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Advice on Upright Bass Pickup that sounds good with bow

Discussion in 'Accessories [DB]' started by tomatocloud, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. tomatocloud


    May 17, 2007
    Asheville, NC
    I am playing a long show where I'll be playing a lot of acro stuff, but the pickup I have kind of blows for that sound. I'm playing in the pit for a musical that the actors are in an entirely different room - so we all have to be plugged in.

    I don't know much about electric stuff as I'm 99.9% classical….so any advice would be helpful. I like the idea of an external mic, but don't know enough about that either….HELP!
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    The realist is the most arco-friendly pickup IME. As far as mics go, the sound tech should know what to do.
  3. Anything that goes in (needs a hole there) or below the bridge foot works well with bowing. The original) Realist doesn't need to be the best option, but is one of them. The Wilson K1 (in the bass side bridge foot), the Bassbalsereit or the APTflex, Shadow SH-965NFX and B-Band might be other options for this, but probably harder to locate a source to get them.
    If it doesn't need to get really loud, the Ehrlund EAP is very good, but a bit more expensive, I think.
    Microphones only work well if other instruments are not too close (specially the drummer) or if it used for FOH only. Don't let the sound guy place the mic in front of the f-hole, it will get too boomy.

    But you are posting in the wrong section. Have a look at Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB].
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I would say use the same type of pickup the other strings are using if you can.
  5. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    The Ehrlund EAP is a great pickup (in fact, a contact mike) for a good amplified arco tone.
  6. kerrycares

    kerrycares Lover of God, People , Music and Bass Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    I use the Realist Pickup ,Troll Mic with Headway EDB-2 preamp.
    This combination allows me the greatest flexibility to get a sound that finally sounds like my bass.
    After 29 years of playing and experimenting , I have finally found something that works for me.
  7. I use golden Realist with Fishman Pro Platinum Bass preamp for both bow and fingers. The bow sound better than fingers. All piezo pickups tend to emphasize 'what happens around the bridge' and supress finger sound and room sound, so the realism can't be perfect.

    It is generally said that sound of double bass is best picked using microphone. It doesn't have to be special bass micro-microphone, any okay mic will do if you can mount it on the bass. Mic is usually pointed at the bridge, or any place that plays well (upper bout in my case). The F-hole plays awful. The reason that stage musicians use piezo pickups is because of the feedback when using monitors to hear themselves. Ask the sound guys, but if possible, mic is your best choice.

    I have no experience, but sound geeks say that it's not very good to use pickup and the microphone simultaneously. Since every part of the bass body resonates in slightly different time, the two similar signals will always have phase problems on some frequencies. This means that some tones will probably always get louder and other quieter in comparison with acoustic playing.
  8. bnutz


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I've used both the Realist and Fishman Full Circle, and greatly prefer the Realist for arco. If you can blend it with a mic, I'd say that's an even better proposition.

    When I do this, I try to use as much of the mic as possible, dialing it back just a hair when I start to get feedback, or too much bleed from other instruments.

    I've also found that what jj said above about mic selection and placement is spot on. For a gig with good front of house reinforcement, I'll carry a Neumann KM184 small diaphragm condenser (although most decent SDCs work just fine) and aim it at the bridge foot on the treble side. Most decent engineers will be fine with this, but every now and then you'll get a guy who wants to stick a kick drum mic over the f hole, in which case, I'd politely ask if he has another vocal mic, and just use that.

    I understand the theory of not wanting to use a mic and pickup together, but I blend signals all the time and haven't actually come across the described effect.


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