Time for another Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass video, no. 44 to be exact 🙂
This time I recorded in a beautiful chapel in Jamtland, Sweden.
My great grandfather, Olof Molander, got the inspiration for this chapel while visiting Norway. An architect then drew this beautiful building. I have always loved this chapel. I have seen it almost every Summer (and other parts of the year too) since I was a little boy.
I choose to do a solo Ubass arrangement of an old and classic folk song from Sweden, Uti vår hage (Out in the garden). The lyrics talks about different things growing in the garden (or forrest) like blueberry’s and different flowers. The lyric also compares the beautiful flowers with a loved one. But as lovely as the flowers are nothing compares to the beauty of the loved one. 🙂
Verse 3 of the Swedish lyric:
Uti vår hage finns blommor och bär
Kom hjärtans fröjd
Men utav alla du kärast mig är
Kom liljor och aquileja, kom rosor och saliveja
Kom ljuva krusmynta, kom hjärtans fröjd
Kom liljor och aquileja, kom rosor och saliveja
Kom ljuva krusmynta, kom hjärtans fröjd
This is just a short video, one verse played. I will probably add more Swedish folk songs and make a medley of of it. Stay tuned for more Swedish music in a future post.
Up next is a DIY and a new string test! Stay tuned!
Summer greetings from Sweden,
If you want to get a new case for your acoustic/electric UBass there are a few options.
You can read about some of the options here at kalaukulele.com
Besides these very nice hard cases you can also use the case designed for the Baritone Ukulele!
You can find it here.
I’ve used one of these Baritone Cases for a while now and it works really well.
It’s super light and still quite sturdy. It’s not as sturdy as the hard cases above but still a good lightweight alternative. You can also use it as a back pack or side carry with the supplied straps.
Some more photos below!
Happy Ubass Summer to everyone!
I have just added a new page to playubass.com! It’s the ”Picture poster wall – ubassists of the world”! Please send me a pic with you and your ubass preferably in a place you really love, why not in the outdoors! I could also be a gig pic of course.
Let’s get together and make this wall a big and cozy place for all the cool ubassists of the world to be seen! Send pics to firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the page now! (Will soon take away the ”curtain” and really make it live!)
(PS. Will soon send out a new newsletter too!)
All the best,
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!
As I arrived back home from a trip to Stockholm last weekend I got some great news!
As you know, or will know now at least, I have been playing Ubass since the Summer of 2010.
I didn’t take long after I got my first Ubass, bought at Easy Music Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and imported to Sweden by my parents, until I really fell in love with that little bass with the big and warm sound. I have used it in different musical settings and the gigs I have made since then that hasn’t had at least one or two songs played on a Ubass are very few! The very first Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass was featured on the Easy Music Center we page back in August 2010!
The Ubass has become a big part of my sound and I really like to express my Music with these lovely instruments. Sometimes I guess my other basses might have felt a bit lonely 😉 I do love to play my regular electric basses and my upright too but Kala Ubasses is definitely a big part of my music now and in the future!
So what’s the fuss, what’s the big news you might wonder?
I am truly honored to be a part of the Ubassist community and now I’m also one of the artists on the wall at kalaukulele.com! Seeing my picture among all the great players there is really great!
I want to thank everyone at Kala for helping me, giving me new ways of expressing myself through Music!
I will continue to post news, tests, lessons, interviews and various tips and tricks!
All the best,
Here’s a little quick tip for every Ubassist that plays any of the acoustic/electric models.
If you use a strap the output jack can sometimes unscrew itself and become loose. To avoid further problem it’s important to solve this problem quickly. If not you can run into more serous problems with the output jack maybe even break the cable from the piezo pickup!
Here is a little guide how you can fix this!
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself please let a professional repairman help you out!
1. Open the back cover (depending on when you bought your Ubass this cover is either attached with four screws or magnets.)
2. Loosen the actual strap button. Be careful so you don’t turn the whole output jack. This might break the cable that comes from the piezo! Through the open hole you can hold on to the output jack to prevent it from turning while you loosen the strap button.
3. While still holding the output jack tighten the nut with a proper tool.
If you can’t tighten the nut enough you might have to make even further adjustments. If you unscrew the nut you can remove the output jack and change the location of the fixed nut to shorten the thread length on the tip of the jack. Make small adjustments to find out the best position of the fixed nut.
4. Now fasten the nut and then the strap button while still holding the output jack through the opened back cover.
5. Put the back cover back.
Done. Play Music! 🙂
I’m super exited to post the first (of hopefully many) interviews in my new series.
This interview can be also be downloaded as a PDF if you want a nice reading experience 🙂
Ubassists of the world!
In this series of interviews I will try to find out how and why Ubass has become a new tool for different musicians around the world to express their Music!
Interview by Magnus Sjöquist for playubass.com
Interview 1 Gunnar Hjorth (Sweden)
To kick of this series I asked my long time friend Gunnar Hjorth if he wanted to be my first interviewee. On Saturday 8th of March 2014 I visited him in his studio. Besides the interview we also got to do a quick Ubass duet jam in his studio! Pure fun!
Let the interview begin!
This interview was done in Swedish (made sense since we’re both Swedish)
so this is a translated transcript of the interview).
Magnus: Hi Gunnar!
Gunnar: Hi Magnus!
M: How come you play the Ubass?
G: It is a fantastic instrument, fun to play and very versatile!
I’m mainly a guitarist but do play quite a lot of bass in different situations, live and also on different recordings in my studio, I have been looking for a bass that gives me a big sound but also is easy on my hands. If I play a lot of electric bass I often get blisters on my finger tips. Since this is the case I always have to take this into play when I’m about to do some electric bass recordings. Recording bass and then wait a while until the next session so I don’t get blisters. Then suddenly I come a cross a instrument that sounds almost like an upright bass, is totally ergonomic and easy on my hands (body), fun to play and with a fat/full sound and fits the hands of a guitar player perfectly!
M: I know you play a lot of classical guitar that requires nails on the right hand fingers to be able to get the desired sound.
G: Yes, and here lies a big part of the problems that faces a guitarist that wants to play bass.
M: Playing bass however requires short nails to get a full/round sound.
G: Exactly, I have to turn my fingers to a certain angle to avoid nail sound.
M: So you have found a technique that works? Is it easier to use this technique on a Ubass than it is on a regular electric bass?
G: It’s a lot easier on the Ubass! Much because the strings are less tough on the fingers/nails than on a regular electric bass. If your nails touch the Ubass string they won’t break because of the softer material. (Gunnar talks about the original Pahoehoe strings here. Thunderguts and Silver Rumblers by Aquila are also softer on the fingers. These three are the most common string choices for the acoustic/electric Ubass). This makes the feeling more similar to an nylon guitar than a electric bass. I can use more of my classical guitar technique on the Ubass than I could on a electric bass.
M: Do you play only with your right hand index or middle fingers or are you using your thumb as well?
G: Yes, sometimes I use my thumb to get a more fluffy and round tone. But I do play a lot with my index and middle fingers and it works really well.
M: What turned you on to the Ubass? Where did you find out about the instrument?
G: Well, I heard a good friend play the instrument and it sounded so very nice and felt like a really cool instrument. I got very interested in the Ubass and wanted to find out more so I asked him a lot of questions that he answered gladly! I thought about it for awhile and started looking for them in the music stores but they were hard to find so I ended up buying one online.
Once I got the Ubass I started to play it for a couple of months to get to know it before I brought it to a gig.
M: To get more familiar with the feeling of the Ubass!?
G: Yes. Playing the Ubass has become increasingly more fun and nowadays I almost always prefer the Ubass instead of a regular bass if the situation let me choose!
M: I think that it is quite easy to get used to playing the Ubass. And for a guitarist I presume it will be more like a guitar since the scale length isn’t so far from a regular guitar.
G: It’s very easy on the hands.
M: You don’t have to stretch your fingers that much on the Ubass.
G: It’s the ideal bass instrument for someone that’s mainly a guitar player
G: You can use your basic guitar technique. I also think it has the possibility to get a lot of different and diverse sounds. I like the fact that mine is fretless. I really love the fretless bass, maybe because I have played with a great fretless player for many years!
M: Did you hesitate when you choose between the fretted or fretted model?
G: No, for me it was the fretless I wanted to play.
M: Did you have the chance to try both models before you ordered your fretless?
G: Only a quick test.
M: Was that enough?
G: I felt it was a bass instrument I could invest time practicing without the fear of getting blisters after a short while!
M: I do recommend the fretless, or at least that you try it out before you decide. If you’re used to play a regular bass the change to a smaller scale length can take some adjustments and the lack of frets will help you avoid playing on the fret wire since this will produce an unpleasant sound.
G: I wanted to get a sound close to the upright bass because I’m interested in jazz music and I have been using my fretless Ubass on music in that style.
M: And on a upright bass there are no frets…
G: You’re right, it’s a well known fact! 🙂
It’s the ideal bass instrument for someone that’s mainly a guitar player
M: How long have you had your Ubass?
G: Almost two years.
M: And after about two months you started to use it live!
G: Yes, but I did stare a lot on the fretboard to play in tune. It has however been easier and easier to play in tune in the 21 inch short scale.
M: When you play the Ubass what styles do you play? We have already talked about jazz. Are there other styles you play live and in your studio?
G: I have been using it on Latin inspired music (from ex. Brazil…) and also pop songs.
You can vary the sound a lot so I think it is a versatile and all-round instrument.
M: So by varying the playing technique you can get different sounds?
G: Yes, it’s surprisingly easy and it’s easier on the Ubass than on a regular bass
You can easily go from a upright-like tone to a snappy pop sound just by varying the playing technique.
M: That’s interesting. You might think that the rubbery original black strings should be very round sounding but they can really sound very snappy and short too!
M: You are a multi instrumentalist with guitar as your main instrument,
can you recommend other musicians that don’t have bass as main instrument to start playing the Ubass?
G: Yes I can, and I do! There are people I have played with that have picked up their own Ubass, wanting to have that tool of expression too! The Ubass has so many benefits!
I can really recommend it to other guitarists that want to have a great bass instrument in their toolbox. And it isn’t too expensive!
M: I know that many guitarists (and people with other main instruments too) have a home studio and might want to record, for example, music that ”requires” the sound of an upright bass. Why not play it yourself instead of trying to record it on a midi keyboard with an upright sound patch!
G: It will be a more live/living feel and maybe even more authentic than if you play on the midi keyboard keys.
Find out more about Gunnar Hjorth and his music on gunnarhjorth.se
Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 39 Fretless Ubass x 2
More interviews soon!