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NBD: Wingbass (Half-sized mini bass NOW WITH GK system!)

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Finished pic - scroll down for the whole tale!

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I was alerted to the sale of this on eBay and it was bought by a basschatter who then sold it on to me. Lucky, because I was about to get my own made as I liked the concept so much.

It's a lovely little instrument, hand built, I believe, by Chris Stambaugh

It's a funky little thing in it's own right - imagine a full scale instrument with a capo on the 12th fret - that's what this is. So it's an octave above a normal bass.

When played with an octave you get a great bass sound in the normal range which sounds kind of synth and really groovy. I'll definitely be using it on some recordings like this - and without the octaves you have a really lovely singing top end perfect for soloing and chords.

The plan is to install the Roland GK system into the bass so I can have access to full polyphonic synths and effects, plus looping and recording fun. I think it'll lend itself to making some really different sounding compositions. I'll post here as I go on with the work - the GK kit is in the post (it'll be installed internally so you only see the extra pickup and controls. I have still to decide which controls to add but I'll probably go with the patch up/down buttons, assignable knob and the status LED. Because of the shape, the new 13 pin output will probably have to be front mounted, or even on the front bottom edge.

Here are some pics for now - you won't believe how cute the little gig bag is!! I'm going to try and get a picture of Sybil wearing it later on so hopefully you'll sub for that if nothing else. BTW the chair it's sitting in is a tiny children's chair, so it makes it hard to judge the actual size - I've taken a picture next to a normal bass further down.

Some features to note:
-Black limba body
-Flamed maple top
-18mm spacing
-Bartolini pickup
-Wooden control knobs
-Satin finish (feels amazing)
-No truss rod - fretboard is glued right to the body, so it's totally flat and super stable.
-Action is extremely low - even for me - and no buzz, but just the right amount of clank when digging in. It was perfectly tuned and setup right out of the case!

Cheers
ped

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So whoever bought it initially must presumably have had a very rapid change of heart?

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1502887178' post='3354176']
So whoever bought it initially must presumably have had a very rapid change of heart?
[/quote]

His wife threatened to insert it up to the bridge, if I recall.

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There's nothing like a bit of incentive to reach a quick decision.

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1502889353' post='3354195']
There's nothing like a bit of incentive to reach a quick decision.
[/quote]

My wife isn't home yet but I'm already practicing my 'I've had it for ages' poker face

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Well it's barely distinguishable from a Vigier, after all.

Oh no ... wait ...

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Very nice. I've been tempted to try a similar instrument myself - but have been put off by their price tag
Happy NBD :)

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Well, I can hardly wait to hear about your progress with the Roland installation, and the subsequent use thereof.
Good luck with it all.

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[quote name='uk_lefty' timestamp='1502891503' post='3354211']
That's completely nuts! Would love to see/ hear in action
[/quote]

Just recorded this for you - pretty rough but you get an idea. The main groove is an octave down (so normal range) then there's some noodling over the top, plus some auto wah and distorted rhythms going on. Bit of a mess really B)

In my defence I've only had it a few hours and I'm getting used to the frets being so small and the fact I can't hook my thumb over the top, so there are several bum notes!
[url="https://soundcloud.com/chris-hiscocks/wingjam1"]https://soundcloud.c...scocks/wingjam1[/url]

Cheers
ped

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[quote name='songofthewind' timestamp='1502895828' post='3354243']
Well, I can hardly wait to hear about your progress with the Roland installation, and the subsequent use thereof.
Good luck with it all.
[/quote]

Cheers - I use the GK system with all my basses, here's the one in my Vigier.

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[quote name='ped' timestamp='1502896264' post='3354249']


Just recorded this for you - pretty rough but you get an idea. The main groove is an octave down (so normal range) then there's some noodling over the top, plus some auto wah and distorted rhythms going on. Bit of a mess really B)

In my defence I've only had it a few hours and I'm getting used to the frets being so small and the fact I can't hook my thumb over the top, so there are several bum notes!
[url="https://soundcloud.com/chris-hiscocks/wingjam1"]https://soundcloud.c...scocks/wingjam1[/url]

Cheers
ped
[/quote]

Nice.

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[quote name='Cato' timestamp='1502903450' post='3354314']
Nice.
[/quote]

I really wish I saved it as a project file so I could redo the 'soloing' bit when I have more time but I'll do a better version tomorrow!

Another excuse - the strings on this are heavier than my usual, plus they're steels so they make my fingers hurt, honest guv. I'll put Elixirs on it soon - also it seems a shame to cut them in half!!

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Tried them at NAMM this past Jan and they're great. Chris is a lovely guy, and they're really well made!
The one I tried had a Micro-POG built into it (switchable of course), not too sure about that....there are much better Octave pedals, but still, nice instrument!

Si

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[quote name='Sibob' timestamp='1502904916' post='3354329']
Tried them at NAMM this past Jan and they're great. Chris is a lovely guy, and they're really well made!
The one I tried had a Micro-POG built into it (switchable of course), not too sure about that....there are much better Octave pedals, but still, nice instrument!

Si
[/quote]

The VB99 octaver is fantastic and that's what's on the clip above. BUT - once the pickup is installed I will be able to use the polyphonic octaver which is even better, so that'll be really cool... plus I can go as many octaves up and down as I like :)

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[quote name='CameronJ' timestamp='1502927780' post='3354498']
Ooh I'm jealous ped! Very cool.
[/quote]

Thanks, I'll bring it to the next bass bash so you can try it.

The GK kit arrived today, and I'm talking to Chris at [url="http://alpher.co.uk"]Alpher[/url] about installing it, at they're semi-local to York. I did the last one myself but feel this time it's worth paying a pro!

Bought the kit from Bax-shop, they were pretty good despite me getting an email to say my payment failed when it hadn't, ending in a telephone call and lots of confusion. The kit was the last they had in stock so really didn't want to miss it. Thomann were out of stock at the last minute.

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[quote name='ricksterphil' timestamp='1502970798' post='3354730']
Cool thing...are they expensive?
[/quote]

I think new they are about $600 which for a custom built (half) bass I don't think is bad. There's a configuration page on their site where you can 'build your own'

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[quote name='ped' timestamp='1502889145' post='3354192']
His wife threatened to insert it up to the bridge, if I recall.
[/quote]

The good thing about these basses is that if you angle yourself above it just right, and slowly squat down at a jaunty angle, you could create an optical illusion and fool your wife into thinking it's a full size bass that's already been 'inserted' halfway to the bridge. She'll thank you for saving her the trouble, and you get to keep the bass. Everyone is a winner.

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Piqued my interest to have a look online. The basic 'classic' Wing bass is on sale at $699 but then there are price add-ons for type of woods etc. (Bit like BMW).
The micro Pog add on is $275. Plus shipping & customs/duty makes it pretty pricy landed in the UK.

They are also now making 30" scale versions, which start at $1999. Neat but you can get ukelele basses with labella flats for a lot cheaper.
Look forward to hearing more from Ped when he's got the Roland installed!

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Ped, are you going to the SE Bash? Shouldn't be too much trouble to bring this if you are?

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