Speading the word and my story – pechakucha style!

From one of the Swedish TV News channels


Hi,

A couple of weeks ago I did a so called pechakucha. Don’t know what it is? Well, it’s a kind of lecture that architects in Japan started using in 2003. You tell a story about a subject using 20 pictures/slides. You’re allowed to talk for 20 seconds per picture. This makes the presentations nice and short!

I was invited to do a presentation on the first pechakucha night in Vasteras (…yes it’s almost the same name as in Game of thrones but spelled with an a with a two dots and an a with a ring 🙂

I wanted to tell my playubass story with this headline; Social branding in the music business. A short presentation of my background and how I’ve used social media to tell my story and interact with other musicians and ubassists across the globe!

Swedish TV did a short interview/segment with me for the news channel with and you can see this below. Since this is in Swedish I have made English ”subtitles”. Please use the caption feature in YouTube to see this!

Onwards…to new Ubass experiences!

All the best to you all! /Magnus

caption2

Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass | 48 ”Regnen i mars” (Àguas de Marcos)

Me, Eva Stenström (vocals) and Daniel Björnmo (guitar)

 

Hi,

It’s once again time for a jammin’ video. This time a short but fun one!

I have written about the Live at heart festival before and this past September was the fifth one. The festival is inspired by the famous South by southwest festival in Austin, TX (US). The first festival was held in 1987! (Read more here.)

In this years Live at heart 5.0 festival i played with two bands. I wrote about M&M’s Honky Tonk earlier and now it’s time for Eva Stenström LTD. Read more here. I’m working on a album project with Eva Stenström and will release this hopefully during 2015.

The song featured in this video is written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and performed here with the brand new Swedish lyrics by Eva!

We all played through a Bose L1 PA system and I really think the Ubass sounds really good in their systems. First time I wrote about Bose was back in 2011.

Hope you like the short and lively street video of ”Regnen i mars” (The March Rains)!

All the best, Magnus

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.

String Review of the Aquila Thunder Reds

Thunder Reds on UBass
Thunder Reds about to get stringed on my fretless spruce Kala UBass

Hi,

It’s time for another string review. This time we will check out the quite new string, the Thunder Reds.

Aquila Corde Armoniche Srl is an Italian string manufacturer that has made strings since 1983. They make gut strings and strings to mimic the sound and feel of gut strings for ukulele, guitar and early music instruments like the lute. Mimmo Peruffo is the founder of the company and the inventor of the nylongut strings. Read more about him here.
Around 2012 they started making strings for the Ubass called Thundergut. I have used them on my acoustic/electric UBass from about that time. I did a previous test/review of these strings compared to the stock, black, pahoehoe strings.
Besides the Thundergut they also make the Silver Rumblers that comes stock on the Rumbler Ubass.
The newest string from the company is the Thunder Reds. These strings do have a new feel to them compared to previous Ubass strings on the market. In the Kala UBass ”String Store” you can find most of the different string choices on the market.

The string gauges are a bit different compared to the Thunderguts. See gallery.

I feel it’s the E-string that really stands out the most. It is significally thinner and sounds and feels really focused, with a nice tone. The added copper powder in the blend really makes a difference and this is extra pronounced in the E-string. I believe the copper also takes away a lot of the sticky feeling compared to other strings on the market.

How playable different strings are is mostly in the mind of the player. I remember the first time I played a UBass, I thought it would take a long time getting used to the new feeling but it didn’t and all the strings I have played so far has only taken me a minimal time getting used to.

Please check out this stringing guide for one way of putting a set of Thunder Reds (or other ubass strings) on your UBass.

Check out the YouTube video below to hear them compared to the Thunderguts. I really think the Thunder Reds are a serious string to consider trying out on your UBass!

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

Jammin’ video no. 44 | Swedish folk music on solo Ubass!

 

uti-var-hage-collage2

Hi!

Time for another Jammin’ with my Kala Ubass video, no. 44 to be exact 🙂
This time I recorded in a beautiful chapel in Jamtland, Sweden.
My great grandfather, Olof Molander, got the inspiration for this chapel while visiting Norway. An architect then drew this beautiful building. I have always loved this chapel. I have seen it almost every Summer (and other parts of the year too) since I was a little boy.

I choose to do a solo Ubass arrangement of an old and classic folk song from Sweden, Uti vår hage (Out in the garden). The lyrics talks about different things growing in the garden (or forrest) like blueberry’s and different flowers. The lyric also compares the beautiful flowers with a loved one. But as lovely as the flowers are nothing compares to the beauty of the loved one. 🙂

Verse 3 of the Swedish lyric:

Uti vår hage finns blommor och bär
Kom hjärtans fröjd
Men utav alla du kärast mig är
Kom liljor och aquileja, kom rosor och saliveja
Kom ljuva krusmynta, kom hjärtans fröjd
Kom liljor och aquileja, kom rosor och saliveja
Kom ljuva krusmynta, kom hjärtans fröjd

This is just a short video, one verse played. I will probably add more Swedish folk songs and make a medley of of it. Stay tuned for more Swedish music in a future post.

Up next is a DIY and a new string test! Stay tuned!

Summer greetings from Sweden,
Magnus

Ubass Cases: Different options for the acoustic/electric Ubass

Hi!

If you want to get a new case for your acoustic/electric UBass there are a few options.
You can read about some of the options here at kalaukulele.com

Rectangular Diamond Black Hard Case for U-BASS (HCUB)
Tweed Rectangular Hard Case for U-BASS (HCT-UB)

 

Besides these very nice hard cases you can also use the case designed for the Baritone Ukulele!
You can find it here.

Ukulele Case Baritone (UC-B)

I’ve used one of these Baritone Cases for a while now and it works really well.
It’s super light and still quite sturdy. It’s not as sturdy as the hard cases above but still a good lightweight alternative. You can also use it as a back pack or side carry with the supplied straps.

Some more photos below!

Happy Ubass Summer to everyone!
/Magnus

Inside Case
Inside Case
Tuning pegs gets quite close to the side of the case so be careful when you put the ubass in the case!
Tuning pegs gets quite close to the side of the case so be careful when you put the ubass in the case!

Picture wall about to go live! Please send me more pics so it will get big and bold :-)

Picposter - Ubassists @ playubass.com

Hi!

I have just added a new page to playubass.com! It’s the ”Picture poster wall – ubassists of the world”! Please send me a pic with you and your ubass preferably in a place you really love, why not in the outdoors! I could also be a gig pic of course.

Let’s get together and make this wall a big and cozy place for all the cool ubassists of the world to be seen! Send pics to ubasslessons@gmail.com Check out the page now! (Will soon take away the ”curtain” and really make it live!)
(PS. Will soon send out a new newsletter too!)

All the best,
Magnus

 

 

NEW INTERVIEW! Ubassists of the world – Peter Laustsen (Norway)

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!

20140529-072342-26622302.jpg
Jamming on my doorstep

First up is Peters introduction.

Hi Magnus!

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.
/Peter

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).

20140529-072342-26622634.jpg
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.

20140529-072342-26622499.jpg
Teaching bass

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.

20140529-072342-26622734.jpg
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.

20140529-073726-27446669.jpg