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View Full Version : Learning on a regular bass vs. U-bass



Tommy B
08-21-2014, 09:10 AM
Hi everyone. I've read on a few forums that it's better to learn to play bass on a full-sized bass rather than on a U-bass, Ashbory or the like. What do people here say? Is that still true? Was it ever true?

I actually have a very BIG bass: a Takamine 512 acoustic bass whose case could probably contain my ukulele collection (OK, maybe the sopranos). But I'm a small guy with small hands. Would trying to learn on the Takamine be a good way to get started, or an unnecessarily difficult way?

BTW, I won't be using a teacher. I'm working from a Hal Leonard method book for now, and if I stick with it, I'll probably drop the money for a year of JamPlay.

Your thoughts?
Thanks.

kohanmike
08-22-2014, 07:18 AM
I just decided to learn bass after years of playing guitar, and now ukulele. I never wanted to be encumbered by a large electric bass, let alone a standup bass. Now that so many small basses are around, I decided to go for it. I don't see any reason to use a large bass, I'm learning very well on my Gold Tone GT MicroBass 23" scale.

I took a couple of lessons from a teacher, but his schedule was erratic, so I decided I'm going with video and online lessons to have the freedom to go over them anytime I want. In fact, I wanted to learn a boogie run and read through a couple of pages from a digital book, but that was getting laborious, so I went to YouTube and found a guy repeating the lick over and over. Took me ten minutes to learn it.

Tommy B
08-22-2014, 07:33 AM
Thanks kohanmike. Maybe I'll look into selling this Takamine and picking up something a bit more manageable. That Ohana with the regular steel strings looks pretty sweet. Any other opinions out there?

bnolsen
08-22-2014, 11:35 AM
a ubass is fine but it might not be the best sound for rock music. For amplified acoustic? Yeah it should be great.

I have a long scale 4 string bass that was my first but I much prefer the 2 short scales I picked up on craislist and will definitely sell that one. I may also sell the long scale 5 string I bought as well and just keep the 2 short scales, the rondo music fretted ubass copy and the ashbory. I may even sell the rondo music one as well once I get strings on the ashbory and get used to playing it.

I started in march and am now about halfway through the second book, trying to get used to universal fingering and one finger per fret which has convinced me that I don't like the 4 string long scale.

Gillian
08-29-2014, 10:09 AM
Thanks kohanmike. Maybe I'll look into selling this Takamine and picking up something a bit more manageable. That Ohana with the regular steel strings looks pretty sweet. Any other opinions out there?

I had the same thoughts as you. I wanted a "proper" bass, but I didn't like the size or the weight so I got the Ohana-OBU22. Beautiful instrument, Fishman equalizer with notch, brilliance and phase adjustments, easy to transport (24.5" scale). I have small hands also and while the frets are spaced further apart than my Kala-U-Bass, I had no problem playing it. What I didn't like are the stock round wound brass strings. No matter how I tried, I couldn't overcome the rasp sound.

I'm told that is something that bass players overcome with technique and practice or just accept, but I guess I want instant gratification so I'm exchanging my fretted model for the fretless with fretmark marks model (OBU-22FLM) which uses smooth flat wound strings. I'm told the fretless will take a bit of getting used to technique-wise, but physical playing should be easier because, due to no fret wires being there, the action can be set lower. I don't have a lot of strength in my hands so this sounded good to me.

In the thread asking "which strings do you prefer?" (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?94418-Which-strings-do-you-prefer-for-your-U-Bass) I've gone into more detail regarding the bit of bother I had trying to replace the round wounds with flatwounds on the fretted model.

Tommy B
08-29-2014, 10:23 AM
Thanks, Gillian. I was also looking at the Ohana, but I noticed the round wound metal strings. My Takamine used to have similar strings and I didn't like them either. At a friend's suggestion, I installed LaBella Deep Talkin' flatwound strings that really sound smooth. I wonder if they would work on the Ohana.

bnolsen
08-29-2014, 10:39 AM
There's also the ibanez mikro which is 28.6" scale.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez-GSRM20-Mikro-Short-Scale-Bass-Guitar-104621354-i1324105.gc

And a new one, the picco bass at 25.5"

http://www.piccomusic.com/

Of course both of the above basses suffer from lack of string choices.

sonomajazz
08-29-2014, 11:03 AM
Ringing you up right now, TB...

bnolsen
08-30-2014, 06:10 PM
Getting back into my practice routine...tonight i started with my modded squier bronco playing some blues patterns and some work with universal fingering stuff (1-2-3-4). Decided to switch over and mostly repeat this with the ubass. no problems with adjusting. then switched to playing the short scale gretsch junior jet.

I think as long as you learn your way around the bass, learn scales and how to read, thats critical. switching to a full scale, short scale, mikro, etc should at worst then just be a quick adjustment, matter of days likely. Going longer to shorter scale is definitely easier but not really hugely difficult.

you may want to look into rocksmith 2014 as well but i'm a bit on the fence regarding the tab choices. playing frets 12+ on the E string seems a bit silly.

katysax
08-31-2014, 06:45 AM
Playing frets 12+ on the E string makes sense in some contexts. What are the notes before and after and where are they.

Tommy B
09-01-2014, 02:26 PM
Getting back into my practice routine...tonight i started with my modded squier bronco playing some blues patterns and some work with universal fingering stuff (1-2-3-4). Decided to switch over and mostly repeat this with the ubass. no problems with adjusting. then switched to playing the short scale gretsch junior jet.

I think as long as you learn your way around the bass, learn scales and how to read, thats critical. switching to a full scale, short scale, mikro, etc should at worst then just be a quick adjustment, matter of days likely. Going longer to shorter scale is definitely easier but not really hugely difficult.

you may want to look into rocksmith 2014 as well but i'm a bit on the fence regarding the tab choices. playing frets 12+ on the E string seems a bit silly.

Thanks, bnolsen. I think I'm going to keep trying to learn on this massive bass since it's what I already own, but it's good to know that switching to a smaller instrument won't be a problem when the time comes.