RMI Basswitch and acoustic/electric UBass – impedance settings!

RMI Basswitch including the impedance switch.
RMI Basswitch including the impedance switch.

Hi!

Time for a new video. This time I’m exporing the difference between the 1MΩ and 10MΩ settings on my RMI Basswitch. Read more about the Basswitch here and here.

One of many great things with the Basswitch is the option to choose between two impedance settings on the first channel (INST A). My acoustic/electric UBass hasn’t got any onboard preamp so in order to get a great sound I need to use an outboard pre before plugging into a bass amp, PA, sound card or mixing console. I have tried a few and you can read about my thoughts here and here.

You will of course benefit from using the Basswitch even if you have an onboard pre but in that case you will probably get tge best sound using the 1MΩ setting. The quality of the components are super good and the built in DI is very good. Played a show this past weekend and the sound guy was very impressed with the sound from the DI and that’s not the first time.

More about how I use the RMI Basswitch in future posts.

Read more at the Ruppert Musical Instruments homepage.

Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 36 ”Take the A-train” (looped)

From the recording session of Take the A-train (looped)
From the recording session of Take the A-train (looped)

Hi!

Time to feature some new stuff in this jammin’ video!

I’m exploring my TC Electronic Ditto Looper and FretWraps from Gruv Gear. When I have looped stuff earlier I have always used a laptop with Ableton Live and a MIDI foot controller. Although this gives me a myriad of possibilities it is also ‘quite’ tech heavy with a lot of stuff to learn BEFORE you can start making some Music. Hm…I wanted to make quick loops with a minimal setup time.

I learned about the Ditto Looper by TC Electronic and really dug the small ”footprint” and ultra ”simple” control layout – one knob, one footswitch! This is of course something that WILL give limitations BUT these can really sparkle creativity I think. I will write more about my experience of the Ditto Looper later! (As you can see in the video I made it with a camera covering the pedal [and the Basswitch IQ DI used as a preamp] and ”pop-up-text” that gives a hint to how I use the pedal – more in a later post…)

I’m also using (for the first time in a youtube video) a special string mute called FretWraps from Gruv Gear. This company also makes great utility gear as gear carts, Multi-Use bags and Bass/guitar accessories like guitar straps. Please check them out! The FretWrap is great for muting unused open strings and take out unwanted noise. More about these later too!

The video. I decided to do a New Orleans/Calypso-inspired version of the classic jazz tune ”Take the A-train” using loops made only by my acoustic ubass. Then I sing and solo on top of these loops. It takes some practice to learn the looper pedal – a bit like learning a new instrument! Setting the first loop, making it loop smoothly is a must and make the different combinations of footswitch pushes be second nature is important. Ok let’s loop! More about how I use the Ditto Looper later!

Review/Test Report: The RMI Basswitch IQ DI – my new preamp/EQ/DI/A-B switch…

20130609-104051.jpg

Hi!

UPDATE [5.14.18]
Link to impedance setting video!

I’m exited to share some info about my latest Ubass (and for any other bass) tool – The amazing Ruppert Musical Instruments (RMI) Basswitch!

I met Jacques Ruppert at this years Musikmesse in Frankfurt. (More about my visit there here). We talked about his take on a preamp/EQ/DI/booster/switcher – the Basswitch. I did know about it before we met, having read about it on various Internet sites, but meeting Jacques made me want to know more about the Basswitch. The rooster of player’s that use the Basswitch is really diverse and features players like Richard Bona, Marcus Miller and…

As it happens I met Mr. Ruppert’s business partner, Mr. Lehle – the maker of the great Lehle switch pedals, at another trade show and was able to try out a Basswitch on my gig (with M&M’s) at that show!

Now I have used it for almost two month’s and I really like it!

Features
The first thing you will notice when you first pick up the Basswitch is that it is super rugged, no plastic and flimsy pedal here, that’s for sure! The construction feel really, really solid and all of the connectivity, switches and hardware is top notch!

The Basswitch really covers a lot of ground. It is a…

Preamp parametric EQ and A/B-switcher
It has two inputs. Input A has the ability to accomodate both low-impedance instruments (passive/active electric basses) and high-impedance instruments (like acoustic bass guitars with built in piezo, upright basses and of cause Kala Ubasses). Input B let’s you connect a second instrument. The A/B switch let you switch between two instruments on input A and B OR, if you only use input A, between two sounds.

Input A has a preamp and EQ and input B does not. You can use input A either at 1MΩ or 10MΩ. The later is especially good for acoustic instruments without preamps and with a piezo as the original acoustic Kala UBass. If you have a newer acoustic UBass (with built in preamp) it’s better to use the 1MΩ setting. Input B is not routed through ”unnecessarily…electronics (but) leaving it as pure and natural as possible. Channel B therefore has neither a preamp nor an EQ”. The preamp for input A has a boost/cut function that allows you to balance the sound of the two instruments. A very handy feature!

The EQ of input A has filters especially designed for bass. with filters for bass, semiparametric low‑
and high‑mids, and treble.

FX Looper and/or boost (clean boost)
The Basswitch has two FX loops for effect pedals. A passive serial loop and ”a switchable infinitely variable mixing loop, that enables you to go from a completely dry signal (100% original; 0% FX), via parallel (100% original; 100% FX) to FX‑only (100% FX; 0% original)”.

Typically you would use the serial loop for compressors and other dynamic effects and the parallel loop for time based effects as reverbs and delays.

If you need to send more signal to a drive/distortion pedal you can use the boost knob. If you haven’t connected anything to the mix loop it can be used as a clean boost. Could be used to add more volume to a basssolo or melody playing…

DI box
The Basswitch is also a DI (Direct Inject or Direct box).
”The high‑quality components and features of the Basswitch IQ DI (high‑end preamp, Lehle transformer, ground‑switch, pre/post signal‑processing switch, pad for output attenuation, rugged construction) make the Basswitch IQ DI an excellent D.I. box, be it in a live setting or in the studio”.

Xtra feature
The Basswitch can also be used as a line-mixer. Ex. connect a MPE/ipod/iPhone to the Return jack of the Mix loop and adjust the volume with the Mix knob. This makes for a perfect practice solution jammin’ with music or loops.

So how do I use it?
I have used it in a few different settings. And I guess your imagination is the only limit 🙂 These are a few of the situations so far:

• Standalone with a PA and monitor speakers or with a amp. With an amp you can use the ”B-channel” as the main channel, making your basic sound on the amp, and the ”A-channel” as a second sound utilizing the built in EQ of the Basswitch! If used with a power amp do the opposite and use the ”B-channel” as the main sound!

• On a pedalboard using both FX loops, A/B switch and DI.

• In my studio as a high quality recording device/splitter. Making it possible to record a clean signal and a miked cab signal.

For a more in depth explanation of the different settings on the Basswitch please go to this page.

Detta bildspel kräver JavaScript.

 

Links and resources for the Basswitch

Ruppert Musical Instruments

Videoreview by Ed Friedland

Review at notreble.com

Gollihur Music

Facebook page

Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 32 The birth of The Guitar Men

Simon, Marcus and me
Simon, Marcus and me

Howdy!

This past weekend a new group was born, The Guitar Men.

I have written about Marcus Måttgård and my playing in the past. Please check out these earlier posts:
Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3. But Simon Stålspets is (I guess) a new name for the readers of this blog.

Simon and I went to the University of Orebro back in 1993 (!) After one year Simon moved back to Stockholm and finished his music studies there. (Majors in electric guitar and composition). Thanks to Facebook we started talking about the possibilities of playing together. 20 years later, since we first met, it’s finally a reality! You can read more about him here and here.

Marcus and I spent past weekend at his house playing music and having a super great time. The result is a new band The Guitar Men. If you have read about Marcus and my duo project you might guess where the title came from… Our duo, M&M’s Honky S*** are heavily influenced by 60’s country and in particular the music of Jerry Reed. One of his most famous songs is called The Guitar Man…

The Guitar Men will start rehearsing soon and have plans for upcoming gigs later in 2013!

Here is our first video recorded last weekend. It’s one of Marcus Måttgårds originals called MarQ’s Breakdown. Enjoy!

[Song Teaser-Test Report] Jam Afrique and String test | Part 3

Hi!

Time for part three of my string test and a demo of the first part of the new song Jam Afrique (working title). See these earlier posts for some background info. Post 1 | Post 2

Besides the YouTube video below I also uploaded some versions with less instrumentation (and maybe a bit better sound) on my Soundcloud.

Soundcloud info.
The only thing I have done with the sound during mixing is some EQing. (The last two sound bites have no EQ!)

Update!
The recording path is as follows:
Track 1: UBass into Sheer Acoustic Headway EDB-1 then DI out to Universal Audio Apollo (sound card with built in digital mixer and effects from their UAD family).
Track 2: AKG C414 condenser mic.

There are four bass parts. 1. Regular bass part
2-3. African inspired single string riffs
4. Bass melody

Bass parts 1 and 4 is recorded with both line and mic while parts 2-3…

Test report
I have come to the following conclusion based on the recordings. I guess I like both string types but they do have some things that sets them apart.

Pahoehoe
I have played these strings (that come as stock/standard strings on new Kala Ubasses) for more than two years. I have actually been using the same strings the whole time! I did buy a spare set early on to be safe and prepared for emergencies… Since the strings are solid plastic rubber they are unlikely to break and there are no place for sweat and dust to ‘creep’ in. (As with regular wound strings). I have not felt the need to change them. I have however felt that I should have restringed and rewound them to get rid of the extra turns of string that I got. Especially on the A-string post.
One more reason for the strings to be able to stay on for so long is that I felt it would be hard to part from playing my beloved UBass for that time it would take the strings to ‘settle in’ 🙂
This is also one thing that sets the strings apart. There are quite a lot of tuning to be done in the beginning but once they settle in you’re fine. As I wrote earlier restringing one or two strings, stretching them a bit more, would have been a good thing to do! I know there are players that have done this a few times and then they felt they stayed in tune better. More about this in the Thunderguts section.

Ok. How do I feel about the sound and playability of these strings? Well, I have got quite used to the feel of the Pahoehoe strings under my fingers. I took a while to get used to the rubbery feel – well, it’s almost rubber so that alright I guess 🙂 I think you should try to ‘forget’ about how it feels playing this or that bass and/or strings. If you instead try to do the best of this ‘new and maybe strange’ feeling you’ll soon be on the way to make great music with these strings.

Thundergut
I have had these strings on my acoustic UBass for just a couple of weeks and decided to compare them to my ‘trusty’ Pahoehoe strings. There are a few differences. First of all. They are not that rubbery and the tension is a bit higher. This is on the plus side because of a couple of things. First they don’t take as long as the Pahoehoe strings to settle in making the switch quite fast. (It only took a couple of days untill the (almost) stay in tune). Another reason I like them is that because the higher tension they have a bit more ‘core’ to the tone. (I will make a video showing this soon!)

On the minus side. The Thunderguts have a ‘sticky’ feel. Especially on the thicker strings. This makes them a bit harder to play. Since I have the fretless version I do want to have the option to do slides and this is a bit diffucult to do when you feel like you get ‘stuck’. I don’t know if this will disappear after some use!? But I have read about other UBassists that have had the same feeling.

I will keep the Thunderguts on for a while longer to try some more playing techniques! Stay tuned!

Jammin’ with my Kala UBass | 26 In my studio with musicians from São Tomé!

20120930-202519.jpg

Hi!

A while back I did a blog post about rehearsing with musicians from São Tome e Principe for a couple of outdoor shows. We did the shows in the end of August and after those I managed to invite Oswaldo, Guilherme and PA to my home studio for some jammin’.
The song featured in the YouTube-clip below (‘Mêcê’ (Desire) was one of the songs we played. The song is written by Oswaldo and Guilherme. The other song ‘Every day’ (Written by Guilherme) will hopefully end up on the upcoming Ubass CD! I’m overdubbing some parts and will start mixing that song soon!

Although the take of ‘Mêcê’ wasn’t perfect we sure had so much fun playing together and I hope this transcends through the computer screen!

A big thank you to Oswaldo, Guilherme and PA for those great musical moments in my studio that late August evening!

I have some video from the actual shows too. I’ll post this later. Stay tuned for more!

Guilherme de Carvalho, vocals and guitar
Oswaldo Santos, vocals and lead guitar
PA Larsson, djembe
Magnus Sjöquist, fretless kala ubass

[Style Study – UBass Lesson 8] Jazz: Walking Bass | Part 2

Hi!

Finally part two is done! I decided to make my bass lines based on the backing tracks made by Jamey Aebersold. Please check these out they are really good and makes a perfect practice partner…almost as good as playing live with living breathing musicians in the same room…

If you haven’t already please check out part 1 before you continue! In the first part I try to give some background theory in the art of making/playing walking bass lines.

Time for part 2!
The tune starts of with a short intro followed by a vocal melody ‘chorus’ (the whole song form through once). The bass part is played exactly as on the Aebersold practice mp3/cd or vinyl!

During my vocal scat solo I play a improvised walking bass line. (Although not at the same time as you can see…Playing walking bass and singing a scat solo at the same time I’ll save for later 🙂

I will also write/compose a bass line based on a couple of different walking bass concepts that I will show you and analyze in part 3 of this walking bass style study. You can follow along in the ‘on-screen-sheet-music’ and/or in the PDF you can get if you’re interested. Just email me at ubasslessons@gmail.com and I’ll send you a link!

The same song form is played two times as follows:
1. As i described above (Three choruses in original tempo)
2.. As 1. but without the bass part.

In part 3 I will also analyze the bass parts in this part using a special version of the sheet music with written comments.
I will also do a slowed downed version that you can download and practice to if you want!

We will take a look at more jazz tunes in the future! I already have some suggestions but feel free to email me more at ubasslessons@gmail.com

Stay tuned! Now take out that Ubass (or any bass) and get started (or continue) to play some walking bass!

Good luck!
/Magnus