Making a Guitar Bass Sound Like a Bass Fiddle

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by anthony10018, May 13, 2012.

  1. anthony10018


    May 8, 2012
    Thanks for answering a previous question. Is there a way to make a guitar bass sound like a bass fiddle? I guess through amplification or whatever method you know of. Thanks for your time.
  2. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    New York/Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of
    that would be all about your touch and technique on the instrument. Spending time with the instrument and finding how to create new sounds with it. That's a personal journey for which I don't think there is a clear cut lesson. If you want to find a way to make something sound a certain way, time and patience with the instrument will be the only thing that makes it happen.

  3. Janek is right here about touch and technique. The player I have heard who comes nearest to this is my good friend Henry Thomas, playing with singer Sarah Jane Morris. He uses a Dean Performer fretless acoustic into Markbass amplification, but I believe much of it is down to his masterful and restrained technique. Check out her album 'Where It Hurts' to see what I mean - the opening track 'World To Win' is a good example.
  4. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    In my experience, yes technique is the most important element. But having a fretless instrument with very high (VERY high) string height really helps.
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  6. brad houser

    brad houser

    Jan 4, 2008
  7. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Tapewounds and playing technique, finger picking up the neck.
  8. I find that the combination of the aforementioned high action and the 'Hook" technique can really make you sound like a double bass player. Depending on your instrument, pluck roughly where the fretboard meets the bass with the full length of your first two knuckles on your first finger. Double bass players often use the same technique in a vertical position. If I get some time tonight, I'll make a quick video demonstrating what I mean.

    Compression can help. I use my Markbass Compressore with the gain around 8 and the ratio around 4 to add some tubey goodness.
  9. floodwatchbass


    Nov 12, 2012
    There's this, about Will Lee doing it on Letterman:

    This post, however, leaves out something I remember from the original article - Lee was having a very short bit of verb put on his signal to give it the body resonance/air of an upright.
  10. Tarus Mateen has a crazy custom bass that sounds just like an upright. The closest I've ever heard. If you look up Jason Moran Trio's Ringing My Phone, you'll see him playing it. Monster players.
  11. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Might be worth playing around with a strip of foam under the strings, by the bridge saddles. Mutes, IOW.
  12. levonrocks


    Nov 21, 2012
    Easton, PA
    My 1975 gibson les paul triumph bass can sound a lot like an upright when played with flatwounds. Boost the bass, boost the mids and cut the treble. It also helps if the instrument is fretless.

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