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View Full Version : Rumbler vs Spruce top UBass?



CTurner
09-11-2014, 11:34 AM
I'm seriously considering buying a UBass and wanted to ask this forum:

The Rumbler model is the lowest price, the spruce top UBass has a nice style I think.

Are there significant differences in usability or features or quality between the two?

I'd like to buy a fretless model and am still looking at small bass amps that might match up.

Thanks for any input.

PhilUSAFRet
10-04-2014, 04:43 AM
All the "better models" have the Hipshot tuners. Other than cosmetics, wood doesn't matter. I've read a few reviews about the non-Hipshot tuners breaking. Of course their top of the line models are made in California.

katysax
10-04-2014, 05:02 AM
It depends on how much you are going to play it and where you are going to play it. I prefer the black strings. Also the tuners do matter.

I play my UBass a lot. I started with the Mahogany, but then got the Sub Ubass- the solid body one which I found I enjoyed a lot more for the size and the clean sound. Then the Sub Ubass started having pickup troubles due to the poor design of the jack and I got the California solid body which I love. The Sub UBass was actually really good, but he California Bass is just better made, and sounds better. I have toyed with the idea of fretless and messed around with a few, but i'm glad I went with fretted.

As far as an amp, the Phil Jones Double Four is amazing. It weighs 7 lbs, can be run on battery (you use an external laptop battery) and puts out fantastic sound and volume.

we tigers
10-04-2014, 05:17 AM
Hi Craig,

I've got one of the first solid mahogany ones. The tuners on the spruce top version had a tendency to break and come flying off when they had more than three wounds on the pole. The hip shot are a lot better.
I. Still sticking to the original black strings because they sound so much deeper than Aquila's alternatives.
Fretless is cool but it's also a bit finicky an such a small scale.
Amp wise the Phil Jones mentioned by Katysax percent is very good. It kind of depends if you want it to be able to run on batteries. If not, I would choose a nice little combo by Ampeg or Ashdown.

bnolsen
10-04-2014, 06:52 AM
i'm poorer and have an ampeg ba108...the older. It's a very good little amp, especially for steel stringed electric bass. It does play fine with ubass as well but I notice the stronger fundamental on the E string pushes it harder with thunderguts.
I have an ashbory I picked up cheap as well which I also put thunderguts on but I don't notice much of an advantage with the fretless at that scale. Note the ashbory has an even shorter scale than a typical ubass.

As for fretless ubass there's another thread where thunderguts and pyramids were demod. I was surprised at the nice fretless sound he got with the pyramid strings. I'm thinking I might try the pahoehoes on the ashbory but also will check if pyramids might work well .

CTurner
10-04-2014, 01:36 PM
I'd forgotten this question and suddenly the replies! I'm re-thinking the UBass, looking at one of the solid wood models with hipshots. The California models are out of my range, though they really look nice. Thanks to all.

PhilUSAFRet
10-04-2014, 03:08 PM
Here's a benchmark to beat: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kala-U-BASS-SSMHG-FS-SOLID-SPRUCE-TOP-U-BASS-WITH-GIG-BAG-Great-U-Bass-/171480980991?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27ed101dff

And this gorgeous black solid body is hard to pass up: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kala-S-U-B-Series-Solid-Body-4-String-U-Bass-Gloss-BLACK-SB4FS-SBK-Gig-Bag-/161437796374?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2596714816

sonomajazz
10-18-2014, 08:57 AM
Hi Craig,

I have the Kala U Bass, an Ibanez Mikro (short scale 30" vs 34'+ standard), and my newest acquisition is this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5ro2WbHBNM

Actually bought it on Daniel Ward's (proper use of apostrophe, mds??) recommendation at Wine Country UKe Fest...give me a call and let's talk bass!
(I just sent you a text...do you text??)

F

Unforgotten
10-25-2014, 01:39 AM
Just got the fretless spruce top a couple of weeks ago. The guys in my local shop pointed out that, given the short scale, accurate intonation might be a bit easier. As I'd got a 30" Hofner Shorty Bass a month before my ears didn't have much of a problem finding notes :) I'd say if you've never played a bass then going fretless from Day One might be making life difficult for yourself!

As to Spruce-Top vs Rumbler... according to my shop guys they'd stocked a few (along with all the other acoustic models) and they didn't like them. Given there's only 30 to 80 (depending where you shop) between the Spruce and Rumbler it's not like they were after the money :) They even offered to order one up if I really wanted that model. Now whether it's just a case of them getting the first version - I believe the model was updated for 2013 - or maybe it's just the Silver Rumbler strings... anyway they weren't impressed with the tone side by side with the solid bodies.

The only thing I sorta regret about getting the fretless is trawling through YouTube for classic upright bass videos: I think I've played about with more Jazz-scale bass lines in the last week than anything else :D

Just one last thing for anyone considering ultra-short basses: weight. Obviously everyone fixates on the size but as mentioned I have a Hofner Shorty and the Kala is like picking up fresh air in comparison!

CTurner
10-28-2014, 09:58 AM
I really appreciate all the advice here. I got a mahogany UBass set up from Mim's and an Ampeg BA-108, plus a couple of beginner's books. I'm off! It's great fun and there is a lot to learn.

Unforgotten
10-28-2014, 12:11 PM
Great news, Craig! I dare anyone not to have fun with a U Bass :P

Doc_J
10-28-2014, 05:46 PM
I really appreciate all the advice here. I got a mahogany UBass set up from Mim's and an Ampeg BA-108, plus a couple of beginner's books. I'm off! It's great fun and there is a lot to learn.

Congrats Craig! I see multi-track recordings in your future.

KamakOzzie
10-28-2014, 07:06 PM
Here's a benchmark to beat: http (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kala-U-BASS-SSMHG-FS-SOLID-SPRUCE-TOP-U-BASS-WITH-GIG-BAG-Great-U-Bass-/171480980991?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27ed101dff)

Now this is a benchmark !!! :drool:
http://www.theukulelesite.com/usa-made-ubass-solid-curly-koa-w-new-lr-baggs-pickup.html

Bill

Unforgotten
10-29-2014, 11:32 AM
Whoa! Finish looks more like ruffled silk than wood :D

When I'm rich n famous...