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Are bass ukuleles "legit"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassrique, Jun 9, 2019.

Are bass ukuleles "legit"?

Poll closed Sunday at 12:06 PM.
  1. Yes

    179 vote(s)
  2. No

    43 vote(s)
  3. Sometimes

    40 vote(s)
  4. Other

    10 vote(s)
  1. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum

    (Mind you, I get the feeling she could do that with an empty tissue box, a ruler, and a couple of elastic bands)
    obimark and Hans Gruber like this.
  2. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    I've always wanted an Ashbory, and I'm aware the uke bass could probably do the same thing, but I can't bring myself to do it.
  3. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I MUCH prefer an Ashbory!
    chadds likes this.
  4. I hated the rubbery strings but with normal strings they might be ok, but not for me really. It didn’t offer anything that I wanted. Definitely a legitimate instrument though.
  5. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002

    i first read that as "are brass ukuleles legit"

    I've seen some youtube videos that sound great with these.

    I've tried one (forget the manufacturer but it's the well known one), and was less than impressed.
  6. seilerbird


    Apr 12, 2012
    Any person who has never played a ubass immediately mentions the rubbery strings. And they are shocking at first. But after a few days you learn the proper technique and the rubbery feeling disappears and it feels like you are playing a normal bass. After playing one for a few years it would be hard to return to a full size bass. I just love my ubass way too much.
    ak56, obimark and chadds like this.
  7. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I've had one for 2.5 years. I preferred the rubber strings for recording (way more of that double bass tone) but you have to be careful with pitch, if you dig in too hard note pitch goes up easily (moreso on lower strings), not so much with wound strings (but that's about the only advantage, they're quiet and don't sound as good and "acoustic", of course). If an ABG can't seriously be played acoustically with just a guitar, well, imagine the U-bass. Which leads us to my final realization, if I have to use an amp I much prefer a hollow/semi-hollow electric bass (either fretted or fretless) EVERY TIME to any U-bass or ABG. So no more acoustic basses for me, the only serious/usable thing if you want unamplified bass is an upright. No more throwing money away on things only suitable for sofa play (a u-bass excells at this, until someone with the wakest of ukeleles sits beside and renders you virtually silent). Exactly as with the ABGs I've had it was awaste of money I won't repeat. Still some people love u-basses and do great stuff with them, to each their own.
  8. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'd agree that playing a ubass acoustically without being plugged in is only slightly more audible than playing an electric bass without being plugged in.

    But when plugged in, with the rubbery strings, and especially fretless, a uBass can sound more like a plugged in double bass than anything else I've heared.

    Acoustically there is just nothing like a double bass.
    ak56 likes this.
  9. Macch5


    Nov 8, 2014
    Hudson Valley
    I originally got mine(Goldtone Microbass 35)because I was playin a weekly restaurant gig and there was very little room for the band. I use it a lot now. I love the sound and it’s fun to play. The strings can take a little while to get used to but sound huge. I’ve played it on a bunch of different gigs and the convenience of having such a small instrument has helped me out a few times.
  10. danster


    Jul 13, 2007
    Connecticut, USA
    On a cruise recently, one of the house lounge type bands bassist used a U Bass. They did 70's-80's R and B. That Bass sounded good. I don't know if it still had the rubbery strings, but he got a great upright tone when needed.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    The system they employ is licensed from Ashbory, I was told.So; Yes, a very similar thing but with a body and a whole lot less Mojo than the 'original'. ;)
    RedVee likes this.
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I gig my bubinga Kala U-Bass with my friend's ukulele group, Uke66, on a regular basis:
    Uke 66
    Legit? Well...his song "Hedgehog Café" won 1st place in the Solo/Open Division, Best Original Song, 8th annual International Ukulele Contest in Honolulu, Hawaii this year. His song will be played daily for one year on Hawaiian radio. He was the only "mainland" USA entrant to make it to the finals, and was recognized on the floor of Congress by our Representative. Yes, I am quite proud of him, as he not only has his group, but with his wife, who also plays, also has a ukulele club in Springfield, MO, and is the faculty advisor to our University's DUkes group (Drury University Ukuleles), and I also occasionally accompany both of those groups as well. We are also active in the Springfield Sister Cities organization, and we have all (in separate groups) played in Japan and in Mexico. I don't think it can get any more "legit" than that!
    DUkes: Drury University's Ukulele Club
    The Queen City Ukulele Club
    Springfield Sister Cities (with videos)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    RedVee, murmur70 and bassrique like this.
  13. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    It’s a stigma thing. A u bass is a valid musical instrument. It takes years to master, it is not limited in comparison to other 4 string basses, it’s a great little bass. Once you get past “yes, but it’s so tiny”, the only limitation is whether it’s voicing and characteristics lend itself to a particular arrangement. It’s most comfortable wheelhouse is going to be slotted in with an upright-friendly situation. Obviously it would work in a ukulele ensemble. Bluegrass would probably work, etc. So, setting small instrument prejudices aside, I do have one question; what is the best u-bass for metal?...
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    ThinCrappyTone, vvvmmm and bassrique like this.
  14. If you can use it to make music, it's legit. Simple as that. Next question.
    fretlessguy, TrustRod and bassrique like this.
  15. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    Then we shouldn't be so far from just making it look likess like a ukelele and more like whatever the hell an Ashbory looked like. Get on it, Kala, and price it cheap enough to reflect on the fact it's a plank of wood and I'm on it.
    bassrique likes this.
  16. I remember whwn those first came out and I was intrigued. They look weird though. I procrastonated because of that. Do they sound better than a UBass? I dont know.

    What semi-hollow basses do you like?

    Someone asked what is the best or at least a good U bass to start with. My experiment is a Hadrian fretless made from "Zebra Wood" (?). It's priced way below $200 shipped. I am tweaking the EQ bit so far so good. I have a lot to learn. I will have the opportunity as I can practice with this UBass virtually everywhere I go outside of a funeral. And even then....
  17. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    adj. Played just outside the pocket, but sounding good
  18. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I like your tone, which strings do you have on it?
  19. BucketOfFish


    Mar 17, 2014
    Wrong! It's rumored that there is a valid birth certificate in Hawaii. :D
    Liam Wald likes this.
  20. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Metal wound. Very stiff strings. Didn’t work on my ubass. I’d need a nut cut for them, so it sits apart and unused. Gotta go back to the polyurethane standards. They are weird but you get used to them.

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