What’s in the first ebook-ePub ”Learn to play the ubass – Basic Techniques”? Lesson 3

Lesson 3 – basic fretting hand technique

Q’s: Should I use different approaches wether I play a fretless of fretted UBass?

How can I do warm-ups? Basic fretting techniques?

In Lesson 3 the focus is the fretting hand. From where and how to put your fingers on the fretboard to get the best sound to warm-up exercises and more.

With pictures and video examples.

In my videos there is almost always at least two angles including my ”players-view-angle”. That angle lets the player see a natural view of the fretboard and body of the ubass from above.

The ”players-view-angle” is, in my opinion, a great way to get the most out of learning techniques from a video.

Screenshot from a video in Lesson 3 including the ”players-view-angle”

More info about the Lesson Pack here!

Direct links

iTunes/iBooks Store 

Payhip (ePub)

– – –

My parents bought my first ubass at a music store in Honolulu, Hawaii while visiting the islands. I had not been able to try one beforehand. It only took me a very a few moments getting acquainted with the short scale length and rubbery strings. After that I have gotten more and more in love with the feel and sound of the ubass. Hope you have or will get the same feeling for these amazing instruments! Read more about my first encounter here!


What’s in the first ebook-ePub ”Learn to play the ubass – Basic Techniques”? Lesson 2

Lesson 2 – basic plucking/picking hand technique

[EDIT: This post was supposed to go live last Sunday September 3rd…This means were one week behind my initial plan to release these series of blog posts every Sunday for four weeks…Sorry!]

Q’s: How can I get a nice round tone? Are there any differences playing with thumb, index- and/or the middle finger? Anchor your hand, fingers or arm? Dynamics?

Screen shot from Lesson 2 Picture gallery focusing on plucking techniques

In this lesson the focus is techniques for your plucking/picking hand. You might wonder why I have decided to call it plucking/picking hand…
The answer is simple, I want both left and right handed players to feel at home and welcome to use this ebook so I went for plucking/picking!

There are many ways to get the strings on a ubass to vibrate and make a sound.

In lesson 2 some of the most common ways are described. Besides showing how to play with your index/first and second finger with lots of pictures and video I also show how to get a warm and fat low end response playing with your thumb. I urge you to consider playing with your thumb even when the obvious choice would be your index/middle fingers. You might like the sound of your thumb even more!

This video let’s you see and hear differences in sound depending on the plucking technique you choose to use.

More info about the Lesson Pack here!

Direct links

iTunes/iBooks Store 

Payhip (ePub)

My parents bought my first ubass at a music store in Honolulu, Hawaii while visiting the islands. I had not been able to try one beforehand. It only took me a very a few moments getting acquainted with the short scale length and rubbery strings. After that I have gotten more and more in love with the feel and sound of the ubass. Hope you have or will get the same feeling for these amazing instruments! Read more about my first encounter here!


Video lesson 10- now for everyone!




Last summer i released a video where I performed a version of a classic Swedish folk song, ”Visa från Utanmyra”. I also released a video lesson but it was only available for my newsletter subscribers. It’s now available for everyone! Have fun playing this great and beautiful melody and bass part!

Link to Video lesson page!

Lesson video

Performance video


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

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


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

Kala ubass on Swedish tour and Live CD

If you follow playubass on Facebook you might have seen some posts about a recent tour I did in concert halls from the north to south of Sweden. The tour that started in October last year finished with a sold out show in the prestigious Berdwalldhallen, home of the Swediah Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Stockholm. All in all we played 18 shows.
On the first four shows I used my Bakithi Kumalo signature solid body for six of the 18 songs in the show that celebrated the life and music of Ted Gardestad. More about Ted and his brother in the sidebar! When the tour continued this spring I also added my spruce fretless. I used that on two of the six songs I played the Bakithi ubass.*
We recorded quite a few of the shows on multitrack and released a live CD in April.

At the moment this live CD is only available at our live shows.

I have made snippets of the songs that I played ubass on so you can hear how, in my opinion, beautifully the sound of the ubass sits in the overall sound of these songs.
I will probably make lessons based on these songs. Please let me know if there is any particular song you want me to do first!
Now let’s take a look and listen to the songs that feature bass parts played on a ubass.

Chapeau Claque (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is so much fun to play. It really takes a while getting used to the combined meters thoughout the song! I used the solid body here relying on its warm and round sound!

Angela (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is a bit folky and I go ”full country” with a root-five motion in the verses! Since I didnt bring a P-bass [Fender Precision Bass] on the tour the solid body doubles as one. and does a very good job! [ In my Kala SUB vs. Kala California video I compare the California solid body and the SUB with a P-bass if you want to hear musical examples played on all these three instruments. ]

Äntligen på väg [Finally on our way] (Spruce fretless acoustic/electric Ubass) For the ”unplugged” feel of this song the acoustic/electric was a easy choice. It sounds perfect here and it also looks killer!

När showen är slut [When the show has ended] (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) Once again I’m looking for a P-bass-ish sound.

Satellit [Satelite] (Bakithi Kumolo Signature Solid Body Ubass) This song is SO much easier to play on a ubass compared to a regular full scale electric bass! I also sing backup vocals on this one and the extended fingering I use makes it easy to focus on both bass part and vocal part since I don’t have to look at the Ubass during the choruses because I don’t need to do any position shifts. I first used this approach when we did concerts back in 2012 featuring this song. You can actually learn this song if you want. Check out this lesson: Part 1  | Part 2. Singing the chorus while playing the  bass part is optional but a really good challenge! 🙂 Read even more here!

Jag vill ha en egen måne [I want my own moon] (Spruce fretless acoustic/electric Ubass) For the encore I use the acoustic/electric again. It feels so good the let people have the ”sight memory” of this wonderful instrument in their minds as they leave the concert hall 🙂


Ted Gardestad and his brother Kenneth wrote a lot of wonderful music that I cherished by a lot of the Swedish population. The keyword for all the songs is LOVE. And the songs all have a warm felling about them, no harch words…The songs range from really happy ones to more deep sounding lyrics. The brothers recorded their own demos and wanted to play these for record companies. They ended up at Sweden music and Benny Andersson and Stikkan Andersson. The musicians and singers on the first albums are quite well known throughout the world. I only need to say one word any you will know who they were……ABBA!

To find out more please check out this link!

I really hope you enjoy these little pieces of Swedish pop music history!

We have had a great time helping to keep this song treasure alive!
Play Music! /Magnus

(* Besides the two ubasses I used three more instruments.

– Swedish custom Ares fretted 5-string made for me in 1996

Ibanez Gary Willis signature 5-string fretless (Production model, GWB35 with a Aguilar OBP-3 preamp) Stringed with regular round wound strings.

Rob Allen MB-2 fretless 4-string. Stringed with LaBella Copper Nylon strings.






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

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


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!


NEW INTERVIEW SERIES! Ubassists of the World – Gunnar Hjorth (Sweden)



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!

Merry UBass Christmas to everyone!

Some Ubasses, a Christmas tree, a UBassist and Mr. Z by the fireplace 🙂

Since I live in Sweden and we celebrate Christmas Eve, here is a little greeting from (and I’m sad to say) a snowless Sweden…
We are used to have snow on Christmas Eve but this year I hear rain against the roof as I’m writing this 😦
BUT we can still get together and celebrate. Meet relatives from near or far and just have a great time!

Yesterday I received a Christmas gift from the folks at Kala in California! It was a nice package with the great Ubassist tee and some cleaning stuff to get my Ubasses in good shape before we write 2014!
A big thanks to Mike, Rick and Mark at Kala for everything!
It has been a great year! Although I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to, working on lessons and Ubass recordings, I’m still happy!

Yep, those UBasses will soon shine bright and be ready for 2014 🙂

I have great plans for the beginning of 2014 and will share these as soon as I can!

I will include my latest video in this post. (If you subscribe to my newsletter you might have seen it already).
It features my use of the fabulous Fretwraps by Gruvgear. It also features my good friend and musical counterpart in the country duo M&M’s Honky Tonk, Marcus Måttgård! For more about us just do a search on playubass!
Since we are a duo it’s nice for me being able to be more of a rhythm section to support the groove. Using Fretwraps makes it easier to incorporate backbeat rockabilly style playing to enhance the groove. Check out the video for more!

I hope you all have a great time and wish you a Very Merry Christmas from playubass!