1/4 sized bass for amped gigs?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by basss, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    For those of you experienced with smaller sized basses -
    Does the size of the bass have an impact on the amplified sound? I'm speaking strictly of the sound coming out of the amp, not about its ability to use some of the acoustic sound.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You can't amplify what isn't there.

    Smaller, specifically 1/4, basses are not only weak in overall volume, but also weak in lower-frequency fundamental. You can probably fatten it up with EQ, but it will sound a little puffy and fake.
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    However, if we a look, for instance, at the KYDD EUB, we have:
    - a stick-like bass without any acoustic volume
    - a short scale like an EB, and I assume this is about the scale of a quarter bass
    I don't think the amplified tone of such instrument is as dramatically poor as what you describe.
    My conclusion is that it may not be as bad as you suggest.
  4. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    I used to have a 1/2 sized plywood that sounded fine with a mike but a little thin with a pickup. the bass sans amplification had a nice tone but it was never loud. I'm curious as to you reasons for playing a 1/4 sized bass. If it is purely for transport issues I would suggest an EUB over playing what is basically a child sized bass.

  5. My daughter has had both 1/2 and 1/4 size basses, and I have played them both. The 1/2 had a reasonably good sound, the 1/4 was pretty bad.

    I may be wrong but aren't the pickups used on those electric uprights (the sticks) a totally different kind of pickup than is used on accoustic basses?

    If so, than just because an electric sounds good, doesn't mean a tiny accoustic can also be made to sound good.

    However there are electric upright players here somewhere, that can certainly clear that issue up.
  6. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    I have an old Kay 1/4 that I occasionally used on gigs some time ago. I used an Underwood PU. It didn't sound as deep as my 3/4 but you can EQ some bass into it. I think your fundamental is going to be determined mostly by the string length, isn't it?. To the extent you have a scale length that is similar to an EUB, I think the low end will be similar. I would think you'll be able to get more of a woody sound with the 1/4 because there is more acoustic resonance than with an EUB. However, I havn't played an EUB so I can't give you a knowledgable comparison.

    It's definitely more portable but you'd better get an extra long end-pin :D
  7. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I know it won't sound like a larger bass but I'm thinking of it as better alternative to an EUB and as a beater/battlezone bass. I have a 3/4 already and I'm not thinking of this as a replacement.

    The points about smaller scale/chamber seem like they would make sense but there are plenty of basses out there that have a decent sound with smaller scales/chambers (I'm thinking EB/EUB).

    I'm not looking for a replacment for a regular upright but I'm thinking of replacing my EUB. The EUB (Azola Bug) is a fun instrument but I just don't like it for jazz - it works great for other stuff though. I may try experimenting with other pickups but I don't know how that will work.

    I also think that a 1/4 sized bass would be more "acceptable" than an EUB to some of the jazz snobs out there. Some guys just don't like the looks of an EUB and hire me because they want to see the doghouse.

    Of course the subway schlep factor is also one of the main reasons for this question.
  8. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    You seem to think that 1/4 size scale is the rule for EUBs.
    This isn't true.
    Most EUBs have 3/4 size scale. Only a minority uses a short scale.
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    No, they are quite similar in most cases.
    The Azola BugBass uses K&K the Bass Max, for example.
    The KYDD bass I was refering to uses a Fishman BP-100, placed under the bridge feet instead of between the strings.
  10. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    Au contraire, mon frere. I was doing my best to convey the fact that I am ignorant as to EUBs and that they will be similar only to the extent that the scale may be the same - whatever that extent may or may not be. As I said, I have never played an EUB and therefore have no frame of reference.
  11. from reading posts about the dark sound of the realist pick up this might give you the warmth that you need, and a preamp could be a big help with eq
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There is nothing inherent in a 1/4 size bass that's going to make it less prone to feedback on loud gigs. And the same ratio that affects your 3/4 size bass affects the1/4 size as well. That is to say if you get a small, non projecting thin tone from the 1/4 size acousticall; you're going to get a LOUD small, non projecting thin tone from it amped. If you get a good sound, you can get a louder version of that good sound.

    What's your ultimate goal here? Life's too short not to play the bass you love every opportunity you get to...
  13. If you buy a 1/4 bass, you're going to own for a long time. Nobody is going to buy it from you.