U-Bass, round wound vs rubber // fretted vs fretless ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Arnar j, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. Arnar j

    Arnar j

    Dec 25, 2017
    Hi friends,

    Im lookin to buy a U-bass, i have tried a couple Kala U-bass rubber strings and love it (as a bassist).

    Id love some feedback and discussion about difference tastes and usage from the rubber vs round wound, also im wondering if it sounds better to have a fretless or fretted, i am specially interested in trying it fretless with round wound, i like the round wound (havent tried it)

    Any experience in live performance (and if videos available, great !) are well appreciated.

  2. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    I found the round wound nylon core to be so noisy not only from the wined, but even more so from farting against the frets. I suppose fretless would help, but I only use poly strings or also flatwound sometimes on my solid body.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I've played both and one thing to remember is that intonation gets more difficult as the scale length gets shorter on a fretless. Everything is closer together than on a full scale bass.
  4. Visgal


    Jan 28, 2018
    I have been playing U-Bass for around 18 months. It is a fretted spruce top and originally had Panahoe strings. I changed to Thundergut and then to Aquila Thunder Red. Each gave an improved performance through my Roland Street Cube EX. However, as I began playing at larger gig venues I found that I struggled for volume. Considered a new amp but also tried the Pyramid silver plated metal strings. That has solved the issue. The Pyramid seems to have around 4 times the volume ! Also a much cleaner sound on the E string and consistant volume across the 4 strings. When playing unamplified practice there is noise from the wire winding but it is not noticeable at all during performances. U-bas plus Pyramid strings is a real winner.
    danieledanny and Arnar j like this.
  5. Arnar j

    Arnar j

    Dec 25, 2017
    I recently baught a u bass mahagony exotic, but the intonation on the D and G is off when i play up the scale, did you have similar problem and a solution ? this is weird, i am using the origina rubber strings
  6. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    QC varies—check intonation before you buy.

    I love the rounds. But it depends on the sound you want.
  7. Arnar j

    Arnar j

    Dec 25, 2017
    What is QC ?
  8. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Kwality Kontrol.
  9. Arnar j

    Arnar j

    Dec 25, 2017
    Okei, i read a couple of things about the U-bass before i bought it but never a mention off intonation problem except for the fretless. I guess i was wrong :/

    The playing pleasure goes down cause the D and G string go out of tune as you play up the scale. I wonder if it varies much between the U-bassess.

    Anyone else havin this problem ?
  10. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Yes, quality control. I played 3 in the store. One had good intonation above the 10th fret on the G string. I bought that one. In the mega thread there is talk about this issue, which is why I didn't mail order. Setup can help.
  11. cavemanbass


    Nov 5, 2010
    The rubber strings are super fat - E string is like .180 so way fatter then even a low B. Since I position my left hand by feeling the frets under the strings, the rubber strings really messed up my ability to move around the fingerboard. Partly because of their enormous fatness, but also because the soft material kind of shapes itself around the frets and makes it that much harder to feel them. For someone else this might be a complete non-issue. For me, I'd have to go fretless if I was going to use the rubber strings.

    Putting a set of Kala metal strings was a huge relief! The E is still a hefty .110 but no problem feeling my way around the fingerboard any more.

    A Uke playing friend of mine compared my metal to his own rubber strings and preferred the sound of rubber since he was getting tons of finger noise from the metal strings (even through an amp). But, he's not a bass player and isn't used to careful / constant muting of strings that becomes totally natural for us bassists. When he heard me play the metal strings he preferred that sound over what he was getting with rubber strings. my 2c
  12. rericsawyer


    Dec 4, 2018
    I like the roundwounds on my solid body, playing with a group that includes a lot of pop or rock stuff. Some country. It tilts the sound more towards the standard bass guitar sound, more sustain, brighter attack, etc.

    I had committed to giving my old rumbler to someone. The other group I play with, a ukulele group, had a Christmas gig, and so I took it for the transfer.
    But we played a set that included a number of jazz style Christmas standards, and once again, I loved how much like an upright that thing could sound, particularly with the original strings.

    Well, a deals a deal, so I did the transfer. But I hated loosing THAT sound, like an upright playing jazz.

    And trying to justify just replacing it. But after meditating for a couple of days, I decided that if that sound is why I want the thing, I need to go all in. So today I ordered one of the solid mahogany hollow bodies in fretless. My FIRST fretless! I do have some apprehension.

    But as for the strings, it’s horses for courses. I probably enjoy playing the round wounds more. For things that are pretty aggressive, or blues based, that’s the sound and feel I want.

    But there is something about those fat rubber strings on the hollow body that gives you a sound to love on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
  13. danieledanny


    Nov 29, 2015
    i follow this topic,so there'snt any problems with round steel in a fretless ukubass?it's a good sustain and miaow?
  14. rericsawyer


    Dec 4, 2018
    As I said in an earlier reply, i like the sound of the rubber strings on my fretless hollow body (as a simulation of an upright), and the round wound on my solid body fretted.

    But I have heard on youtube a hint that Kala has some flats coming. I might be interested in trying a set of those on the fretless.
    danieledanny likes this.
  15. danieledanny


    Nov 29, 2015
    flat for ukubass? mm interesting......so i hope coming soon so i wish to try it