Playubass at the 2017 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA

Long overdue here’s finally a short travel log about my trip to the 2017 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA

I have been to a couple of music trade shows in Europe as a visitor but this was my first trip to the Winter NAMM show in Los Angeles. It was also the first time working closely with Kala. My main focus was to release and letting people know about my first Ebook/ePub in my Learn to play the Ubass series.
I started working on the ebook back in 2013 and it has slowly taken its form. The basic idea and the text was ready after about a year but working on how to present it, all the movies and the graphics and navigation took quite a while to finalize. You can read more about the Ebook/ePub and where to find it here.

After a +10 hour flight from Stockholm ARN I landed at LAX and took a bus to Anaheim where I met staff from Kala. I settled in and started to plan the next coming days.

I arrived on Monday, January 17 with the show starting on Thursday that week. I helped out a bit loading in some stuff and setting up the booth. The booth was fantastic with a really well throughout design that got a lot of compliments from many visitors and booth neighbors.

Load in and set up of the Kala Booth

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Once the show started I met a lot of great people, both visitors, other companies and press. Besides talking to some online magazines myself I was also fortunate to get help to set up some meetings and interviews both from Kala and other friends in the music business. It was, for example, crazy to see Nathan East being interviewed in the exact same spot a day before I got an interview from the same online community! 🙂

You can find the news coverage and interviews here.

I got a lot of new friends at the show and also managed to do quite a few nice jams with amazing musicians. Bakithi Kumalo, Miki Santamaria, Corey Fujimoto, Ariane Cap, was some of the musicians I got to play with. Great fun!

Booth and NAMM show pictures

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The Ubass got a lot of attention at this Winter NAMM show. 8 years after the first Kala Ubass was released its still a ”show stopper”! Many musicians, including lots of bass players of course, came by and was floored by the small footprint bass with the huge sound. It’s so great to see the happy smiles on the faces of the first time players


The California solid body Ubasses was revamped with slightly bigger and rounder bodies as one of the main differences. Check them out here.

I also got to try out the prototype Paddle Bass by Kala. A great one string bass for a quick and refreshing way into the wourld of bass playing! Link to Bass Musician Magazine article.

All in all my first NAMM show was a very nice experience. And although it’s quite exhausting being on the show floor with the intense sound and constant stream of people I hope to return and continue my ”IRL” networking across the pond as soon as possible!

A big thank you to all the staff at Kala and the wonderful Kala and Ubass artist I got to hang and work with!!!

– – –

I read a Kala Ubass review in Bass player magazine back in 2010. At the same time my parents happened to be on vacation and they helped me to buy my first ubass at a music store in Honolulu while visiting the islands of Hawaii. l had not been able to try one beforehand but it only took me a few minutes 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!

Ubass sighting: Fretted acoustic/electric ubass spotted with Bokanté!

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Hi,

The pictures above are from my trip to the NAMM show in Anaheim, CA back in January. I will do a featured blog post about the show but haven’t had the time to do that yet but it will come! So why are these pictures in this post about a ubass sighting? Well, Mr Michael League was one of several featured bass players at this years Bass Bash. He played with one of his bands FORQ. They played a great set and it was great to once again hear Michael play. I was at a show in Stockholm back in 2015 when he was there with his most famous band Snarky Puppy. I have featured Snarky Puppy before in a Ubass Sightings blog post.

This post will feature yet another of Michaels bands, Bokanté! This band has a really nice lineup with three guitar players, three percussion players, a pedal steel player and a lead vocalist…and a (u)bass player of course!

Here’s som info about the group from musicworksinternational.com

The word bokanté means “exchange” in Creole, the language of vocalist Malika Tirolien’s youth growing up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Now living in Montreal, she stands among 8 musicians from 4 continents, each one accomplished in their own right and well versed in music far beyond that of their point of origin. Two-time Grammy award-winning guitarists Michael League, Chris McQueen, and Bob Lanzetti (all from Snarky Puppy), percussion legend Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon, Sting), pedal and lap steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier (Lee Boys, Karl Denson), and unplaceable percussionists André Ferrari (Väsen) and Keita Ogawa (Banda Magda, Yo-Yo Ma) come together to create a diverse ensemble rich in groove, melody, and soul.

In the song ”O La” you can hear and see that the low end is handled with a fretted acoustic/electric ubass with some help from the baritone guitar Michael is playing. He usually plays bass in his bands but in Bokanté he plays both bass/ubass and baritone guitar on the studio album ”Strange Circles” that will be released in June 2017. [Pre-order available here] On the live shows he will play the baritone guitar exclusively. He recently said in an interview for Scotts Bass Lessons that he wanted to have the chance to play with some of his favorite bass players. On the upcoming tours the bass chair will be filled by different bass players. See and read more here.

Please have a listen…and a look. I hope they will come to Sweden someday soon so I get to hear them live!

PS. One of the percussionists (André Ferrari) is from Sweden. He’s also featured in the video I referred to in the beginning of this post!

PS2 Please check out Ariane Cap (she’s in the picture at the top of the post) and the great book she has written about music theory with a bass player focus!

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Some quotes about Bokanté:

“One of the more versatile groups on the planet right now”

-Rolling Stone

“A barnstorming, groove-centric instrumental act with a rabid fan base… if the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s probably just a matter of time”

-The New York Times

“Big, rich and funky.”

NPR Music

“Stands out with a furious commitment to defying musical categories.”

-LA Times

“Sounds like one spotless collection of intricate musics performed by just one very skilled, albeit extended, band.”

Yahoo Music

“Thinking person’s feel-good music.”

-Downbeat

“A big, happy band of skilled musicians whose tunes are both complex and easy to dance to.”

-LA Weekly

DIY Update! BUILD YOUR OWN SOLID BODY UBASS – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW | PHASE 2 – BODY SETUP 2

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Hi,

Finally video 3 (of 4) is done!

Phase 2 | Body setup 2
It’s time to install the pre-amp/EQ, bridge, back plate and volume/tone knobs. All the steps are shown in the video. You can also download a PDF guide here!

Best of luck and stay tuned for the last part in the Build your own Kala Solid Body Ubass series. You can find the earlier posts here!

/Magnus

Build your own solid body Ubass – all you need to know | Phase 2 – Body Setup 1

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Hi,

It’s time for Phase 2!
It will focus on the setup of the body and first up is strap buttons and thumb wheels for the bridge.

The PDF instructions I compiled from info at kalabrand.com (no longer available) can be downloaded on this link: U-Bass Kit Assembly Instructions compiled by playubass-SMALL

Next up: EQ/Pre-amp, output jack, volume/tone knobs and back plate!

I have also done a video that shows you how to change the EQ/Pre-amp in a solid body ubass!

Read more about previous steps in this DIY project in posts that can be found on the DIY-page!

Until next tine: Have fun – play Music!

/Magnus

Guest blog post for Kala!

Read the blog post at medium.com (see link below!)

 

Hi,

I’m happy to announce that I have done a guest appearance at Medium.com for Kala Brand Music Co.

The post is about what inspired me to take up blogging!

Read it here!

Big thanks to Kala for the opportunity!

Links to the first two posts:

The Single Most Important Lesson Every CEO Can Learn From Van Gogh by Mike Upton

How I Found Value in Experiences – A Product Managers Guide to a Non-Linear Path by Ryan Haugh, Product Manager

Take care everyone!
/Magnus

Kala Solid Body Ubass Kit | New DIY series at playubass.com

Hi,
New year, new project, new Instagram…lets go!

I have wanted to write about this for quite some time now. I got this kit last year and my plan was to start the project early August…this wasn’t possible because of my hand injury…
But now I’m back on track and will get started with the Kala Solid Body Ubass Kit!

EDIT: This kit is no longer available, you have to add all the parts to the shopping cart in the Kala Web Shop! See more here!

I will build the 5-string fretless based on the US made California series.

I will do this in a couple of phases. First phase has just started, working on the body finish. The goal is to mimic the espresso finish of my Kala Bakithi Kumalo Solid Body.
You will be able to follow each and every step/phase of me putting together the Ubass. Every phase will be a separate blog post, but they can all be easily found on my DIY page. I will update that page as the new blog posts rolls out.

Stay tuned here and on the DIY page!

I wish you all a great New Ubass Year!

/Magnus

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

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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!

 

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

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

Hi,

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