I successfully fixed my U-bass tuner. I had to drill out the screw from the old one, and I even managed to break a drill bit in the process. But once I safely extracted it, everything else went smoothly.
The nut that holds the tuner on has a tube that runs through the hole in the headstock, and that was slightly wider than the old one — but the old one worked fine there. The tiny screw that are supposed to stop the whole tuner from rotating was less tiny in the new kit, so I didn’t have to fill in the old hole or drill a new one. I only replaced the D tuner; it looks so similar to the old ones you’d have to get a very close look to see differences.
I restrung using a slightly different method from what Aquila’s video showed, which meant less excess string wound around the post. Everything is hunky-dory now.
The Thunderbrown strings are nice. I’m not noticing any difference in tone from the old Thunderblack strings; there might be a hair little less sustain (but it’s still plenty) and I think I’m getting more mwah (perhaps due to the slight difference in tension and gauge). They’re supposedly a bit louder acoustically, but it’s not a big difference. The feel is sort of a “sandy” textured plastic, not too grippy but noticeable to the touch — maybe somewhere between a flatwound and roundwound in texture.
Overall, this isn’t a big upgrade, but then, I wasn’t complaining of stickiness with the old strings. People who find Thunderguts/Thunderblack too sticky, dislike the tendency of Pahoehoe strings to stretch forever and not stay in tune, but otherwise like the sound and general character of these types of strings would probably love them. People who want “normal” bass strings should go for the Gallistrings flats that Kala sells on their website.
8 tracks are done for the next album, and the U-bass appears on three of them — sometimes stealthily, and on one track there’s a synth sounding like it’s a fretless bass. I know my synth music influences my bass playing/recording (which is fully intentional) but some flow is happening the opposite way as well (which isn’t, but is not unwelcome).
I plan to record one more track, probably with the Mikro and some zingy resonator stuff with NI Raum. That’s one of the plugins that really comes to life with the right material, and the Mikro is the right material. Arturia’s Chorus JUN-60 is another; it’s moderately pleasant but not really ideal for most synth stuff I’ve given it and it does very little for the U-bass, but on the Mikro it’s fantastic.