to the racing track and he thought it would be cool to try using a ubass instead of the tuba/sousaphone. When I was between 13-19 I played a lot of trumpet but tuba is another ball game and I have only tried it a couple of times.

Talking the sousaphone for a little spin! Wow, it has a powerful sound. I’m addicted and have get one so I to play some more!

They did bring a sousaphone and I got to try it. I will try to borrow a tuba or sousaphone because it’s such a fun instrument to play. Since I have my trumpet technique somewhere in the back of my head, and already know the function of the bass and how to play basslines, it would be a great addition to my bass tool palette! If I can at least borrow one and put in some practice it would be so great to once again play with the band – with me on sousaphone!

The band lined up (minus the trumpet player) at the racing track

But this time it was ubass I added to the mix. The first obstacle was to find a suitable mobile amp setup that would be easy to move around and had a powerful enough sound to blend nicely with the rest of the band. The band has a classic dixieland setup with clarinet, trumpet and trombone as lead instrument, banjo and washboard (cow bells, woodblock and cymbal).

My first thought was to only use my Phil Jones Double Four. That amp can be played powered by an external battery. I don’t have a battery yet so I still needed to connect to a power outlet in order to make it work. The gig was outdoor and although the Double Four has a great sound with a fantastic low end response the volume I can get out of it is a bit to low when used outside. I decided to use a combination of the Double Four and my old ”vintage” Gallien Krueger combo amp, that I bought new back in 1987. That way I could use the preamp and main sound of the Double Four and use the GK as a slave amp to get some more power and volume. As you can see in the video below I had some trouble finding power everywhere. But most time it worked out nicely!

My amp-cart setup. A Phil Jones Bass Double Four and an old GK as a slave amp for more power. Maybe not the prettiest setup around but it worked well and sounded very nice!

I put the amps on a cart and together with my friend we came up with a great way to incorporate a long extension power cord that was easy to use at the different locations where we played throughout the weekend.

So what do you need to focus on to sound somewhat close to a brass instrument while playing the ubass? First of all you need to play quite short and staccato-like notes. Almost the opposite as when you play ”newer” jazz (1940-) where a long legato sound is preferred.

Because of the interactive weaving lines from the melody instruments (clarinet, trumpet and trombone) it’s also best to keep the bass lines super simple. That way you won’t get in the way of the interactive in the moment harmony they produce. The chordal instrument (banjo) should also play simple triads with the appropriate dominant seven chords where applicable.

For me this means playing a staccato root fifth motions with the occasional chord or approach notes here and there to build up for a new section or chorus.

Besides using my ”cart rig” I used a Bose L1 PA that was available at one location. In video below you can hear and see what it all sounded and looked like.

It was pure joy playing with these guys. It’s always very rewarding when you get to play music with musicians that have taken time to get inside a certain genre. Besides playing in ”Hejåhå med Peter” the three lead melody instruments plays together in Gentlemen and gangsters a trad jazz group that regularly performed in Sweden, Europe and Asia.

We played a variation of classic jazz tunes with original or new lyrics and some ”Dixieland-ised” Swedish children songs too. Great fun!

Thanks for letting me swing with you guys!

 

 

About the car race

”Velodromloppet Grand Prix” has been around for quite some time. Here’s a movie from the 1959 competitions. (Swedish speaker)

Welcome to a fantastic race weekend for the whole family with lovely race cars and nostalgic feeling of the old days! Historic racing for pre historic, formula, standard, GT and sports cars. Club & car exhibitions, TT motor cycle show, retro and vintage feeling on the track.

Annonser

New Music and trio featuring the Kala SUB through effect pedals!

 

Almir, Henrique and me in Brasilia, Brazil (May 2015)
 

Hi,

In May I visited Brazil for the first time and met a lot of nice people including Henrique and Almir. Read more in this post

Last week we met again…but now in my studio in Sweden! We started to jam and came up with some new music. 

One of the things we played was built on two short bass parts (bass bits). It has a very loose form and one version turned out to be 13 minutes! 

I used a Kala SUB with the new Kala Metal Round Wound strings. I went back and forth between a dry Ubass sound and a FX chain. This was the FX chain: Kala SUB Solid Body Ubass (with Kala round wound strings) > RMI Basswitch (the built in DI sends the signal to my Apollo Audio Interface) > In the parallel loop I used this chain: Boss OC-2 Octaver > Electro Harmonix BassBalls > Boss SYB-5 Bass Synth controlled by an Boss FV-500L Expression pedal. > Aguilar bass amp (Tone Hammer 500) and cab (SL-112). This time for monitor only.

Below is a link to a shorter version of the jam. (The whole song might be released in the future!)

Hope you like the music the cool sound of the Ubass and of course great playing by Henrique and Almir!

Henrique Alvim, guitar
Almir Cassio, drums
Magnus Sjoquist, Kala SUB

Playubass in Brazil 2015!

Playing a gig at the pub, Stadt Bier in Brasilia, Brazil

In the end of May 2015 I did my first ever trip to Brazil! I have been listening to Brazilian music since the early 90’s and have played Brazilian music for quite some time too. See previous posts with a Brazilian content: Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4 | Post 5 | Post 6 | Post 7 |

Finally being able to travel to Brazil was a very big thing for me!

The main reason for this trip was to visit schools and find out ways to set up some kind of exchange program between the school where I work in Sweden and schools in the capital city of Brazil, Brasilia.

I had a really busy travel plan with several visits booked for almost everyday of the eight-day trip. These visits were to different schools with arts and music focus. I’ll try to write more about this later. We’ll see what happens with these ”might-be” exchanges. It’s interesting to see how it unfolds and evolves.

Besides these visits I also got to play some Music! With me on this trip was my colleague, Eva Stenström. We had prepared some songs we could perform on only bass and vocals. To make the travel easy I brought my spruce Kala Ubass and the new Phil Jones Bass ”Double Four” amp I just bought just before the trip. Traveling with this setup was very nice and I was able to get both the UBass and the amp into the cabin of each flight we did.

I will write more about the Phil Jones Double Four in a future blog post. Until then you can check it out on the company’s webpage.

Kala Ubass and Phil Jones Bass Double Four at Café C’est La Vie

Me and Eva did a few workshops involving playing, different vocal techniques and I also did a short live looping workshop featuring the TC Electronic Ditto looper. If someone is interested in knowing more about live looping with the ubass (and other instruments) please let me know and I could make a series of posts on the subject! Send an email to ubasslessons@gmail.com [Older post featuring Ubass and the ditto looper!]

We met a lot of really great musicians and teachers and students at all three schools we visited. A very big thanks for taking such good care of us. Extra big thanks to: Lucas at Escola de Musica, Henrique at Escola de Choro, Antenor and Alexei at University of Brasilia, William and Barbara for giving us a great tour of Brasilia!

Workshop and concert at Escola de Musica, Brasilia

Besides playing as a duo we also got joined bit different Brazilian musicians and also got the change to sit in on a concert and also do a ”club” gig with two great Brazilian musicians that will come to Sweden this fall. I hope we will be able make some more music together. Stay tuned!

There isn’t that many recorded videos from this trip but I will let you hear some music bits and pieces. See this video! There is also a gallery of photos from our workshops, concerts and some scenic ones too!

It was a great trip with lots of interesting meets with universal language of music as a great common ground! Thanks to everyone that made our first trip so fantastic!

Some links you check out!
Lucas de Campos, guitarist and professor at Escola de Musica
One of his projects (Text in Portuguese)

Choro pra Cinco (A great Choro group!) Link to YouTube-video

Info about the great bass player Oswaldo Amorim (and also about the late great Nico Assumpção)

Great Facebook page about Brazilian bass: Baixobrasil

Lucas Fernandes, bass player, there is also a Ubass track on his Soundcloud!

Henrique Alvim, guitar player. Check out his band A Engrenagem

Paula Zimbres – a great bass player I met and heard in Brasilia

Paula played with Sergio Boré at Clube do Choro!
See video below!

The schools and some places we visited
Escola de Musica
Escola de Choro
Universidade de Brasilia
Clube do Choro

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

Play Music,
Magnus

Speading the word and my story – pechakucha style!

From one of the Swedish TV News channels


Hi,

A couple of weeks ago I did a so called pechakucha. Don’t know what it is? Well, it’s a kind of lecture that architects in Japan started using in 2003. You tell a story about a subject using 20 pictures/slides. You’re allowed to talk for 20 seconds per picture. This makes the presentations nice and short!

I was invited to do a presentation on the first pechakucha night in Vasteras (…yes it’s almost the same name as in Game of thrones but spelled with an a with a two dots and an a with a ring 🙂

I wanted to tell my playubass story with this headline; Social branding in the music business. A short presentation of my background and how I’ve used social media to tell my story and interact with other musicians and ubassists across the globe!

Swedish TV did a short interview/segment with me for the news channel with and you can see this below. Since this is in Swedish I have made English ”subtitles”. Please use the caption feature in YouTube to see this!

Onwards…to new Ubass experiences!

All the best to you all! /Magnus

caption2

Playing Ubass with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra

The Bass Section of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and me!
The Bass Section of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and me!

Hi,
One of my goals with this blog/site is to take my Ubasses to places you normally don’t see one!
Here’s a new experience for me and the Ubass 🙂
Besides blogging I do other stuff too 🙂 I work as a music teacher and ICT-pedagogy in a Swedish secondary school with an arts program (music, dance, theatre, and visual arts).
Among the highlights we give our music and dance students is a collaboration with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra that is based in our town. Since our hometown <a href=”http://www.orebro750.se/”turns 750 years in 2015 we decided to do a concert with songs that is either performed or composed by someone from here. (There is even a bass neck and head in the logo! 🙂

I had to (which wasn’t a sacrifice at all) chime in and play two songs on these concerts. One of the songs lend itself towards the Ubass. So I decided to play my trusty acoustic/electric on a jazz ballad. It is composed and arranged for orchestra by one of Sweden’s premiere jazz pianists and composers, Lars Jansson. The song is called Hilda’s smile. Below is a sneak peak of one of our performances of the song. It was great to play together with this wonderful orchestra once again. I have done it a couple of times before in different projects, but never before with a UBass. It was also nice to talk and hang with the nice fellows of the bass section. See pic above!

Ubass + Chamber orchestra = check 🙂

More of Lars Jansson’s music here!

More about the orchestra here!

Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass | 48 ”Regnen i mars” (Àguas de Marcos)

Me, Eva Stenström (vocals) and Daniel Björnmo (guitar)

 

Hi,

It’s once again time for a jammin’ video. This time a short but fun one!

I have written about the Live at heart festival before and this past September was the fifth one. The festival is inspired by the famous South by southwest festival in Austin, TX (US). The first festival was held in 1987! (Read more here.)

In this years Live at heart 5.0 festival i played with two bands. I wrote about M&M’s Honky Tonk earlier and now it’s time for Eva Stenström LTD. Read more here. I’m working on a album project with Eva Stenström and will release this hopefully during 2015.

The song featured in this video is written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and performed here with the brand new Swedish lyrics by Eva!

We all played through a Bose L1 PA system and I really think the Ubass sounds really good in their systems. First time I wrote about Bose was back in 2011.

Hope you like the short and lively street video of ”Regnen i mars” (The March Rains)!

All the best, Magnus

Jammin with my Kala Ubass | 45 M&M’s Honky Tonk goes Jim Campilongo

M&M's LAH14 JimC
From Live at Heart 2014

Hi,

M&M’s Honky Tonk plays Jim Campilongo
If you follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my YouTube-Chanel you might already seen the latest Jammin’ video. This time M&M’s Honky Tonk, the duo I have together with guitar wiz Marcus Måttgård aka MarQTwang, plays a great tune by Jim Campilongo called ”Awful, Pretty Awful”. It’s from a gig we did at the biggest music festival in Sweden, Live at heart. (The biggest in terms of the many bands (200+) and venues (about 20). Please check out Marcus facebook page!

Marcus has been a fan of Jim’s music for quite some time. I have also started listening and fallen in love with Campilongo’s quirky tunes and fantastic soulful playing.
Jim plays a regular gig at in NYC every Monday at Rockwood Music Hall. So if you live in NYC or have plans going there please check out one of Mr. Campilongo’s gigs!
Hope you like our version!

Earlier posts about M&M’s… Post 1 | Post 2

M&M's LAH14 Rockabilly UBass Slap Part 2b
The ”Rockabilly UBass Slap” Updated technique! Pic 1

M&M's LAH14 Rockabilly UBass Slap part 2a
The ”Rockabilly UBass Slap” Updated technique! Pic 2

Fretwraps update!
A while back I did a video featuring the great FretWraps by Gruvgear.
On the same gig mentioned above we played one of the songs featured in that video. I have tried to develop the technique I call ”The rockabilly Ubass Slap” further and tried it live for the first time on the Live at heart gig. Stay tuned for a video of that… 🙂

NEWS! The Fretwraps are soon available in HD!

Next up:
New string test!

Cheers,
Magnus

Esperanza! Solid body Ubass in a soul setting

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

Hi,

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
http://www.esperanzaspalding.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanza_Spalding
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/esperanza-spalding-mn0000394325

A new Ubass has arrived!

20140515-114557.jpg

Hi!

I just got a new Ubass! It’s the Bakithi Kumalo signature model of the Kala California solid body series. This is a fretless only model. If you’re interested in a fretted California US made solid body Ubass there are several options too. Please check out the California page at kalabrand.com for more info.

The Bakithi Ubass is really a great instrument! It is very well built and feels really solid when you pick it up. The black original Pahoehoe string that it comes with feels really good on this Ubass.
A new addition to the 2014 solid body models (and some of the acoustic/electric models) is a new preamp. I have written about it before. It’s a collaboration between Kala and LR Baggs. The Cali models used to have a MiSi preamp. It was a great battery-less invention that you charged for 60 seconds and got about 8 hours of playing time. The LR Baggs preamp is ”old-school” when it comes to how power is supplied, it uses a 9 volt battery. Although it’s not as ”cool” as the MiSi solution I know it might be easier to use. I have heard of Ubassists that prefer battery operation over the charge-before-play MiSi.

I will do a test and DIY series of posts here at playubass.com regarding these preamps soon!

I got the new Ubass this past Friday and used it on about 90% of the songs on a gig I did the day after! Wow, it sounded wonderful through my Basswitch IQ/DI and Aguilar amp setup. Punchy with a great focused low end and enough mids and top to cut through. A lot of different styles were covered in that concert as the theme was musicals. From jazz to funk to ballads to…
The Bakithi Ubass sounded great throughout all those styles and I was able to get the different sounds I wanted to just by changing my playing style to suit the songs.

To honor Bakithi Kumalo, who has played with Paul Simon since the mid 80’s and plays bass on the iconic Graceland recording, my first jammin’ video with the new Ubass is dedicated to him!
He also happened to have his birthday at the time when I got my UBass! 🙂

I think there will be a lot more Music made and many more videos with this new and wonderful Ubass. Stay tuned!