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!

   

           

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

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Hi!

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,
Magnus

 

Walking…sorry DANCING…on the moon!

Frank Vignola, Magnus Sjöquist and Vinny Raniolo at Just Jazz Club, Örebro 1-31-13

Frank Vignola, Magnus Sjöquist and Vinny Raniolo at Just Jazz Club, Örebro 1-31-13

Hi!

A new addition to my Jammin’ with my Rob Allen Bass video series!

Januari 31 I got to play with amazing guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo at Just Jazz Club in Orebro, Sweden.

This was the second time we played together and it was great fun! Check out this posts for our first jam! Post 1 | Post 2

Have a great Easter Holiday!

(Almost) New Series! Jammin’ with my Rob Allen fretless bass | 02 “Cabelos Brancos”

In this video ‘series’ I will showcase my beautiful Rob Allen walnut fretless MB-2 bass! It’s a truly wonderful instrument that I bought in Nashville (Summer 2011). I waited some 8 (EIGHT!) years since I finally got to buy one!
Read more about it here and on master luthier Mr. Rob Allen’s website!

Time for video no. 2 in the series!

In August 2012 i participated in a great outdoor show located in an old closed down mining park! The setting was beautiful with a great light show and the amazing backdrop of nature! Read more about this concert at my other blog, playubass.com | Post 1 | Post 2

You can also read (and see) more about the guys from Sao Tomé here.

Enjoy the great song Cabelos Brancos by Guilherme de Carvalho! Here’s another song of his. This song features me playing my fretless Ibanez GWB35!

New Series! Jammin’ with my Rob Allen fretless | 01

In this video ‘series’ I will showcase my beautiful Rob Allen walnut fretless MB-2 bass! It’s a truly wonderful instrument that I bought in Nashville (Summer 2011). I waited some 8 (EIGHT!) years since I finally got to buy one!
Read more about it here and on luthier Mr. Rob Allen’s website!

First up is a video from 2011. Not long after I got home from my trip to the US.

Andreas Gustafsson, vocals
Bror Engström, keyboard
Magnus Sjöquist, fretless Rob Allen MB-2

I’m quite new to the bass and have to ‘fight it’ a bit at various parts in the song. But it is the FIRST video featuring the bass!

New Orleans Funk inspired grooves on different basses…and with different musicians!

Hi!
I watched a Modern Drummer Festival video and got super inspired by one of my favorite funk/hiphop/dubstep… drummers Adam Deith! During his workshop/master class he does a short New Orleans inspired groove on a small jazz kit! It’s SO groovy!

Adam Deitch

Read more about Adam Deitch at Drummers World!

I would really like to play with him someday! Instead of waiting I “borrowed” his groove and started jammin’ away. Then I got an idea!

Why not turn this into a couple of new bass lesson videos!

I decided to record one (or a couple) of choruses of the groove on different basses. From upright to UBass…P-bass to 5-string fretted and fretless…
Then I’ll transcribe my grooves and let you have it as a PDF (in standard notation and TAB). Just like the one from my first bass lesson video.
If you want I can do separate lessons on how I played the different grooves.
I play guitar on some of the grooves and some of my guitar playin’ friends (and maybe keyboard players too) will play on the rest.
The videos are with my bass line first and then just the groove so you can jam along using my line (Download the first jam/groove PDF of the music in standard notation and TAB here!)

Here’s the first video featuring my Kala UBass (Read more about Kala UBass at my other blog! Please let me know if you want me to make “in depth” lessons on a particular groove!

Play Music!
/Magnus