A little factory tour: Rob Allen Guitars!

Rob packing my Solid 4
Rob packing my Solid 4


In July i visited the Rob Allen Guitars Shop in Gardena, CA, USA. I was there to pick up my new Solid 4.
On Facebook there is a Rob Allen Bass Owners group that fellow Rob Allen player, Christian H. started. He asked me if I could take some photos of the shop so other Rob Allen players could see where their instruments were “born”. Rob Allen makes a lot of instruments for direct orders from players all over the world. He also builds instruments that he sells in different music stores. So many owners have not been able to visit the shop. My first Rob Allen bass, a walnut MB-2 model, was bought at one of those stores in Nashville, TN.

Since the first priority of my visit was to pick up the new bass I only took a few photos. But I hope these will give a little glimpse of his lovely shop.

It was lovely to step into his shop. I was greeted by some nice ambient music and his dog!

Sit back and enjoy the tour! (Click pictures for full size!)

Link: roballenguitars.com


My new Rob Allen Guitars – Solid 4 – “The Magnus”

I recently bought a new bass made by Rob Allen. I have wanted a really nice solid body 4 string fretted bass for a long time and now I have found my dream bass! In 2003 I played my first Rob Allen bass at the bass floor at Rudy’s Music Shop in New York City. I felt it was something special about his basses and bought my first one at Corner Music in Nashville back in 2011, a fretless MB-2. Robs basses are so well built and he makes almost everything himself in his shop in Gardena, CA.

Monday July 13th I took a Uber-cab from my hotel in West Hollywood to Robs shop. I had only seen a picture of the body prior to my first steps inside his shop and was of course super exited and extremely curious about how it would look and feel! I knew it would be a very good instrument since I have played my fretless MB-2 for four years and absolutely loved every second of it!

The bass hang on the wall with the pickups facing the wall…and then Rob took it down and showed me “The Magnus” for the first time…WOW! It was so beautiful and every detail is so refined and lovely. The design is simple but so very powerful!

I decided to go for two pickups to be able to get both the classic P-bass sound and the J-bass sound. the controls are super slick and simple. One volume pot, with a pull/push function (when pulled it engaged a special tone circuit to get that vintage tone roll off sound of a p-bass) and a balance pot so I can go between just the neck pickup and all the way to the bridge pickup. And boy there are so many nice tones to explore. 

Rob makes, as I stated above, almost everything in the shop including the pickups that he has designed. They are hand wound in the shop! The bridge is also a work of art and has no moving parts and is a through body design!

I will go into more details and also make some videos in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

Now it’s time to get to know the bass. First gig is tomorrow. Can hardly wait!



Jammin’ with my Rob Allen MB-2 and a La Bella string test!



Time for a little string test! The test is done with my Rob Allen Guitars MB-2 fretless bass that I have played since July 2011. You can read more about that bass here and here.

I have loved the sound of Rob Allen instruments since I tried my first one at Ruby’s Music (Times Square) back in 2003. I wanted to get that sound and started playing tape nylon strings on another fretless bass since I wasn’t able to buy a Rob Allen instrument at the time.

The La Bella Black Nylon Wound strings are a big part of that lovely sound and Rob Allen ships all his fretless basses with the LaBella Black Nylon Tape Wound strings. More than a year ago I found out about new strings by La Bella called White Nylon Tape Wound. I was lucky and got great help from Greg Gohde in San Diego. I bought a set of these new strings through his shop classicbows.com Thanks Greg!

I sent an email to Rob Allen and asked him what he thought about these new strings and what gauges he would suggest. He answered that he had not tried the strings (maybe he has now since this was a while back) and he suggested I’d go for the regular set not the light one. He also told me I had to make sure I got the extra long scale. The MB-2 has a string through body design so the string has to be long enough to reach all the way from the bridge to the tuning pegs.

So here, about a year later, comes my little test. The video below features two short musical examples with drums, guitar and piano added. I wanted to let you hear the different string sets in context. I also performed some more examples with open strings, position playing and harmonics. I recorded these tests on two tracks. Both direct (lined through my RMI Basswitch IQ/DI) and miked (through the Aguilar Tonehammer 500 into a Aguilar SL-112 cab) miked with a AKG C414. Sometimes I mixed the two tracks and sometimes they can be heard separately.

So what do I think?  I was very curious of how I would like the new set…

First of all. The black nylon strings in this test are the same set that came with the bass when I bought it in 2011 at Corner Music in Nashville, TN, USA. These strings were in other words not fresh and new for this test. However since they aren’t regular round wound strings they do sound fresh for a considerable longer time! This is because sweat and dirt can’t get inside the string like on a regular round wound string. The fact that they sat on the bass for about 2,5 years prior to he test can still of course make a little difference in sound compared to if I was to record with a brand new set of the black nylon strings.

The white nylon set is not really white. They are better described as being transparent as you can see the steel string inside the nylon wrapping. They feel very smooth and soft and are super easy on the fingers. This combined with the superb and easy to play neck and fretboard on the MB-2 is a perfect combination. I can really focus on playing my best since the instrument is so well built.

The La Bella set of black nylon tape strings that I have played since 2011 have been very good with a great deep smooth bottom end but still with enough mids and highs to sound good played in every register of the bass, low to high. I have been super happy with these!

The white ones feel and sound a bit different. I guess you can say that they are a bit brighter but still with a nice low end. This together with the silky smooth feel makes them a great alternative to the black ones.

I hope this will give you a little taste of how these strings are. As I have written above I do like both sets. Depending on the situation and what type of sound I’m looking for I now have two great options to choose from and they both match my Rob Allen MB-2 so well!

All the best,


Jammin’ with my Rob Allen Bass | 04 “Björkhalling” Bass added to a great song by Stockholm-Lisboa-Project

Recording with my Rob Allen MB-2, Basswitch IQ/DI and Logic Pro X
Recording with my Rob Allen MB-2, Basswitch IQ/DI and Logic Pro X

Finally a new jammin’ video! My Rob Allen Guitars MB-2 bass is one of my favorite basses! The last couple of years I have played a lot of Ubass. (see playubass.com for more about these instruments). Although I really love the Ubass I also absolutely love playing my Rob Allen too. (You can read more about my Rob Allen Bass blog posts here)

Fretless bass has always had a big part in my bass playing and I almost always bring at least one fretless bass to every gig! Sometimes fretless basses is all I bring! See this post at playubass.com

This time I’m featuring the Rob Allen MB-2 with some swedish contemporary folk music. Björkhalling is composed by my friend Simon Stålspets. We used to go to Music University together back in the early 90’s! Recently we have started to hang again and play some music. Super great!

Simon is truly a multi instrumentalist and plays a lot of different instruments in the group Stockholm-Lisboa Project. As the name implies there is a nice mixture between Swedish and Portuguese folk music made in this group. You can read more about them on here!

Their latest CD, Aurora, was released in 2012 and when I listened through it the first time I was hooked! Great Music with even greater musicians is of course the best match! One of the songs I immediately liked was Simons Björkhalling! I started to jam to the song, figuring out the melody. After awhile I came up with the melody/bass part version you can hear in the video. (BTW I have permission from Simon and the band to post my version on YT!)

Hope you like what I’ve done and that you also get hooked on Swedish (and of course Portuguese) folk Music and Stockholm-Lisboa Project, I sure am!

Audio Tech stuff
Signal path: Rob Allen MB-2 walnut fretless > Basswitch IQ/DI > Universal Audio Apollo > iMac with Logic X (Controlled with the Logic Remote app on an iPad)
> Signal is also recorded through my amp setup (Aguilar Tonehammer 500 > Aguilar SL-112 > AKG C414 (mic) > Universal Audio Apollo > iMac with Logic X (Controlled with the Logic Remote app on an iPad)

Another example why MUSIC is not an option! Everybody needs it. PERIOD!


Guests: Music Lab at Jefferson Center Students:

Jayna Brown (Age 12 ) – guest vocalist
Gabriel Morales (Age 15) – Guitar

Please support good and live Music whenever you can!

From the YouTube video info:

On March 8th, 2013, Snarky Puppy and a host of special guests convened at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke VA. The project was to record a series of live performances in audio and video that would bring attention and benefit to the ongoing work of the center. The Jefferson Center is a non-profit arts organization that is revitalizing a key neighborhood in Roanoke with the restoration of Jefferson High School and the renovation of the Shaftman Performance Hall. The hall brings world class music to the local community through the Music Lab, providing education and recording space for local children.

The Music Lab at Jefferson Center is working daily to pull from every social and economic class of the Roanoke community and create the next wave of real, human musicians. They host low cost or free after-school programs for any interested young people filled with visits by guest artists, private instrumental instruction, and recording training. Wafting out of the little studios and rehearsal rooms on the third floor of Jefferson Center, you can hear Afro-beat in Swahili, hip-hop in Liberian Kreyol, the blues coming from the guitar of a 13 year-old prodigy, and the undeniable sound of young musicians growing. It’s a thing that needs to be supported at all costs across this country, and by purchasing this record, you’ve done it.

A portion of every sale will go to the Music Lab at Jefferson Center. For more info visit http://www.jeffcenter.org

The new Fender Dimension Bass


Yesterday I stumbled on a new bass at one of the local music stores. A Fender representative happened to be there and he had brought the new, to be released in November, Fender Dimension 4-string bass.

I managed to play it for almost an hour before the store closed for the day. It was a nice experience and I really dug the new features specially developed for this new model.

Some of the features
• New pickups (humbuckers with split coil capabilities)
• 5-way pickup selector blade (switch) 1. Bridge Pickup
2. Inner Coils of Bridge and Middle Pickup,
3. Full Middle and Bridge
4. Outer Coils of Bridge and Middle Pickup
5. Middle Pickup
• Asymetrical C shape neck profile with satin feel.
• 3 band active EQ
• “Mini” string tree for the A-string

Right away I fell in love with the bass. It was easy to play and had a great medium low action making it a joy to play.
I played it through a new Fender Super Bassman 300 w rig and I felt this combo was really singing in my hands 🙂


When it will hit the streets in November be sure to check it out if you want to try a new Fender bass. It’s built on the Fender legacy concept but bringing something new to the plate and with a wide variety of tones at your finger tips!


The Fender Dimension
Fender video about the Fender Dimension

Full specs of the bass I played
Model Name: American Deluxe Dimension™ Bass IV HH, Maple Fingerboard, Black
Model Number: 0195502706
Series: American Deluxe
Color: Black

Body Material: Ash
Body Finish: Gloss Polyester
Body Shape: Dimension Bass™

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Finish: Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish with Gloss Urethane Headstock Face
Neck Shape: Asymmetrical “C”
Scale Length: 34″ (864 mm)
Fingerboard: Maple
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″-14″ Compound Radius (241 mm-355.6 mm)
Number of Frets: 21
Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
String Nut: Bone
Nut Width: 1.625″ (41.3 mm)
Position Inlays: Black or White Dot
Truss Rods: Posiflex™ Graphite Neck Support Rods
Neck Plate: 5-Bolt Asymmetrical

Bridge Pickup: Dimension™ Humbucking
Middle Pickup: Dimension™ Humbucking
Controls: Master Volume, Pan Control, Three-Band Active EQ with Treble Boost/Cut, Bass Boost/Cut and Mid Boost/Cut
Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Pos 1. Bridge Pickup, Pos 2. Inner Coils of Bridge and Middle Pickup, Pos 3. Full Middle and Bridge, Pos 4. Outer Coils of Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 5. Middle Pickup
Pickup Configuration: HH
Special Electronics: 18V Preamp with Active 3-Band EQ

Bridge: 4-Saddle Fender® Hi-Mass
Hardware Finish: Chrome/Nickel-Plated Steel
Tuning Machines: Fender® “F” Light-Weight Vintage-Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts
Pickguard: 3-Ply Black
Control Knobs: Knurled Flat-Top

Strings: Fender® USA Bass 7250M, NPS (.045-.105 Gauges)
Unique Features: Asymmetrical Neck Heel, Strong Arm™ String Retainer, Heel-Mounted Spoke Wheel Truss Rod Adjustment, Vintage-Style Knurled Control Knobs, 5-Bolt Neckplate

Link to Fender Dimension Bass product page