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Thread: NBD: Aklot Bass Ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    500

    Default NBD: Aklot Bass Ukulele

    Mini Aklot review (ok. maybe not so mini. I'm a rambler. TLDR version: Looks good. Feels good. Plays easily. Bad pickup. Bummer.

    After discussing fretless U-Basses with some folks on Facebook last week I insomnia-bought one of the Aklot uke bases (https://www.amazon.com/Electric-Blackwood-Prof…/…/B07Z4FVCL4 ). I admit it: I'm a sucker for 20% off coupons at O'dark thirty.

    The pictures looked good. The description was pretty wonky (the truss rod is not primarily for adjusting the action, and the point of fretless is not to save your fingers from scratches #pettynitpick). In my head I mixed up Aklot & Enya - the write up and pictures looked very Enya-is, and I have a pretty good impression of Enya. The next day I realized my mistake. There are a lot worse morning afters.

    Today a giant box arrived on my doorstep. Seriously giant: 22"x36"x15". Inside was a uke-size box wrapped in a wisp of craft paper. No other padding. Not impressive. No idea if that's Aklot's fault of Amazon's.
    Aklot - Big Box.jpg


    In the small box things looked better: the Ubass was packed in a pretty solid looking foam case along with a strap and a pair of batteries. I didn't actually pull the case of the box, but it looked like it would provide some protection. It's much better than the typical cheap-uke dustcover. So far all pretty good, and no obvious damage from being loose packed in the giant box.

    The bass itself looks pretty decent. It's very pretty: better than in the pictures, which were pretty good. I didn't give a thorough examination, but no obvious flaws jumped out at me. The fretboard looked and felt like a photographic laminate rather than wood or epoxy. Not my favorite, but not a real problem. No frets, so obviously no problems with them.

    AKLOT - Da Uke.jpg

    No surprise: the thunder guts took quite a bit to tune up to pitch, and I had to touch up a few times while giving it a test run. This is what I expect from fresh thunder guts.

    Also as expected, there wasn't much volume played acoustically. According to my dB meter it registered just under 70 dB about a foot from the sound hole. For comparison, my baritone registers around 80 dB at the same distance.
    It's loud enough for acoustic practice at home, but not ideal. I doubt you'd get anywhere playing it unamplified with others. It'd be a good traveller: you could probably play it in a hotel room without bothering the neighbors.

    I walked a short trip around the circle of fifths and was pretty pleased - the sound and feel were pretty good. The thunderguts felt a lot better on the fretless than they do on my fretted solid-body uke bass. At acoustic volume I couldn't hear the pitch well enough to judge intonation, but on a fretless intonation's on me not the uke.

    Plugged in to my 12" practice amp it made a mighty boom. Rubber strings on a uke bass sound really cool and very different from an electric bass guitar. I'm a fan.

    Walking the same circle of 5ths sounded great on the D string, then up to the A string, and on the E string. And then I got to the G string. Where's the ka-boom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering ka-boom?

    As is unfortunately too typical with cheap uke basses, the pickup didn't pick up all of the strings evenly. Reseating the strings over the bridge didn't make any difference, and I couldn't see any way at the pickup without doing more disassembly than I'm willing to do.

    So the bottom line is that it's 3/4 great, but that remaining 1/4 means it's going to go back rather than going to uke group with me this week. Bummer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,933

    Default

    Too bad Arcy. I have a number of bass ukes, acoustic and solid body with the same pickup assembly, and they are hit and miss regarding volume balance. In a couple of cases it was the strings, in a couple of cases I returned it for a replacement, and a couple of times I took the suggestion of a thread to disassemble the pickup assembly and cut apart the plastic saddle so that each section is pressed onto the pickup underneath individually. I've also found sources for the pickup assembly and replaced them. In every case, it worked. But I understand being disappointed and returning it.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 13 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 37)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    500

    Default

    My solid-body had a similar problem on the D string, but it fixed pretty easily: I pulled the string off, pushed the saddle down to make sure it seated well, then reseated the string and all was well. I looked over various comments about splitting the saddle into pieces like you say, but I didn't need to do so and I never figured out how to actually get that saddle out of the bridge. This one looks pretty much the same, and I still can't figure out how to get it out safely, and I don't want to perform surgery on this one.

    Waiting for a replacement will be harder than waiting for this to arrive in the first place. I did really enjoy playing the fretless flooby strings!

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