PDA

View Full Version : Custom Bass Ukulele?????



jonners98
03-26-2014, 07:58 AM
As both a bassist and a uke player, i am extremely eager to get a ukulele bass. However, the ones readily available are not ideal for a few reasons:
1-As i will only be playing this with other uke players, the traditional bass tuning seems too low to me, as i want to blend in more.
2-The available ukulele basses require amplification in order to be heard, however i will be doing a great deal of acoustic uke sessions where i do not want or cannot have amplification
For these reasons, i am considering buying a baritone uke and stringing it with the low 4 strings of a classical guitar. This would be an octave up from a traditional bass uke, therefore would not overpower the other ukes (i would also be able to play chords without it sounding muddy), and it would also be able to be easily heard without amplification as the frequencies are not as low. Will this work??????

SailingUke
03-26-2014, 08:16 AM
I believe Kamoa makes a model as you have described.

katysax
03-26-2014, 08:32 AM
You could test your idea by using a regular guitar and playing bass lines with the ukes on the guitar.

I usually find that when I go off on some idiosyncratic choice like this that it ends up being unsatisfactory. The Kala UBass's are really nice and at this point a proven solution. I often find that I choose notes a little higher than I might if I were accompanying guitars, but that is what the higher frets are for. The issue of volume has to do with the relative loudness of bass notes, and the need for a bigger chamber to push more air. If you really want to go acoustic the way to get enough volume is play a 3/4 size double bass. As far as blending in, the best way is don't turn the volume up too high on the amp. The idea is to play just loud enough to make the bass felt more than heard.

UkerDanno
03-26-2014, 10:32 AM
we've had a couple U-bass guys accompany our group and it's a nice addition. We also have a regular bass guitar guy once in a while and he drowns out everything, but our leader likes it/him, so it continues.

jonners98
03-26-2014, 10:42 AM
You could test your idea by using a regular guitar and playing bass lines with the ukes on the guitar.

I usually find that when I go off on some idiosyncratic choice like this that it ends up being unsatisfactory. The Kala UBass's are really nice and at this point a proven solution. I often find that I choose notes a little higher than I might if I were accompanying guitars, but that is what the higher frets are for. The issue of volume has to do with the relative loudness of bass notes, and the need for a bigger chamber to push more air. If you really want to go acoustic the way to get enough volume is play a 3/4 size double bass. As far as blending in, the best way is don't turn the volume up too high on the amp. The idea is to play just loud enough to make the bass felt more than heard.

I do own a double bass, however i really need something that will accompany the ukes asthetically. I expect a short scale travel acoutic bass guitar would work

jonners98
03-26-2014, 11:47 AM
indeed they do, i hadnt noticed it as here in the uk it is rebranded as ashbury bass ukulele, but if that works then a custom one should

bunnyf
03-26-2014, 08:47 PM
Anyone try this yet? I was thinking of getting one of Butler Music's "gambler's special" baris and giving it a go. Sounds like a poss alternative for someone who doesn't want to lug a big acoustic bass guitar around or have to amplify. We play a lot camping, beach, park, etc, where amp is not practical also but need to be heard over several ukes, so Ubass doesn't really fit the bill. This sounds like it would work. Any thoughts?

anthonyg
03-26-2014, 10:21 PM
Yes there is the Kamoa piccolo Ukulele bass with steel strings. If you play steel string basses then this will be right up your alley and its louder than the Kala Ubass which is an octave bellow. There is also a steel string piccolo ukulele bass made by Aiersi ukuleles. http://www.aiersiguitar.com/china-bass-ukulele/

I've played one in a shop. It was quite good. The one I played had good intonation for the lower two strings but it was going a bit flat (too much compensation) for the higher two strings but it wasn't that bad.

Who knows. Knowing Kamoa (see the East Start thread) its likely that Aiersi DO make the Kamoa piccolo ukulele bass.

Anthony

FiL
03-27-2014, 03:01 AM
A friend of mine had a bari strung with GCEA strings, an octave below regular uke tuning (I think they were Guadalupe strings), and the uke was so quiet you couldn't hear it when playing with a handful of other ukers. The bari body just wasn't big enough.

- FiL

strumsilly
03-27-2014, 03:27 AM
A friend of mine had a bari strung with GCEA strings, an octave below regular uke tuning (I think they were Guadalupe strings), and the uke was so quiet you couldn't hear it when playing with a handful of other ukers. The bari body just wasn't big enough.

- FiL
I tried this and thought it sounded too muddy.

UkerDanno
03-27-2014, 03:48 AM
here's a guy who converted a baritone to a bass...
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?44202-Yes-it-can-be-done&highlight=ukenukem+bass

Jon Moody
03-27-2014, 04:15 AM
here's a guy who converted a baritone to a bass...
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?44202-Yes-it-can-be-done&highlight=ukenukem+bass

Saw that. I guess with the time involved to do it, was it really a savings over just buying a U-Bass (since he essentially turned it into one, despite his calling it a "bass ukulele" out of respect)?

To the OP, stringing up a baritone ukulele with the bottom four of a classical guitar set wouldn't be bad at all (especially since the bottom two strings of a baritone set ARE probably the same as the ones in a classical set). You'll definitely be heard better than an unplugged U-Bass, but that's more due to the instrument itself; the U-Bass just doesn't have the body to replicate the sound volume.

PhilUSAFRet
03-27-2014, 11:09 AM
If you don't want to mess about, just get one of these: http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/494/MicroBass

anthonyg
03-27-2014, 12:57 PM
If you don't want to mess about, just get one of these: http://www.goldtone.com/products/details/w/instrument/494/MicroBass

It look like a nice instrument but its still tuned at the same pitch as a UBass which the OP is saying is tuned too low and its too quiet. Off the shelf the OP would be better with a Piccolo bass from Kamoa or Aiersi which are an octave higher which the OP is seeking and they're louder too with their metal strings.

Anthony

DaleR
03-28-2014, 03:20 AM
This has been discussed at length on the Bass forum. Check out all the info there.

PhilUSAFRet
03-28-2014, 03:47 AM
It look like a nice instrument but its still tuned at the same pitch as a UBass which the OP is saying is tuned too low and its too quiet. Off the shelf the OP would be better with a Piccolo bass from Kamoa or Aiersi which are an octave higher which the OP is seeking and they're louder too with their metal strings.

Anthony

Should probably let OP decide for himself what's best without critiquing someone else's ideas. Part of the problem is lack of acoustic volume on the Ubass. It isn't the tuning that makes it too quiet. This one has a longer scale and a bigger body. Solves the "volume" problem. Piccolo bass sometimes works, sometimes doesn't...depends on what the group thinks sounds best.

anthonyg
03-28-2014, 04:15 AM
sure its up to the OP to decide but I was just offering advise based on his stated requirements. I've played that bass you linked to but it had another brand on it. It wasn't better than a U Bass and both examples I played had quality control issues. These big bass strings are temperamental and will stretch ALL their lives up until the point they can't stretch anymore and they break. The nut NEEDS to be super smooth and super slippery. Both examples I played had rough nut slots which had caught the strings and damaged them. Maybe if you played one before buying you might like it but I wouldn't buy it sight unseen online.

Anthony

PhilUSAFRet
03-28-2014, 05:06 AM
Perhaps I was being a little "over sensitive" when you quoted me. I was Involved in a direct comparison along with Bassfiddlesteve at the Tampa Bay uke fest in November. Your observations were not apparent. Substantial difference in volume. Sorry you played poor examples. Unless GoldTone is sold under a different brand in AU, perhaps it wasn't the same bass. According to Steve, a long-time professional bass player, the string issue wasn't found to be a substantial problem, although he prefers the original Ashbory's.