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View Full Version : Metal Wound Strings on Sub-U Bass



katysax
07-05-2015, 01:40 PM
Since I mostly use my California U-Bass I thought it would be fun to try some of the Pyramid metal wound strings on my Sub-U Bass.

Changing them was very easy. I've had practice with this type of tuner with my Compass Rose ukulele so I put the end of the string inside the tuner and wound by hand a couple of times. Then wound it up.

The one issue that I had is that the original strings come with a rubber ferrule on the bottom which hold the string in place in the hole in the U-Bass body. The pyramid strings have a grommet at the end and no ferrule. When I tried to run the E string through the hole; it would not stay in place without a ferrule.

I figured I had to have something in the garage that would work. I saw a bunch of those white plastic anchors that come with screw for holding things in the wall. Some of them seemed to be the right size. I cut one down to the size of a ferrule and the string fit it perfectly and it fit perfectly into the hole in the body. Seems to be working fine.

The metal wound strings are fun. They give the U-Bass more of a traditional bass guitar sound, and you can even slap with them. I think this will make the metal string U-Bass a nice complement to the one with the original strings.

Booli
07-05-2015, 02:16 PM
Glad to hear they are working for you. I've been wanting to try them for a while now too.

Where did you buy the Pyramid U-Bass metal wound strings?

I've been looking all over, and nobody seems to be selling them any more. Last summer, they were for sale everywhere, and now I cant seem to find them.

Please share your source.

Thanks :)

katysax
07-05-2015, 02:36 PM
Glad to hear they are working for you. I've been wanting to try them for a while now too.

Where did you buy the Pyramid U-Bass metal wound strings?

I've been looking all over, and nobody seems to be selling them any more. Last summer, they were for sale everywhere, and now I cant seem to find them.

Please share your source.

Thanks :)

I got them from amazon. There are still sets in stock but they are for the solid body only. A local music store here - Kaye's Music Scene in Reseda - also has them in stock. In fact I tried them on a bass at Kayes before I bought them. Note that the ones I bought were for the Sub-U Bass. The ones for the acoustic U-bass are a different size. I don't see the acoustic ones at amazon but I know Kaye's has them in stock.

kohanmike
07-05-2015, 08:05 PM
I've had a set of Pyramids sitting a in a drawer for months, I keep thinking about trying them on something, but so far I like Pahoehoes so much, I haven't made the move. When I receive the Oscar Schmidt bass uke tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try a set Thunder Reds on it. Maybe I'll try the Pyramids on the blue Hadean when I get it back from modifying. It will probably need a new nut.

(Seems like the three of us are holding up the bass forum.)

pbagley
07-06-2015, 04:11 AM
When I receive the Oscar Schmidt bass uke tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try a set Thunder Reds on it. Maybe I'll try the Pyramids on the blue Hadean when I get it back from modifying. It will probably need a new nut.

(Seems like the three of us are holding up the bass forum.)

I'm looking forward to reading how the Thunder Red's sound. And the Oscar Schmidt too of course.

There may be more lurkers here on the bass forum than just me. If my cousin decided to jump into bass ukulele (she loves my Hutch Hutchinson) then perhaps there will be one more. The Hadean is more in her budget, so we'll be looking at reviews very carefully.

My son-in-law is also thinking about a U-Bass - fretless since he hates the fret buzz on my Kala. I'm sure he'll play it better than I - he's got a master's degree in bass performance. I'll encourage hit to be a poster, and he's pretty active on TalkBass.

katysax
07-06-2015, 05:09 AM
(Seems like the three of us are holding up the bass forum.)

Ha ha. This is a ukulele forum after all. I love my u-bass.

I really like the Pahoehoe strings. I've tried the silver Thunderguts and don't care for them. Since I got my Calfornia U-Bass I have barely played the solid body sub U-Bass. I'm thinking of trying it to play some Rock n Roll. I think the metal strings might be better for that.

The only real issue I have with the Pahoehoe strings is that it takes a l-o-n-g time for them to stretch out and stabilize to where they don't have to constantly be tuned. They are also quite thick on the lower strings. But they sound great.

bnolsen
07-06-2015, 06:19 AM
For a first electric bass something like an ibanez mikro would be a hard one to pass up. All the versatility of an electric bass with P/J configuration with a very manageable scale and price.

katysax
07-06-2015, 07:32 AM
For a first electric bass something like an ibanez mikro would be a hard one to pass up. All the versatility of an electric bass with P/J configuration with a very manageable scale and price.

I have an Ibanez Mikro which I've had for over a year and never played it. The D string broke when I was first tuning it up and the replacement strings are sitting in a drawer. I keep thinking I should go ahead and put the strings on since it would probably be a good bass for me to use for rock.

mrufino1
07-06-2015, 03:05 PM
The pyramids are an interesting thought. Expensive thought, but interesting. I love the huge low end and lack of high end that the pahoehoe strings give, but it's good that there's an option if you ever needed to sound more "modern." Thankfully I don't need that in anything I do now, but if I ever do the option is there. The clips I've heard of those strings remind me of Steve Swallow's bass sound, which doesn't work in every context but is very different and personal to him.

And there's four of us holding up the bass forum ;-)

Patrick Madsen
07-06-2015, 06:55 PM
Mike I'm interested in the Phil Jones Double Four. I bought a slightly used Fender Rumbler 15 just to play around on my new Chennell. I'd like to get something a bit more portable like the PJ. Is there a big sound difference between the Fender and PJ

Also am thinking about upgrading the pickup on it. I think Toby said it was an Artec pickup. He wasn't sure of the model but probably sometype of piezo or pasive. Any recommendations for a pickup for archtop acoustic would be appreciated.

Make it 5 holding in the bass forum

katysax
07-06-2015, 07:12 PM
You addressed this to Mike but: Oh Yeah, there is a difference between the Double Four and the Fender Rumbler 15. The double four gives a sound, but not as much volume, as a really high quality big rig. I've had a Fender and a mess of other smaller amps. The Double Four is in a whole different league. I also have the Phil Jones Cub (which I got before the Double Four). The Cub is a little bigger and a little more powerful, but I love the small size, low weight, and ability to battery power the Double Four.

There are some reasons to consider the Cub if you don't need battery power. It is still quite portable and you can connect a second speaker to it to turn it into a much more powerful rig. The Cub is also 100 w compared to 75 for the Double Four. Still if I were going to have only one amp it would be the double four. it also works great as a small acoustic amp.


Mike I'm interested in the Phil Jones Double Four. I bought a slightly used Fender Rumbler 15 just to play around on my new Chennell. I'd like to get something a bit more portable like the PJ. Is there a big sound difference between the Fender and PJ

Also am thinking about upgrading the pickup on it. I think Toby said it was an Artec pickup. He wasn't sure of the model but probably sometype of piezo or pasive. Any recommendations for a pickup for archtop acoustic would be appreciated.

Make it 5 holding in the bass forum

kohanmike
07-06-2015, 07:58 PM
And there's four of us holding up the bass forum ;-)


Make it 5 holding in the bass forum

Didn't mean to belittle anyone, I'll stop counting, the more the merrier.

The only two amps I've used are my Crate Limo for over 15 years (guitar, then uke, then bass), and the PJBDF. The Phil Jones definitely sounds better with my basses since the Crate is a combo amp (which does sound good with bass), and the PJ out powers the Crate (50w vs 70w), which works well in most of the venues we play, but I'm ready with a mic and cables to patch into a PA when necessary.

Patrick Madsen
07-06-2015, 08:55 PM
You addressed this to Mike but: Oh Yeah, there is a difference between the Double Four and the Fender Rumbler 15. The double four gives a sound, but not as much volume, as a really high quality big rig. I've had a Fender and a mess of other smaller amps. The Double Four is in a whole different league. I also have the Phil Jones Cub (which I got before the Double Four). The Cub is a little bigger and a little more powerful, but I love the small size, low weight, and ability to battery power the Double Four.

There are some reasons to consider the Cub if you don't need battery power. It is still quite portable and you can connect a second speaker to it to turn it into a much more powerful rig. The Cub is also 100 w compared to 75 for the Double Four. Still if I were going to have only one amp it would be the double four. it also works great as a small acoustic amp.

Thanks, is what I was thinking. I meant everyone, not just Mike lol. I'm sure the Aztec pickup is an older model so am thinking on taking it down to get checked out by my electronics guy for possible upgrade. He did wonders with the Alida I bought with the group.

I don't think anyone felt belittled Mike.

mrufino1
07-06-2015, 10:03 PM
I was definitely joking about there being more than 3! It's all good.

As for a pickup, he used an artec in that bass? That's pretty inexpensive, but sounds ok. I just had an artec in the bass I made from an acoustic, it wasn't bad. But, with a piezo having a preamp makes a huge difference over it being passive unless your amp has an input with really high impedance (most don't). I got a generic endpin jack pream that came with a piezo cable pickup attached to it, and that is worlds better than the piezo with no preamp. Then, the LR Baggs electronics that I got from kala for my solidbody really opened my eyes. The cheaper electronics were ok, but this was incredible (and not at all noisy!) plus, the eq points on the tone controls are very smartly chosen for the type of bass this is. The bass is not overbearing (it's a high q boost and but at 90hz- meaning very narrow range boosted- many eq's boost everything below that frequency, which can create a massive sub bass that contains little useful info but ears up headroom and can destroy speakers pretty quickly). Then, instead if a "treble" control at 1k, 4k, etcetera, like many preamps, it's set at 675hz for some useful midrange in a mix without crazy finger noise, which can be very prevalent with rubber strings and a piezo.

Another route you may want to try before messing with that beautiful bass is an outboard preamp meant for piezos. There was an old fishman model B on eBay for around $40 recently, may still be there, that would make a huge difference with a passive piezo, even without the tone knobs. A passive piezo into an amp with a lower impedance input equals scratchy highs and a massive cut in low end , which is generally not desireable in a bass! In my reading, that low cut can be around 200hz, so basically no fundamental in anything lower than the g string!

Anyway, hope that was helpful- I learned a lot about piezos in the past month!

Jon Moody
07-07-2015, 04:07 AM
You addressed this to Mike but: Oh Yeah, there is a difference between the Double Four and the Fender Rumbler 15. The double four gives a sound, but not as much volume, as a really high quality big rig. I've had a Fender and a mess of other smaller amps. The Double Four is in a whole different league. I also have the Phil Jones Cub (which I got before the Double Four). The Cub is a little bigger and a little more powerful, but I love the small size, low weight, and ability to battery power the Double Four.

+1. The Double Four, while meant as a practice amp, is the Ferrari (or insert high-performance sports car) of that market. The Fender Rumbler really isn't anything close, especially in terms of quality of sound.



There are some reasons to consider the Cub if you don't need battery power. It is still quite portable and you can connect a second speaker to it to turn it into a much more powerful rig. The Cub is also 100 w compared to 75 for the Double Four. Still if I were going to have only one amp it would be the double four. it also works great as a small acoustic amp.

You can connect a second speaker to the Double Four, but it will need to be powered. Use the LINE OUT to connect it to either a second Double Four (which Phil has told me lots of guys do) or any other powered speaker and you'll be good.

Having had both as well, the only thing I felt the Cub had over the Double Four was the two channels, with the first one accepting an XLR cable if you wanted it. Otherwise, I found the Double Four had more focus and punch than the neo speakers in the Cub, but not as bright and punchy as the piranha speakers in the PJB Briefcase (which accepts a motorcycle battery for recharging but is much heavier than the others by a longshot).

I don't know if Phil came out with it yet, but at NAMM in January he tossed me (literally, he tossed it to me) the PJB OFF THE GRID, which is basically the Double Four that has a built-in compartment on the back that holds the laptop battery. I "think" the pricetag is going to be slightly higher than the DF (obviously), but not as much as buying the parts separately.

kohanmike
07-07-2015, 07:37 PM
...PJB OFF THE GRID, which is basically the Double Four that has a built-in compartment on the back that holds the laptop battery...

The battery fits very well under the carry handle. Actually, I don't see how a pouch can be on the back with the open radiator back there.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/On-Stage with amp & mic.jpg

Patrick Madsen
07-07-2015, 10:39 PM
Thanks guys for the wonderful suggestions. I'll let you know hat I decide to do after seeing my guy. The PJ amps sem more and more what I'm looking for. The Rumble30 is big and heavy to handle from my chair. Perhaps I'll make a little cart of somesort to haul it behind my chair when I go out for gigs.

The video you inserted sure sounded good MrF. Looks like you were having a blast.

Jon Moody
07-08-2015, 01:53 AM
Thanks guys for the wonderful suggestions. I'll let you know hat I decide to do after seeing my guy. The PJ amps sem more and more what I'm looking for.

As a final selling point, if you call the number on the PJB World site, you'll speak to either Phil directly, or his wife, Freida. Both are incredibly wonderful people.



The battery fits very well under the carry handle. Actually, I don't see how a pouch can be on the back with the open radiator back there.

Knowing Phil, my guess is that he redesigned the back panel to allow the pouch as well as maintain the full functionality of that radiator. Seeing what he comes up with at NAMM every year (I want to grab one of the 8x2" speaker cabinets), nothing surprises me anymore.

katysax
07-08-2015, 05:00 AM
Phil Jones is a genius at amp design. The Double Four is an amazing piece of engineering. Lots of people can make a small lunchbox sized guitar amp, but to get real bass sound out of small speakers is genius.

My only issue with it is that the battery cable that connects the external battery to the power input is easy to lose. I haven't lost it yet, but almost have several times. As an aside I have a ZT lunch box, the really small one. It is designed to use an aftermarket battery pack that uses double A batteries. I found that a phone recharging battery works great with it - got the idea from the Phil Jones. The battery I use with it is rechargeable and cheaper than the stupid little plastic holder that ZT sells. It's not a bass amp, but a nice little portable amp.

Jon Moody
07-08-2015, 07:11 AM
Phil Jones is a genius at amp design. The Double Four is an amazing piece of engineering. Lots of people can make a small lunchbox sized guitar amp, but to get real bass sound out of small speakers is genius.

My only issue with it is that the battery cable that connects the external battery to the power input is easy to lose. I haven't lost it yet, but almost have several times. As an aside I have a ZT lunch box, the really small one. It is designed to use an aftermarket battery pack that uses double A batteries. I found that a phone recharging battery works great with it - got the idea from the Phil Jones. The battery I use with it is rechargeable and cheaper than the stupid little plastic holder that ZT sells. It's not a bass amp, but a nice little portable amp.

Good point. I wish the DF would've come with a carrying bag, like the Cub did (or, it didn't when I originally got mine). I have a backpack that seems like it was made for the DF, but to have that bag at the beginning would've been nice.

kohanmike
07-08-2015, 07:56 PM
I wish the DF would've come with a carrying bag...

I bought an Arriba AC115 bag from B&H a few weeks ago for $16 (perfect fit), which I just saw is now $29.95, great timing on my part since it cost $38 on the Phil Jones site.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/827912-REG/Arriba_Cases_AC115_AC115_Padded_Lighting_Fixture.h tml


My only issue with it is that the battery cable that connects the external battery to the power input is easy to lose.

I used self stick wire guides on my PJBDF to keep that cable in place.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/PJ wire guides.jpg

katysax
07-08-2015, 08:31 PM
Wow those wire guides are a great idea. Where do you get them from?




I bought an Arriba AC115 bag from B&H a few weeks ago for $16 (perfect fit), which I just saw is now $29.95, great timing on my part since it cost $38 on the Phil Jones site.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/827912-REG/Arriba_Cases_AC115_AC115_Padded_Lighting_Fixture.h tml



I used self stick wire guides on my PJBDF to keep that cable in place.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/PJ wire guides.jpg

kohanmike
07-08-2015, 08:52 PM
The hardware store, they're labeled picture hangers, but I've used them before as wire guides. (Lori from the Westside Ukulele Ensemble calls me a "problem solver," I like that.)

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Wire guides.jpg

PhilUSAFRet
07-16-2015, 08:04 PM
Hard to find, priced low, a small P-Bass

kohanmike
07-17-2015, 04:14 AM
I had my custom fretless acoustic u-bass in the shop to fix the pickup and preamp and also had them install the Thunder Reds I had since it needed a new nut too. Got it home and just did not like the feel of the Reds, still too much string noise and the color just didn't work. So I got out my set of Pyramids in the drawer and installed them, but realized that the nut grooves where way to big, on top of that, as I tuned the low E, I turned too much and broke the string, DAMN!. So I got online to order another set, but there were only the solid body versions. Then I went to the Kala web site and they have a set of metal wound acoustic made for them, $35, so I ordered. When they arrive off it goes to get a new nut.