Playubass String Test July 2019

The new Kala Flatwound by Gallistrings is one of the featured strings in this test

Hi fellow ubassists,

The main string types available for ubass players is featured and tested in this blog post

But first some background info…

When I started to play ubass the original Road Toad Pahoehoe (Black polyurethane) was used exclusively (2010-2012). One reason was of course because it was the only string available. (The Pyramid Round Wound String and strings by Aquila Corde debuted during this period but since I only had one ubass and used it so much I didn’t get around to try these at the time).

The next string I used was the Aquila Corde Thundergut string (2012). It had more tension and settled in quicker. One downside was that it had a more sticky feeling than the Pahoehoe strings. But I used them for quite some time and thought they were nice to play.

Next up was the Aquila Thunder Red strings (2014). These strings were really nice to play and had a lovely tone where it was pretty easy to go from a warm full jazzy sound (playing close to the end of the fingerboard) and more of a “pop” sound when playing closer to the bridge.

Since then even more option has come to us ubassists!

This Summer was the debut of the Kala Flatwound string by Gallistrings.
I have used prototype sets of these strings since December 2018.
Although they are primarily made for the acoustic/electric ubasses I have tried them on solid body ubasses too.
(I will share some videos from these tests soon!)

The focus with the following video(s) is a comparison between the Road Toad Pahoehoe, Kala Round Wound and Kala Flatwound by Gallistrings.

These sets truly represent three different tone flavors. (The difference in sound and feel between the other “rubber-like” strings and the Pahoehoe is of course noticeable but the Aquila strings are not included in this test. Please check other posts about strings under Reviews and tests).

Some info and personal thoughts about the following test

I made three different short compositions; Slow Funk, Pop Song and Jazz Intro. I wrote bass parts and recorded three (and in one example four) tracks with three different ubasses featuring the Pahoehoe, Flat Wound and Round Wound strings.
I cut between the different recorded ubass tracks in the main video so it’s easy to compare the different tones and timbres. (In a seperate video (see below) the examples are included in full if you want to hear more from each string set and not just around eight bars of each ubass/string set).
More info about the ubass tracks and how I worked with them in the Tech Talk section below.

So what do I think about these different strings?

Well, I do enjoy playing all of these sets since they give me different tones and timbres. I think my playing changes depending on the strings I play at the moment. I do believe all these sets can work for a big variety of styles and that it’s mainly up to the player to choose what feels best for him/her regarding to the sound they hear in their head.

I guess I’ll choose string (and ubass) based on these basic guidelines

A warm, round sound with lots of low end > Road Toad Pahoehoe

Warm, round with a more focused sound > Kala Flat Wound by Gallistrings

A defined yet warm sound with longer sustain > Kala Round Wound

Most important for happy music creation is a using tools that makes it easy to express yourself.
I really love having different options to choose from while others might have found their ”holy-grail-string” and stick to those strings for a long time!

A little disclaimer and some extra info about the recordings in this test

The round wound strings in this test are played on a fretted Kala Journeyman while the other string types are used on two different Spruce top fretless ubasses. My original Ubass (see Tech Talk) and a newer one. The best thing would have been to use the same ubass for all string types. This was not possible but I hope that you still can get something out of the test.

I have treated all the ubass recordings in approximataly the same way regarding volume, EQ and compression. A commercial release would NOT have been done this way! In the case of a commercial release the sound would have been tweaked even further to make it sit in the track best possible way. The volume of the ubass tracks would also have been considerable lower so it would blend better and not compete to much with melody and vocals. These recordings can be seen as basic tracks with room for instrumental or vocal melodies.

 

Good luck with your ubass playing,

Magnus

 

Tech Talk

Instruments used
Road Toad Pahoehoe strings: Kala Spruce acoustic/electric ubass, fretless (2010) Recorded through the RMI Basswitch IQ/DI with the 10MOhm input setting

Kala Flat wound by Gallistrings: Kala Spruce acoustic/electric ubass, fretless (2018)

Kala Metal Round Wound: Kala Journeyman (2018)

Signal chain
Jule Monique – all tube premium tube preamp XLR out > Universal Audio Apollo > Logic Pro X

Channel strip
Minimal EQ, compression on the ubass tracks

Slow Funk
EQ: HiPass at 30 Hz x dB boost at 2,5 kHz.
Compression: ~ 1 dB compression with LA2A UAD compressor

Song 2
EQ: HiPass at 30 Hz x dB cut at 200 Hz x dB boost at 2,5 kHz
Compression: ~ 1 dB compression with LA2A UAD compressor

 

 

Full length versions of Slow Funk and Pop Song

Annonser

New music by Marlowe feat. Solid Body Ubass playing!

My friend Marlowe is a Kala Ukulele Artist that I met in California earlier this year. We decided to do a collab and I recorded overdubs to one of the songs of her brand new album ”Moments”. The song is called Battle Royale and it sure was fun adding ubasses to the track. I decided to play my Kala California custom fretless solid body tuned EADGC. 

Now check out the video below and then go to marlowe-official.com and find out more about Marlowe!

Ubass overdub session video of ”Battle Royale” from the album ”Moments” by Marlowe
Marlowe [ http://www.marlowe-official.com/aboutmarlowe/ ]

New video! Eva Stenström Limited ”Allt under himmelens fäste”

Eva Stenström | Magnus Sjöquist | Daniel Björnmo

This song is a traditional folk tune from Gotland, Sweden. Eva and I started playing it as a duo on our trip to Brazil back in 2015. We wanted to bring some examples of traditional Swedish folk music on our trip. To make it work in a ubass and vocals setting I played the bass part through a delay pedal. I thought the extra rhythmic motion we got using this technique really helped us capture and deliver the haunting melody in a great way. I use a combination of arpeggios, chords and regular bass lines in my bass part.

In the trio version Daniel Björnmo adds an extra layer of color with his world class guitar playing. The added grit with close cluster like harmony through distortion pedals makes the song even more ethereal and haunting, I think. The ubass have some added modulation and octave up effects blended together with the delay.

This is a live in studio recording but we also added some percussion parts. I played some suspended cymbal swells.

You can also hear what we call ”the submersed gong”. This is a gong gong that we recorded as it is put under water after it is played. This bends the sound in a very nice way. I first heard this on records and live with one of my musician heroes, Indian percussionist, Trilok Gurtu.

We really hope you will enjoy our version of this Swedish’s folk song!

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For the best listening experience please listen to this song with good headphones or speakers that can reproduce a wide frequency spectrum!

 

 

 

A tribute to one of my musical heroes: Steve Swallow

Steve Swallow
This is a little tribute to one of my musical heroes: Mr Steve Swallow. I have listened to his Music for quite some time and have always admired his unique approach to playing bass. In my version I play fingerstyle although Mr Swallow uses a pick. One of his most famous compositions are Falling Grace. You can find out more about him here!
There are videos on youtube with bass players playing solos performed by Swallow but not many (if any) playing one of his chord-bass parts. This one is transcribed from a John Scofield Trio version of the evergreen ”Someone to watch over me” (George and Ira Gershwin) from the musical ”Oh, Kay!”.

I heard this performance last year and decided to transcribe the part when he comps behind John Scofield during the the melody. I wanted to explore the voicings he used with his 5-sting bass tuned EADGC.

In the video I’m using my Kala California Custom Flame Maple solid body ubass. One of the first made using the ”exotic tops” back in 2012-2013. Please check out the new updated ones!

I decided to add the melody singing the Frank Sinatra version of the lyrics. I got some nice help with a great brushes and cymbals part too.

Magnus Sjöquist, kala solid body ubass (EADGC-tuning) and vocals
Mats Nyström, brushes and cymbals

I’m working on more ebooks in my Learn to play the ubass series and one of these will focus on playing chords on a ubass/bass.

Recording info

The ubass was recorded through my RMI Basswitch IQ/DI and then re-amped using a Radial X-amp. Se pic below. I used a combination of mics to capture the sound of the Phil Jones Double Four combo amp. Read more about the amp in my review.

 

 

Video Premiere of a special song next Friday, July 7. See teaser video now!

instapic-170630.png

 

Hi,

Next week I will release a very special song. Its meant to show my love for Brazil and Brazilian music. It’s a bi-lingual duet of one of the most famous Brazilian songs.

Please have look at this studio sessions teaser and prepar for the video premiere next Friday, July 7.

Can hardly wait letting you see and hear the whole song and let you know more about it!

Over the rainbow…new track from ”Speaking UBass” vol. 1

Over The Rainbow-bandcamp-2-big

Hi,

Its Christmas and time to release the third track from the first ”Speaking UBass” album!

This time it’s a track that I started working on quite sometime back! I have always loved the classic song from The Wizard of Oz, ”Over The Rainbow”. I love to sing it and thought I should do something with my voice and the ubass. I decided to start with the lesser known verse and wrote a ubass chord arrangement using mostly arpeggios but also some ”regular” chords. Playing this in tune was quite a challenge and took a while to learn and record.

Anyway, I hope you have a great Holiday and that you will enjoy my ubass version of this classic song!

 

Finally! The World Premiere of The Ubass Ambassadors and their first song ”Mr Z” is here!

the-ubass-ambassadors
The Ubass Ambassadors!

Welcome to a world premiere!

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 🙂

My 2014 trip to the Musikmesse is documented in one of my Playubass newsletters!

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…

Armin+Magnus-MrZ
Armin Alic and me during the recording of ”Mr Z”

The song is a tribute to my labrador Zorro – Mr Z 🙂

Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass | 49 ”Tango pour Claude” Richard Galliano | Rehearsal [COVER]

Lasse, Tommy and Magnus
Lasse, Tommy and Magnus

Hi,

Ok it’s time for my 49th video in the jamming’ series. This is a great one!

Last weekend I had a recording session at a friends house. The main focus was to overdub accordion and percussion to a track that will be featured on my first Ubass focused album. Pass: silverfish

On the link above there is a few song samples from the upcoming album AND also an old update to my upcoming interactive UBass Bass method! More about this later!

If you have followed me for a while you know that this project has been going on for a couple of years by now! When will it be ready you might ask!? Well, it has taken quite a while mostly because the focus is different constellations for the different songs. I have recordedNow I have finally decided on how to release the songs and I will send out a newsletter soon letting my newsletter subscribers in om my plan!

If you’re not already a subscriber please sign up here!

In the upcoming newsletter I will also try to release a snippet from one or two songs!

Once we were done recording the overdubs we also did a few play-throughs of a tango the accordion player had suggested we play.

I hope to record more with these fantastic musicians and the song in this video might also end up on a future ubass album!

On this video you’ll hear the great Tommy Nilsson on accordion. He works as a free lance musician and a music teacher. He plays a accordion he bought just the day before.

Side note: The Rämjes accordion is imported by a music store that I used to visit while I was younger living in Trollhättan, quite a coincidence I think!

Playing wonderful percussion (cahon and finger shakers on the track) is Lasse Fhager. He is currently working as percussion player (mainly as a timpanist) in the world reknown Swedish Chamber Orchestra that is based in Orebro, Sweden. He also used to be my drum and percussion teacher while I studied at the Örebro University.

The track they overdubbed parts to will be mixed and hopefully included on my, above mentioned, first Ubass focused album and I can hardly wait letting you hear it!

The song in the video is written by french accordion player extraordinaire, Richard Galliano.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

…AND… video no. 50 in the jamming’ series is in the pipeline. It’s gonna be a game changer I can promise 🙂

All the best,

Magnus

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