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acoustic sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sailor, Jun 13, 2001.

  1. sailor


    Jun 10, 2001
    Occasionally I play with some guys who do bluegrass and was wondering if there is a technique or effect that will give my Ibanez bass an upright sound. I found a technique described where you deaden the strings with the side of your right hand and pluck the string with you thumb, but have not had much success with it yet. I finger pick my bass and an electronic effect that mimics the upright would occasionally come in handy.
    By the way, I am still looking for a good 5 string under $1000 and tried to go play an Ibanez BTB 405 but none of the stores in Mobile had them in stock. Musician's Friend has them listed, but I just cannot bring myself to buy an instrument without trying it out first. My hands are smaller than average and their ad stating extra large frets has me a bit worried. Thanks for any good tips and I am really enjoying this site.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Another upright emulation technique involves playing with your right hand fingers over the last few frets of the fretboard. Stroke the strings with the sides of your fingers, rather than plucking with the fingertips. To mimic a quick decay, use left-hand muting.

    For fives under $1000, I'd recommend the Yamaha BBN5 or RBX765; they're both really well made and have reasonably tight Bs. The BTB405 isn't, IMO, as well made, and the 35" scale can be taxing on small hands.
  3. Sailor, one very big change you can make to achieve an up right type sound (if you haven't done this already) is to use flatwound strings. Also,
    if you have a two pickup bass, try using only the bridge pup, and pluck over the end of the neck, as Christopher said. A third thing you can try, is to stick a piece of foam rubber underneath the strings just forward of the saddles. This is trial and error 'till you get just the right amount of muting, but, check it out.

    About the M/F ad stating that the BTB has extra large frets, this simply means that the fret wire is large, not the distance between the frets, which is
    determined by the scale length. If you want to try flatwounds, the ones I use are Rotosound 77s. They have a nice warm tone, and are not that thumpy like some other flatwounds. For more info/opinions on strings, visit the strings section.

    Oh, one more thing: a fretless neck will bring you very close to the sound of an upright with flat strings, but this may not be an option with your bass.

    Hope this helped,
    Mike J.

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