In this series of interviews I will try to find out how and why Ubass has become a new tool for different musicians around the world to express their Music!
For a even nicer reading experience please consider my PDF version of this interview!
Interview 2 Peter Laustsen (Norway)
For my second interview I look a bit to the west. The featured Ubassist lives in the southwest parts of Norway only about 800 km from where I live in Sweden. I got to know Peter through our mutual interest in all things bass and of course Ubass. We are also both educators in the wonderful world of Music!
I would have loved doing this interview in person but it wasn’t possible this time. I simply sent Peter my questions and he sent back his answers super quick! Thanks, Peter, for being part of the world of Ubass and wanting to be my second interviewee!
Jamming on my doorstep
First up is Peters introduction.
First, thanks a lot for inviting me to this interview, you’ve got a great site which is so informative regarding the Ubass and everything about it. There are many questions to answer when buying a Ubass, but you and your site are just such an excellent knowledge resource. Thanks again.
Let the interview begin.
Magnus: Why Ubass?
Peter: Well, that’s a looong story, I’ll try to make it short…
I’m a professional bass player and a music teacher (read more at http://www.peterlaustsen.com). Permanent positions in this particular field here in Norway are scarce and far between. This often means that you’ll have to work long hours and commute for a lot of miles to get a decent permanent job. For the past 5 years I’ve commuted about 600km by train per week to teach at a music department at a high school. Bringing all your stuff on the train is quite cumbersome and the less you have to carry the better. I bought an Aria Sinsonido travel bass second hand a few years ago, which I used to bring along on the road, but it just wasn’t that good and still quite big (34″ scale).
The size of this little beast is one thing, but the sound is what really sells the Ubass.
When I bought the Ubass (I own an acoustic fretless spruce) it took over immediately and I loved it from the first moment. Works well for me when traveling by bus, light rail and train on a daily basis (although you loose the coolness of looking like a ”real” bass player).
Playing a concert with Bergen Impro Storband (Bergen Impro Big Band)
The size of this little beast is one thing, but the sound is what really sells the Ubass. I loved it from the first moment, both the acoustic sound and the amplified sound. I also play double bass and I love dark and mellow tones, the Ubass is warm and moves a lot of air when amplified, that’s all I need most of the time. I’ll always try to ”get away” with bringing the Ubass instead of my 3/4 upright to a gig/rehearsal whenever I can. It’s just so much easier in every way, especially on your back!
I can utilize all kinds of public transport with my bass rig and that’s a big deal when you live in the city. My rig consists of a Walter Woods Ultra head, hooked up to an Acme Low B1 cabinet. I just use a small trolley to move it around, it’s excellent and I’ll never go back to the heavy tube amps and cabs that I used to play (Mesa 400+ and Ampeg SVT-2). More bass, less space!
M: Where did you first hear about Ubass?
P: I don’t quite remember, but I think I read about it on the TalkBass forum online when I browsed through threads about travel basses. Yeah, I think that’s where I picked up on it. I’ve never seen anybody play one in real life though, I seem to be the only one in Bergen who owns one as far as I know.
M: How long have you played the Ubass?
P: I bought my fretless spruce in august 2012, so almost 2 years ago and have played it ever since.
M: How do you use your Ubass? (different settings and styles/genres..)
P: I play my Ubass live as much as I can! I haven’t had that many live gigs lately due to my busy family situation, but I always keep it close at hand on the wall in the living room. Limitations in terms of genres? None really, but I personally don’t see it fit in metal, but that’s it really.
I love many genres of music, my roots mainly grew out of rock, blues and reggae. I’ve also played some jazz and I love to improvise freely as well. So, I’m pretty much all over the spectrum and I use my Ubass all over as well.
I use the Ubass when I teach, for live gigs, in practice, for learning songs late at night in my living room and just for fun. I’ve played a few country rock concerts a few years ago and I just wished I had it back then, it would have blended right in.
My model is one of the older ones without a built-in preamp, so I use a Fishman B-II Acoustic Preamp to bump up the piezo, which works just fine. I could go without a preamp because my Walter Woods head supports it, but I always bring the Fishman along for other amps than my own.
M: Can you recommend others to start playing Ubass? Who can benefit from adding a Ubass as a new musical tool?
P: Having such a small portable bass which sounds so good would suit anybody who bring their instruments beyond their own front door. My neighbor, who’s an occasional indoor electric bassist, loves my Ubass and he didn’t even realize that it was fretless at first because the ”fret spacing” felt so natural. That says it all doesn’t it? It just feels better anatomically not to stretch your fingers as much as 34″+ basses and double bass requires you to do.
The prices of the cheapest Ubass models are also affordable, especially compared to other short scale basses out there.
Backing the students of a local music school in concert.
I think any bass loving person would dig to play the Ubass. I get run down on every gig I play by people who wonder what instrument I play and ”where that bass sound came from”. Most of them fall in love when I let them try it out. Even kids can get into bass playing now because of the super short scale length. Btw, a colleague of mine just purchased two rumbler’s for the youngest players at the music school where he teaches. Just excellent!
The only problem with the Ubass… is that you want more!
I’m currently saving up cash to buy an US ”exotic top” fretless 4-string solid body.