My Ongoing Bass Uke Saga (can't sleep)

KohanMike

Los Angeles, Beverly Grove West
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I just decided to make more changes to my bass uke collection while I can't sleep tonight, but let me go back to the very beginning. (I'm posting in Uke Talk for those of you who haven't seen my other posts.)

In mid 2014 I started playing bass uke with my uke group a year after starting to play ukulele, which was almost 50 years after I started playing guitar in 1965 (which I gave up once I took up the uke). Since playing bass uke, I accumulated and customized 31 bass ukes/mini bass guitars from 21" to 24.5" scale because in my retirement, I wanted to keep occupied and my creative juices flowing.

Then a couple of months ago with nerve damage done to my neck from radiation treatments for cancer in 1973 (Hodgkins Disease), and that I wanted to simplify my string choice to Kala/Galli flatwound nylon core only, I decided to let go of all but eight of my 21" piezo pickup bass ukes; two Hadean Hofner violin style, a custom acoustic gypsy jazz style, and five solid body bass ukes.

Of course, with my creative juices flowing, I bought another Hadean Hofner violin and another solid body, put on hold for later elaborate modifications from the mockup drawings I made. But in the last couple of jams with my group, I was having difficulty playing the solid body upper frets, 9,10,11,12, but did not have a problem on the violin style or custom gypsy jazz because the bodies are little longer.

That got me thinking while not sleeping tonight, that I'm going to give up the six solid bodies (Craig's List local pickup in Los Angeles, shipping is too problematic now) and only use the three Hadean violin style and the custom gypsy jazz, doing a much simpler mod of the third violin style (no paint job, just use chrome hardware, chrome pickguard and truss rod cover).

So there's my saga that I wrote while I couldn't sleep tonight (it's 3:17am Pacific time).

Bass Collection 4.jpg

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
4 tenor thinline cutaway ukes, 4 thinline acoustic bass ukes, 6 solid body bass ukes
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member Cali Rose & The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 
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I just decided to make more changes to my bass uke collection while I can't sleep tonight, but let me go back to the very beginning. (I'm posting in Uke Talk for those of you who haven't seen my other posts.)

In mid 2014 I started playing bass uke with my uke group a year after starting to play ukulele, which was almost 50 years after I started playing guitar in 1965 (which I gave up once I took up the uke). Since playing bass uke, I accumulated and customized 31 bass ukes/mini bass guitars from 21" to 24.5" scale because in my retirement, I wanted to keep occupied and my creative juices flowing.

Then a couple of months ago with nerve damage done to my neck from radiation treatments for cancer in 1973 (Hodgkins Disease), and that I wanted to simplify my string choice to Kala/Galli flatwound nylon core only, I decided to let go of all but eight of my 21" piezo pickup bass ukes; two Hadean Hofner violin style, a custom acoustic gypsy jazz style, and five solid body bass ukes.

Of course, with my creative juices flowing, I bought another Hadean Hofner violin and another solid body, put on hold for later elaborate modifications from the mockup drawings I made. But in the last couple of jams with my group, I was having difficulty playing the solid body upper frets, 9,10,11,12, but did not have a problem on the violin style or custom gypsy jazz because the bodies are little longer.

That got me thinking while not sleeping tonight, that I'm going to give up the six solid bodies (Craig's List local pickup in Los Angeles, shipping is too problematic now) and only use the three Hadean violin style and the custom gypsy jazz, doing a much simpler mod of the third violin style (no paint job, just use chrome hardware, chrome pickguard and truss rod cover).

So there's my saga that I wrote while I couldn't sleep tonight (it's 3:17am Pacific time).

View attachment 146238

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
4 tenor thinline cutaway ukes, 4 thinline acoustic bass ukes, 6 solid body bass ukes
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member Cali Rose & The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
Onward and upward! The journey continues.
 
Get some rest. Take a nice nap. You may want to keep a couple of your solid body basses.

You like to experiment, so I'll throw this idea out for you. There are stands that hold a guitar in-place for playing on stage. You might want to see how this might benefit your enjoyment.
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I couldn't leave well enough alone and bought two more Hadean violin bass ukes, a black one that's going to be painted metallic green and add stick-on ƒ holes, and a sunburst that's going to be painted Olympic white with tortoise pickguard and metal ends to look like a Fender Jaguar bass.Green & Jaguar bass ukes.jpg
 
Get some rest. Take a nice nap. You may want to keep a couple of your solid body basses. You like to experiment, so I'll throw this idea out for you. There are stands that hold a guitar in-place for playing on stage. You might want to see how this might benefit your enjoyment.
I never stand when I play, can't look up at the audience with my neck problem, sitting is it for me. I've checked out that stand before, it forces me to lean forward to play.
 
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Physical therapy and strengthening exercises might help with your playing woes......plus it will keep you occupied and you'll buy fewer instruments.....we'll maybe a few less or more as one desires.....
I do exercise, stretch and such, but according to my neurologist, I have permanent nerve damage, until they come up with repair of spinal chord injuries, I have to do the best I can. I don't have any qualms about letting go of those bass ukes, the violin style works for me, so I'm keeping my creative juices flowing with those.
 
I so enjoy living through you vicariously Mike. I love your designs. I am so close to dipping my toes into bass uke or acoustic bass. Torn between the two. No way that I will be able to get along with the "tubby" bass uke strings, they will have to be wound.
Appreciate your love for bass ukuleles. 🎶
 
Mike, it's always interesting to read about how you deal with your challenges. You're an inspiration! You must be the most creative bass designer I've ever come across. Have you considered doing it for customers?
I've been thinking about a U Bass for myself, but I can't handle the big fat necks most of them have. I need one with a neck more ukulele like. And it has to be a hollow body, I don't want a weight hanging around my neck. I've had neck, shoulder and left hand injuries.
 
Mike, it's always interesting to read about how you deal with your challenges. You're an inspiration! You must be the most creative bass designer I've ever come across. Have you considered doing it for customers? I've been thinking about a U Bass for myself, but I can't handle the big fat necks most of them have. I need one with a neck more ukulele like. And it has to be a hollow body, I don't want a weight hanging around my neck. I've had neck, shoulder and left hand injuries.
Thanks very much Nickie. I've been retired for over 10 years and very much enjoy it, wouldn't even consider going into business because I now make plenty of money after my twin and younger brothers inherited the 3 apartment buildings our parents owned, and I managed for years and live in. But anyone can copy my designs if they want to follow my lead.

If you're interested in spending the money and waiting a few months, my builder Bruce Wei has made me some excellent bass ukes, exactly to my specs, including narrower necks. Before covid, he charged $850 including express shipping, but after covid, it's gone up to $1200. One of the reasons I decided to modify these Hadean bass ukes instead, saves about $700 each.
 
I couldn't leave well enough alone and bought two more Hadean violin bass ukes

I was hoping to relieve you of one of your older ones, but my trip to LA didn't go as planned... a death in the family derailed all of our holiday plans...

Enjoy those new basses... maybe I can pick up one of your older ones when I'm down there in February if there are still any left...
 
I was hoping to relieve you of one of your older ones, but my trip to LA didn't go as planned... a death in the family derailed all of our holiday plans...

Enjoy those new basses... maybe I can pick up one of your older ones when I'm down there in February if there are still any left...
Condolences. Truly sorry for your loss.
 
I was hoping to relieve you of one of your older ones, but my trip to LA didn't go as planned... a death in the family derailed all of our holiday plans...

Enjoy those new basses... maybe I can pick up one of your older ones when I'm down there in February if there are still any left...
Heartfelt condolences to you and the family. I sold two very quickly, the third is going much slower, so February might work out.
 
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