PDA

View Full Version : U-bass experience?



LDS714
01-19-2015, 08:27 AM
Hi!

This question is posed to those who have experience playing a u-bass, particularly those who have gigged with them.

A little background. I've been playing and gigging on bass for over 30 years. My main gigging instruments have been an old Rickenbacker 4001, Fender P-Bass Lytes, and most recently a very old Gibson EB-3. Many years ago, I suffered an injury to my left forearm which damaged many of the nerves for the hand. As a result, I no longer have the ability to spread my fingers and some other motions do not work either. This makes it extremely difficult to play a full scale bass, and even the short scale Gibson is a challenge.

I spent some time yesterday playing a u-bass at a music store and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was easy to reach things that are now impossible for me to reach on a normal bass.

I've seen several versions of the u-bass. Solid body, hollow body, fretted and fretless. The fretless is pretty much off the table due to the limitations of my hand. I'd kind of favoring an acoustic one just for sitting around plinking, but whatever I get, it would need to be usable in live situations as well.

So after all that, my question is...

How do they do in live situations playing with guitar and drums? I mainly play in a power trio and the stage volume can get a bit aggressive at times. Do the acoustics have a tendency to feed back? Would a solid body be a better choice?

Thanks!

kohanmike
01-19-2015, 08:35 PM
In my ukulele group, Tom took on playing U-Bass, and I'm the sub (I've been learning bass for a few months). Tom's been doing very well with his Kala acoustic spruce top for gigs, but it has to be amplified. He uses a large PigNose amp and the U-Bass does not seem to feedback, but our bass teacher (we use the same guy) suggested Tom change the stock strings to Pyramid metal wound nylon core. Personally, I think the sound is not great, sort of buzzy and too metallic. One of the things I like so much about the U-Bass is how much it sounds like a stand up bass.

I bought a Gold Tone MicroBass on recommendation of the owner of a uke store I frequent. It's 23" scale and came with Aquila Thundergut strings, which after a short while I found to be very sticky, so I replaced them with Road Toad Pahoehoe. Not only are they smooth, but I think they sound much better than the metal Pyramids. I use a fifteen year old USA made Crate Limo 50 watt amp that works extremely well with bass, but if I stand really close to it, I will get feedback. (As you can see in my signature, acquisition syndrome got me pretty good.)

I just did a quick search online for a small electric bass and found this. I rather like it and I just might buy one.

http://www.smallguitars.com/catalog/530-1-2_size_MB1_mini_bass_guitar_for_kids_and_travel

OregonJim
01-19-2015, 09:15 PM
Another 30+ year bass veteran here. Yes, the U-Bass works for live gigs, with a little modification. As kohanmike suggests, the stock strings are way too sticky to allow your hand to slide - replace them immediately with Pahoehoes. This goes for both the U-Bass and the MicroBass. You may need a feedback buster to plug the soundhole. I made my own out of some cedar that was lying around, but you can get a commercial rubber one as well. I don't always need it - depends on the setup at the venue. Lastly, be prepared to answer a lot of questions (What IS that thing? Did you make it? Where's the bass player?)...

Louis0815
01-20-2015, 12:53 AM
the stock strings are way too sticky to allow your hand to slide - replace them immediately with Pahoehoes.Don't the Kala Ubasses come with Pahoehoes already?


I'd kind of favoring an acoustic one just for sitting around plinkingWouldn't the Hutch Hutchinson model (http://www.kalabrand.com/Models/U-BASS/DetailsPageHutch.html) from Kala be the right choice then?

ichadwick
01-20-2015, 02:26 AM
I only tinker with bass these days, although I played it a lot many years ago. I picked up four basses around the same time: Kala U-bass, Epiphone Viola (25" scale), an electric six-string bass (forget the brand) and a fretless 5-string Ergo electric upright. I only have the Epiphone left.

My thoughts on the U-Bass;


Great sound; very "woody" - but not always the sound I wanted for all songs, however. Sometimes you want the sharper attack of metal strings.
Good build quality. No complaints there. Kala makes a good instrument.
Lots of fun to play because it's short and easy to hold. Has a nice 'wow' factor when others see and then hear it.
Not very good unplugged. Way too quiet for even solo in-home practice without at least a small amp.
Strings roll under your fingers too much, requiring a lot more precision than I expected.
Hard to be precise when you go up the neck past the eighth fret because of the small spaces between frets and the fat strings.


I had a chance to play a Beaver Creek acoustic micro-bass at the Twelfth Fret in Toronto. About the same scale as the U-Bass. I really liked it more. It uses more regular strings - more tension, less rolling - and sounds a lot louder unplugged. it's not a great or high-quality instrument, but it's fun.

Jon Moody
01-20-2015, 02:36 AM
Wouldn't the Hutch Hutchinson model (http://www.kalabrand.com/Models/U-BASS/DetailsPageHutch.html) from Kala be the right choice then?

I have the Hutch model (original version, prior to the onboard preamps) and it's okay. You can definitely turn it up a bit more before feedback happens because of the slotted sound hole.

However, for the OP's gigging situations, if I was in his position I'd go for a solid body one, no question. The new electronics on it give you some options to shape the sound (although it's still really only got one major tone on it), and there will be absolutely no feedback issues from any amplification.

ichadwick
01-20-2015, 02:41 AM
I should add that while I didn't ever own one, I did get a chance to play Kala's solid-body U-bass at a music store a couple of times. Funky little instrument, but I had the same problem with the strings rolling under my fingertips. And if you think the acoustic model is quiet unplugged, the solid-body is silence itself. But between the two, I probably would have gone with the SB model had it been available when I get my U-bass.

katysax
01-20-2015, 05:34 AM
I love using the solid body California U-Bass. I started out using the mahogany acoustic U-Bass, but I find the body a bit big and uncomfortable and do get feedback if I turn it up too high. Then I used the Chinese made sub-UBass and it was great. I loved it. The problem I had was that the jack was cheap and poorly designed. I had issues with it shorting out. Then I got the California UBass, and while it is quite a bit more expensive - you get what you pay for. The overall feel and balance is great. The design and build are rock solid. The pickup is better. It's just great all around. From what you describe I would highly recommend the solid body and spending the extra for the California model.

Cornfield
01-20-2015, 06:19 AM
I love using the solid body California U-Bass. I started out using the mahogany acoustic U-Bass, but I find the body a bit big and uncomfortable and do get feedback if I turn it up too high. Then I used the Chinese made sub-UBass and it was great. I loved it. The problem I had was that the jack was cheap and poorly designed. I had issues with it shorting out. Then I got the California UBass, and while it is quite a bit more expensive - you get what you pay for. The overall feel and balance is great. The design and build are rock solid. The pickup is better. It's just great all around. From what you describe I would highly recommend the solid body and spending the extra for the California model.


I have one of the sub Bass models, didn't know they were Chinese made. Mine works fine. I don't use it often, usually if I'm doing a multitrack recording. If it were an everyday workhorse, I could see getting a California model.

OregonJim
01-20-2015, 08:13 AM
Don't the Kala Ubasses come with Pahoehoes already?

Mine didn't, but it was an early model, shortly after the introduction. Perhaps Kala has changed strings since then?

bnolsen
01-20-2015, 08:13 AM
Will have to emphasize getting a solidy body for gigging. No risk of feedback and more durable to boot. What sound you get out of them is far more limited than what you can get from a nickel/steel string bass. Thumpier, bigger fundamental that hits an amp harder. String bends don't do much if anything. Slides aren't very good either.

Unlike a full scale it's very difficult to hear the solid body unplugged, if not impossible. I use a cheapo honeytone amp with a little bit of distortion dialed in as a kitchen table amp.

Also forgot to mention that the ubass's aren't very adjustable. You get a truss rod adjustment and just a height adjustment on the whole pickup. That's it.

Have you tried the ibanez mikro with a 28.6" scale? That'll give you the metal strung bass feel and sound.

Cornfield
01-20-2015, 09:30 AM
Has anyone tried the "PYRAMID Superior Quality U-BASS Strings SILVER-PLATED COPPER WOUND UBASS STRINGS ON A NYLON SILK CORE "?

Also wondering about the Aquila "Silver Rumblers"

I wonder how they would work on my sub Bass

bnolsen
01-20-2015, 09:56 AM
Has anyone tried the "PYRAMID Superior Quality U-BASS Strings SILVER-PLATED COPPER WOUND UBASS STRINGS ON A NYLON SILK CORE "?

Also wondering about the Aquila "Silver Rumblers"

I wonder how they would work on my sub Bass

I'd be curious about this as well. I wonder how well a ubass fretboard and frets will wear with wounds since ubass's are designed with these fat poly/rubber strings in mind. Nothing more frustrating than to see premature wear on you instrument caused by strings.

Gillian
01-20-2015, 01:07 PM
I own both a U-Bass (spruce/mahogany acoustic model) with the stock Pahoehoe strings, and also an Ohana bass ukulele (OBU-22 fretless with lines) with stock Rotosound Jazz flatwound nickel metal strings.

I'm thinking of selling my U-Bass because I don't play it much since getting the Ohana. The Ohana has much better intonation up the neck than the U-Bass. Plus, I like being able to do slides with no string or fret noise.

According to Elderly, the price difference between the acoustic U-Bass and the Ohana is $50. My only complaint about the Ohana is the included gig bag. Real thin padding and cheap quality zipper. A 3/4 guitar size bag will fit the Ohana perfectly.

OregonJim
01-20-2015, 01:18 PM
I wonder how well a ubass fretboard and frets will wear with wounds since ubass's are designed with these fat poly/rubber strings in mind. Nothing more frustrating than to see premature wear on you instrument caused by strings.

I wouldn't worry about it. The fretboard is Rosewood, just like anything else, and the frets are either brass or nickel/steel (can't remember which as I sold mine).



I'm thinking of selling my U-Bass because I don't play it much since getting the Ohana. The Ohana has much better intonation up the neck than the U-Bass. Plus, I like being able to do slides with no string or fret noise.


I'm a big fan of Kala, love the ukes, but the U-Bass didn't impress me that much (especially the early ones). I sold mine as soon as I saw Gold Tone's MicroBass, which I still have and enjoy...

bnolsen
01-20-2015, 02:53 PM
...and also an Ohana bass ukulele (OBU-22 fretless with lines) with stock Rotosound Jazz flatwound nickel metal strings.

I'm thinking of selling my U-Bass because I don't play it much since getting the Ohana. The Ohana has much better intonation up the neck than the U-Bass. Plus, I like being able to do slides with no string or fret noise.

Just have to point out that intonation on a fretless is kind of a moot point. It's the reason I defretted my hadean omega ubass.

I'd have to say that the whole intonation issue might be a reason to shy away from a fretted ubass style unless you can really verify that the bass you get is right on in intonation. But even that doesn't address the variability of intonation between different strings and even different manufacturing batches.

LDS714
01-22-2015, 02:58 PM
Thanks for all the replies!

First off, I just (re)discovered ukuleles about two months ago and have the fever pretty bad. There's just something appealing about an instrument so small, so portable and so great sounding. Mine sits either right next to the couch for playing while watching TV or right next to my desk at work, making long boring conference calls something I actually look forward to now. The thought of having a bass in that form factor is almost overwhelming in it's appeal.

Kohanmike - Have read many of your posts with great interest, and was hoping you'd chime in. I've seen the Small Guitars bass on the web, but never in person. I'd be interested in checking one out. The Gold Tone is actually the instrument that initially caught my attention. I played one for quite some time at Guitar Center. I agree about the stock strings being sticky.

Louis0815 -I really like the looks of that Hutch Hutchinson model. Haven't seen one locally, but haven't hit every music store in Nashville (yet) since they caught my interest.

bnolsen - I've very nearly purchased the Ibanez Mikro on several occasions solely due to the size, but didn't really enjoy the way it played. The string gauge/tension combination reminds me a lot of my old Musicmaster bass - way too much attack for the amount of sustain and low end, almost like you're popping every note. I have not experienced that same issue with the Kalas or the Gold Tone I've been able to audition.

I tried 5 different solid body Kalas at Corner Music, but not plugged in. I was definitely impressed with the way they played and felt. I'm very particular about neck feel and profile, and all of the Kalas I've tried have really hit the mark.

I agree that an acoustic would probably be unsuitable for electric gigs, but like I said, for sitting around plinking, or the occasional outing backing up my buddy on his cigar box guitar it would be perfect. I'm really leaning toward picking one up this weekend. I think I can make a deal on one at a local used music store with an old Epiphone 5-string I have as trade bait, which will (hopefully) leave my war chest more or less intact for the purchase of a soldibody soon after.

Jon Moody
01-22-2015, 03:52 PM
I'd be curious about this as well. I wonder how well a ubass fretboard and frets will wear with wounds since ubass's are designed with these fat poly/rubber strings in mind. Nothing more frustrating than to see premature wear on you instrument caused by strings.

As been mentioned, while they're designed with rubber strings, they're using the same materials as other instruments that use wound or steel strings. Also, the Pyramid wound wire is a silvered copper, which is a very soft metal used regularly for classical guitar strings. You'll hardly notice anything on your frets or fretboard.

bnolsen
01-22-2015, 04:41 PM
i was looking at string prices today. thunderguts, pahoehoe and silver rumblers are all under 25usd. red thunderguts about 40usd, the pyramids about 60usd.

There's supposed to be some worth orange ubass strings coming out. I saw an ebay listing of these "rare strings" at 40usd sold from japan. Hopefully these come in the under 25usd category when they are more widely available.

If you are able to test drive one of the kala ubasses I do strongly suggest you do a very thorough check on the intonation before walking out with it. Adjustability really is a weak point on them.

interesting take on the ibanez mikro. For me I like the shorter scales because they are lighter which is good for my bad shoulder, and also I seem to get some hand strain when playing full scales.

gillian: sorry i got the fretless backwards. your kala is fretted and you have intonation problems (maybe similar to what i saw on my hadean omega) and the ou22 is fretless which of course intonation doesn't depend on any frets.

LDS714
01-22-2015, 05:38 PM
If you are able to test drive one of the kala ubasses I do strongly suggest you do a very thorough check on the intonation before walking out with it. Adjustability really is a weak point on them.
Definitely not ordering online or buying without playing and checking it out thoroughly. I played several of the solid bodies (not Kala, now that I think about it, but I don't recall the make) at Corner Music. Impressive instruments for the price, especially considering how much old, beat to crap Fenders are going for these days ($6300 for a late 60s P-Bass that looked like it had been transported in the trunk of a car with no case for it's whole life).


interesting take on the ibanez mikro. For me I like the shorter scales because they are lighter which is good for my bad shoulder, and also I seem to get some hand strain when playing full scales.

Agreed. My main bass for the last dozen or so years has been an early 60s Gibson EB3. Short scale, light weight, and well balanced so that it doesn't neck dive. The Musicmaster, OTOH, lacks bottom end and sustain as well as the headstock being too heavy for the instrument to balance well when worn on a strap. I may give the Ibanez another look, but it definitely lacks the cool factor of a U Bass. :cool:

I'm going to go hit the music stores Saturday and hopefully be posting some pictures shortly thereafter.

bnolsen
01-22-2015, 06:14 PM
I played several of the solid bodies (not Kala, now that I think about it, but I don't recall the make) at Corner Music. Impressive instruments for the price...

how much were those going for?

LDS714
01-22-2015, 06:30 PM
how much were those going for?

They started at around $400 and went up to about $700, IIRC. I'll have more info after Saturday. They had a couple of different scale lengths as well as fretted and fretless.

EDIT:
Went by after work today to look, they're Gold Tones, and there were only two of the solid bodies left.

LDS714
01-24-2015, 03:59 PM
OK, picked up a Kala U Bass Rumbler last night. It's new but a tad bit shop-worn. The strings show some wear, so I have a new set to put on it.

It's an absolute joy to play and things that are impossible for me to reach even on the short-scale Gibson bass are a breeze. I've played it for a few hours and seem to be getting along with it quite well. The intonation isn't perfect, but it's close enough for what I do. The amount of tonal variation with the built-in preamp is nice, it will go from an upright type of sound to something resembling a P-Bass.

Even with the limited feeling in my left hand, I can actually feel when I'm pressing one of the strings without looking, which is a nice change from what I've been used to.

I'll be trying it out on stage at a Cigar Box Guitar show probably some time next month. The stage volume is pretty low for those, enough that the Dobro bass with a mic didn't feed back, so it should do nicely. We'll see.

If it works out well, I definitely see a solid body in my future. Kudos to Kala for making such an awesome instrument!

kohanmike
01-24-2015, 05:34 PM
Good for you LDS. If I'm not mistaken, Kala licenses the U-Bass from the original creator, Owen Holt of Road Toad.

LDS714
01-24-2015, 05:48 PM
Good for you LDS. If I'm not mistaken, Kala licenses the U-Bass from the original creator, Owen Holt of Road Toad.

I asked The Google and it states that you are not mistaken. :p Nice background info, thanks!

LDS714
02-04-2015, 03:47 PM
As much as everyone is dying to have another string thread, I'll go ahead and ask the question here. :shaka:

Not knowing much about U-bass strings, I grabbed a set of Pahoehoes at a local store, and uhhh... They were really, really short. As in too short. I ended up restringing it with the originals.

So I'm guessing, the Rumbler U-bass only works with the Rumbler strings? Or are there others that will work?

bnolsen
02-04-2015, 04:04 PM
whats the scale length on you rumbler? were these pahoehoe strings for ubass or for ashbory perhaps?

kohanmike
02-04-2015, 07:04 PM
The Road Toad Pahoehoe strings have a lot of stretch in them, you have to really pull them and they will fit. In fact, it's necessary to pull them a lot because it takes a long time to tune them, they keep wrapping around the tuning machine shaft, and you don't want a lot of wrapping. As far as I know, the Kala acoustic U-Basses are all 20" scale and the grey color strings are not as smooth as the black Pahoehoe.

I put a set of Pahoehoe 22-24" yellows on my 23" Gold Tone GT MicroBass and they sound and feel great, in my opinion much better than the Aquila Thundergut. They've stretched so much now that I'm going to restring them and cut off some.

Lalz
02-05-2015, 04:56 AM
You may need a feedback buster to plug the soundhole. I made my own out of some cedar that was lying around, but you can get a commercial rubber one as well.

Would a standard guitar soundhole plug do or are there other sizes?

LDS714
05-31-2015, 07:06 PM
OK, reporting back after some time with the instrument...

The string length issue turned out to be pure operator error. Once I realized how to change them on the Rumbler (reaching through the soundhole) it was all good. Prior to that though, I exchanged them for Silver Rumblers. I like them quite a bit.

I've used the Ubass for a few gigs, and so far very few issues with feedback. It was encouraging enough to make me want a solid body to use for electric gigs. So...

I stopped at Corner Music while I was on the way down to Alabama to do a couple of shows this weekend and saw the GoldTones again. I played one for a while, and ended up getting a really good deal on it. It's a slightly longer scale length than the Kala (23 in. vs. 20), but extremely well built and fairly well balanced. Intonation is good, frets are very well dressed and polished and the controls are smooth and have a good feel.

I used it for a set on Thursday night, and while I liked the feel of the bass as a whole the strings weren't really to my liking. Very tacky, almost sticky. It was a little bit difficult to play those strings, both my right and left hand fingers were catching and sticking on the strings, causing some, uh, minor timing issues. I actually ended up with small blisters on my right ring and index fingers. According to the microbass web site, it can be used with metal strings as well, so I'm thinking about trying a set of flatwounds on it or maybe some Rumblers. Although, I've played it for a few hours since then and the stock strings seem to be losing the stickiness a little bit, so I'll give them a week or so of daily use to see what happens.

kohanmike
05-31-2015, 07:21 PM
From what I understand, the only metal strings that can be used are the Pyramid steel wound nylon core, but maybe standard metal will work, tell us what you find. I have a set of Pyramids that I'm planning to try on my fretless custom when I get the preamp/pickup problem fixed.

All of my u-basses came with off white Thundergut strings and I never liked them, especially when people suggested using powder in the strings and my fingers. Ridiculous in my opinion, especially when the Pahoehoes are so smooth.

Jon Moody
06-01-2015, 02:52 AM
From what I understand, the only metal strings that can be used are the Pyramid steel wound nylon core, but maybe standard metal will work, tell us what you find. I have a set of Pyramids that I'm planning to try on my fretless custom when I get the preamp/pickup problem fixed.

I tried throwing some nickel bass strings on my Hutch Hutchinson (when I had it), and it's not worth the effort. Trying to adapt bass strings to the U-Bass that have a small enough core wire to have a low enough tension for the neck but still stiff enough so that when you fret the note, you're not automatically going sharp as well as good intonation up the entire fretboard was a challenge.

The Pyramids work because they're made exactly like classical guitar basses, so they're designed with low tension and stability in mind.

LDS714
06-01-2015, 03:47 AM
I tried throwing some nickel bass strings on my Hutch Hutchinson (when I had it), and it's not worth the effort. Trying to adapt bass strings to the U-Bass that have a small enough core wire to have a low enough tension for the neck but still stiff enough so that when you fret the note, you're not automatically going sharp as well as good intonation up the entire fretboard was a challenge.

The Pyramids work because they're made exactly like classical guitar basses, so they're designed with low tension and stability in mind.

Thanks! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but it's good to know.

My initial idea was to get a 5 string set of Brite Flats and use the B to D.

One cool thing about the MicroBass Electric is that it has a bridge adjustment similar to the old Gibson Melody Makers, with a LOT of room for adjustment.

Jon Moody
06-01-2015, 03:57 AM
Thanks! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but it's good to know.

Yeah, we (GHS) looked into trying to make a set of strings for the U-Bass, and between the findings with steel strings (and talking with a number of pros on the road that are using the U-Bass), we decided it wasn't something we could really do at present.



My initial idea was to get a 5 string set of Brite Flats and use the B to D..

No no no no no no! Given that I know the specs of the Brite Flats - as well as how they're made - you'd easily damage your instrument had you tried that. Those things are extremely stiff and high tension, even at regular tuning. If you would've gotten them onto the instrument and to pitch, I think you would've had some major issues.

LDS714
06-01-2015, 09:28 AM
Again, thanks for the info!

Strings have always been sort of Black Art for me. I went through a bunch of sets of flatwound bass and guitar strings to get a mix of the ones with the right tension and feel for my cigar box bass.

Just to make sure we're on the same page, I'm talking about the GoldTone MicroBass Electric. I'm pretty happy with the Silver Rumblers on the Ubass.

Jon Moody
06-01-2015, 09:52 AM
Strings have always been sort of Black Art for me. I went through a bunch of sets of flatwound bass and guitar strings to get a mix of the ones with the right tension and feel for my cigar box bass.

Pics or it doesn't exist!



Just to make sure we're on the same page, I'm talking about the GoldTone MicroBass Electric. I'm pretty happy with the Silver Rumblers on the Ubass.

Yeah, I looked into it. I like the bridge as well, but it sounds a lot like the Hofner I have here with the regular strings. I'm sure with the strings LaBella is working on (I wonder if they're going the tapewound route like they did with the U-Bass), it'll sound more like an electric.

kohanmike
06-01-2015, 09:56 AM
I guess I misunderstood, yours is the solid body Gold Tone ME, I was thinking it's the acoustic, got it.

mrufino1
06-11-2015, 06:02 PM
I'm looking into the gold tone ME, so I'm glad to read a good review of it. I've been gigging for the past few weeks on my hadean solidbody and absolutely loving it. My 31" scale birdsong bass feels huge compared to it!

LDS714
06-11-2015, 06:29 PM
Well, I just returned from a rehearsal with a heavy alternative band. Played the ME the whole time and it did a great job, the guys in the band liked it. The strings seem to be getting less sticky, but slides are still not as easy as with metal strings.

All in all, I'm very happy with it and plan on using it in an upcoming show at BB King's.

LDS714
08-28-2016, 06:24 PM
OK, just a little update...

The Gold Tone has been absolutely fantastic. I'm still gigging with the heavy alternative band and with the addition of a preamp pedal (Behringer knockoff of the SansAmp) it works great on a lot of our songs. And you wouldn't believe the sheer number of positive comments it gets. Just last night, we were soundchecking at a festival and a young lady standing up by the front of the stage asked what it was. Told her it was a uke bass and she was really intrigued, saying that she played bass and uke and had never heard of such a thing. She replied no when I asked her if she'd ever dropped a guitar, so I said "Don't start now" and handed it to her off the front of the stage to check out. She really dug it, and hopefully will come here to UU to do some more research.

Also finally added a Mikro to the herd. After playing a bunch of them, finally found one that has the right feel, resonance, and strong fundamental without the annoying 'twanky' overtones so many short-scales (like my MusicMaster) have. Used it at a couple of shows so far and have been able to dial in a good, rich tone through an Ampeg rig.

Huge thanks to all the bass folks here at UU! With the help and advice gained here, and even shorter scaled basses, I've been able to get a lot close to 'normal' bass playing than I ever have since severing the nerves in my left forearm so many years ago.