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  1. #1
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    Need a basic bass - Squier Jazz vs U-bass, also amp

    I've decided I want a bass, out of interest and because occasionally our quartet plus singers plays gigs where our bassist isn't available. My reading and visits to music stores convince me that w Fender Squier Jazz bass would fit the bill without impacting my pocketbook too much.

    Today on a whim I tried a Kala U-bass and was very surprised at the sound, ease of playing and light weight, of course. Also it sounds MUCH more like an upright acoustic, which I will probably never learn to play in this lifetime, than an electric bass. it's actually about twice the price of the Squier, so not a huge bargain, but not too bad. Plus some really beautiful wood veneers. And you can't beat the portability and ergonomic factor.

    Also, I'm wondering about an amp - the Fender Rumble series looks and sounds good to me - can I get by with the 40 in a small group setting, or would I need the 100? The weight is really trivial.

    Any thoughts on Squier Jazz vs U-bass, and Rumble 40 vs 100?

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  3. #2
    I played a Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI and liked the shorter scale length better than the Squire. I have not played the U-bass.

  4. #3
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    Both are good instruments, but so different that you can't really compare. The Squire would probably be more acceptable in more band situations. But if it is just for your enjoyment, go with your gut.

    There is a Goldtone bass that has strings like the Kala, but a longer scale. So you get that double-bass-like sound, and your instrument looks less like a toy. You might want to look at one.
    Last edited by Jonzo; 05-17-2015 at 10:10 AM.

  5. #4
    Here is a video of my band playing at a Farmer's market. Our bass player is playing a u-Bass so you can hear how it sounds in context.


  6. #5
    I have a Squier vintage modified jazz bass and it is a great bass for the money. Check reviews on the intranet and you will find that it is highly recommended. I owned a Kala for a little while, it was fun and yes it sounds more like an upright, but I quickly tired of it once the newness wore off so I sold it. Fender Rumble series - meh! IMO, better bass amps can be had for the money (Gallien Krueger, Ampeg, Peavey, Carvin, etc.) I would highly recommend going at least 100, 40 would be a practice amp size. Check out the Ampeg BA 115.

  7. #6
    Ashbory bass is a small bass like the Kala which sounds more like an upright. Check out largesound.com. I owned an Ashbory and had endless comments from people about how much it sounded like an upright.

  8. #7
    Hi. I've played bass for a lot of years and have done a good amount of gigging and have done some fill-in work so I've played a little bit of everything ... except, you guess it, jazz. But I'm starting to get there and am learning some jazz bass lines.

    Anyway I now own five bass guitars.

    I agree the Squier line is good. I would also look at some of the basses at Rondomusic.com. My No. 2. bass is an SX clone of an old Fender Jazz Bass. It has great sound but it is solid alder and weighs a ton.

    Btw, for jazz I would definitely recommend you put flatwound strings on your bass. I've used mainly the Fender (cheap but OK) and I like the D'Addario Chromes because they have some high mids. I'm getting ready to put some La Bella Deep Talkin' strings on my copy of a Hoffner "Beatle" bass, which has a short scale.

    For amps I've owned and played many brands. I've never bonded with Fender bass amps, although I love their guitar amps and their guitars and basses. I've owned Hartke, Peavey, Ampeg and Gallien-Krueger amps and I have two TC Electronics BG250 amps.

    And I agree with Heymelbs, that old 100-watt Ampeg BA115 was my amp for many gigs. It has been redesigned and modernized but it still sounds great, I think. It is large and heavy, however, so a lot of newer amps with the lighter Neosomething speakers are very popular. For example my 100-watt Ampeg was 62 pounds. My 250-watt BG250 is ...35 pounds, so more than twice the power for about 60 percent of the weight for about $30 more. But the BA115 still sounds best to me.

    For wattage I think one thing you have to consider is what is called "headroom." Strictly speaking, I imagine you will want to play as clean as possible and you need enough power to keep up with the others in your band. I've been told the bass amp should have three or four times the wattage of your guitar amp; I don't know if that is true but it does take more power to reproduce low notes than high notes, it seems.

    If you have a lot of power you won't have to use as much gain to get your sound and generally, the less gain, the "cleaner" the sound.

    Also consider the size of the speaker in the amp: I'm old so I'm old school and I think you need a 15-inch speaker such as in the BA115. But others seem happy with 10-inch speakers and some are using 12-inch speakers as a compromise. You should try a few out to see how they sound to you. Manufacturers make several models with different speakers and sometimes the same power.

    Sorry to be so wordy.

  9. #8
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    Don't be sorry Ralph.

    Have you tried the Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flat Wounds for bass guitar? There is a lot of love here for the TI flat (non-bass) guitar strings.

  10. #9
    I have never tried any TI strings of any type but I know they get rave reviews. I was hoping to get something not so expensive. I got a good deal on the La Bella but I'd like to try the TI and the Pyramid eventually.

  11. #10
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    I pulled the trigger on a used Fender Squier VM Jazz with a burst finish. I really like the sound and feel. And for $189, it's a steal.

    Someday I would like to get a U-bass, because they are so cool and I love ukes anyway (have 3 so far), but they're a little pricey given that I don't know how much bass I'll be playing or how the U-bass would fit into my playing style.

    Here is a really cool video of the solid-body bass:


    For amps I got a Fender Rumble 100 in large part because of the weight factor. I looked at Ampeg and Peavey, both nice, but heavy. The new Rumble is redesigned with a lighter speaker magnet. Sounds decent to my non-expert ears. But, I will look around and watch Craigslist. Would be nice to have an Ampeg even if just for home use.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 05-23-2015 at 08:28 AM.

  12. #11
    You can't go wrong with either a Fender Vintage Modified or Custom Vibe product, especially the guitars. Yes, the Rumble does have the lighter speaker as my TC Electronics amps do. You can get used Ampeg BA115s for real good prices all over the place. I think the Rumble has a 12-inch speaker which is an OK compromise for bass but maybe if you look further you can find something almost as light with a 15-inch speaker. Gallien-Krueger makes a lot of nice amps with the lighter speakers.

    Something else to look at are the Hartke Tiltback amps. I think they come in 12-inch and 15-inch versions. I have an old Tiltback with a 10-inch speaker and it's really great. VERY small, very light and, of course, it tilts back. What I also like is that you can disconnect the speaker and run the power section through another larger speaker, as long as the ohm rating matches.

  13. #12
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    So far I'm loving this Squier VM Jazz bass. Haven't yet put flatwounds on it, just trying to get a feel for it with the stock rounds.

    The Rumble bass is pretty nice as well. I don't know how it stacks up to other ones out there, but it's definitely one of the lightest for the wattage. It was supposedly redesigned, revoiced, new speaker with lighter magnet, etc., etc., so I'm not sure one can compare it to older models.

  14. #13
    Glad to hear that the Squier is working out for you, I love mine. I've owned a number of basses costing 3 to 4 times the price, but this little baby gets the job done. Plays well, feels great, sounds awesome! My biggest complaint is the weight, after a 3 hour show you can't wait to get rid of it.

  15. #14
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    It is heavy but I have been working out...

    I play it mostly sitting, so not a big deal. If I start to play it a lot in public maybe I'll get a hollow-body Hofner or something like that.

    I tried a few hollowbodies (Fender, Ibanez, etc.), but they sounded so-so to me, and I had a hard time seeing how they would fit into the jazz genre.

  16. #15
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    No amp is really needed for Bass if there's a PA, it's just guitar cable to DI box and then xlr straight into the band's PA/mixer.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    No amp is really needed for Bass if there's a PA, it's just guitar cable to DI box and then xlr straight into the band's PA/mixer.
    I have done this before and you are at the mercy of the sound board person to make sure that you can hear yourself. I use the amp as a monitor and send it over a direct out xlr connection on my amp to the sound board.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by heymelbs View Post
    I have done this before and you are at the mercy of the sound board person to make sure that you can hear yourself. I use the amp as a monitor and send it over a direct out xlr connection on my amp to the sound board.
    This is what I do also with a roland bass cube 100. I play MIM Fender Jazz fretless, so I really need to hear the bass clearly to correct the intonation. I think a fretless with flat wound strings is a nice "in-between" sound between an upright and a fretted bass guitar. I like it anyway.

    I'll probably eventually get an upright.

  19. #18
    I bought a Kala U Bass about a month ago and totally love it. So much fun to play and it sounds wonderful. They do look funny but my main guitar is a Parker so I'm used to funny looking instruments.

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