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Thread: Uke group bass players roll call

  1. #1

    Default Uke group bass players roll call

    I know there are at least two of us and must be more here on UU who regularly accompany uke groups using our u-basses. Please comment in this thread if you are a uke group u-bass player.

    Currently I am accompanying four ukulele jam groups that meet regularly. One of those groups also does some gigs and has additional rehearsals. I'm not really a bass player, and I've had no training on bass at all. My bass playing derived from being a guitar player who knew the notes on the fretboard.

    It seems to me that playing uke bass with uke groups is a somewhat specialized kind of bass playing. It's sort of akin to playing bluegrass bass. My style is heavily influenced by bluegrass jams I've attended to play bass. My playing involves too much root/five and I'm trying to branch out and to try new rhythm patterns. The key though for us uke types is to fit in and not overpower or throw off the group.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    674

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    I'm just starting with uke-bass for the ukulele club at my kids school. I'm working on what sounds good and it needs to be simple enough I can teach it to a gradeschool kid.

    In terms of influence, I've found that tacky of 70s country music my father developed a taste for (and I heard a lot of) when I was growing up hasn't helped my tendencies when playing bass. I try to counteract by listening to the ukulele orchestra of great britain.
    Blackbird Clara
    Concert Flea
    Pono MB
    Deering Goodtime Banjo Uke (concert)
    Gold Tone Resouke
    Hadean Uke-Bass
    Gold Tone Microbass
    Deering Goodtime Special (5-string banjo)

    Buckle Up
    http://ut.zerofatalities.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,410

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    I've been playing uke bass with The CC Strummers for the last two years. Even though I played guitar for almost 50 years, I never learned "music" or theory, etc., just chords doing 95% rhythm guitar, I hardly even knew the notes on the fretboard. I learned by being shown notes and chords or looking a sheet for the chords. I had often been told I should take up the bass because I have a good feel and time, but didn't want to be encumbered by a large electric bass, forget about a stand up bass.

    When Cali Rose, the leader of our group asked for volunteers to play bass, I looked up and found all the U-bass, small basses available and decided to go for it. At first I checked out various web sites for bass instruction, but because I wanted to get proficient quickly to play with the group, I took lessons from Denny Croy at McCabe's Guitar Shoppe in Santa Monica, CA. Certainly has been an eye opener for me. He started with the basic 1-5, but also showed me patterns for specific songs we were doing in the group, which in itself taught me more than I had learned in 50 years playing the guitar.

    I do my own arrangements for each song (our song book is up to about 150 songs) and I'm now proficient at walkups and walk downs within the 1-5 set of notes, plus boogie licks for rock and blues songs, latin beats, and recently jazz walking with major and minor progressions. I'm very locked into patterns more than specific notes, but try to know where I am with that.

    What I've also learned from Denny and Cali, and a lot of posts on the Talk Bass forum is that the bass should hold together the group, provide the beat and feel and drive it along, not be in the background. The better I get at that, the more praise I get from the group and the audience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Minnesnowda
    Posts
    218

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    I occasionally play my U-Bass with a local ukulele group. There is another bass player in the group, and if he wants to be the bassist I am happy to play one of my regular ukes instead.

    I also use my U-Bass when my cover band plays "unplugged". It provides a more woody upright tone than my electric basses without requiring the real estate of an upright.

    I've been playing bass in church and local cover bands for around 25 years. Most of that was with electric basses, but some was on upright. The U-Bass is far easier to play in anything I've played before, and yet in that ease of playing there are different challenges. Playing fast is a challenge with the lower tension strings. Slides tend to pull the note out of tune. I cannot play exactly the same lines as I do on electric on every song, which presents the opportunity to be creative and come up with something new. I'm having a blast with the little thing.
    ===================
    Sopranos: Kamaka Gold Label, Martin S1 (Mexico, currently in violin tuning for my wife), ??Regal?? no-name, Dixie Banjo-lele
    Concerts: Mele Mahogany, Kala Traveler, Kala KA-ACP-CTG (slot head, cedar top, acacia back/sides, low G), Gretsch G9112 Resonator (low G)
    Tenors: Kala KA-ASAC-SP-TGE-C-MM Marcy Marxer, RipTide Mahogany A/E
    Baritone: Silvertone
    U-Bass: Kala Hutch Hutchinson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    345

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    I recently started playing bass with a uke band and I'm teaching two others so I'm not "lumbered" with the job full time. Since the introduction of the bass, the general opinion is the overall sound is tighter and fuller. I play whatever pattern fits the song, boogie, 1-5, single notes or chords with fills. My "job" is to keep the timing solid while rounding the sound out. It is usually good fun but if the beat falters, the bassist is first in the firing line. One down side is, humping an amp to rehearsals, no more care free turning up with uke and OnSong on a tablet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    156

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    What about playing uke bass with a heavy alternative group?

    I've been playing with some guys that do "metal-ish" alternative, lots of drop D and drop C tuning. I've found that the Gold Tone ME through a Digitech Drop pedal blends quite well with highly overdiven, sludgy guitars.

    https://www.reverbnation.com/theplea...e-release-demo
    I too, have nothing of value to add to this thread...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,410

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrytone View Post
    One down side is, humping an amp to rehearsals, no more care free turning up with uke and OnSong on a tablet.
    I specifically bought a really small Phil Jones Double Four 70w amp for rehearsal and small gigs, added a laptop battery and it's still very light, and sounds heavy duty, but it's over $500.



    Quote Originally Posted by LDS714 View Post
    What about playing uke bass with a heavy alternative group?
    Not only do I buy bass ukes, I also convert small guitars to bass because I like having commercial looking basses that are small. I'm having this "metal" looking one done currently, ESP LTD F-Junior 21" scale guitar.

    Last edited by kohanmike; 11-16-2016 at 07:07 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    345

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    Cool amp, but it is too pricey for this O.A.P

  9. #9

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    Barrytone,

    The Blackstar Fly 3 Bass combo pack for $109 will work well for up to about 25 acoustic ukulele players. My advice is that you need the full two piece set and not the single one (which is $69). The two pieces fit easily in a briefcase or tote bag. They each weigh less than 2 lbs. They run for quite a while on double A batteries. The sound is a real bass sound.

    The Phil Jones Double Four is an amazing amp weighing only 8 lbs that is probably the most ubiquitous among folks who play with uke groups. I have one and love it. It will work in just about any situation that I need short of a large outdoor gig or a gig in a really big hall. For rehearsal or friendly playing the Phil Jones is fantastic. BUT sometimes the Phil Jones is more than I need.

    The Fly 3 has a lot of limitations. I don't know that it would work for busking (outdoors) or in any kind of amplified setting. It won't carry over drums. But if you are playing acoustic with a small number of people and want something portable and easy for rehearsals - give it a try. Most major retailers will let you return it if it won't do the job for you. I am using mine in place of the Phil Jones about half the time now, depending on the group I am playing with.

    By the way the Fly 3 combo pack seems to be sold out just about everywhere but is still in stock at BH Photo Video. If you end up buying the pieces separately it is $20 more.
    Last edited by katysax; 11-16-2016 at 06:31 AM. Reason: Add information

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blaine, Washington
    Posts
    2,284

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    When I get back to our group, I plan to start bringing my Chennell bass and use it with a Phil Jones D4 and Baggs preamp.
    The Chennell is one of the best basses I've played in the 50 plus years of playing.

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