PDA

View Full Version : Anyone got a U-Bass ? what are they like ?



webby
04-12-2012, 04:37 PM
I really really want to order a new U.bass from kala,

Has anyone got one ?,

Are there any good alternatives ?

Do I need a special Bass amp ?

Should i be getting the electric ? (which i like best) or would an acoustic/electric be better to play with other ukers because it wont need all the pantomime of an amp and stuff, I pulled out the eleuke a few times in a jam situation and being the only person amping up was a bit akward.

thanks in advance

webby

P.S.. this will make 7 ukes in the collection if I go ahead and buy one, gulp.

grandpoobah
04-12-2012, 05:25 PM
Dont own one, but have played em a few times. The acoustic hardly makes any noise at all. I guess it's good for quiet practice, but generally you gotta plug in anyway. You can use a regular amp as long as it got good power and you don't crack it up all the way

The strings are floppy like rubber bands. It takes some getting used to. I would really push you to try one out first as its a very different experience than a uke. It's really more of a mini bass than a uke.. Don't expect too much of the uke to translate over

papplehead
04-12-2012, 06:17 PM
As an acoustic instrument, there isnt enough volume to be heard over ukes and voices so if you like the solid body, you should get that one. You'd definitely need to amp in order be heard at all.

Im not sure what type of amp you already have, but odds are it will be fine for a jam session or something informal as long as you keep the volume to a reasonable level. If you want to get a great tone or perform with it, you'd probably want an actual bass amp.

As for alternatives, a regular electric bass or acoustic bass would serve the same purpose. You need to know how to play the bass to play the U-bass but I actually find it a lot more comfortable to play than my electric bass. The finger stretches are a lot more manageable and the rubbery stings are much easier on the fingers.

Gillian
04-12-2012, 07:14 PM
There is a forum for Bass near the bottom of the forum list and you will find several threads about the U-Bass including this one (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36888-Kala-Ubass).

I just got one, a spruce top. I got it for playing at our uke club meeting to add a little 'depth' to the songs we play. I've never played bass before so I looked for, and found, a real good site for beginners, www.studybass.com.

I also did lots of research into amps. I learned I don't want to put a bass through my acoustic amp (Roland AC-33) because the cone isn't made to handle the low frequencies. Someone suggested that I get a keyboard amp, which can handle a larger range of frequencies, but I decided that keyboard amps are designed for keyboards and bass amps are designed for bass. I brought my U-Bass to the music stores, plugged it in to loads of bass amps and the amp that best suited my needs and which made the U-Bass sound the best (to my ears) and didn't cost too much (~$200 with tax) was the Laney RB2. It's 30W 10" speaker had no trouble filling a room twice the size of our 30' x 70' meeting room. It would certainly overpower a roomful of strumming ukuleles. If I need any more volume at a venue, I'll go through the PA system.

You might find the Road Toad Music (http://www.roadtoadmusic.com/main.html) site interesting. The U-Bass was the result of a collaboration between Kala and Owen Holt, a luthier who has been building bass ukuleles for several years now. He also has the best price I've found so far for the Pahoehoe strings.

ricdoug
04-12-2012, 08:19 PM
Roland Microcube Bass RX:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6TOB4udSPs

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/roland-micro-cube-bass-rx-bass-combo-amp/483095000362000

with:


A New Prescription for Bass Tone, Power and Portability




Meet the MICRO CUBE RX Bass Combo Amp; it's small, loud, proud, and in true stereo! This amp overachieves with serious bombast in a small body. You won't believe how much this little combo can deliver through its stereo power amps and 4 newly developed custom speakers.

A New Prescription for Bass Tone, Power and Portability

This compact amp is equipped with high-quality, powerful sound. The cutting-edge speakers used in the MICRO CUBE BASS RX are custom designed and built specially for these amps. With two specially made power amps and four speakers contained in each, the RX amp produces an immersive, stereo sound that must be heard to be believed. The true stereo engine also allows bass tones that defy the size of the cabinet. This amp can run on battery or AC power (AC adaptor included).

COSM Amps & Digital Effects

Guitarists and bassists have come to rely on Roland and BOSS for the best effects in the world. The MICRO CUBE BASS RX benefit from this world-leading technology, offering eight built-in COSM amps, six digital effects, 3-band EQ, and a chromatic tuner. Its onboard stereo effects benefit from Roland's decades of industry-leading R&D. Experience the amazing spatial depth and lush sound of the stereo Chorus and Reverb.

Work on your Timing with the Rhythm Guide

The metronome is a music-student's best friend, but that numbing "clank, clank, clank" can get irksome. That's where the Rhythm Guide comes in handy. It's like having a drummer inside your amp. Choose from an assortment of groovin' patterns to practice with. Improve your timing while having a more enjoyable musical experience, or just have fun jamming along to the beats.

Outputs/Inputs
The Phones/Recording output serves two purposes: Plug in a set of headphones and enjoy private practice with lush, stereo sound, or plug directly into a stereo mixer or recording device for accurate signal transfer directly from this amp. It has a line input that lets you plug in a guitar, bass, or microphone. In addition, the stereo AUX input accepts input from an iPod, a CD player, or musical instrument so you can blend its signal with your own.



Features
Stereo power amplifiers and four newly developed 4" (10cm) speakers
Eight COSM amps, six digital effects
Rhythm Guide function for practical rhythm training
Stereo AUX input for CD/MP3 player Phones/Recording out
Battery driven (6 x AA, up to 13-hour continuous use)
Compact body with carrying strap


http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/001/260/422/DV016_Jpg_Large_483095.362_4x4_V.jpg

http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/001/260/421/DV016_Jpg_Large_483095.362_4x4_top.jpg

http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/001/260/420/DV016_Jpg_Large_483095.362_4x4_rear.jpg

kapahulu50
04-12-2012, 09:54 PM
It's a great bass, and other than appearance has no similarities to a uke. I've played bass for a long time and find that I get enough volume with the spruce top ubass without amplification to play with acoustic guitars, ukes, even a piano. You've got to pluck pretty hard to get decent tone.

I've also played it through my Hartke 350 watt head and 2 4x10" cabinets and it sounds great a block away!

SweetWaterBlue
04-12-2012, 10:14 PM
I pretty much agree with what's already been said. I don't own a UBass, but have played several at UkeRepublic's new store. I do have an old Fender Squire P-Bass that I play through a Pignose Hog 30 Bass Amp I picked up off Craigslist for 50 bucks. They call it a bass amp, but its really just a small battery powered acoustic amp. It sounds OK for jamming with a bunch of ukes, but I think it would be too small for a performance amp.

I am just learning to play bass. As others have said, the UBass doesn't really resemble a ukulele except in looks. The acoustic ones are not very loud unless amplified, but my P-Bass is even more silent when unplugged. That's nice for practicing late at night when the wife is asleep. My P-Bass sounds about the same as the UBass to my ear, but its very heavy, and the neck is long, whereas the UBass is very light and a joy to play. Of course you can pick up a P-Bass for about $75 of Craigslist. I would rather have a UBass, not because it sounds better, but just because its so light and easy to play, but I am not sure its worth $300+ more dollars to me right now.

Because the acoustic model is not very loud, I would probably buy a solid body Ubass instead. It has less feedback and looks cooler to me. It doesn't try to pretend its a uke.

You might also want to try out the Ashbory bass before you decide. I am told you can even put the same strings on it as the UBass has.

webby
04-13-2012, 01:20 AM
OK Thanks everyone for the fantastic comments and advice, all very useful and interesting, what i think I am going to have to do is get my hands on one somehow and have a play.

There are none in any of the music shops around here so i'll have to hang out until my next visit to the city, shouldn't be too long away.

thanks again, I'm glad i didn't just impulsively order one online.

OldePhart
04-13-2012, 07:56 AM
It's a lot of fun and sounds good plugged in. It's a little tricky to play. The big rubber strings like to roll, it's hard to slide because your fingers stick to the strings, and there is simply no way to get decent sustain. If you're thinking you'll be able to pedal notes like on an electric bass forget-a-bout-it - even with a compressor set full out you're lucky to get anything to sustain more than a 1/4 note.

Other than that lots of fun, though, and great for sitting in with a uke group.

OldePhart
04-13-2012, 08:00 AM
@ricdoug - do you actually have the Micro cube bass RX?

The reason I ask is I tried one out in store and it was very disappointing. Just no volume at all. I wasn't expecting much, but I couldn't even get comfortable bedroom levels out of it without it distorting really badly - and that was with the power supply plugged in, I'd expect it to be worse on batteries. It was the floor demo model and maybe defective, but it just seemed even wimpier than I expected from a small DC amp.

John

markallen
04-13-2012, 10:38 AM
I had the opportunity at NAMM this year to be in the booth across the isle from a vendor who had Chuck Maithonis playing a Ubass and I have to say, I was really impressed. It was the first time I'd heard one played and was surprised just how good it sounded.

Gillian
04-13-2012, 10:49 AM
@ricdoug - do you actually have the Micro cube bass RX?

The reason I ask is I tried one out in store and it was very disappointing. Just no volume at all. I wasn't expecting much, but I couldn't even get comfortable bedroom levels out of it without it distorting really badly - and that was with the power supply plugged in, I'd expect it to be worse on batteries. It was the floor demo model and maybe defective, but it just seemed even wimpier than I expected from a small DC amp.

John

After bringing my U-Bass to several music stores and doing side by side comparisons at three music stores, I came to the same opinion. While the Roland has lots of goodies (metronome, drum tracks, tuner, rhythm beats), it didn't have it where it counts, tone and volume. All the knob twiddling done by the music store guys who knew amps, couldn't eliminate the buzzing and distortion at the volume that I needed for our uke club meetings. For almost $100 less, the Laney RB2 (30W 10") blew away the Roland with lots of volume to spare. And not only the Roland, but the comparable Fender,Ampeg and Marshall bass amps, which was surprising. I'd never heard of Laney amps until my local luthier told me about them.

Of course, this is my opinion only, but for anyone looking for an amp that sounds great with the U-Bass, check out the Laney.

fernandogardinali
04-13-2012, 10:53 AM
I had two ubasses: one spruce, and now the mahogany version, both fretless. They are great little basses - I like it more than my Epiphone Viola Bass. They sound match the ukulele best than electric basses.

Ukuleleblues
04-13-2012, 02:39 PM
It's a lot of fun and sounds good plugged in. It's a little tricky to play. The big rubber strings like to roll, it's hard to slide because your fingers stick to the strings, and there is simply no way to get decent sustain. If you're thinking you'll be able to pedal notes like on an electric bass forget-a-bout-it - even with a compressor set full out you're lucky to get anything to sustain more than a 1/4 note.

Other than that lots of fun, though, and great for sitting in with a uke group.John, My wife wants to buy a Bass, she is 5ft when she lies. I have an old Peavy T-40 that weighs 10-11 lbs, she can play it (sitting down) but it is a stretch. She is looking at an Ibanez micro and a U-bass. She is a starter bass player. A full size guitar in her hands looks giant. Any thoughts an what might be good for a beginner?

OldePhart
04-13-2012, 02:57 PM
John, My wife wants to buy a Bass, she is 5ft when she lies. I have an old Peavy T-40 that weighs 10-11 lbs, she can play it (sitting down) but it is a stretch. She is looking at an Ibanez micro and a U-bass. She is a starter bass player. A full size guitar in her hands looks giant. Any thoughts an what might be good for a beginner?

Actually, I have an Ibanez Mikro bass. It was good enough that it probably wouldn't discourage a beginner, but that's about the best that can be said for it. I couldn't lower the action as much as I would have liked because the inside strings started buzzing and the outside strings just ran out of travel on the bridge height adjusting screws. The electronic parts are junk. Still...for the price I wouldn't necessarily say don't get one.

Still...if you have more to spend I'd say get her a good five string bass. Why a five string...because you can stay at the fifth fret and above and have the full range of a 4-string bass with about a 20" scale! That was my problem was I was having "age related" problems with the stretch on my 5-string so I bought the Mikro to see if a shorter scale would help. It did, and I started looking for a short scale bass and couldn't find one I liked. I thought I was facing paying big bucks for a custom when I realized that I could keep using my GT-5 and have a 20" scale bass :)

I've since found that slinging the instrument lower (I've always liked having the body at chest level) so the neck isn't such a stretch actually lets me use the full GT-5 fretboard without blowing my wrist out.

John

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 03:57 PM
@ricdoug - do you actually have the Micro cube bass RX?

The reason I ask is I tried one out in store and it was very disappointing. Just no volume at all. I wasn't expecting much, but I couldn't even get comfortable bedroom levels out of it without it distorting really badly - and that was with the power supply plugged in, I'd expect it to be worse on batteries. It was the floor demo model and maybe defective, but it just seemed even wimpier than I expected from a small DC amp.

John

Yes and I use it all the time on battery. Try one and push the "COMP" (compression button) to prevent distortion. Mine's been used at backyard luau's, Street Faires, large ukulele clubs (over 100 people) and community events. If you need more volume than it produces, your stage volume must be pretty high with musicians competing for loudness. We never have complaints about being heard and many clubs like the fact that we're not over powering. Due to local noise ordinances, law enforcement walk around the outside of clubs with noise level meters. They cite the establishments and/or shut down the entertainment. I have a 200 watt Acoustic B200:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/acoustic-b200-200w-1x15-bass-combo

that I can use for huge concerts and two 60 watt AXL B60's to use with electric rock and blues bands.:

http://www.bazaar-world.com/guitar-amp-14409-AXL-B60-Bass-Amplifier-60-watts

I own a lot of amplifiers and sound equipment to do anything from a coffee house to a stadium. It's all a matter of choice as to how loud you prefer your stage volume to be. When I write a review or recommend, it's usually something I own, otherwise it's hands on experience with someone elses gear. Ric

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/DebGary17.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/DebGary19.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/RolandAmp3.JPG

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/RolandAmp5.JPG

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 04:02 PM
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/RolandAmp10.JPG

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele514.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Ukulele512.jpg

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 04:08 PM
Here's the battery powered gear I keep in the trunk of my Ford Focus:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/BatteryAmpsTrunkFordFocus.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/BatteryAmpsTrunkFordFocus2.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/BatteryAmpsTrunkFordFocus3.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/BatteryAmpsTrunkFordFocus4.jpg

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 04:09 PM
http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/BatteryAmpsTrunkFordFocus5.jpg

OldePhart
04-13-2012, 04:36 PM
Okay, cool, you da man! It had to be a defective amp then because I meant it was distorting at levels that were about on part with a quiet conversation between two people standing next to each other...

Just noticed you appear to be amplifying the doghouse with one...the one I tried started distorting at levels that were quieter than an unamplified doghouse bass...

That's one full Focus...now all you need is six people in the front... :)

John

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 05:07 PM
John, it may or may not work for you. I know there are many flavors and preferences. I play guitar in a couple of rock, country and blues combos where it would not work. Although I own a Marshall full stack, I usually play a Strat or Tele through a 15 watt Fender Superchamp XD (now called an X2):

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/fender-super-champ-x2-15w-1x10-tube-guitar-combo-amp

My favorite amp is my 40 watt Fender Hotrod Blues Deluxe. The problem is that it's "sweet spot" is too loud for local noise ordinances. If you have a smart phone, look in your app store for a sound level meter. This will help you understand how ridiculous our 60db (measured at the residence that is complaining) limits are:

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Environment/info/esa/divest-sdge/chapters/04-10nse.htm

I have a professional sound level meter that I have friends frequently walk the surrounding areas where we play to make sure we are in compliance. Many bands/groups have been black listed from local clubs as they don't comply to the noise level ordinances. We don't even use monitors, as they increase the db level. Ric

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 05:33 PM
My bass player, Jim, is not playing the doghouse for a while John. He's playing and gigging with his U-Bass during his miraculous recovery and rehabilatation from:

http://www.10news.com/news/30605938/detail.html

Jim is doing much better than expected and we are elated about that! Jim uses an:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lr-baggs-gigpro-acoustic-guitar-preamp/307107000000000

with his doghouse and U-Bass to contour the tone. Ric

Ukuleleblues
04-13-2012, 07:24 PM
My bass player, Jim, is not playing the doghouse for a while John. He's playing and gigging with his U-Bass during his miraculous recovery and rehabilatation from:

http://www.10news.com/news/30605938/detail.html

Jim is doing much better than expected and we are elated about that! Jim uses an:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lr-baggs-gigpro-acoustic-guitar-preamp/307107000000000

with his doghouse and U-Bass to contour the tone. RicHey Ric, I've been using the Kustom pw50 (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/kustom-pw50-personal-pa-system) PA you told me about. They really work nice, and sound great for what we do. I had a Guitar Center discount card and got 2 for for $182 including tax. Just played a gig with 40 or so folks in a large room, sounded good and were super easy to transport. Used them the other day on a gig as monitors. The phantom power is a nice feature also. What a steal.

ricdoug
04-13-2012, 07:37 PM
Jim, I own 8 of the Kustom PW50's now. Together they form a 400 watt 16 channel system (minus the 8 MP3 channels). The Kustom PA50 is the best bargain available in a P.A. system at any price. Ric

Gillian
04-13-2012, 07:46 PM
Holy moly! I'm in awe of all that equipment and the knowledge it must take to hook it all up.

I'm just going to carry my Roland in one hand and my Laney in the other and my ukes and microphone pack(stand and cables) on my back and that is it for my sound system!

Mim
04-13-2012, 08:16 PM
Also check out Kamoas E3 E-bass Ukulele Bass. It has wound metal strings and can be tuned to standard bass tuning or uke tuning. And I sort of thought, "really"... oh yes, it works and it is awesome. I can play all the songs I know on uke, just LOW! And it makes it easy for me to play along with uke players when I can follow the bass lines through the standard uke chords. Does that make sense?

Anyway, It seems to work well with the classic bass playing methods as well as ukulele fingerpicking methods of playing due to the string tension. They also have more volume acoustically. I stock both the UBASS and the E series Kamoa basses. I like both for different reasons, but before purchasing I would definitely give the Kamoa a look-see. They are relatively new so there is not as much buzz about them, but I really prefer their feel slightly. But the Kala is awesome as well!

This video is great from NAMM, they talk about the bass about 1/2 way through. One day in about 2 weeks when my shop is done I hope to do a Kala UBASS, Kamoa comparison vid.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4BtGwWTcYw

Ukuleleblues
04-14-2012, 01:52 AM
Also check out Kamoas E3 E-bass Ukulele Bass. It has wound metal strings and can be tuned to standard bass tuning or uke tuning. And I sort of thought, "really"... oh yes, it works and it is awesome. I can play all the songs I know on uke, just LOW! And it makes it easy for me to play along with uke players when I can follow the bass lines through the standard uke chords. Does that make sense?

Anyway, It seems to work well with the classic bass playing methods as well as ukulele fingerpicking methods of playing due to the string tension. They also have more volume acoustically. I stock both the UBASS and the E series Kamoa basses. I like both for different reasons, but before purchasing I would definitely give the Kamoa a look-see. They are relatively new so there is not as much buzz about them, but I really prefer their feel slightly. But the Kala is awesome as well!

This video is great from NAMM, they talk about the bass about 1/2 way through. One day in about 2 weeks when my shop is done I hope to do a Kala UBASS, Kamoa comparison vid.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4BtGwWTcYwWow, that is nice. Y'all check out the uke at 6:43...nice! Mim, Thanks for posting

SweetWaterBlue
04-14-2012, 02:25 AM
It looks like Komoa is really starting to make a quality product at low price points. They may have before, but it seems we didn't hear much about them a few years ago. Its also great that Sam can actually play the thing. I got a chance to play one of their bass ukes. I think I prefer the sound of the UBass, but those steel strings are nice and loud even when not plugged in.

OldePhart
04-14-2012, 05:45 AM
John, it may or may not work for you. I know there are many flavors and preferences. I play guitar in a couple of rock, country and blues combos where it would not work. Although I own a Marshall full stack, I usually play a Strat or Tele through a 15 watt Fender Superchamp XD (now called an X2):

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/fender-super-champ-x2-15w-1x10-tube-guitar-combo-amp

My favorite amp is my 40 watt Fender Hotrod Blues Deluxe. The problem is that it's "sweet spot" is too loud for local noise ordinances. If you have a smart phone, look in your app store for a sound level meter. This will help you understand how ridiculous our 60db (measured at the residence that is complaining) limits are:

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Environment/info/esa/divest-sdge/chapters/04-10nse.htm

I have a professional sound level meter that I have friends frequently walk the surrounding areas where we play to make sure we are in compliance. Many bands/groups have been black listed from local clubs as they don't comply to the noise level ordinances. We don't even use monitors, as they increase the db level. Ric

I have a sound meter around somewhere - haven't used it in a few years as I've been playing instead of running sound.

One of my hobbies is designing and building low power tube guitar amps (EL84s and 6V6s in 5W SE and 15W PP, primarily). Well, I guess I should say that was one of my hobbies. My near vision is so poor these days that it has taken all the fun out of point to point wiring... Even 5 watts into an efficient cab can be too loud. In fact, my best cab is an oversized (almost as big as my 4 X 10 bass cab) 1 X 12 sealed cab with a $300 weber alnico driver in it. It was too loud for the church band I was playing in so I actually mounted a couple of extra speaker voice coils in it so I could drop the 5 watts out of the amp down to about a watt to the real speaker. That rig sounds very similar to a cranked plexi but at reasonable volumes.

For bass though I like a really clean rumble and it takes a lot of power to get it, even at low volumes, without it pharting out. Until we finally got a subwoofer at church I used to use my 4 X 10 Goldline cab and a 400W bridged PA amp. Most of the time I had the volume very low but this rig gave me an extremely high damping factor (damping factor is much more critical at bass frequencies). Your typical bass amp runs a damping factor of a few hundred, this was an order of magnitude higher at about 3000. Gives amazing lows while still being extremely tight and controlled.

Heh, well, I suppose we've probably geeked these folks out enough... LOL

John

OldePhart
04-14-2012, 05:52 AM
My bass player, Jim, is not playing the doghouse for a while John. He's playing and gigging with his U-Bass during his miraculous recovery and rehabilatation from:

http://www.10news.com/news/30605938/detail.html

Jim is doing much better than expected and we are elated about that! Jim uses an:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/lr-baggs-gigpro-acoustic-guitar-preamp/307107000000000

with his doghouse and U-Bass to contour the tone. Ric

OUch! Glad to hear he is recovering. I used to fly RC and always wanted a scale model of the Fly Baby! It's a cool airplane but not much protection when you hit a building, for sure.

I've used a variety of devices between my bass and amp. When I was using that big rig I used a Digitech bass processor into an ART Studio V3 tube preamp. The digitech bit the dust so I've set up some bass patches for my Tonelab LE. I also don't use the big rig anymore - I go straight from the Tonelab to the FoH through a good passive DI with a wye to my little Hartke kickback on a stand right next to my shoulder for a monitor. Sometimes I miss the big 4 X 10 moving a breeze past my legs but I can usually hear the sub firing on the other side of the stage which is good because the Hartke doesn't do the low B string justice. :)

John

ricdoug
04-14-2012, 09:14 AM
Holy moly! I'm in awe of all that equipment and the knowledge it must take to hook it all up.

I'm just going to carry my Roland in one hand and my Laney in the other and my ukes and microphone pack(stand and cables) on my back and that is it for my sound system!

Aloha e Gillian.

I have much more complex gear along with simpler setups. Here's one of my favorite busking kits. A Vox Mini3 with a Emerson M193 headset microphone with 10' cable and a 1/4" plug:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busking

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busking_(U.S._case_law)

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/vox-mini-3-3w-battery-powered-guitar-combo-amp

http://www.frys.com/product/6460952;jsessionid=D2Yu+Fuz6YnYc4XqBDNE5g__.node2? site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/VoxBatteryAmps6.jpg

ricdoug
04-14-2012, 09:17 AM
I have a sound meter around somewhere - haven't used it in a few years as I've been playing instead of running sound.

One of my hobbies is designing and building low power tube guitar amps (EL84s and 6V6s in 5W SE and 15W PP, primarily). Well, I guess I should say that was one of my hobbies. My near vision is so poor these days that it has taken all the fun out of point to point wiring... Even 5 watts into an efficient cab can be too loud. In fact, my best cab is an oversized (almost as big as my 4 X 10 bass cab) 1 X 12 sealed cab with a $300 weber alnico driver in it. It was too loud for the church band I was playing in so I actually mounted a couple of extra speaker voice coils in it so I could drop the 5 watts out of the amp down to about a watt to the real speaker. That rig sounds very similar to a cranked plexi but at reasonable volumes.

Heh, well, I suppose we've probably geeked these folks out enough... LOL

John

I love the sound of the 5 watt point to point wired tube botique amps, John. Do ypu know Mike of Texas Tube Amp fame?

http://www.vintageamp.net/ampfest/mm5.html

Ric

OldePhart
04-14-2012, 04:28 PM
I love the sound of the 5 watt point to point wired tube botique amps, John. Do ypu know Mike of Texas Tube Amp fame?

http://www.vintageamp.net/ampfest/mm5.html

Ric

We've never met. I think his amps are pretty closely based on the "AX84" 5W design but with premium components. They can be great amps in the tradition of the old Fender Champs. My approach was a little different. I wanted a full-featured high-gain amp with a 5W SE output. So, I use 2 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, a full tone stack, a cathode-follower driven FX loop, and gain controls at every gain stage. I also use premium components and really huge iron for good bass response - running through a good cab like the 1X12 I was talking about earlier you can actually play a 5-string bass through it with pretty even response across the strings (albeit at very low volumes, of course).

I also bias the preamp stages very warmly so you can actually get very round "power tube distortion" sound out of the preamp alone. A lot of the "myth" that you can't get good distortion tone from the preamp comes because when Fender, and later Marshal, started building amps they didn't really know what they were doing. They weren't electrical engineers, after all. The preamp circuits in the early amps are basically lifted straight out of the old RCA tube manuals. They sounded great with the 12AT7 tubes that were available at that time but when the much higher gain 12AX7 tubes came out nobody bothered to run the curves and realize that they biased much "colder" with a given plate and cathode resister setup. They just started dropping 12AX7 tubes into circuits designed for 12AT7 tubes. So instead of getting fat, round distortion the tubes would go into cutoff which isn't a lot different from solid state going into clipping. This is why so many tube guitar amps sound better at low volumes if you drop a 12AT7 tube in place of at least one 12AX7.

Of course, when metal started coming down the pike and Marshal started building crazy high gain amps they actually added stages that were designed to go into cutoff very hard and very early - 10k cathode resisters, no less! But, if you're looking for the old "plexi" tone the way to do it is with two or three stages biased quite warmly.

Wow...I think we've succeeded in derailing this UBASS thread - sorry OP... :)

John

MGM
04-14-2012, 05:55 PM
I play one professionally at gigs but rarely ever bring a bass amp along. I usually use a pass pedal to tune it and make the signal stronger and play directly thru the house Pa SYSTEMS or own own little PA rig with EV speakers.. Sound fine...for most venues like restaurants etc.