Ultra Portable Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rimas, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Recently I've been thinking about picking up either a ukulele or mandolin, both having four strings and being a whole lot smaller than a bass. I would most likely tune the instrument EADG, and would mainly use it to tote around with me on trips and what not, to keep the creative juices flowing. I guess kind of like a sketch book except for a bass player. I was just wondering if anyone has done anything like this, with these or any other instruments (bazookies?), and what their experience was.

    I already have an acoustic guitar, and am trying to find something quite a bit more portable, definitely acoustic, and not too much different than a bass (with consideration to the obvious differences steming from a smaller size). I dont really want to focus on learning a new instrument, or dealing with any more strings than I already have.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Bouzoukis or as they are also known, "Mandocellos" are
    Normally quite expensive.

    They are also usually tuned in 5ths. C G D A (IIRC)

    I looked into purchasing one myself and a Weber was going for about 8K. The old Gibsons very quite varied in their prices.

    Jaco used to play Mandocello. You can hear him playing it on the "Heavy Weather" album and there is a photo of it on one of his family's sites.
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Hows about a Steinberger head-(and almost body-)-less bass? Maybe it is ugly, but that should be the smallest bass (they are about the size - and shape - of a broom), if you want to stay in the same dimensions (scale, spacing, strings, etc). A different kind of instrument would take quite some time to get used to.

    Steinberger XT-series

    Steinberger XP-series
  4. How about the Ashbory bass ? It might be too quiet unplugged, but you could get one of those pocket-sized guitar amps that run on batteries. Or better yet, a small headphone amp.
  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I used to own an Ashbory and occasionally travelled with it. After some 'getting used to' time, it can be a very fun lil' axe...

  6. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    fretted and fretless steinbergers with an ashbory.....all 3 will more then alikely fit in one hardshell case. I plan on doing that someday.
  7. I've got one of these, and not only is it ultra-portable, but the stereo microphone tube pickup actually sounds pretty fantastic. When playing festivals or street fairs, it's a helluva lot easier to carry around after the gig.

    You can get 'em on eBay or music stores for around $300.
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I would recomend a Steinberger or Hohner headless. My Hohner plays like a dream, it has the nicest action out of all my basses.
  9. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    I think bouzoukis shouldn't be that expensive...I wonder though if you could play one with your fingers...I've seen the mostly being played with a pick.

    Look, this is one made by Fender:
  10. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Kinal Kompact or Zon Vinny?

    I think a Kinal Kompact would really rock......
  11. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
  12. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I've heard the Kinal Kompact is an incredible sounding instrument. I was considering getting one to fool around on until I saw the price tag. Ouch! :(
  13. +1 for the Steinberger.

    I have a re-issue headless 5 which I use as a spare bass for gigs. But this with a Pandora and headphones is great for practice in hotels.

    Only problem is the case wich looks like it contains a shotgun. Not a problem USA but in England.........
  14. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    Check out a Traveler Escape Bass. You can play them with headphones or plug them into an amp.

    The are headless like a Steinberger, very light and very portable. They are kinda ugly IMHO but they do what they are intended to do. They also make guitars.

    I played one for a couple of days and had some fun with it.

    You can see them www.travelerguitar.com
  15. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    How about a retro Ibanez bean bass (RKB999)? 34" scale, active, one quasi-soap bar and one J pickups with teeny, beeny shaped body. I got one a couple of weeks ago and don't know quite what to do with it.