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 Post subject: UBass
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:59 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
My first time in this section of the forum, I usually make acoustic guitars, so hello everyone here. :)

I came across a uBass with fat strings in a shop in London yesterday. The shop chap played it a bit for us and I was immediately in love.

Has anyone here built a uBass and can give any advice - plans, parts, tips and hints? Hopefully it will be my next build.

Thanks in anticipation

Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:50 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
*tumbleweed*

Not a popular instrument then... :D


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:59 am 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 198
First name: Chris
Last Name: Reed
City: Stowmarket
State: Suffolk
Zip/Postal Code: IP14 2EX
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Becoming surprisingly popular among ukulele players. I've tried them, and they're pretty useless unplugged. So the important parts are really the strings and the pickup. If I were going to make one I wouldn't bother trying to make it work as an acoustic. Bolt everything to a plank, shaped to taste, and go from there.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:08 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10147
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
Before we took over our shop a music store had been in the building for three decades and they sold the ubass. After they folded, the music store, we had a plethora of ubasses come back to us even though we are a separate business and never sold them with the owners complaining of balance issues. Some strings had strong volume, some didn't have virtually any volume. This was a problem that we saw often back about three years ago and at the end of the day the electronics on the things were so lousy that there was very little to be done to get an acceptable balance out of them.

With this said if you want to build something similar perhaps it's time to completely rethink the electronics since what came on the ubasses did not serve the clients well.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:16 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks Chris and Hesh.

Food for thought there...

I thought the one demonstrated to me was loud enough for home playing acoustically but it sounded emmense plugged in to a small amp - just like a double bass.

I guess the pickups are simple under saddle piezoelectric, are these the ones you refer to as unbalanced, Hesh? Maybe a mic pickup could work if you can defeat the feedback?
Cheers

Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:31 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10147
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
UKSteve wrote:
Thanks Chris and Hesh.

Food for thought there...

I thought the one demonstrated to me was loud enough for home playing acoustically but it sounded emmense plugged in to a small amp - just like a double bass.

I guess the pickups are simple under saddle piezoelectric, are these the ones you refer to as unbalanced, Hesh? Maybe a mic pickup could work if you can defeat the feedback?
Cheers

Steve.


Yeah we think that the trouble with the UST in this application is the uneven application of downward pressure on the saddle stemming from the plastic strings and the maker not understanding break angles and pup response. It's likely that the way forward would be different bridge design countering these factors.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:09 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
OK, great. Thanks Hesh, that gives me a bit of scope for experimentation.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:52 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:34 pm
Posts: 546
City: winnipeg
State: manitoba
Country: canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Everything above seems correct.
I am just completing one at present so can't be certain but use a pre-amp electronics for enough signal.
Friends say the sound is more like a full bass than a fender bass.
In Honolulu I heard that German metal strings were used on some but sounds like a Fender bass.
Tuning machines are a PITA to get, I picked up some used Kala tuners from a store that had replaced the originals with Rimshots or Hipshots .The strings are too fat for the normal bass tuners that installed. I may be strung up in a week or two.
My electronics are Fortone bass-guitar from ebay. My soundboard is cedar.

Bob :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:34 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks for the reply, Bob, good to know I'm not the only fool making one. :)

I've been casually keeping an eye out for tuning machines, but no luck in the UK so far. I'm sure I saw someone somewhere has drilled out standard bass machines to accommodate the fat strings.

Let us know how you like it when it's complete please.

All the best

Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:36 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:34 pm
Posts: 546
City: winnipeg
State: manitoba
Country: canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Tuners are sometimes available on ebay and look at largesound.com. Both seem to be the same guy but the price was better at largesound if you can get signed in.

Learning to play bass will be a project by itself.
I am starting to learn how to build the amplifier for this unit. My intention is to build a battery powered amp into the case so that I can go to a jam without the cables and switches. My present amps give fifteen watts max but a bluegrass jam doesn't need a powerful bass.

There is an acoustic bass plan free on the internet and somebody on the guitar board, from Calgary, has built one. I can't find the name of the designer but I will keep looking.

Good luck

Bob :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:18 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:02 pm
Posts: 192
Location: Glen Burnie Md.
First name: steve
Last Name: barbour
Country: U.S.
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I made one a couple of years ago. The shape based on the baritone ukulele plans from Scott Antes. Tuners were bought from Raod Toad music. They were a bit pricey. I used the K&K acoustic bass pick up. Those who have played it have enjoyed the sound. It is currently strung up with a set of silk core silver wound strings which change the sound a lot. I can give more details and pics later if there is interest.

_________________
Kyle


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:56 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:34 pm
Posts: 546
City: winnipeg
State: manitoba
Country: canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Kyle:
I think that Road Toad was bought by Kala or at least his designs for the U-bass.

Steve:
There is an acoustic design free on the internet by Mottola. His website has directions to the printout. I would suggest adding electronics.
The fat strings have a reputation for poor intonation. A friend of mine used fan-frets on his second build and seems happy now. He used scales of 21" and 21 1/4" with the straight fret at the seventh.
Another friend had the frets removed on a Short Bass One because of intonation problems.

Bob :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:01 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:20 am
Posts: 283
Location: Kapolei HI
First name: Aaron
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
Hipshot makes the tuning machines, which you can get from Owen Holt at Road Toad.

There are some cheap knockoffs that I've seen on Kala's. Owen also has Pahoehoe Strings.


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 Post subject: Re: UBass
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:57 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:34 am
Posts: 51
First name: Steve
Last Name: Blower
City: Keighley
State: West Yorkshire
Country: UK
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Great, thanks for the information chaps. I'll get in touch with road toad and see what they can do. Thanks for the direction to plans also, much appreciated.

Cheers

Steve.


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