EUB what's good, what's not
I've been playing a full size upright for years and now want an electric double bass. Can anyone advise what are the good ones and what are the ones to avoid. I've listened to Stagg which I didn't think was very good. However, the NS Design NXT sounds pretty good. I'm after something that doesn't sound like an electic guitar as there is already one of those in the band.
Any recommendations please?
The Stagg sound more like a double bass than the NS Design in my opinion.
The NS Design is more for EBG players who want to play a little bit of upright.
Tripods are not good for DB players, you want some kind of endpin.
The Stagg is on the cheap side, a little bit more expensive is the Warwick Triumph lite, but probably also better than the Stagg.
The Eminence has a little body chamber but rather sounds like a thin cello acoustically. Good with the pickup.
The Yamaha is probably the closest to a DB, but expensive.
There are a lot more instruments, but you have to try before you buy. Better try ten different ones before you decide what to buy.
If you play with the bow, you want a solid body support, otherwise the instrument rotates with the bow stroke. So try the instrument with the bow!
Do check also an Alter Ego: to me it's the best sounding/feeling eub on the market.
I like the sound of Kydd EUBs And their minimalist simple design.
The Alter Ego is an amazing instrument. I still love my 7 string Ergo. The simple design of a carved solid block of wood gives it a more woody sound than any other EUB I have played, especially arco. Others FEEL more like a double bass, though.
I've used Kydd and Clevinger basses, and have had a CR series NS Design electric upright for the past couple of years, and use it regularly in musical theatre pits with no issues at all.
If a "true" upright sound is what you're after, the NS will work but will need a set of legit URB strings as well as raising the bridge on it to approximate the upright feel a bit more. Also, you might want to spring for the endpin attachment, since it comes with a tripod. I find the tripod is great for those times where I'm playing the NS in a seated position, much like a cello. If I'm standing up, it has to have the endpin on it, or it just doesn't "feel" right.
I used to own the NS CR4M and had both the end pin stand and the tripod, the ergonomics just do not work. If you play a DB it will take some time for you to adjust to a EUB that doesn't simulate the reference points and girth of a DB. I now use the Yamaha Silent Bass which I can just pick up and transfer over everything I do on a DB right away. There are other EUB's like the Alter Ego that work well because it provides the spacial reference that you need.
I'd take a seriousl look at the Merchant Vertical Bass if you have the bread. Same goes with Kolstein travel bass.
If money wasn't an issue, I'd go for the Kolstein and have a shoulder extension made for it.
If you're innit for the 'lectric sound, I prefer the NS Design basses but I couldn't stand using the tripod. I had the CR4, but in hindsight I would've probably been better off with the endpin setup and a CR5M.
Omnibass 5 is also very appealing to me - even the fretted version.
The Merchant is great, but not super portable. The Kolstein is a beautiful instrument but I can't get into the short scale.
I've tried a number of them. They all sound similar to me - liked an upright with a pickup. Heck, I had people say my Rob Allen Mouse 30" scale sounded better than a mixed upright. I think the long scale is important though. The NS or similar 34" scale type instruments don't sound as good as say an Eminence or Azola.
For me, the "feel" is just as important. The way you play. You can't play like an electric bass or think of it as a big fretless. You need to play differently. IMO.
If you want some of "the look" and sound then go Eminence or Stagg or whatever.
If you want great sound without "the look" get a Rob Allen.
Ultimately, I think you have to make a choice between portability and tone. The more portable the less like a URB. I've heard good things about the Merchant, Messenger, and BSX basses but haven't tried them myself. I've also read that the Yamaha is well made and feels like an URB even though it doesn't sound too much like one. The typical complaint about the Yamaha is it's kind of pricey for what it is.
I have an Eminence and NS Design Omnibass. I vastly prefer to play my upright, but I use the Eminence when I'm flying or going to a local gig when I'm concerned about the load in or space on the bandstand. I use the Omni when I'm flying on short trips, just a few days and don't want to have to fuss with disassembling and reassembling the Eminence nor check a bag.
For me, I find the Eminence feels just like my URB to play, I make no adjustments. The action is slightly lower and the string tension a bit lighter but neither distract me in the slightest. I'm not generally thrilled with its tone which I hear as lacking depth and kind of muddy. The nice thing about the Eminence is I don't need an amp to practice in a hotel room. I can hear it fine but it's not loud enough to bother anyone else.
The Omni is not very much like a URB in terms of sound, but I like it quite a bit for a very portable practice instrument. It doesn't really sound like a fretless bass guitar either to me. Maybe more like an electric cello? I think it's a unique sound. It doesn't feel much like a URB even if it weren't a much shorter scale, because there's no neck heel or shoulders. Some players would call that an advantage because it makes it easier to play - you don't have to use thumb position to play above the octave - but it might require some adjustment if you're used to relying on the neck heel. I use thumb position anyway and I don't miss the heel. I find I hear the Omni fine in a quiet hotel room without an amp and it bows very nicely. The string tension is very light and the action is pretty low, but raised to its maximum I find I can still use a proper right-hand pizz technique on it. I use an endpin because I like to stand while I play and the endpin is a lb or two lighter. And, with the Omni, I carry it onto the plane.
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