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View Full Version : Just Got a U-Bass - Advice



katysax
10-29-2012, 03:25 PM
I just got a u-bass. My ukulele group is comprised of around 20-30 people sitting around playing all together with the standard chucka chucka. The absence of bass almost hurts my ears. And endlessly playing C F G7, C D Am G, etc is getting boring.

I don't play bass - I have an electric guitar bass but never played it much. My thinking is that I can start by playing root of the chord on the first beat and maybe a little more. Since I play full sized guitar I know the fretboard on the bass already, and since I can read music (treble) clef I'm figuring the song sheets can give me some ideas to vary from just hitting the root. My thought is that even just playing the root will give a lot more depth to the sound of a bunch of ukuleles.

To those of you who are bass players - does this sound like a reasonable place to start. Do I need to know more than this to get started accompanying the uke group?

Patrick Madsen
10-29-2012, 07:34 PM
For me, I treat my bass like a lead guitar much of the time and do lead runs with it. I think there's a bass forum here also. Whoops sorry, this is the bass forum lol.

we tigers
10-29-2012, 08:22 PM
I think you're okay to start with the root notes and work your way from there. Soon enough you'll be walking through the scales. Sometimes it's nice to play the melody on the bass instead of the root. Just start figuring stuff out and see what works. I'm a bass player myself and every song I see as something different. My playing is adjusted to what the song actually needs. That can vary tremendously.

000Kanaka000
10-30-2012, 04:10 AM
am sneaking up on you patrick - have been immersing in the u-bass since i got it a few
days ago and yes it's so versatile one just has to start somewhere and then it
begins to grow. i started with root notes but it's already expanding from there to
runs - and then to playing a bit of lead with some things. You can't go wrong
starting with root notes though.



For me, I treat my bass like a lead guitar much of the time and do lead runs with it. I think there's a bass forum here also. Whoops sorry, this is the bass forum lol.

katysax
10-30-2012, 04:50 AM
I'm wanting to just jump in and start with the group with only a couple of weeks of practice on the bass. My thought is that the root would be my fallback if I can't do anything else. I'm thinking since I do know a lot of bass runs on the guitar, and read music, between those two things I'll be able to vary enough from the root at least to start. I'm pretty comfortable with the major scales after messing with it for a day. I ordered the book "Bass for Dummies". Thanks for the advice.

ukuleleovernite
10-30-2012, 04:58 AM
Playing the roots ist just the way I started to play the bass about 25 years ago. I played classical guitar at that time, and also could play chords.
After a short time playing just the roots, you will discover the patterns of notes you can add, depending on the style of the song. You don't even have to know every note you're playing, just follow the patterns, then you'll soon have a "dumdeedum" beneath the "chuckachucka" ;)

SailingUke
10-30-2012, 05:16 AM
I have been messing with the bass as well. Bass adds so much to a ukulele group.
I basically play root/five, imitating a tuba. Every once in awhile I get a run in.
What I have discovered is timing is the important. Even just root notes in time sound good.
The group really needs to listen to the bass for the timing.

000Kanaka000
10-30-2012, 05:21 AM
hahahahaah sounds familiar -- am finding that having a guitar background is really
helpful and i understand about wanting to find a group to play with am already
chomping at the bit for that one. Of course would be easier to play with those
playing guitar as recognizing uke chords isn't in place here. But if one has a heads
up on the chords it's off and running.


I'm wanting to just jump in and start with the group with only a couple of weeks of practice on the bass. My thought is that the root would be my fallback if I can't do anything else. I'm thinking since I do know a lot of bass runs on the guitar, and read music, between those two things I'll be able to vary enough from the root at least to start. I'm pretty comfortable with the major scales after messing with it for a day. I ordered the book "Bass for Dummies". Thanks for the advice.

cb56
10-30-2012, 10:51 AM
I played bass for decades before I picked up uke. The root is always a good note choice. But after awhile might sound a bit boring if you do nothing but the root note. Try adding in the 5th (as suggested in an above post) The 5th is located one string higher(pitch wise) and two frets up from the root. OR one string lower (pitch wise) and on the same fret as root note. Easy right?
The 5th will work for major minor and 7th chords. Diminished chords you need to lower the 5th one fret. and augmented chords raise he 5th one fret.
Work on that for quite awhile and listen to alot of simple bass lines (country, classic rock, Southern Gospel etc...)
After awhile you'll want to learm major, minor triads and arpeggios for 7th chords.
here's me playing ubass and ukes. I use lot's of root 5th along with some walk ups/ downs. Trust your ears, you'll get it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dwBvvcZAwEg
I have more on my Uke page in my signature below.

xommen
10-30-2012, 11:14 AM
This site is a good start to learn bass playing:

http://www.studybass.com

katysax
10-30-2012, 11:32 AM
Thanks that's really helpful. I know the major and minor triads and arpeggios from the guitar. But it's one thing to know them and another to play the right note in rhythm with a group when you aren't used to it. If I start with something like root and fifth and get a little more varied I hope I can build on that over time.

000Kanaka000
10-30-2012, 12:13 PM
If you have been around any bass players this comes pretty
quickly as just how bass sounds and naturally flows. Guess it
helps my mom and dad both played bass so once the root was
seen the rest has just come along as part of the equation.



I played bass for decades before I picked up uke. The root is always a good note choice. But after awhile might sound a bit boring if you do nothing but the root note. Try adding in the 5th (as suggested in an above post) The 5th is located one string higher(pitch wise) and two frets up from the root. OR one string lower (pitch wise) and on the same fret as root note. Easy right?
The 5th will work for major minor and 7th chords. Diminished chords you need to lower the 5th one fret. and augmented chords raise he 5th one fret.
Work on that for quite awhile and listen to alot of simple bass lines (country, classic rock, Southern Gospel etc...)
After awhile you'll want to learm major, minor triads and arpeggios for 7th chords.
here's me playing ubass and ukes. I use lot's of root 5th along with some walk ups/ downs. Trust your ears, you'll get it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dwBvvcZAwEg
I have more on my Uke page in my signature below.

katysax
11-01-2012, 07:11 PM
Tonight I played the u-bass with my ukulele group. It went pretty well. It made the group sound much better. For me it was a blast. Since we had song sheets, and since I know the fret board from the guitar I did Ok. A few rough spots, and nothing very fancy, but I can see that I can add a lot to the group and have lots of room for improvement. It was the most fun playng music I've had in a long time.

bigchiz
11-08-2012, 08:03 AM
When playing with a group of ukes I approach bass playing with a blue grass mind set. The vocals and the uke are the primary music sources, the bass provides rhythm and enhances the chords. Sometimes I think of it as playing the bass drum, plus adding the root or 5th. It takes restraint not to just rip into the bass lines like a rocker but that what this ensemble calls for.

And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord. I'll try to say that more clearly. Say the chords are


chords on top:
C C C C G G C C
C G C C G D C C
bass line underneath

not:
C G C G G D C C



Make sense?

katysax
11-10-2012, 05:10 AM
"And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord. I'll try to say that more clearly. Say the chords are"


I took the U-Bass to a bluegrass jam session last night. I get what you are saying here - it feels pretty natural to my ear not to hit that fifth before the change. This is still a novelty for me, but I'm really surprised how naturally playing the bass is coming. As long as I am essentially playing a melodic drum - it really enhances an acoustic group.

bigchiz
12-06-2012, 06:40 AM
As long as I am essentially playing a melodic drum - it really enhances an acoustic group.

Exactly! Very good! Sometimes think of it as playing the bass drum with the added responsibility of choosing a pitch.

And then sometimes I just can't hold back anymore and run away with a busy bass line. Takes discipline to resist playing the jazz bass lines that come to mind, but that's not what this part normally calls for. The bass is a supportive instrument, not a solo instrument especially in a blue grass setting.

DaleR
02-23-2013, 03:55 AM
I have always loved the simple bass lines, and generally stick to them. Mostly.:nana:

Rubio MHS
03-06-2013, 06:52 PM
I started playing the bass today (I got a damaged and used Fender Mark Hoppus Signature Bass for my birthday on Sunday, but I had surgery on my stomach six days ago), and I'm starting by playing roots and thirds mostly. My plan is to play the electric bass for a year, and if I get serious enough about it, buy a U-bass. I would love to just play the U-bass, but I think my time would be wasted if I didn't also play the electric bass, and I decided to start with that.

Jon Moody
03-26-2013, 12:36 AM
And when playing the root and fifth, such as C G, and the next chord is G (V) try to avoid playing it before the chord.

I would actually play it this way, as it provides a little more forward movement into that G chord from the C.

C G C F# G D C C

It's more of a "jazz thing," but as the bass player (and as you said, the rhythmic foundation), that also means moving the chords along as well and not always chugging along within the confines of the root and fifth.

Nickie
04-03-2013, 04:47 PM
WTG katysax! I just aqcuired a UBass too, with the idea of accompanying my group...I get tired of just hearing 60 people go plinkity plink plink plink for 2 hours too, all with the same silly strum and chords, so I think it will make a big diff in how we sound. We do have one guy who brings his Ubass to some jams but not many. I've always loved Bluegrass bass, and hope to somehow emulate taht sound...have my first bass lesson in a couple of weeks, having NO guitar background, I have no idea how to tune it, let alone play it...I have high aspirations, no? LOL

PhilUSAFRet
04-20-2013, 03:52 PM
Best forum for Bass................http://www.talkbass.com/

Bennyboy123
10-22-2013, 11:54 AM
Hi can someone tell me if the newer ubasses with the built in tuner\ eq\ saddle upgrade have sorted intonation? I would like to get one but if its still hit and miss I'll probably go for older fretless model as its cheaper. Thanks in advance for any advice

Ben

PhilUSAFRet
11-04-2013, 01:02 PM
Am considering a Ubass. Attended a workshop this weekend at the Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway conducted by professional bassist Steve Boisen. His guidance is basically:
1. All the hollowbody Ubasses sound alike, so don't pay extra for solid woods unless you have to have the look.
2. Insure you get a model with a Hipshot tuner as the others are part plastic and likely to break.
3. There's a string installation video on YouTube. Follow it as the strings are far more difficult to install than they look.
4. Steve likes the Pahoehoe strings as he feels the Thunderguts are a little "sticky"
5. Biggest mistake beginning Ubassers make is picking the strings too aggressively. Just barely need to "pick" them with the fingertip.
6. A beginning bassist should avoid the fretless models because it will be harder for them to master. Finger placement on the fretting hand will be far more "critical" than on a fretted bass.

Well, that about exhaust my newly gained knowledge on the subject..

bigchiz
11-06-2013, 06:41 AM
I concur with all the points above. On more than one occasion I've told bass players who are trying out the uBass "it's not a slap bass" as they tend to snap the strings as opposed to setting them in motion to vibrate at first. Maybe because the string tension is more loose when compared to a standard scale electric bass?

Harryink
11-06-2013, 01:48 PM
I've been playing bass for our mob for about a year.

One caution with playing for groups is that without a drum to keep the beat, I found the other players often slow down to follow the bass and we end up in a weird spiral of them slowing and me trying to keep or work the tempo back up to where we started. They've got better (as have I!) but I often found it a good idea to not let the notes ring but to dampen them into shorter notes with clear rests between, just to keep the tempo running.

PhilUSAFRet
11-07-2013, 04:01 AM
Good advice as many small uke groups have no drums. Thanks for sharing that.

Jon Moody
11-12-2013, 06:34 AM
Honestly, if you're playing bass with no drums (regardless of your gigging situation), you just need to be confident in your time-keeping; you're driving that bus. With players that aren't as skilled or experienced, any time you start playing on the "back" of the beat, you're going to have them slow down (and opposite with playing "on top of" the beat). In that situation, I play as close to standard as possible, and then use the other two things to help "right the ship" when people are dragging or speeding up.

PhilUSAFRet
11-12-2013, 01:51 PM
Some good stuff here. Hope I learn to fully comprehend it as a new bass player.

bigchiz
12-05-2013, 11:29 AM
... but I often found it a good idea to not let the notes ring but to dampen them into shorter notes with clear rests between, just to keep the tempo running.

The rests between the notes are important too. Try playing very short notes sometime (staccato) and listen as others join in the rhythm.

PhilUSAFRet
12-19-2013, 11:22 PM
I got the new eMedia Bass Method v 2.0 for my birthday and am hoping for the best. Amazing features. Use a mic on your computer and it gives you feedback on your temp, tuning, on key, use with our without metronome, backing, etc. Like having a private instructor you can start and stop at will.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8QK_SzC8GM

DaleR
02-17-2014, 05:51 AM
Well, I had the money and wanted to replace my UBass, so I just bought the Kala Rumbler. I am curious to see if it will work with my little Pignose 7-100 amp, as my VBass makes a pretty good sound, once the tone and settings are tweaked. The standard UBass needed a bass amp, but the Rumbler has a built in EQ, so it might do the trick. Will find out on Wednesday when it arrives!

DaleR
02-19-2014, 03:09 PM
The little Pignose 7-100 works with the Rumbler in spades!!!! With the proper adjusting, a very big upright double bass sound is achieved! Thanks Kala, for yet another very affordable instrument. 8vas are perfect as well as the intervals...

DaleR
02-20-2014, 03:59 AM
Rather cheap build, and mine has a tiny finish flaw, but the way it plays...WOW! I was actually tuning and tweaking after school and gathered a small crowd of students, who could hear me on the other side of the auditorium, with only the Piggy turned up half way. Great and big sound and the electronics make The Rumbler superior to its older brothers!

Tele295
02-20-2014, 02:03 PM
Rather cheap build, and mine has a tiny finish flaw, but the way it plays...WOW! I was actually tuning and tweaking after school and gathered a small crowd of students, who could hear me on the other side of the auditorium, with only the Piggy turned up half way. Great and big sound and the electronics make The Rumbler superior to its older brothers!

I wasn't sure the small Pignose speaker would handle the uBass, but I stand corrected. I was looking at the Hog-30 to take to Djangofest for my uBass.

Awesome fez, BTW!

DaleR
02-20-2014, 04:57 PM
It will NOT work with the UBass...you have to have a Rumbler with the EQ. I also have the Hog sitting about 5 feet from me, but you do not need it with the new electronics. Very cool, big sound, from a very small set up. The Piggy 7-100 works quite well with the Rumbler.

Thanks for the fez thumbs up too!

SweetWaterBlue
02-22-2014, 10:41 AM
I've got a Pignose Hog 30 and an Ashbory Bass. They work beautifully together. Of course the Ashbory has an active pickup and EQ.

I'm not really a bass player, so when I am jamming with ukes, I usually just do the 1-5 bluegrass thing.

DaleR
02-23-2014, 04:11 AM
I just love the small footprint and sound with the Rumbler's EQ. Really great axe!!!!

Tele295
02-25-2014, 05:24 AM
It will NOT work with the UBass...you have to have a Rumbler with the EQ. I also have the Hog sitting about 5 feet from me, but you do not need it with the new electronics. Very cool, big sound, from a very small set up. The Piggy 7-100 works quite well with the Rumbler.

Thanks for the fez thumbs up too!

Why not? Does it need a preamp? I can use my LR Baggs Para DI if that's the problem.

Djangofest NW has a lot of outdoor, small group jamming, and I'm not sure the small Pignose would have have he power to cut through 3-5 guitars sitting on the lawn. My upright would, but I'm not flying with that beast and schlepping it all over Whidbey Island!

My uBass has the old style pickup, which I prefer to the sound of the Rumbler

DaleR
02-25-2014, 07:35 AM
Why not? Does it need a preamp? I can use my LR Baggs Para DI if that's the problem.

Djangofest NW has a lot of outdoor, small group jamming, and I'm not sure the small Pignose would have have he power to cut through 3-5 guitars sitting on the lawn. My upright would, but I'm not flying with that beast and schlepping it all over Whidbey Island!

My uBass has the old style pickup, which I prefer to the sound of the Rumbler

The original style pickup is why I got rid of mine, in part. The EQ on the Rumbler, as stated above, makes it usable on the smallest amps, like the original Pignose, with a pretty big sound too. Hey, you want to drag that Hog 30 with you, go for it! You want the smaller footprint, you need the EQ on the newer model.

Tele295
02-25-2014, 09:51 PM
It's not a matter of want...

DaleR
02-26-2014, 12:31 AM
If I read the news on the UBasses right, all the newer models are coming out now with the EQ installed, at the same price as before, which is a great upgrade. I see people posting about converting baris into some sort of bass, which I did as well, but with the Rumbler out there and the lower price, as well as the possibility of using a smaller amp, this is a mute point now.

DaleR
02-26-2014, 12:35 AM
http://ubassappreciation.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/theres-a-rumble-in-petaluma-tonight/

DaleR
03-02-2014, 07:32 AM
Just had about an hour jam on my UBass! Although it is not a real looker, like my other ukes, it sure plays like a gem...the 8vas and intervals are spot on and the sound...WOW!