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very light bass needed - traveler ultra-light, kala u-bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pcake, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i have shoulder problems, and recently even my cort curbow was too heavy to play without pain. while there's reason to hope for improvement, in the meantime, i gotta have a bass i can play that is so very light that it won't make things worse. after reading, researching, asking around and spending some time at guitar centers near me, i decided that for now it's probably between the traveler ultra-light, which i can't try in person, and one of several kala u-basses.

    i think the u-bass is fun, and can't wait to try a solid body version, but i'm not sure that the rubbery strings will be as satisfying to play as steel strings. with that in mind the traveler ultra-light weighs in at under 4 pounds, has a 30 inch scale and uses steel strings.

    so if anyone here has an traveler ultra-light beside DeanT from this thread http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/traveler-bass-940300/ i'd love to hear the pros and cons. and if anyone has played both the kala SUB u-bass and the ultra-light, i'd be happy to hear about 'em both.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Lots of people are weary of the rubber ubass strings but once you get your fingers in them, you'll understand why they're great. I don't know anything about the traveler bass, but you won't be disappointed with a ubass. And it weights about nothing and sounds awesome.
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I certainly was. The uber-short scale and rubber strings of the Kala didn't translate at all to my technique and vision of what I want the bass to sound like. Lots of folks love them but lots don't. Try before you buy.

    I have chronic pain from severe upper spine trauma and of all the basses I've had over the years the Dano and Jerry Jones Longhorns were some of the most comfortable. They're light, well balanced and sound good in a wide variety of situations.
  4. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    The Jay Turser JTB40 mini bass is VERY light and a full 30" short scale. I have one as a practice bass and it feels like a feather compared to my other short scales. Mine weighs less than 5 lbs. The tone is also very good on the Turser. I was very surprised by this bass and would not hesitate to gig with it.
    The Ibanez Mikro is also very light... almost as light as the Turser... however it has a slightly shorter scale (28.6").
    Another option would be any of the Beatle basses, all of which are very lightweight. Not my style but they may work for you.
  5. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    3234718 , i've played a few u-basses (not the solid body models with the additional 1" scale), and while they were lots of fun, i play a lot of aggressive metal and punk that they didn't seem suited for. still, they would certainly be lots better than not playing during this difficult period. i'm going to revisit them this weekend.

    not sure about the weight of the longhorns, but i can only lay the hofner violin bass for 15 minutes right now. didn't see any danos at the gc's we visited last weekend. i should find out if any local stores have 'em.

    as far as the jay turser, i haven't seen it, but it seems to be pretty much like the discontinued samick corsair mini MCR1, and those weight a pound more than a beatle bass.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Another option which worked for me was to switch to a fretted long or shortscale EUB.
  7. Is it strictly the weight, or is it ergonomics as well?

    The Beatle bass has no upper horn, so like an EBO, it puts the neck away off to the left, making you stretch your left arm, and bear the weight from neck dive.

    Something with the strap button closer to the twelfth fret for good balance, will ease the stress on your shoulder, pound for pound.

    But no conventional short-scale bass is going to match the featherweight Kala on either front, even the Traveler. Assuming you can live with the upright-ish tone...
  8. The OP could check this out by standing his Hofner on a table. I have lower back trouble, and I've done that before. Takes a lot of stress off your arms, back, and shoulders.
  9. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Other than they are both designed as mini P basses, the Samick and Turser are not the same bass in the least. The Samick is 24" scale, while the Turser mini-bass is 30".
    Never played the Samick so not sure on the weight, but I have played a Hofner and it felt about the same weight as the Turser... in other words very light. If you strap either of them on after playing a regular 8-9 lb bass you'll feel like they are floating away. I do almost all my practicing on the Turser because I can literally play it for hours without my back feeling strained. I always take it with me as a backup bass to rehearsals in case my back gets sore.
    While the Hofner may be even a tad lighter than the Turser, I could not stand the Hofner ergonomics.... the neck felt like it was in another time zone compared to my usual short scales.
  10. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I have a couple of Hofners (and several other basses) I've modded with my own temporary adapter block so I can play them upright on an NS EUB stand. I find it works very well.
  11. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    standing the hofner on a table or creating an adapter block an using it like a semi-upright? huh... i sold my hofner, should've held off - that's a very interesting idear! i'd still like to have something super light to play in a more normal position, but doing this with a hof could really open up my posibilities - thanks :)

    mongo2 - do you happen to have any pics of your adapter block or your bass with the adapter block?
  12. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Sorry, I did and I put them on Webshots but that site is now defunct. I'll have to take some more when I get some time.
  13. Jammin Johneboy

    Jammin Johneboy Guest

    Dec 23, 2011
    How about trying to find a Precision Fender Lyte .

    From alfred88 :

    " My Precision Lyte weighs about 6 pounds and sounds awesome with the stock pickups and preamp.

    My band loves it and they find that it is my best sounding bass.
    You can find these on Ebay for about $300 to $450.
    I can play this one for hours and no back problems, I am
    57 years old."
  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If the physical problems are really bad why not just sit when you play and play what you want? There seems to be the idea in many people's minds that in some bands you aren't allowed to sit but I've gotten away with it for years. You may get a few looks initially but play well and people get used to it. Your situation may be different but I'd have an easier time explaining why I was sitting than why I was playing a Kala all night.
  15. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I have the Samick mini-bass - It weight 6 lbs. The short scale is very easy to get used to - it is like a guitar.
    My Hofner Club Bass weighs only 5 lbs - you hardly know it is there and it balances fine due to the light weight.

    I tried a Traveler bass a while back and was very unimpressed with the sound.

    re: Sitting - Sit in a tall stool so that one foot is still on the ground, the other on the rung - you are nearly the same height as standing, no one will notice.

    ALSO - look for one of the strap systems that go over BOTH shoulders - this reduced the weight per shoulder by 50%! I found that they all tend to hold the bass a little too far to the left, but if you had a short scale bass, this wold not matter.
  16. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I have a Ubass and recently got back from a 2-wk vacation where I had lots of time to play it and really assess its utility. Bottom line for me - while I enjoy playing it and its a great novelty bass, it could never serve me well as my primary bass. Lots of guys on the ubass thread that would say otherwise, but not me.

    One option to consider if budget is not too much of an issue are Rob Allen basses. I have a mb-2 fretless that weighs 6.5 lbs, the mouse is even lighter at 5.5 lbs. Great sounding basses and beautiful to look at and play. Not good if you are looking for a modern sound though.
  17. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    right now, i can't afford to be too picky with tone and preferences. i don't expect to have the same long scale experience i prefer, nor do i expect a tone i really like, but i'd at least like steel strings for now - when i have some improvement, hopefully i can go shopping for something more satisfying. right now i can't handle a 6 pound bass comfortably, although i'll try that strap system - could be just the thing.

    paying sitting seems to further hurt my shoulder, whether on a chair, a couch, a 24" or 30" stool. did i mention i'm a 5' 3" female with a chest that gets in the way a bit sitting down?

    i'm going to try some options this weekend, and maybe order a strap system. i was considering the Mbrace, too - not too expensive if it doesn't work out. this thread is partly because i want a future-proof bass in case i have further shoulder issues.

    thanks for the help and recommendations!
  18. Jefbonney is right about the longhorns. Light and fantastic basses. Can be found for around 200.00 for the Danelectro versions used, but the Jerry Jones version are up around 800.00 plus used. Don't agree about the ubass though. I have a new fretless mahogany acoustic version that plays fantastic. Was playing some Led Zeppelin on mine just a bit ago! Lots of fun! I have played a fretted sub a little bit ( maybe 1/2 hour). I thought it was amazing and easy to play. I'm over 6' and 220 lbs and had no problem adjusting to it. I like the way the strings feel, but its not for everyone. Try before you buy, or buy from someone with a good return policy.
  19. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    Ibanez Mikro sounds and plays well at 28" scale. I have a Chip Todd basslet with a 25" scale that is really cool and is about as tiny as bass can be with a small headstock and the bridge right at the body's edge. The basslet sounds fantastic, actually. I use the Fender 28" scale nickel rounds on both, big beefy E.
  20. No, you didn't mention that and your profile says male, but that's none of our business anyway. Good luck finding a combination of stool height, strap length, shoulder support, lightweight bass, and any other accommodations that let you play. It sounds like you'll also want a bass that has a rounded upper, inner edge, unlike the Hofner violin bass that has a square edge and those violin cutouts. And no underwires; no offense meant, just trying to be sensitive.

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