There are now quite a few options for Ubassists when it comes to choose the right string for your preferred sound and playing style. Owen Holt invented the Road Toad Pahoehoe strings (made from polyurethane) to make the super short scale length of the ubass work. These are of course still the original ukulele bass string reference that many use and love.
The Thunderblack string has, in my opinion, more similarities to the original Thundergut than the Thunder Reds. I think they feel a bit less sticky then the original Thunderguts but the sound is pretty similar.
If you prefer the look of black strings but want a sound and feel similar to the Thundergut there’s now an alternative available.
In the video below I decided to record some of the same musical exemples used in the Thunder Reds review. This makes it easier to compare the different strings.
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:
Abraham Laboriel Sr. (born July 17, 1947) is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks.Guitar Player Magazine described him as ”the most widely used session bassist of our time”. Laboriel is the father of drummerAbe Laboriel Jr. and of producer, songwriter, and film composer Mateo Laboriel.
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!
I have wanted to write about this for quite some time now. I got this kit last year and my plan was to start the project early August…this wasn’t possible because of my hand injury…
But now I’m back on track and will get started with the Kala Solid Body Ubass Kit!
EDIT: This kit is no longer available, you have to add all the parts to the shopping cart in the Kala Web Shop! See more here!
I will build the 5-string fretless based on the US made California series.
I will do this in a couple of phases. First phase has just started, working on the body finish. The goal is to mimic the espresso finish of my Kala Bakithi Kumalo Solid Body.
You will be able to follow each and every step/phase of me putting together the Ubass. Every phase will be a separate blog post, but they can all be easily found on my DIY page. I will update that page as the new blog posts rolls out.
The collaboration. I’m very happy to announce the first song by The Ubass Ambassadors, ”Mr Z”. A collaboration with fellow Kala Ubass Artist, Armin Alic!
I met Armin for the first time at the 2013 Frankfurt Musikmesse in Germany. He worked for Kala at the UBass booth. We quickly became friends and during his first visit to Sweden and my hometown in October 2014 we had really nice ”hangs”, talks and even managed to play/make some music together 🙂
The Song. It all started with a drum loop, a chord progression and then a little, if I may say so, catchy melody. We arranged the song together adding keyboard, synths, FXs and a guitar part. The melody was then recorded on UBass (two octaves) and synth. We also overdubbed the melody with our voices!
When Armin got back home to Germany he got a great idea! He said: -”Why not replace the drum loops with a real drummer!” What a great idea! Getting more real musicians adding their craft and colors is always a real plus. Armin’s drummer friend, Felix Engel, recorded a great drum part in his studio. We wanted even more and decided to add percussion too. Max Klaas, the percussionist of Armins band Royal Street Orchestra, was kind to lend us his great skills. This made the song even more alive and colorful!
This past fall I have done a short tour in Sweden. (Four shows celebrating the music of the great Gardestad brothers. Famous for writing lovely swedish pop music. I have a lesson on one of their songs on the video lessons page! Read more about this and my use of a solid body ubass in that show on my Facebook page.) In the band is my long time friend Fredrik Kjellgren on keyboards. We wanted to breath even more live into the song and Fredrik added really nice Rhodes and organ parts.
Now the song was ready! We started mixing and continued to collaborate through the internet. As well as audio we also filmed all the different musicians! To round it of Armin’s friend and the oud player for Royal Street Orchestra, Nikolaos Rondelis us with the audio mastering!
What you’re about to see and hear is the first song from…
…The Ubass Ambassadors…
The song is a tribute to my labrador Zorro – Mr Z 🙂