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Thread: Bass uke for recording-recommendations?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Question Bass uke for recording-recommendations?

    I've tried just about every other uke configuration but never a bass except for a few minutes at Guitar Center with some acoustic Kala U-Bass models. Honestly I was never enamored with the acoustic sound enough to find someone to let me plug one in and didn't play long enough to get used to the rubber string feel. But lately, I've been a little less satisfied with some of the results I'm getting from MIDI bass and thinking about a more "organic" alternative. This has more to do with the "playing interface" than the sounds I have available. Keyboard, EWI, and touchscreen controls all feel less than ideal in different ways and sequenced parts are hard to make not sound mechanical.

    Anyway, if I got a bass uke, the emphasis would be on ease of use for recording. So something that would get a clean plugged-in signal with little to no fret/string noise and would take well to digital effects (EQ, amp/cabinets sims, etc.). Acoustic sound is not that important but some versatility in achieving different effected tones would be nice - thinking along the lines of acoustic, jazz, latin, pop. Rock and metal not required but nice bonus. It does not have to djent.

    In terms of other factors, I'd say shorter scale is better. My baritone preference is 19" over 20", though I could probably deal with up to 22" or so for a bass playing mostly single notes.

    For cost, I won't say "money is no object", cheaper is better obviously, but it needs to be good to go out of the box. I have no interest in something that needs rewiring or fretwork and I'd prefer not to have any nut/saddle work either unless there's a vendor who does that first. Of course I'd consider a used instrument that someone else had did any of this work. Whatever it costs to achieve this is whatever it costs.

    Thoughts?
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  2. #2
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    Sep 2013
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    With all those requirements, it seems like you need to have a custom bass uke built. Since I have five solid body and one acoustic bass from Rondomusic.com, and using them twice a week with my uke group playing a great variety of music, rock, jazz, traditional, Latin, Hawaiian, i always recommend them, especially since they run between $150 to $190. They're either 20" or 23" scale and come with Aquila Thundergut strings, which can be sticky and have string noise. At those short scales with fat poly strings, the intonation will never be perfect, even on the Kala U-bass.

    I actually replace the strings with either Road Toad Pahoehoe poly strings that are very smooth and in my opinion have a bit better intonation, but take a long time to settle in, or flat wound 25" steel strings on my solid bodies made for the Gold Tone M-bass by LaBella, no string noise at all, have a bit better intonation, but they need to be anchored on the back of the 20" models.

    I've also had to modify the saddle in the bridge on a couple of my Rondos by cutting apart the four molded sections so each string will put it's own pressure on the individual pickup sensor to even out the amplified sound. The saddle is the same on the Kala.

    There are a good number of choices, Kala has a new line of slightly lower price bass ukes, $250-$300, new models from Taylor, Ibanez, Guild, and Ohana has one out for a while, all with round wound steel strings, which make that zip string noise and are in the $400-$500 range. or if you are willing to go to a normal scale bass guitar rather than bass uke, Fender's Squier line runs about $200 that I understand are quite good.

    Here's my entire bass collection all between 20-24" scale.




    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

    Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
    Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    I was hoping I'd hear from you kohanmike. Seems like I need to just buy one of yours that has already been customized.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    2,055

    Default

    Any feedback on the best portable (ideally rechargeable) bass amp to be used with group jams (ukulele) and also best input into iOS for recording? I bought one of the Carlo Robelli models from Sam Ash for $81 and I had another ukulele bass player check it out this weekend. Other than a missing back panel to change strings, intonation seemed to be equal with his Kala U-Basses (his words, not mine) and sounded awfully good on his amplifier (I think he does these gigs with a Boss).
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    On the iOS input, I've had the Apogee Jam for years. The new 96k model seems like overkill to me but any of the $100 interfaces should do you fine.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,564

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    I was hoping I'd hear from you kohanmike. Seems like I need to just buy one of yours that has already been customized.
    Haha, there ya' go!

    I knew Mike would chip in recommending Hadean and customs. Not sure what a custom would cost, but I've seen and had bad experiences with Hadean. I started out with a Kala Rumbler, which was their bottom line at the time. I'm much happier with my 2012 vintage Exotic Mahogany without their preamp. I'd recommend looking for the older versions, they're built better. I think there's a California acoustic/electric still for sale that was posted in the marketplace a few years ago...
    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...ght=kala+ubass
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Epiphone Hummingbird - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 - Pahoehoe

  7. #7
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    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    I was hoping I'd hear from you kohanmike. Seems like I need to just buy one of yours that has already been customized.
    Maybe one day I'll sell one, but sorry. It's been mentioned to me to make a business out of modifying bass ukes, but I retired four years and I'm very happy just playing and loafing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Choirguy View Post
    Any feedback on the best portable (ideally rechargeable) bass amp to be used with group jams (ukulele) and also best input into iOS for recording? I bought one of the Carlo Robelli models from Sam Ash for $81 and I had another ukulele bass player check it out this weekend. Other than a missing back panel to change strings, intonation seemed to be equal with his Kala U-Basses (his words, not mine) and sounded awfully good on his amplifier (I think he does these gigs with a Boss).
    For rehearsal with my group and small gigs I use a Phil Jones Double Four with an external laptop battery they recommend, very small and great bass sound. For hospital gigs roaming from room to room where we can't put down anything, I use a Blackstar Fly 3 Bass rig with shoulder strap I added, which I also use at home on my desk for practice. For bigger gigs I use a Carvin MB15 200w combo amp, and when I need even more punch, like outdoors, I add a Carvin 115MBE external speaker cabinet to make the amp 250w, and to top that off, I put together a high capacity 25Ah lithium motorcycle battery and inverter. That's a kick butt rig.

    I also use a Sony DWZ B30GB wireless system that has a DI out on the receiver, which I use when there's a full P/A system, so I don't even bring an amp. For iOS and Mac recording, I have an iRig HD that includes cables for both devices.


    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos
    Last edited by kohanmike; 08-23-2018 at 11:25 AM.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2013
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    After spending some time on YouTube, I think I prefer the sound of the solid bodies over the acoustic models. Might prefer the sound of the Thunder Reds strings over Pahoehoe.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
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    Had an informative trip to Guitar Center and Sam Ash this morning where I got to sample the following basses:
    -Carlo Robelli UKB 325 21" w/ Thundergut- $100
    -Kala Journeyman 21" w/ Thunderguts -$300
    -Kala Exotic Mahogany 21" w/ Pahoehoe -$400
    -Ibanez GSRM20 28.5" w/ steel roundwounds(?) - $180
    -Ibanez PNB14E 25" w/ D'dario phosphor bronze -$250
    -Taylor GS Mini-e 23.5" w/ D'dario custom light -$700

    These are all acoustic except the GSRM20 but I did not care for the weight and length of even that one. That kinda throws out all the traditional "short scale" electrics out there for me.

    Of the 3 U-Bass models, I definitely like the feel of the Pahoehoe strings better than the Thunderguts, but I wasn't too wild about those either. The acoustic sound wasn't worth splitting hairs over - they are all about the same and all "not worth paying for" if that makes sense. Plugged in, I think the Pahoehoe would be useable but as I said above, I think I'd rather just have a solid body.

    Of the two traditional acoustics, I liked the Taylor Mini a bit better than the Ibanaz but not 3x the cost better. The unplugged sound was better than the ubass models but even here, that isn't what you're really paying for, so I kinda don't see the point. The 23.5" scale on the Taylor was not that bad though for single note playing. With flatwounds, this would probably make a really nice player.

    So I think I've eliminated all but solid body ubass or solid body with flatwound strings. And of course I haven't seen either of those in person. The search continues....

    After more googling, this is probably closest so far to what I'm after, but I probably want fretted:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rONbWuRmDL8
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 08-25-2018 at 09:13 AM.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

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