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RLizard - BS from Ortega ( Kala UBass alternative?)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ubassman, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. ubassman


    Jul 23, 2012
    Just wondering what experience people have of the RLizard from Ortega? - I am thinking that this could be an interesting alternative to look at than the Kala UBass which I love.

    The one big 'plus' apart from the styling ( which personally I really like), seems to be that there is on board volume and tone control (plus a tuner) on the Rlizard which I guess means that you don't need to mess with the amp set up on stage?

    .....so, anyone got any info? - can't seem to see any reviews to-date apart from in German!
    Heres the brief technical spec with some nice pics from the Ortega web site:-


    http://ortegaguitars.com/uploads/reviews/Testbericht_BP_RLIZARD_BS.pdf ( I typed in 'translate' into google and got their online translator ....managed to copy and paste the text from this into pdf review and got the gist of the review in English ;)
  2. ubassman


    Jul 23, 2012
    My RLizard-BS from Ortega arrived today- so here is a bit of a review.

    Beautifully made and once you have gotten over the slightly wierd sense of playing rubber strings the RLizard is seriously a lot of fun. On its own, the volume of the instrument is humble and is similar to playing an electric bass unplugged. I wouldnt think that there is much use for this instument acoustically in an ensemble as its volume is too soft and would be overwhelmed by other instruments that said, its great to take and play on your own or as a travel or practice bass. The instrument is supplied with a really nice hard case.

    The huge surpise waiting is when you plug it to an amp ....this is the point where you find yourself saying 'huh? cant be..? how can this little thing sounds so good and sound like a bass guitar / upright !!' The sound is completely unanticipated and the pickup is a real powerhouse - its just massive!

    The hugely valuable thing that seems to be unique to the RLizard is that it has a built in volume and tone control for the pickup . This means that you can control everything from your instrument rather than the amp head . Really useful for live playing and solos, fine adjustments, turning up, turning down, changing the dynamic sound . The range of the tone dial is good too and the pickup is excellent delivering a really rich full flavoured deep sound at one end of the scale to an brighter almost twangy 'pop n slap' sound at the other!. The volume gets staggeringly loud adn there is no need for a preamp with this pickup.

    There is also an inbuilt tuner too. Just press the button next to the volume dial and it acts as a mute switch, killing all the sound so you can tune up visually using the LED display without anyone knowing that you are tuning. Great if you chose to stick with the rubbery type strings that need easing in and the tuner has a green light display that tells you when you are bang in tune.

    Playability - superb. Really nice neck and feel and the action has been set well.

    1/. The ebony style nut at fret '0' has a couple of sharp edges. Very easy to round off with a bit of sand paper and a very small detail in the overall scheme of things.

    2/. The volume and tone button stick out to the side of the body which is fine until it comes to putting the instrument back into its case. Its a very 'snug' fit and my concern here is that the dials scrape and dig into the padded lining which has no recess pocket as you put the bass into place - cant be good for the dials - although it pretty easy to grab the side of the case to compress the foam as you slide it in.

    3/. The only issue is that there is bit of a fret buzz on the B note at the 9th fret right in the middle of where there is the inlaid lizard. If you get the chance to play an RLizard before you buy , I would check that there is no buzz in this area (or anywhere else). I have a theory that it may be the Lizard inlay that is causing the problem and I wouldnt be surprised to see this change in the future. I am in discussion with the suppliers who have been very helpful and I suspect that all the frets need is a little bit of tapping in to rectify the problem .

    All in all - despite the Bb buzz - I love this instrument! I will try to do a video review soon assuming that I dont have to send the RLizard back to the suppliers to rectify the fret buzz !! (Incidentally , reading through the Kala UBass Mega Post there are similar reported issues with fret buzz - which perhaps seems to be an issue with some of these small Bass Ukeleles - hopefully Ortega and Kala will address this as they continue to refine their products).

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