View Full Version : Ubass Beginner

06-13-2014, 01:29 AM
Hi there,

I have just begun to learn the Ubass and am loving it. I play a Kala fretted solid mahogany which I amp with a Phil Jones Bg-100 (Bass Cub).
This is one fantastic amp. I play at the After Dinner Ukulele Society, a Montreal based ukulele club, and find that the bass is a great asset to the group's sound. I love playing with this great bunch of people. Check out their website at www.adukes.org Their profile page is a riot.

Captain America
06-13-2014, 02:00 AM
I've been getting more and more interested in the ubass. There's bluegrass all around me, plenty of guitars, and not much bass, which is pretty essential to making a group sound good.

From what I understand, the first thing to learn is the runs of notes that connect chord progressions.

06-13-2014, 03:15 AM
Welcome to UU, glad you joined us.

UBasses are a blast but changing strings can be a challenge

Enjoy and keep us posted

06-13-2014, 06:06 AM
Congratulations! I would love to have a Ubass in our ukulele club! It adds so much!

06-13-2014, 07:02 AM
I play Ubass regularly with a uke club. The Phil Jones Bass Cub is a fantastic amp. I love it so much I also got the Phil Jones double four which is even smaller. It is plenty powerful for our club which meets in restaurant.

If you are just starting out its quite simple. If you play anything at all play the root note of the chord at the beginning of a chord change and at the beginning of the measure. Then you add the fifth. So you play for example C G C G on the first and third beat. Once you get used to that you'll start hearing runs and you can add them, but not too much. As I get to know the songs I start adding other notes where they fit like a flatted 7 on a 7 chord or a flatted third on a minor chord. I also start to "hear" runs and add them. But I started out just playing the root note, then added the fifths. The main thing is to keep the beat and play the root. Also, less is more.

06-18-2014, 05:55 PM
Sounds like good advice katysax, it's what I was advised as well.

I also have the solid mahogany fretted Kala bass and love it. I use a Roland bass M-cube as it can be used with batteries. Our group is small, but when I have played bass, I feel I've added something to the overall sound. I am most definitely still a beginner with it, but it is so much fun.
Note to self: must take bass to group tonight

06-18-2014, 06:56 PM
Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments. I am taking bass lessons now and my teacher who plays both electric and upright basses, loves the U-bass. I am progressing quite rapidly. I know the fretboard and often add a 5th to the root while playing with the group. I have not forgotten the uke though. I play a solid mahogany Pono tenor and a Koa-wood Kanilea super tenor. We play all kinds of music and have over 180 songs posted on our website. I especially like Gordon Lightfoot. He's a Canadian just like me. Yea!

BTW I sometimes amp my tenor ukes with the Roland Street-Cube.
Happy strumming everyone.


Doug W
06-19-2014, 02:20 AM
I am not a bass player but I have played a lot with other people. The "Less is More" advice is excellent. Nothing more distracting than a constant bass solo while people are trying to sing. Really this is good advice for any instrument, wait for your solo, play it, and then blend in.

06-19-2014, 10:26 AM
I'm getting interested in one of these, too. I play uke & guitar, but sometimes, the group I play with just needs a bass. So, I'm going to follow this thread closely. Looking forward to some goo dinput.


10-22-2014, 04:29 PM
I've been working on the Ubass here in Montreal for quite a while now and agree that the way to start is with the root and then the fifth. It's a good thing that the uke and the Ubass are not wind instruments because when I play them, I can't stop smiling. I am taking bass lessons and my teacher loves the Ubass too. He teaches electric and upright bass. I introduced him to the Ubass. During the last ten minutes of each class, I play the uke and he improvises on the Ubass. I love it.
I would be happy to communicate with anyone interested in this instrument. You can reach me on the contact page of my website. www.adukes.org Thanks to all for your kind words and encouragement.
Happy strumming,

10-23-2014, 03:07 AM
Glad you are having fun with lessons! I hope all is going well with the uke group. Looks like a lot of fun.

12-17-2014, 02:24 PM
I am not practicing the Ubass as much as I should but I am still making progress. I find muting to be a bit difficult. The main problem is that I have to file the nails of the first two fingers of my right hand at an angle. Fingernails on Ubass strings detract from the purity of the bass sound. I need my nails for the ukulele though.
Check out this Ubass player. I wish I could play like him.
Happy strumming.
Also checkout my website www.adukes.org

12-17-2014, 03:07 PM
My friend has a uBass and absolutely loves it. I have never played bass...and never desired to, until I seen a uBass.

12-17-2014, 07:32 PM
I bought a used Ashbory fretless bass a few years ago to be able to lay down bass tracks on some of my recordings. I had never played the bass before (still can't really). I think the advice you got to keep it simple at first (root and 5th notes of the chord mostly) is good. To just accompany bluegrass and a lot of old rock songs that is really all you need. My apologies to Steve Boisen, who can actually play the bass, for saying that. All the extra notes like the 7ths, 9ths, etc. etc. are often supplied by the other players you are jamming with, unless you get into more advanced stuff like jazz, where you need it all. At least that is what I find, so a simple bass player doesn't need to supply them.

Resources I found most helpful when I first started out were:

Dennis Havlena's "Crash Course in Bass" which is on about the 3rd page of this link (scroll down). Print out that table of "pairs" and learn it and you can get through most amateur jams:


I also have the complete 3 book Hal Leonard Bass Method (with CD). I keep meaning to learn all that fancy stuff, but so far they just take up space on my shelf.

I have also checked out the Bass Guitar book for Dummies from my library and found it helpful (Mostly the chapter on how to lay down a groove and the over-view of what bass playing is all about.)

Here's a sample of just laying down a simple bluegrass type groove to accompany myself on the Baritone uke with the above ideas from Dennis Havlena. Many of the tracks on my SoundCloud channel have similar simple bass playing, so you can get some idea of what thats about. The bass is a lot of fun.


and here's a little swamp rock with the same simple bass lines


Listen to some Lyle Ritz (or Steve's accompaniment to his daughter Amanda) to see what a jazz bass sounds like with a uke. If you ever get a chance, go see Steve and Amanda in concert. They are great. A lot of it is just various scales and runs between the chords ,as you will hear if you listen for it.



12-19-2014, 02:27 AM
You will love the Ubass. The tuning is the same as the four lowest strings of a guitar EADG. You cannot play chords though because the low frequency of the bass will make playing more than one note at a time, sound muddy. You must also get used to muting the strings which are not sounded. Have you given thought to which amp you might like? On a guitar or a uke, your fingers create the dynamic range. On the Ubass , just go easy and let the amp do the work. I find the Ubass to be lots of fun. I'm glad I lowered myself. LOL