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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. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Legitimacy is in the hands of the player.
    If you can make it work at the gig then it's legit.
    If not then you're not.
    chadds and bbh like this.
  2. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Well said sir.
    chadds likes this.
  3. FollowMeDown


    Feb 8, 2019
    Wow I wish I could play like that. I've briefly played a u-bass and my first thought was how much I didn't like the very sloppy feel of the strings at all. but the sound and idea is so interesting that I want to get more used to one and give it a fair chance before I really decide about them.

    She doesn't appear to be using the standard "rubbery/sloppy" strings (at least all the ones I've seen are black). I'm guessing the strings she is using are significantly firmer/higher tension which enables her to be so articulate on a U-bass. I'd be surprised if anyone could play like that with the stock rubbery strings that were on the one I played.

    It does sound surprisingly like a double bass especially for such a small instrument, but isn't that down to her technique as much as the instrument itself? It seems to me like the tone could only ever be a fairly superficial approximation of the woody goodness that you almost automatically get with a double bass.

    Legitimacy is probably like nearly every other question about music, really it just comes down to an individual taste thing, so whatever floats your goat dude.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  4. StatesideRambler


    Jul 1, 2015
    What he said. It seems that this thread’s discussion was held [offline, of course] many years ago with the instrument in question being the harmonica.
  5. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    “What’s perfect pitch?” You know the punchline. :)

    The different types of strings available have different feels though they feel rubbery compared to EB strings.

    Some have far less tone than others. Some have less notes available on the string length.
    Some have the thud and maybe that’s all you want.
    Some are very musical.
    Some players are getting that good tone out of their amp eq rather than the strings or the bass(which may not have any eq).
    If you’re interested try some sets. Hit me I can wax on as I’ve tried them all.
    I’ve played and still gig regularly on Ashborys since they were first offered.
    4 Out of 5 likes this.
  6. RedVee


    Dec 24, 2014
    Do people feel differently about the solid body u bass vs the hollow body?

    The solid, or an Ashbory, wold be a cool travel Bass I think. With a pedal and headphones anyway.
  7. I tried a Kala U bass at a local shop. I liked the tone but I wouldn't buy one of those basses, at least right now.
    I've recently seen on YouTube a beautiful travel/uku bass which looked incredibly good (and costs a fortune I guess). When the guy started to play it I realized that it was a 4 string guitar, not a bass. It was tuned one octave up by default.
    That would be useless for me.
  8. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    TBH, I prefer the most "solid" ones (particularly the Warwick StarBass, I've used both fretted and fretless -borrowed- and they're simply every other semi-hollow I've played or recorded). I only own a crappy Epi Viola, still my #1 tool for the (rare) acoustic gigs. I've recorded Hofners, a cople Jack Casady basses and some Ibanez semihollow (can't rember the name), all of them WAY less of a hassle than recording an ABG (cleaner, more responsive, a much more consistent signal, much less post tweaking needed, hollow/semihollow with magnetic pickups simply record better than acoustics -or piezos in general- while having enough of the "acoustic" tone vibe to be viable).
  9. Quick derail:

    Saw Soul Coughing open for Fishbone, had no idea who they were. They opened with Zoom Zip and they were one of my favorite bands before they end of the first bar.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  10. I voted sometimes. Because sometimes they are just a gimmick. But that's the use and not the instrument. I got to spend some time on the original Guild Ashbory and thought the amplified tone was great and there was a lot of value in the idea.

    I'm not a fan of using the uke form factor and think that can be improved. So....

    I'm going a different way in the bass/uke crossover. Here's test #1, a 22" scale BEADG piccolo (currently strung EADGC). Strat neck pickup, 5 piezos under the bridge, Jaguar body and classical headstock to retain familiarity. 1/4"thick top so it has some acoustic volume. It's noticeably louder than a solidbody, enough to hear on the couch but will need to be plugged in anywhere else.

    It's getting a better bridge, finish up the electronics, a back of some kind. Should be done soon.

    IMG_1770. IMG_1769. IMG_1771.
    Duffer1 and vvvmmm like this.
  11. Ha, just named it :)

    The Pukelo bass.
    fretlessguy likes this.
  12. JCobbs


    Oct 18, 2018
    I play folk acoustic with my wife and we swap around instruments a lot, so we carry anywhere from 4-7 instruments to a gig for the two of us. (2 guitars, 2 dulcimers, violin, octave mando, u-bass). Plus PA if there's no house sound. I downsized from a Taylor Mini bass to an Ortega Lizzy and love it. Has a great pickup and pre and sounds like an upright plugged in, but it weighs almost nothing and hides in a corner until I need it. I have a solid-body if I ever need one, but it's been a couple of years since it's been plugged in. Of course it's not for every style of music, but neither is any other instrument.
    TrustRod and Duffer1 like this.
  13. Duffer1


    Jun 23, 2016
    Been disappointed by the acoustic volume and tone so have been working a resonator version
    TrustRod, vvvmmm and bassrique like this.
  14. JCobbs


    Oct 18, 2018
    That's cool...
  15. Please post updates as you develop your great idea.
  16. "To be legit, you must commit." - me, just now

    It's all in the presentation. If you choose to commit to a ukulele-style bass, enhancing its capabilities, it will be accepted as such. If you choose to play it in a humorous manner, that will be the projected image.
    RedVee and TrustRod like this.
  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    So we shouldn't do a Tiptoe Through The Tulips tribute with it? ;)
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Curious, what do the rubber bands do?
  19. Cobbyco


    May 27, 2017
    I always go back and watch this if I ever doubt my U bass! Problem is it then makes me doubt my ability

  20. Ray James

    Ray James

    Aug 25, 2014
    I have the standard mahogany Kala U-Bass. I think it’s a great instrument and I reckon it would be better for Jazz or acoustic stuff than a bass guitar. I also have a MIA Precision and a MIA Jazz - yes for Rock and Soul

    The strange thing is that playing a bass guitar I would choose 1 Fingers 2 Pick 3 Thumb. For the U-bass it’s 1 Thumb 2 Pick 3 Fingers. The thumb gives it a different dimension - a really deep thump
    RedVee likes this.

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