It Shouldn’t Be, But There it is

tonefiend and His uBass

Here’s a nice little video entitled “The Bass That Shouldn’t Be” by thetonefiend, AKA Joe Gore.

Mr. Gore explains that he just got his uBass before the NAMM show and he was blown away:

Usually I’d rather scoop the catbox than play through a piezo pickup. Yet I dig the way the piezo’s stringy/slappy highs helps bass lines slice through a mix. You can hear the line loud and clear, even when I slather on the loud guitars.

His playing is first rate and the uBass sounds great. He explains how he recorded the video and what effects he’s using.

Give it a go. It’s only two minutes long, so what have you got to lose?


New Ukes from NAMM

There was a ton of Ukuleles on view at this year’s Winter NAMM. But rather than going

Uncle Bartt at the NAMM Show.

into detail on each of them (it would take too long), why not check out Bartt Warburton’s video from the show.

Better known as Uncle Bartt, Warburton is an accomplished Uke player and a genuinely funny guy. Check out his video Here.

It’s a bit over 10 minutes long but well worth the time. My favorite new Uke is the 5-string model from Ohana Ukuleles.


Aquila Thundergut Strings in the Real World – With Soundclips!

Aquila Thundergut Strings package

Justin Oscar Cary, a bassist based in Nashville, runs a nice blog featuring gear reviews and other ramblings about the bass and being a professional bassist. It’s worth a look if you’re into playing bass.

He recently posted a review of the Aquila Thundergut strings for the uBass. He even posted sound clips of the Thunderguts and of the Thunderguts vs. the stock Pahoehoe string. It’s well worth a read.

According to Justin’s review of the Thunderguts:

The sound is very similar to the Pahoehoe strings, however the Thundergut has far more treble detail and more acoustic volume.  The volume from the instruments pickup is also a touch louder.

He concludes that the Thunderguts not only give you a bit more volume, but they are

Justin's uBass strung with Thunderguts. Photo courtesy of and © Justin Oscar Cary

much more stable and stay in tune better than the Pahoehoe strings.

Tuning stability is probably the greatest benefit of the Aquila string.  My set of Thunderguts took only minutes to install and reached tuning stability in only 2 days!  Tuning stability has remained at least 50% better than the stock strings.

He even shows you how to install the Thunderguts on a uBass (hint: don’t lose those red grommets on the ends of the Pahoehoes).

You can pick up a set of Thunderguts at Ukulele World for $22.95 plus shipping. In the U.K. try Bass Direct. They have Thunderguts for £25 plus £2 shipping.

Kala Posts 2012 uBass Catalog

Kala has posted 2012 catalogs on its web site for their uBass and Ukulele lines.

The cover of the Kala 2012 uBass Catalog

The uBass catalog (available as a PDF download Here) features the new acoustic uBass models we wrote about yesterday.

Page 2 of the catalog is dedicated to the Acoustic-Electric Models, including the new NAMM models. There’s still no word, however, on when the new models will be available and how much they’ll sell for.

Their Ukulele catalog is available Here.



Kala to Introduce Five New Acoustic Models at NAMM 2012

Kala's New Acoustic uBass Models

The Kala Brand Music Co. will introduce five new models of acoustic uBasses at the NAMM 2012 show.

Four of the five new models have the same specs as the previously available acoustics. The four new models include: Sunburst, Gloss Black, Spalted Maple and Exotic Mahogany.

But the king of the lot is the Hutch Hutchinson Spruce-top signature model, which Kala finally is making available. We reviewed the HH model Here, just about a year ago.

According to Kala, the Sunburst, Spruce Top Hutch Hutchinson, and Gloss Black models come with solid spruce tops and mahogany back and sides. The Spalted Maple features a solid Spruce top and Maple back and sides. The Exotic Mahogany body is assembled from the company’s exotic Mahogany wood.

The new models will be available in four-string fretted with Rosewood fingerboards and Mahogany necks. No five-strings have been announced.

Kala says the new uBass models will be available “in early 2012.” I take that to mean by the Spring. No pricing has been announced, but I assume they will sell in line with the current acoustics.

A Must-Read Blog

Well, yeah, this is a must-read blog (in my opinion anyway!), but I am referring to the amazingly talented Magnus Sjoquist’s uBass blog “Play UBass!

Go there, bookmark it and come back here. I’ll wait.

Not only does our friend Magnus feature videos of his playing the uBass at gigs, he also has playalongs, lessons and tips on playing our favorite little Ukulele/Bass. And he even has free transcriptions of some of the stuff he plays at gigs. Now how’s that for generous.

With all his gigging and having a life and everything, it’s a wonder he has enough time to pack his blog full of all the stuff he offers.

Thankfully, he does.

So go check it out for yourself. Magnus would appreciate it.

And so would we.

Pahoehoe, No Way!

Aquila Thundergut strings on a uBass

If you’re looking for an alternative to the stock Pahoehoe strings for your uBass, you might want to take a look at the Thundergut strings manufactured and marketed by Aquila Corde Armoniche Srl.

These strings are a synthetic gut formula developed by Aquila–well known for supplying the stock strings on many Ukuleles, including Kala’s. The company says that its Thundergut strings offer stable intonation and do not stick to your fingers.

According to the company:

Thundergut® is a special very elastic and dense material developed by us in our headquarter that assure superior performances over the common polyurethane and silicon rubber bass strings available in the market. Thundergut® assure fast and stable intonation; no sweet finger’s slip on the strings.

The company also notes that unlike the Pahoehoe strings the Kala uBass comes with, the

Aquila Thundergut Strings package

Thundegut strings don’t need to be stretched and “settle” in a couple of hours, not days like the polyurethane strings that come stock on the uBass.

Thundergut strings can be purchased from Aquila in Italy for 29.04 Euros (that’s about $38.00), from Aquila in the U.S. for $21.50, or from some music retailers in various states and the online string retailer

Here’s a Video (in Italian) that compares the Thunderguts to the Pahoehoe strings. Right away you can hear that the Thunderguts are louder than the Pahoehoes–both acoustically and plugged in. The Thunderguts seem to be a tad brighter than the Pahoehoe strings as well.

And Here’s a Video (also in Italian) that shows you how to string a uBass with Thunderguts. It certainly seems easy enough.

I haven’t tried the Thunderguts yet, but would like to. The more choice in uBass strings the better. Though I don’t have a problem with the Pahoehoe strings (I think they sound great and sticking is not a problem with them–that’s more a problem with the strings used on an Ashbory bass) I’d welcome an alternative set of strings that offers a different sound.

The only thing for me that would take getting used to is the color of the Thunderguts. They only come in white. Personally I think they look hideous on the acoustic uBasses. They may look better on the Solidbodies, however. If only Aquila would make them in different colors.

UPDATE 1/05/12: Aquila added a new video to its YouTube page today that shows how to quickly install Thunderguts on a uBass. Check it out Here.