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Thread: Gold Tone Microbass - REVIEW

  1. #1
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    Default Gold Tone Microbass - REVIEW

    I've been playing my new Microbass for a couple of weeks now,so here's my opinion of it. A friend has a Kala Ubass Hutch Hutchinson which I have played a lot in the last year,so I have something to compare it to.
    This bass was almost in tune when it arrived from the USA in the post !!
    (couldn't find one in Australia).
    Body: Larger/louder/warmer sounding than Ubass and more comfortable sitting down.
    Neck:Nice profile and similar feeling to Ubass,but the 3" longer scale makes a massive difference to to the playability.The extra tension and upper fret access (mine is the fretted version) leaves Ubass in the dust IMHO.If you play full scale bass,the transition is much more painless.The extra tension also seems to add a lot more 'punch'to the tone.The tuners look to be the same as Ubass.
    Electronics:This appears to have the usual generic Chinese preamp that seem to be on most cheap ukes,so I wasn't expecting much.The bridge pickup looks similar to the Shadow unit on some Kala's, but Gold Tone assured me that it is a proprietary device made just for the Microbass.Whatever, this sounds great through a Roland bass cube
    and everything else I tried.
    Stringsamn these Aquila Thundergut strings had a great feel for about a day, but after that my fingers couldn't slide on them any more without burning my fingertips.Must be some sort of reaction,but I don't have the same problem with the Ubass pahoehoe's.
    Personally, I like this way better than the Ubass and when I sort the string issue out, it will be perfect for my needs.
    Last edited by frawley; 05-17-2014 at 10:22 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Further to the review,I have tracked down some La Bella MB23-T strings from bassstringsonline, so check back in a couple of weeks and I will give my opinion of them.I believe there may be intonation problems,which may be why they are not freely available.

  3. #3
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    My La Bella strings arrived pronto,but I am reluctant to install them as they have a steel core!!! (didn't find out 'til I opened the packet).I am sure they will have way more tension than the rubber strings,plus they are a lot thinner than the originals (not a good combo with a non-adjustable bridge). La Bella assure me they are OK on their in-house microbass,but it just seems way too light/delicate to subject it to any more tension (not sure how effective the truss rod is). Maybe I'll try some Pahoehoes.
    Any advice from fellow Microbass players would be welcome

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by frawley View Post
    This bass was almost in tune when it arrived from the USA in the post !!
    Where did you buy it from?

  5. #5

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    The Microbass is a short scale acoustic/electric bass so it's really a different animal from the UBass. If you are used to a full scale bass, it would certainly be less of a transition than the UBass. I can see a lot of advantages to the longer scale. I have an Ibanez Mikro bass (solid body) which has the same scale as your Gold tone. However, I've grown to love the UBass with all of its quirks.

  6. #6
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    bought it on Ebay,mimsukes.
    By the way,my temporary solution to the 'sticky string' problem is to use Avon 'silicone glove' protective hand cream (works quite well).I guess any silicone hand cream will do,on the fingers and a light smear on the strings.I imagine the strings will need regular cleaning to prevent that cruddy silicone buildup

  7. #7
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    I'm surprised that an instrument was shipped anywhere, let alone to the other side of the world, with the strings tensioned. Must have been an oversight I guess.

  8. #8

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    This is way off-topic - but it's a myth that you need to de-tension the strings to ship a stringed instrument. It really depends on the instrument. I've been at a music store when new ukes have been taken out of the carton, and some vendors tune them before they ship. Surprisingly, they arrive almost perfectly in tune in some cases. Its a pretty common practice to de-tune by a half step but not always. I really think it depends on the instrument. If you've got something with a lot of strings or a lot of steel strings I can see where it would matter, maybe. But for most modern day ukes and guitars I think it is just a myth.

  9. #9
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    The reason stringed instruments are detuned is in case they are dropped or are impacted in some other way. If an instrument takes a heavy knock when detuned, let's say just shy of what it would take to break the glue at the neck joint where it joins the body, having the strings at tension would increase the pressure on that joint, leading to structural damage.

  10. #10
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    The next instalment: I have put on a set of Pahoehoes (made for 23" scale) with mixed results.These things don't fit on 'straight out of the packet' ,as I had to enlarge the D&G string bridge holes slightly and bore the D string machine head out to 5/32 to fit the strings in.The weird part is that the pahoehoes actually stretch more than the factory Aquilas and end up thinner,throwing the intonation (mainly on the G string) out.The E,A & D strings are passable,but don't venture past the 9th fret on the G string.As another experiment,I put a La Bella E string on (thinner again) and the intonation was out by nearly a semitone.The Pahoehoes have a better / slicker feel,but the intonation (without serious bridge work) is a compromise unless you don't play at the 'dusty end' of the fretboard. Another thing, do not attempt this if you have had more than one glass of wine.These things are slippery and you have to stretch them to pitch before you insert them into the machine head.I will keep the Pahoehoes on for now,but not sure what to do in the long term.
    My advice,get used to the Aquilas and silicone hand cream if you don't want any hassels

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