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View Full Version : Best Strings for Kala Ubass (and other Ukulele Basses)



fernandogardinali
12-06-2011, 04:38 AM
Hey,

Which one you people think are the best strings for the ubass? I think the standard set is Pahoehoe, but I know there is an Aquila set (Thundergut) and Worth also makes a string for this purpose (http://www.worthc.to/bass-e.html).

I experimented only the Pahoehoe set that comes with my spruce top fretless Ubass and the unplugged sound is almost dead. I also noticed that the strings stretch a bit.

Anyone experimented any of these other models of strings?

KamakOzzie
12-06-2011, 08:42 AM
Hi Fernando,
I have had a set of Aquilas on my U-bass about two weeks. The A D and G strings are a little louder, but the E string is still weak unplugged. They stretch some, but not nearly as much as the Pahoehoe strings that came on the bass. They don't roll as much, either.
I like the tone better plugged in than the Pahoehoe strings. Hard to describe, maybe not as muddy, or more clear sounding.

I did not know about the Worth strings. Thanks for sharing that.

Bill

kissing
12-06-2011, 01:33 PM
Don't expect any strings to make the UBASS perform as an acoustic instrument though.
It is primarily an electric instrument, designed for plugged in sound.

fernandogardinali
12-07-2011, 08:43 AM
Anyone can reccomend me a good portable amp for the Ubass? We have some ukulele meetings here in Brazil and I think the ubass would be great to play with. I tried with a cheap Honey Tone but it didn't work very well.

bassfiddlesteve
12-07-2011, 10:40 AM
Some people like the little battery powered Roland Cube bass amp but every one that I've tried broke up at even medium volume levels. I like the Fender Rumble series bass combos. Even the smaller models in this series have a good sound and they are affordable too. I use a Gallien-Krueger MB-150S with my Kala U-Bass, but that's a pretty expensive amp.

What ever you choose, I would stay away from using anything that is not a dedicated bass amp.

- Steve

cb56
12-07-2011, 10:59 AM
Another vote for the Fender Rumble amps I have the Rumble 30 and have played through the Rumble 15 Both sound great with the Ubass.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b257/cb56/Ukes/UbassRig.jpg

bigchiz
12-07-2011, 11:06 AM
Hey, bassfiddlesteve, are you talking about the Roland MICRO CUBE BASS RX (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MicroCubeBsRX?)? I've been wanting to try that with the spruce Ubass.

For the past month I've been enjoying the spruce top Ubass on the couch unplugged. Have short nails and kind of use the edge of them when plucking, plucking is done between the sound hole and bridge.

The bass adds a lot to our bi-weekly uke jams. Helps keep people in time and the depth in sound adds contrast, making the other instruments stand out.

bassfiddlesteve
12-07-2011, 12:45 PM
Hey, bassfiddlesteve, are you talking about the Roland MICRO CUBE BASS RX (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MicroCubeBsRX?)? I've been wanting to try that with the spruce Ubass.

Yes, that's the one. I tried it in a music store on two occasions, once with a U-Bass and one with a Fender Jazz Bass. While the overall concept is great and the drum machine and amp models are fun, the output was low and when I turned the gain past the halfway mark I got distortion. At that price I'd rather forego the battery option and bells & whistles an amp with more power. Maybe something like this (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Rumble75/).

- Steve

fernandogardinali
12-09-2011, 04:31 AM
I just received the Aquila Thundergut and installed on my ubass. My impressions:

1) They sound better, less muddy than the pahoehoe
2) The "ball end" is crappy. It is a improvised piece of plastic. I don't believe it will hold the strings on the bridge
3) They are thicker than the pahoehoes. It's hard to see the scale.
4) They are a bit louder
5) They are hard to slide

Ron
12-09-2011, 06:51 AM
... but I know there is an Aquila set (Thundergut) .....
Thundergut? Really? That got past Mrs Aquila? Hilarious

chrimess
02-27-2012, 08:45 AM
Fernando,
I much second your opinion on the Aquilas, not much of an upgrade to the factory ones, and the tension is not improved either, has anyone tried the ones by Worth?


I just received the Aquila Thundergut and installed on my ubass. My impressions:

1) They sound better, less muddy than the pahoehoe
2) The "ball end" is crappy. It is a improvised piece of plastic. I don't believe it will hold the strings on the bridge
3) They are thicker than the pahoehoes. It's hard to see the scale.
4) They are a bit louder
5) They are hard to slide

fernandogardinali
02-27-2012, 09:13 AM
Christian,

I'd also love to hear some opinions about them. Since they are a little expensive, I don't feel comfortable buying them.

SailingUke
02-27-2012, 11:11 AM
Some people like the little battery powered Roland Cube bass amp but every one that I've tried broke up at even medium volume levels. I like the Fender Rumble series bass combos. Even the smaller models in this series have a good sound and they are affordable too. I use a Gallien-Krueger MB-150S with my Kala U-Bass, but that's a pretty expensive amp.

What ever you choose, I would stay away from using anything that is not a dedicated bass amp.

- Steve

I am just learning bass with the U-bass.
I have been playing in very small groups.
I have been using my Roland Micro Cube (not bass model), like Steve said it does break up at volume.
He is also a much better player than me, so he is probably really playing.
I have found the MC to be ok when set on "Mic" and just enough gain to get the sound with the volume at mid.
Turn all the effects off. I like the MC because it is so light and portable.
If I ever was to gig with the U-bass I would definitely want a bass amp.

chrimess
02-27-2012, 11:30 AM
the Ampeg BA-110 is hard to beat as a small combo.


I am just learning bass with the U-bass.
I have been playing in very small groups.
I have been using my Roland Micro Cube (not bass model), like Steve said it does break up at volume.
He is also a much better player than me, so he is probably really playing.
I have found the MC to be ok when set on "Mic" and just enough gain to get the sound with the volume at mid.
Turn all the effects off. I like the MC because it is so light and portable.
If I ever was to gig with the U-bass I would definitely want a bass amp.

Jon Moody
02-27-2012, 01:06 PM
I have Thunderguts on my Hutch Hutchinson U-Bass right now, and they're nice but they are missing a little bit of the boominess that the Pahoehoe had. As Mark from Gollihur Music mentioned, the Thundergut strings tend to make the U-Bass sound a little more like a traditional electric. I'm thinking of stringing the bottom two (E,A) strings with the Pahoehoe and the top two (G,D) with Thundergut to get the best of both worlds. It will look odd, but it IS going on a U-Bass.

As for strings making the U-Bass louder, the Thunderguts ARE louder than the Pahoehoe, but since the body isn't anywhere near the size that it needs to properly project the lower frequencies, it's never going to be to the point of playing this thing strictly unplugged. I use a Phil Jones Bass Briefcase for amplification, and it sounds fantastic but is probably over most peoples' budget (especially since it costs more than an acoustic U-Bass).

chrimess
02-27-2012, 01:32 PM
That is a great suggestion, for me particularly the E-string on the Aquilas is an issue.


I have Thunderguts on my Hutch Hutchinson U-Bass right now, and they're nice but they are missing a little bit of the boominess that the Pahoehoe had. As Mark from Gollihur Music mentioned, the Thundergut strings tend to make the U-Bass sound a little more like a traditional electric. I'm thinking of stringing the bottom two (E,A) strings with the Pahoehoe and the top two (G,D) with Thundergut to get the best of both worlds. It will look odd, but it IS going on a U-Bass.

As for strings making the U-Bass louder, the Thunderguts ARE louder than the Pahoehoe, but since the body isn't anywhere near the size that it needs to properly project the lower frequencies, it's never going to be to the point of playing this thing strictly unplugged. I use a Phil Jones Bass Briefcase for amplification, and it sounds fantastic but is probably over most peoples' budget (especially since it costs more than an acoustic U-Bass).

Jon Moody
02-27-2012, 01:34 PM
That is a great suggestion, for me particularly the E-string on the Aquilas is an issue.

I'm having the same problem. Might just try the E first to see if that makes a difference.

Jon Moody
03-05-2012, 12:27 AM
After getting a comment from the drummer at church yesterday that my U-Bass "sounded like Noel Redding's tone in the Jimi Hendrix Experience," I decided to switch back to the Pahoehoe strings. The Aquilas are nice, but the more electric-sounding tone and inability to slide at all were two things for me that I just can't have with this instrument. After fighting with the old Pahoehoes (that shrank back to half their size) to get them back on the instrument, it sounds more like what I had originally intended it for.

OldePhart
04-29-2012, 03:29 PM
Some people like the little battery powered Roland Cube bass amp but every one that I've tried broke up at even medium volume levels....

Yay, I'm not the only one that feels that way about them, then. :)

It takes a fair amount of power to push a clean bass sound. My UBASS sounds quite good through my Hartke Kickback 12 (dang I wish they still made the kickback series as I'd like a 15) and amazing through my big rig (400 watts into a GK Goldline 4 X 10). I have yet to find a bass amp smaller than the Hartke Kickback 12 that has made me happy playing any bass through it.

John

kapahulu50
04-29-2012, 05:02 PM
Same here. Sounds great through a hartke 350w head and 4x10. I have an old fender 15w combo bass amp w 1x12 that is very clean and handles the ubass nicely withheld playing with acoustic instruments.

chrimess
04-29-2012, 05:05 PM
Has anyone tried the Worth strings yet?

~dave~~wave~
08-25-2012, 08:48 AM
There are some new options for U-bass strings that haven't been talked about much yet here.

Available now from Kala are Pyramid wound strings.
I've had a set on my spruce acoustic for two months now and am delighted with them.
(They don't fit on solidbodies.)


...I was never happy with the UBASS because I couldn't get any sustain or snap from it...

Pyramids are the solution to this problem.
Those of us who are "bass guitar" players originally are more at home with them.

Folks who believe the defining characteristic of u-bass is the thumpy upright sound of poly strings are unimpressed.

* * * * *
On the poly string front, the TalkBass Forums are aflame with the news that Aquila and Kala have developed the newest version, Silver Rumblers. (Unavailable for purchase, still being tested.)

Reported to have fantastic tone and stability and a slicker, smoother feel more like the factory pahoeoes. Charcoal color.

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/kala-ubass-megathread-part-4-a-893171/index22.html

mimmo
08-26-2012, 05:48 AM
Just a precisation about the new Kala Silver Rumbles.
They are not under tests. They are ready for the market. I know that at Kala are waiting that the printer supply them with the proper envelopes. Right this.
We are very happy to manufacture these strings for them.
Mimmo

~dave~~wave~
09-10-2012, 08:59 AM
Thanks Mimmo, for clearing that up.

Word on the street is that Kala could have the Silver Rumblers available to order on their web site as soon as the end of the week.

:iwant:

Gillian
09-10-2012, 12:06 PM
Thanks Mimmo, for clearing that up.

Word on the street is that Kala could have the Silver Rumblers available to order on their web site as soon as the end of the week.

That's good news. I bought my U-Bass at the end of March and the Pahoehoe's are annoyingly STILL stretching.

~dave~~wave~
09-10-2012, 12:37 PM
That's good news. I bought my U-Bass at the end of March and the Pahoehoe's are annoyingly STILL stretching.

Oh, the pahoeoes never stop stretching. ;) That's part of their charm. They are phenomenally elastic.
Every time you play, without exception, no matter how old they are, you will need to tune up to pitch at least a little.

I recently re-installed a set that had been broken in and removed.
The high G was barely half the length of the scale, but stretched into tune with several wraps to spare.

Discarded pahoeoes would make good slingshots.

The Aquila Thunderguts and Silver Rumblers are the exact opposite.
Don't make the mistake of overstretching them like you would an Aquila Nylgut uke string thinking it will help stabilize them sooner.
Quite the opposite, it damages them, they are a completely different density of plastic that is decidedly non-elastic.

The early reports on the Rumblers say they stabilize pitch very rapidly. :cool:
The feel, however, is very "sticky" compared to pahoeoes, enough to be a deal breaker for some.

I like to use a small cotton bag of "smooth stroke" talcum powder from a billiards supply store to dust Thunderguts and fingertips.

~dave~~wave~
09-20-2012, 02:12 AM
The Silver Rumblers are now available at the Kala site, as well as Pyramids. :D


Product Description

KALA U-BASS and Aquila Corde team up to bring you SILVER RUMBLERS. Using Aquila's patented technology and formulas, SILVER RUMBLERS are engineered specifically for the Kala U-Bass. Their special Nylgut compound includes calcium carbonate to give them increased density, stability and the ability to resonate tone at very low frequencies. SILVER RUMBLERS are pure bass, clear tone and a low end that earns them the name "Rumblers".

lennymac
09-20-2012, 03:34 AM
Anyone can reccomend me a good portable amp for the Ubass? We have some ukulele meetings here in Brazil and I think the ubass would be great to play with. I tried with a cheap Honey Tone but it didn't work very well.
I use ubass at weekly gigs and don't bother with an amp, put it through a ART tube mp pre amp then straight into the desk - roll the treble and mI'd off and it sounds amazing!!

http://www.google.co.uk/shopping/product/11273828913809866789?q=art%20tube%20mp&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari&sa=X&ei=YBtbUI_rCOrU0QXl54CwAQ&ved=0CDMQ8wIwAQ#hsec:overview

bassfiddlesteve
10-26-2012, 06:49 AM
My UBASS sounds quite good through my Hartke Kickback 12 (dang I wish they still made the kickback series as I'd like a 15) John

Hartke still makes the Kickback 12 and 15 (http://www.samsontech.com/hartke/products/combos/kickback-combos/).

- Steve

bassfiddlesteve
10-26-2012, 06:51 AM
I just installed the Thundergut strings on my fretted U-Bass and I'm enjoying the tauter feel and tuning stability. To my ears the sound is not that different than the stock strings, maybe a tad tighter and more focsued. I plan to stick with them for now.

- Steve

Ukelix
10-26-2012, 07:53 AM
the Peavey Microbass is a solid, no-frills portable bass combo. i think it's discontinued, though.

chrimess
10-26-2012, 08:33 AM
anyone try Silver Rumblers, yet?

000Kanaka000
10-26-2012, 10:02 AM
Just came home dragging a new Ubass with me. Now just have to
learn to play it. New challenge.

bassfiddlesteve
11-06-2012, 05:34 PM
I decided to ditch the Aquila Thunderguts. While I enjoyed the tauter feel and tuning stability, I didn't like the feel. They kept getting stickier the more I played them. I installed a new set of the stock Pahoehoe strings...what a chore :mad:

- Steve

we tigers
11-06-2012, 07:36 PM
Anyone tried the orange Worth strings yet?

Patrick Madsen
11-06-2012, 07:47 PM
I decided to ditch the Aquila Thunderguts. While I enjoyed the tauter feel and tuning stability, I didn't like the feel. They kept getting stickier the more I played them. I installed a new set of the stock Pahoehoe strings...what a chore :mad:

- Steve

I find that with the Pahoe's also. Been thinking on rubbing some baby powder on them to see if that makes a difference but keep forgetting to do it. I sure like my Acacia Ubass.

Fivebass52
03-22-2016, 10:57 AM
New here to this forum; joined to comment on the U-bass. Have a left handed spruce top, and enjoy playing it in my Chicago-style Blues Band. I prefer the Acquila strings over the originals, as they have a better tone, and sustain. Yes, they are sticky, especially in the humidity of Hawaii, but I use a dab of Gold Bond Ultimate hand lotion on my fingers, and works great.

Tried the Pyramid strings awhile back, and didn't like them at all, plus they rusted out quickly. Would like to try the new Red strings that Acquila has put out... LaBella has just put out a new set with nylon core, and silver coated copper. Anyone try them yet? Got to say, I like the sound of silicone strings, and the hand lotion really helps with the stickyness...

kohanmike
03-22-2016, 08:48 PM
I don't like any of the Aquila strings, they are terribly sticky and it doesn't make any sense to me to put anything on my fingers to use them. I think the Road Toad Pahoehoe are much better, smooth as can be and have better intonation than the Aquila, and will last far longer. The My first Aquila strings sausaged within a couple of months, the Pahoehoes have been perfectly smooth for over a year. Yes, they take longer to stretch into stability, but I'd rather have that than to constantly put stuff on my fingers.

mimmo
03-24-2016, 07:08 AM
Well guys,
you are right: since two months ago the Aquila Thundergut strings were quite sticky, expecially the 3rd and the 4th.
Time ago I found out an ingredient that added to the ruber blend during the extrusion phase priduce a very slipering string.
I do not know if they are available on the stores and in the line shops. Normally this process to introduce upgraded strings take a few months, just the time to finish the old stock of strings.
Ciao
Mimmo

kohanmike
03-24-2016, 10:03 AM
...I found out an ingredient that added to the rubber blend during the extrusion phase (to) produce a very (slippery) string. Ciao, Mimmo

That's sounds very encouraging Mimmo. I assume they will be the same warm white as before? Will the package note a new formula so we know which they are?

Ukejenny
03-24-2016, 01:03 PM
I'm looking at the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2, which is both for acoustic, electric and bass. I need something that will do it all and this looks like it might work. I'm going to carry my uBass in with my ukulele and try it tomorrow.

I am glad that Worth makes the uBass strings. I may try those when I get ready for a string change.

lost4
03-29-2016, 02:08 AM
Guys! Hello!
Could anyone tell me strigs height on uBass?
What is normal? 4-5mm above 12-th fret? Please, advice.

kohanmike
05-11-2016, 06:21 PM
Mimmo sent me a set of new formula Thundergut strings that I just tested, no doubt they're smoother than before, not quite as smooth as the Pahoehoe, but much better than the previous formula. I still need to work with them more, but so far I really like them.

kohanmike
08-04-2017, 06:08 AM
If you're looking for something really small that has enough bass sound, the Blackstar Fly 3 Bass Duo is a good choice. I used Velcro to attach the two boxes together and added a shoulder strap to hang it on me while walking around. As for the Phil Jones, the Double Four is very compact and powerful, and can use a laptop battery that slips into the carry handle.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Wearble Fly 3.jpg
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/PJD4 & Battery.jpg