Strap button on a Kala Acoustic UBass

Hi!

Disclaimer! Installing a strap button on a Kala
acoustic UBass is best left to a
professional luthier or guitar tech!

If you decide to do it yourself be very careful.
You must drill a guide hole first to ensure that the wood won’t chip or crack.
If you have any doubts DO NOT try it, leave it to a professional!

I find that the position chosen in the pictures below works well for my needs.
There are other options too but
this is just right for me!

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

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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

The ten most essential bass albums according to Victor Wooten!

Photo: All rights reserved victorwooten.com

Hi!

A while ago (it was my first post this year) I blogged about ‘a couple’ of essential albums to check out with great bass playing. If you haven’t already please check it these albums out!

Just now I discovered yet another list! My friend Bruce shared this on his Facebook wall and I thought I should re-share it here for you to check out! (Some of the albums on this list is also on the first list. How many are on both lists? Well, it’s for you to find out if you want!)

The list is put together by Victor Wooten that I’ve also had the good fortune to meet and study with. Read more about that here.

I’m also including a Spotify playlist (as I did with the previous post) see the top of this post! Of cause I do encourage you to pick these albums up on CD or maybe even vinyl if you can find them!

Here’s a link to the article/list on musicradar.com

Happy music exploring!
/magnus

Q and A! How to choose the right UBass model for you!

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Kala SUB and Spruce fretless at an outdoor gig August 2012

Hi!

I get a lot questions about what model to choose when thinking of buying that first Ubass!

I have blogged about these questions before. See these earlier posts from 2011 | Post 1 | Post 2

Some time have passed since I wrote those posts and I have been playing more fretted Ubass (Kala SUB) now. This makes it’s easier for me to compare fretless and fretted models and hopefully give you some new thoughts and perspectives about this matter.

Ok, so you’re thinking about whether you should get a fretless of a fretted Ubass?

If you want to buy any of the fretless models there will be an advantage if you have been playing a instrument without frets before, like a fretless bass, cello, violin or upright bass.
It is a matter of getting used to adjust your playing to what you hear. Most (or I guess all) fretless players don’t play exactly in tune the whole time. (It’s actually nice to be able to hear that it IS a fretless instrument. It would be hard if all notes were spot on all the time!)
On the other hand listening to someone that constantly plays out of tune is not really enjoyable. Not for the audience and not for the player…

If you buy a new instrument you probably want to use it in public as soon as possible. So if you are not used to the fretless fretboard of any instrument it WILL take time to get a consistent in-tune tone on your fretless UBass.

More things to consider: What styles of music do you want to play on the Ubass?
Playing the fretless model makes it a bit easier to get a more upright and jazzy sound. (But it is also possible to get a more rock sound from the acoustic Ubasses too, both fretless and fretted. It all depends on the technique used). This is something you can learn more about in my upcoming lesson packs for Ubass! Stay tuned for more info soon!

Because of the short scale (21 inch) the spacing of the frets on are a lot less than on a regular bass (most common on an electric: 34 inch). This will take some time to adjust to. Without frets you will be a bit forgiven if you fret the notes on the ‘fret’ (since it lacks fret wire!). Because of the rather short decay the notes you play will quite quickly ‘die’ and you can focus on the next note if the one you just played was a bit out of tune.
On the other hand if you play a fretted Ubass you have to play between the frets to get rid of fret noise (sometimes referred as ‘farting’ on some forums 😉 BUT to get the best possible tone you should play as close to the fret wire as you can. More about this in future lessons!

Summary
Ask yourself these questions:
1. What styles of music will I likely play on my Ubass?
2. Have I’ve got some experience playing fretless instruments (fretless bass, cello, violin, upright bass)?

If the answer to these questions are:
1. I want to emulate a upright jazzy sound.
2. I’m used to play fretless bass or another fretless fingerboard and because of that am used to really listen to the pitch my playing produce and can quickly alter my fingers to accommodate in-tune playing.

YOU should most definitely buy one of the fretless models (I have been playing the spruce fretless since 2010 and I really love the sound and the way it blends so great in the different situations I have tried it in. (This UBass has been used in most of my pics and videos on this blog)

Kala UBass Solid Spruce Fretless [SSMHG-FL]
(It’s now updated with a built in preamp, EQ and built-in tuner)
Read more here

…or…

Kala UBass Solid Mahogany Fretless [SMHG-FL]
(It’s now updated with a built in preamp, EQ and built-in tuner)
Read more here

If your answer to those questions are:
1. I want to play rock or blues based music or…
2. I have not played fretless instruments before and want to be able to use by Ubass RIGHT AWAY!

Well maybe you should go for the a fretted model OR maybe look into the solid body options.

Kala has quite a few models available now so there are a lot to choose from. Please check out the new instrument page at Ubass.com for more info.

Don’t hesitate to leave comments below this post or to send me questions about these matters to:
ubasslessons@gmail.com

I’m also starting up a playubass.com newsletter. You will soon be able to subscribe to it!

Stay tuned! (Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!)

A great read (and listen) for the start of 2013!

Let’s go back to 1997 for a great article in Bass Player Magazine

Happy New 2013!

We’ll kick this year of with a 16 year old article in Bass Player back in 1997! Why, you might think? Well, it’s a really good one. The Bass Player Staff (in 1997) did a compilation of these 30 must have essential bass recordings! Of cause there have been quite a few new albums released since 1997 but these 30 is still a great start if you want to get some inspiration and a bit of a history check to kick of 2013!

You could of cause buy this Bass Player Issue on ebay but I made you a shortcut 🙂 I tried to find the article in the Bass Player vaults but couldn’t…But I did however copy that article back in 1997 (I have also subscribed since the very early stages of the magazine 😉 and recently I found that document! I did some edits. I put the different albums in chronological order and also added web links so you can read even more about these recordings and bass players! (The article is of © to Bass Player Magazine so don’t sell it, just spread it 🙂

To top it of I also put together a Spotify playlist. (There is only four of the albums that you can’t find on Spotify! You’ll have to find these elsewhere, or you might already have these in your collection!) It’s a 733 song playlist! So you DO have some music to go through 🙂 I think it is about 24 hours of music! Click here to find out more about Spotify if you don’t know what it is. It’s not availiable everywhere I’m afraid 😦

Link to the article – Download as PDF!

You can read more about influential bass lines in a previous post.

[Test Report] Trying Aquilas Thundergut on my fretless Kala UBass | Part 1

Using a tuner and some YouTube videos as help as I string up!

FINALLY!

Today I finally got around to try out the Thunderguts by Aquila! I will do a more in-depth comparison between the original stock Pahoehoe strings and these new (for me anyway) white nylon-ish strings.

One thing I do find is that the feel of these strings are quite different. I have just only put the Thunderguts on and will wait a day or so to let the strings settle a bit more before I do any more testing.

Please stay ‘tuned’ for more as soon as I have tried them some more, doing test-recordings and so on!

Read more about these strings here:
Aquila’s website
UBass Appreciation Society (blog)
Talkbass forums

Below are some pictures from my stringing session: