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 Kona Walkingstick Review
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Tommy
Akahai

USA
72 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2006 :  2:43:35 PM  Show Profile
Aloha kakou,

I'd like to share some impressions of my newly acquired Kona Walkingstick.

I am a `ukulele player living in NYC and was curious to check out this instrument at last week's New York Uke Fest.

I first met up with Konabob and Shirley on Thursday in the vendor's area and was impressed with the Walkingstick's construction, looks, and sound--but in the crowded area I couldn't really make a valued judgement.

Then on Friday night following an evening concert by Hawaiian performers a kanikapila erupted and I made sure to get myself and my `ukulele right next to Konabob.

Bob's playing was superb and the Walkingstick sounded great, but more importantly to me it seemed as if Bob wasn't working very hard to get such great playing done.

My decision was almost made to buy a Walkingstick, but it wasn't until the next day when after a brief lesson I realized that I could play the thing. So I took the plunge and bought one.

I spent the next afternoon at home watching Konabob's instructional DVD and fooling around playing to a recording of `ukulele that I had made. I was having fun, but did I dare leave my `ukulele at home and take the Walkingstick to our weekly NYC kanikapila after only a few hours of practice?

I decided to "live in fame or die in flame" and packed up the Walkingstick in it's nifty gig bag and my Fender Amp Can and EQ and cables in a backpack and headed out to jam.

My friends were curious. I suggested we start off with the songs I'd just practiced at home, which went well, but then we ventured to new songs and I was still jamming along a Gotham sized grin broke out on my face. I was playing bass after only 4 hours on the instrument, and our `ukulele only group had a richness that was always missing.

The Walkingstick is very easy to learn to play. There is great joy in the immediate satisfaction that it provides to someone new to it, and I trust that it will continue to please as my playing skills advance.

Mahalo nui loa to Konabob and Shirley for their graciousness, and for introducing me to the Walkingstick. I reccomend it to anyone looking to spice up their musical life.

Tommy Cheng, NYC

Pua Kai
Ha`aha`a

USA
1007 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2006 :  5:12:59 PM  Show Profile
Aloha e Tommy!
Good to hear from you. Are you going to take it to AMC with you?
n
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Pauline Leland
`Olu`olu

USA
783 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2006 :  5:46:23 PM  Show Profile
A very positive review.

Pauline
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sandman
Lokahi

USA
181 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2006 :  6:33:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit sandman's Homepage
Wow! For us stringed instrument inepts that is really an intriguing and even inspiring message.
Mahalo,
Sandy

Leap into the boundless and make it your home.
Zhuang-zi
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brooklyn
Aloha

USA
30 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2006 :  06:07:54 AM  Show Profile
I have to add 2 cents to Tommy's review. I am a semi-regular in the weekly jam in NYC.

The Kona Walkingstick sounds Amazing. The fact that Tommy was playing bass for the weekly nyc kanikapila after 4 hours of study was truly wonderful. The Kona Walkingstick added a depth to the sound of the group that made the songs come alive. A few years ago we had someone who played electric bass with the group, but she was too busy to play with us for the last couple of years.

I didn't realize how much I missed the bass sound in the weekly jam. Tommy's playing of the Kona Walkingstick opened up the sound of the four ukulele players. For the record, it was a soprano Martin (style 2?), a new pretty designer soprano uke from Maui, a risa uke stick and a red Beltona Tenor resonator joining in with the Kona Walkingstick.

The Kona Walkingstick had a warm, deep sound that balanced the ukuleles and voices in a dynamic way. The Walkingstick seemed nicely crafted. The wood was pretty and the ergonomic design (easy to take on the subway!)along with the fantastic sound made the rest of the kanikapila players scheme for ways to make Tommy bring the Walkingstick and play it every week.

Kudos to Kona Bob for a great instrument, applause to Tommy for bringing that bass sound back to the nyc jam.
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2006 :  10:42:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
I just replaced the Quicktime videos on the Kona Walkingstick web site with Windows Media Player files (wmv) for those of you who are interested in hearing what the 'Stick sounds like in action but do not have Quicktime.

There are clips with Ledward Kaapana, George Kahumoku, Kimo Hussey, and Walter Keale - all great Hawaiian Musicians who have allowed me to back them up on bass.

Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass

Edited by - Konabob on 06/05/2006 10:44:37 AM
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  08:56:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
On my trip to N.Y. I got to meet a very fine bass player who showed me that "slap bass" is indeed possible on this instrument.
I have not mastered the technique yet, but I will! It has to do with slightly curling the fingers of your right hand so that when
you slap them against the bass, they go under the strings as you come back up, and are in effect, plucked. Too much curl and
it catches the string - not enough curl and there is no plucking action. A very pleasing effect when done correctly.

I haven't posted here for a while. But I got a nice review of the bass this morning, so I thought I would add it to this string.

"Aloha Bob!
Got my Walkingstick Bass last night, and wanted to give you a quick first impression. Having never seen or played one before, I wasn't sure what to expect. It seemed a little pricey, given the simplicity of the design, but as a collector, and uke nut, I had to try one. It didn't take long for me to realize that it's worth every penny of the price. I plugged it in, directly, to a Fender PA system and was sounding pretty good within minutes. My wife and daughter, both piano players, were in the room, and they couldn't wait to try it. With some quick instruction from me (a guy who had never seen one of these things before), they were running some great 12 bar blues bass lines, with me joining in on guitar."

"Seems like the simple ideas are always the best, and you've got a great one here. Some of my jamming buddies are coming by tomorrow, and I can't wait to try it in a big group session. Thanks for getting it to me so quickly, and good luck in your continued efforts to develop, and market, this fine instrument."
Joe Moyer - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

My thanks to Joe and others who are helping me spread the idea of "slack key bass". I would love to hear about any other playing techniques that you come up with.

Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass
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thumbstruck
Ha`aha`a

USA
1930 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2006 :  05:21:39 AM  Show Profile
I saw Dr Cookie's one. Nice! Reminded me of a 3 string tamburitza bass. Cool ideas are always welcome!
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2006 :  07:26:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
I am working on a few more to bring to the Ukulele Festival of Southern California in Cerritos in October, and I will have them in Waikiki, at the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii's annual Expo. I really enjoy backing up ukulele groups. Friday, I played a small concert with Chris Yeaton and Buddy Fo. I played steel, and my wife backed me up on stick bass. Dennis Lake even joined us on cigar box ukulele!

Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass
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joe8string
Aloha

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2006 :  03:17:03 AM  Show Profile
Gotta' add some kudos for the Walkingstick bass. I've had one for a few months now, and use it regularly with my uke group and to accompany others at open mics and small gigs. It not only adds some great low end to the ukes, but is also a big crowd pleaser in terms of its looks and function. Playing it using a wireless system (Guitar Bug) allows me to move freely around the room with it, and adds to the mystery of the sound coming out of this strange looking instrument. I'm still working on my twirls, ala Tom Cruise in "The Color of Money". Musicians, especially bass players, seem to be the ones most fascinated by it. Hat's off to Kona Bob. The simplest ideas are always the best. Joe
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2006 :  08:29:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
Thanks Joe!
I am definitely going to have to get a wireless bug! I just had a wonderful weekend with my bass. Friday, I played a little with a great finger style guitarist, Pat Kirtley from Kentucky. He was visiting Hawaii. Saturday I got to back up Brittni and Keoke Kahumoku, and also was asked to play a wedding with Buddy Fo. I often wonder if I would be asked to play if I was hauling around a 4 string electric bass guitar. Maybe, but the stick always adds a special dimension to the gig. I love to watch the audience asking each other; "what is that thing, and where is the sound coming from?"
Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  11:05:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
I ran into Marcus Johnson last month. (He has played bass for Amy Gilliom for the last 20 years or so) A couple of days ago I notice that he had posted the following message on TalkBass which is a large forum for bass players of all kinds. Since it is kind of a "review", I am adding it to this string.

"I played Konabob's bass in the Kahului airport yesterday, as I was waiting to catch a flight to a gig on the Big Isle. It's owned by Maui bassist Roy Kato, and old friend who was gigging in the airport. I was very pleasantly surprised with the Kona Walkingstick. It has a big, fat, warm sound, it's as light as a feather, looks very nice, and features the lightest action I've ever experienced on an EUB. I guess it's probably aimed at folks who want to mess around and have fun with upright bass, but it actually is a viable, good sounding axe.

To top it off, I coincidentally met "Konabob" that evening for the first time (in Kona); he happened to come to the concert I was playing and introduced himself. He is a truly nice guy, we had a great conversation. I think he's doing something really cool with this bass; kind of a niche instrument for people who want to have some fun with EUB without having to spend a bunch."

(Aw, Shucks, Marcus! Thanks though!)
Aloha,
-Konabob

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass

Edited by - Konabob on 12/30/2006 11:06:12 AM
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Konabob
`Olu`olu

USA
928 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2007 :  07:12:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Konabob's Homepage  Send Konabob an AOL message
A letter from Rick Vinson on Oahu, and my reply containg some tips.

RV: Aloha Konabob:
I just wanted to report that I love my walking bass. It is the best thing I’ve ever done.


Kb: Thanks for the kind words Rick. I really appreciate hearing from you. I hope the bass will bring you years and years of happiness!

RV: I play it almost every day and finding it very easy to feel at ease with it. I have begun to play with some techniques to add a 7th onto the chord for a little variety. I am wondering about minor chords. I’m not very good with music theory so I’m not sure how to adjust to play a minor, other than just faking it and playing the low note. Any suggestions?

Kb: Yes, when I am backing up a minor chord I just find the root note and then go up 3 dots. 'A minor' for example: Play the A note on the low string, then play the C note on the low string. 'E minor': play the E note, then go up 3 dots to the G note. This can be done on any of the strings. I play 7ths by going down 2 dots. C7th is C, then B flat, for example.

RV: I’m also wondering about storing the bass. Do you recommend taking it apart and storing in the gig bag or leaving it assembled? I was wondering if there was a problem leaving it assembled and hanging it on the wall?

Kb: I am usually going places with my bass, so it usually ends up in the gig bag when I am done playing. If I was just playing at home, I might leave it standing in a corner, or hang it on the wall. It would be handy and I would play it more often, so I would learn faster!

RV: I was concerned about whether the adjustable extension would warp given that little rubber piece down on the back of the instrument. When it is in use, I notice that the wood is a little bowed out because of that rubber piece (I assume that is to reduce vibration) I guess it doesn’t really matter if it does warp the wood a bit.

Kb: No, it doesn't matter. The rubber piece is there to keep the leg from clattering against the instrument. If it ever starts to warp, simply turn the leg around, and it will warp back the other way.

RV: I just got a pig nose amp and am very happy with it.

Kb: Yes, it is nice to be able to play without having to worry about where to plug in!

Konabob's Walkingbass - http://www.konawalkingbass.com
Taropatch Steel - http://www.konaweb.com/konabob/
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Konabob2+Walkingbass

Edited by - Konabob on 09/14/2007 07:13:36 AM
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