Kala UBass Megathread, Part 7

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by olitoon, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. OK, I can jam one of them in there if I put the headstock in first and push the body in. But it is really, really tight. I'm pretty sure the tuners would eventually be damaged if I left in there. Or did this too often.

    The other one just doesn't fit at all.
  2. UbassDanno


    Nov 9, 2018
    Sun City, AZ
    No, a Rumbler, an Exotic Mahogany, an all Acacia and a solid spruce top.
  3. 93tilInfinity


    Feb 27, 2021
    Hoping that the U Bass crew here can help me out with some questions. I have owned a 1st generation U Bass for over 10 years but didn't play it very much due to the fact that I slide up the neck a lot and would end up with flat notes when playing the original pahoehoe strings (those strings were all that existed back when I got the bass).

    I recently learned about the Gallistrings flatwounds and splurged on a set, but the tension is too much for the neck on my bass (this is an older version, before they had truss rods or an on-board EQ), which gave me ridiculously high action and terrible intonation.

    I'd be interested to know:

    (1) Do all of the low-tension synthetic/rubber strings currently available on the market have the same issue of going flat when sliding, as I've experienced with the pahoehoe strings?

    (2) As an alternative, if I got a new Journeyman U Bass (which is factory set up for roundwound strings) and just put the Gallistrings flats on there, would the action and intonation be such that I wouldn't need to get a luthier involved? Does the Journeyman have a truss rod? If so, think this may in fact be the better choice than going down an expensive string comp rabbithole on my now somewhat outdated instrument.

    Thanks for any advice or ideas!
  4. UbassDanno


    Nov 9, 2018
    Sun City, AZ
    I think your old Kala should have a truss rod, just look inside the sound hole, toward the neck and see if there's an allen head screw, that's it. I love my old Kala fretless solid spruce top.

    For flatwounds to work well, you need to lower the action to accommodate. Adjust the nut and lower the saddle, It should work fine.

    The new Journeyman, if it comes with roundwounds, would work great for flatwounds and pretty sure it has a truss rod. It would come already setup for the higher tension.
  5. 93tilInfinity


    Feb 27, 2021
    Thanks for your input! Unfortunately, no truss rod, so I am thinking I may need to go down the route of a new instrument that can handle the added tension. Unless any of the other synthetic strings slide with better intonation that the pahoehoes...?
  6. UbassDanno


    Nov 9, 2018
    Sun City, AZ
    I have Pahoehoes on my fretless and it slides fine. Is the intonation ok if you just fret? I think the problem is mostly your setup.
  7. 93tilInfinity


    Feb 27, 2021
    Sorry, I should have been more specific. I'm playing a fretted model. With the old pahoehoe strings, the fretted intonation was good—the issue was that, when doing long slides up the neck, the string would slacken between the fret and bridge, so I would be off by a semitone when reaching the high fret. With the abundance of new string types available now, I was hoping that maybe one of the other string models would have addressed this issue with less malleable strings (the Thunder Reds, perhaps?).
  8. Hiya.

    The Journeyman does have a truss rod. If you buy a new Journeyman with roundwound strings and you want to switch to flats, you will either have to be able to tweek the rod and do some work on the nut yourself or bring it to a luthier. It won't just be a question of changing the strings.

    My opinion is that you should at least check out a Journeyman or something like that with rw strings. You are a going to see, hear and feel a helluva difference between that and your rubber strings. In other words, flats may not be necessary. For me, this is what I found. And I'm not alone on this. However, it is true that others did decide to make the jump to flats, even after having the rw.
    bpmben likes this.
  9. Alib8


    Aug 16, 2014
    Hi all, looking for some input on an idea.

    So I recently bought a second hand fretless UBass (has a truss rod), it has the standard thick rubber strings on it. I am planning to do some experimentation by putting on some black tapewound bass guitar strings on it (metal core, D'Addario ETB92 set), will put large rubber washers on ball ends and string through the body, and cut down the strings by securing the cut ends with heat shrink tube.

    As it's fretless I don't have any intonation concerns, the strings seem flexible enough (it's basically a thinner roundwound inside the tape), feels like they would have similar tension to rubber strings (based on downtuning my bass guitar with same strings to bring to UBass scale/tension). Current nut and bridge grooves will be larger than the new strings but looks like the string probably will sit at the bottom alright.

    Is there anything I'm missing or does this sound like a good idea? Also planning to start with the E string first, wondering if I should be concerned with putting the rubber E string back on if this does not work - do these rubber strings survive taking off and putting on alright?

    Of course will share results with pics and video if I'm successful :)
  10. UbassDanno


    Nov 9, 2018
    Sun City, AZ
    There are flatwounds made for the Ubass, they will work much better. There are also tapewounds, but I think they're roundwounds. You'll also need to lower the action, going from poly strings to metal wound. You should be able to reinstall the poly strings. Search youtube for a video to assist you. The bass guitar strings will be too floppy.

    Ukulele Bass

    Kala Flatwound 4-String Set by Gallistrings - Kala Brand Music Co.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  11. murmur70


    May 3, 2017
    My concern would be that even though it has a truss rod, it may not be designed to handle the tension that would be required to bring standard bass strings to pitch. If you don't like the feel of rubber strings, they do make flatwounds that are metal wrapped around a rubber core that would feel more "normal."
  12. MasterMonkeyMan

    MasterMonkeyMan Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Once again I find these to be a perfect match for my Journeyman. They my be worth a look for you.
    They take a bit to stretch in but since they have they stay put, good intonation and sound superb.
  13. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    Awhile back I posted of problems with my kala journeyman -- I bought a case so I could ship it back. I just got an email from them declaring my bass unrepairable, and they are sending a replacement. Hooray for customer service!
  14. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I just got a Journeyman. It's OK, but not very loud acoustically. Plan had been to use it for jams instead of hauling the doghouse around. Don't think it's going to cut it without an amp, which makes it kinda pointless.
    Used to have a regular UBass with the round sound hole instead of the f-holes. In my head, I remember it was louder. Anyone compared the two form factors? Think a Rumbler or one of the other models would be better?
  15. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    None of my bass ukes can be used acoustically, the all need amplification. I have battery operated amps, a Blackstar Fly3 Bass Duo for small intimate playing, a Phil Jones Double Four for rehearsals with 35 other uke players and smaller gigs, and a Carvin MB15 Combo D amp 200/250w, 15" speaker for larger indoor gigs, and add a matching 115MBE external box to make 250w for outdoor gigs.
  16. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Yeah, definitely not loud enough. As it ours the upright is hard enough to be heard acoustically when other instruments are not acoustic or not being sensitive to blend, so the u bass has no chance there.
  17. Physics can be a bitch.
  18. MuthaFunk

    MuthaFunk Supporting Member

    May 8, 2007
    GTA Ontario Canada
    I haven't searched this entire thread yet but has anyone noted a solution to stringing thunderguts through a solid body UBass? The knots are far too big to slip into the body holes down at the bridge. It would be really uncomforable to have all the knots against your body.

    I see the Road Toads have nice little yellow heat shrinked bushings.... Maybe I can cut one open and see what they did.

    It's for this bass.

  19. UbassDanno


    Nov 9, 2018
    Sun City, AZ
    Road Toad Pahoehoes are better than thunderguts, they're not sticky for one thing.
    kohanmike likes this.
  20. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    From the first day I used Thundergut strings, I knew I would change them because of how sticky they are. I went to Pahoehoe for a long time, but in humid conditions, they also get sticky, so with the availability of the Kala/Galli flatwound steel with nylon core 20.5" and 23" scale, I'm now going with those. I don't know if they make a 5 string set.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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