34" scale arco-friendly EUBs

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Reg Braithwaite, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    I see the Ibanez Bass Workshop UB804 Upright Bass thread is getting some attention, and looking in its history, I also see lots of people talking about how it's really more of a fretless bass guitar that happens to be radiused in such a way as to permit the use of the bow.

    I own an NS Design OmniBass (thread here), and it's also a 34" scale EUB that can be bowed. In fact, that's the only way I play it. I'm also aware of the Takamine TB10 (thread), which is an actual fretless bass guitar, but I'm taking the controversial liberty of including it here as it comes with an end pin and radiused fingerboard to support arco playing.

    Any other EUBs set up for arco playing? Anyone with tips for getting a good sound out of a 34" scale instrument? Suggested strings for arco playing? Pictures of your instrument?
  2. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    Here's my setup. Yup, mine is a fretted instrument, so it's really a lot like an electric bass guitar with upright ergonomics. And that's half of why I first bought it, I enjoy the upright ergonomics way and can play longer with less wrist pain than when I play my acoustic bass guitar.

    Recents - 1 of 1.jpeg

    I have now moved 100% to playing it with the bow, it's so challenging that I think the only way to make progress is to play nothing except arco until I stop squeaking like a box of mice in a herpetologist's laboratory.

    I now have it tuned in fifths with strings made specifically for this instrument, and the bow sounds much better than when I had bass guitar strings on there.

    I don't particularly focus on getting an upright sound out of it, but FWIW I also own a NinoMute for this instrument, and it does sound less "guitar-y" with the mute.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
    Jaygetsreal likes this.
  3. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
    I believe a company named Ergo makes a 34. Kydd has one, I think, and I think the Warwick Alien can do arco, although I’d want to double check that
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  4. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
    KYDD Bass

    Looks like Ergo may be out of business now.

    Also, it’s the Warwick Triumph not alien.
  5. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    I couldn't find a current web site, but there's one for sale on Reverb, and it's design is "opinionated" to say the least!

  6. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I'm not sure they can be bowed though.
    There's some radius, but the strings are close together.
  7. Hummergeist

    Hummergeist Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2020
    Tutorials, reviews, and interviews for Future Publishing.
    My second hand Omni came with a bow in the bag. I'll get to it one day!
  8. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    Kaminsky's Yukon Deli & Drygoods has got to be the best bass manufacturer's name I've ever encountered!

    Judging by the web site, their basses are all about the fingerstyle upright playing. Love that in addition to a 42" full size, they also make a 30" "carryon" model. That could be a great travel option if arco isn't someone's thing.
  9. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
    According to their social media it is, at bare minimum possible to bow them. There is also at least one old Tb thread about using violin and cello bows on them.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  10. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
    I came very close to ordering one years ago. The builder designed them to be bowed as well as plucked. Very simple but allegedly effective design, and very good prices too. I believe the builder’s daughter was an art school girl or something like that, and he offered the option to have her do custom design work like that.
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'd have more confidence in that claim if he was bowing the A or D strings...
  12. The Ibanez UB804 has a surprisingly pleasant arco tone and is very easy to bow all the strings. My advice is to use a lighter bow due to the smaller scale of the bass I am using a 1/4 size bow that feels perfect to me as my full size bows were too heavy. Adding a touch of compression and reverb adds realism.
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  13. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    Thanks for the advice!

    If one were to use a full-size bow on a 34" scale EUB, how would you expect that to affect the playing?
  14. You might be fine but for me the heavier and longer bow had me applying too much pressure as if I were driving an acoustic bass. Part of that is my issue from playing upright 3/4 & 7/8 basses always struggling to get more power and volume from the bass. The lighter bow forces me to use more finesse on the EUB where volume is not as much a concern but tone is paramount. Also I'm playing small group jazz now instead of in an orchestral bass section.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  15. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    I use a full-size German with my Omni Bass, and I have the opposite problem: I don't seem to use enough weight to engage the strings. I had no idea what I needed when I ordered the bow, so I made up a little story in my head along the lines of, "The strings maybe short, but I still need to get a thick string moving to make notes in the bass register, so I'll need a heavier bow than if I was playing a cello or baritone guitar."

    Perhaps I'll pick up a lighter bow and give it a try, thank you.
  16. Arco playing is one of those things that having a teacher can make a huge difference. Even with my past background in education and playing experience I took a couple of lessons when I started back to be sure I was on the right path.
    Reg Braithwaite and salmon256 like this.
  17. salmon256


    Jul 10, 2021
    I just want to say I'm also in a search for an affordable EUB to help with arco. I been considering buying a used Yamaha so far but unsure. Not in a rush probably won't buy it for awhile but thank you for posting look forward to more replies down the line!
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  18. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    I did that, found a teacher right here on TB.
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