Review: Gruvgear Gigblade for Baritone Ukulele/Ubass

Hi,

I have been using products from Gruvgear since 2013 with a focus on their FretWraps. The FretWraps makes it possible to dampen open strings when playing a higher register or simply want to get rid of unwanted string/fret noise. Here’s a video showing some ways I have used the FretWraps with Ubass.

The company has a lot of different products that focuses on transporting your gear to and from gigs and/or rehearsals.

In this review, I will focus on their quite new Gigblade model for Ukulele. The model that fits a acoustic/electric Ubass is called the Ukulele Gigblade, available in two sizes, small (soprano, concert) and big (tenor, baritone and ubass).

The design is made to be carried on the side. Why you might ask? I think the main reason is that you can use it together with a regular backpack.

Most traditional gigbags are designed to be worn like a backpack, the Ukulele Gigblade is not. The design is made to be carried on the side. Why you might ask? I think the main reason is that you can use it together with a regular backpack. I have a Gruvgear Club Bag. They compliment each other perfectly and make it possible to get both hands free so I can carry even more in one go! (See pictures in the gallery below). (I will do a review of the ClubBag in a later blog post!) You can also quite easily have a regular gigbag (ubass or full size electric bass) on your back and then the Gigblade on the side!

Back to the Gigblade. The design is well thought out, zippers and padding have a very nice quality and the overall feel is very robust. Besides the big compartment for the actual Ubass there is a pocket in the ”lid”, for straps, a cord of maybe a tablet.

What about the top pocket? It is a design thing and really makes the gigbag stand out from the rest of the crowd! It works best if you don’t pack this pocket too heavy since the weight distribution will be a bit strange if you do. (The acoustic/electric Ubass is quite light as you know!)

It is also possible to fit a solid body ubass (or TWO!) in the Gigblade

It is also possible to fit a solid body ubass (or TWO!) in the Gigblade. I managed to fit two 5-string solid body ubasses in the case. By removing the foam bar and using a towel (or something similar) as a wall in-between the ubasses it workes out really nice!

Please check these gigbags out. They are great options to consider for protecting and lugging your precious ubass around!

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Link to Gruvgear / Gigblade

Different options for ubass cases and gigbags can be found here!

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.

Songs
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 🙂


Sidebar

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.

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

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

Hi,

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!

Cheers,
Magnus

Merry UBass Christmas to everyone!

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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!

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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!

/Magnus

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