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Are EUBs more "ampable"?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by greitzer, May 7, 2005.

  1. I'm an acoustic DBer who's been lurking here in the EUB section for the past few days. The threads I've found on volume and amplification don't exactly answer the question I have, so here goes. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Playing in a very loud 20-piece big band, I can't be heard except by the two or three musicians right next to me. I've got a carved acoustic bass, Underwood pickup, Fishman preamp and small amp (SWR Workingmans 10, and a G-K MB 150S). Space limitations keep me very close to my amp (within about five feet), and I can't get the volume up very high before I get the screeching feedback. I don't think getting a bigger amp will help because I still have to locate so close to it, that I believe I'll still get feedback.

    Sooooo . . . .

    1) would an EUB -- just by virtue of being electric -- get me louder? Is it louder by nature than my acoustic setup?

    2) Could I turn the amp up louder without getting feedback?

    3) And would a solid-body EUB be less feedback-prone than a hollow-body EUB?

    Or, on the other hand, would I have the same kind of volume and feedback problems I have now? I dont know if it's possible to give a general answer to this, but I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on it.

    John Greitzer
  2. Hi John,

    I own 2 Custom made 5 string EUBS (see pictures in the EUB threads) + a 60 year old Kay URB. Because many (but not all) EUB's are solid body instruments, there is really nothing "acoustic" about them and I find my EUB'S to be almost impervious to feed back regardless of volume level. Never having owned (or played) an EUB that is partially acoustic (like the Eminence EUB's), I can't vouch for their feed-back resistance. All I can tell you is that I have had NO problems with feedback with either of my EUB's- with ONE exception. One time I was doing a gig on a stage platform that was "floating" and thus easily energized by low frequency vibrations. I moved my standing location to a more stable portion of the stage and the feedback stopped. Aside from this ONE incident, I have had no problems with feedback of any kind.

    Hope this info. helps you out.

    Bob McHenry
  3. Bob, thanks, that is very helpful. If I do make the plunge and get an EUB, sounds like I should go with the solid-body style.

    Just curious, what type of amp(s) and speakers do you use? For your loudest gigs?
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Just to add another 2 cents...I play acoustic upright primarily on my bluegrass gig, but take my Azola Bugbass when travel space is tight. On that gig I use the same AI Contra with both basses. I also double on blues gigs, using my electric basses and my Azola through the same large rig (Raven Labs PMBII->Mackie 1400 amp->SWR Goliath Sr. 6x10). Some of the blues gigs get some serious volume going and the Azola performs admirably with zero feedback. No way I could do that with my URB.

    I'm a big believer in the Azola basses. I can get the amplified tone of that bass fairly close to the amplified tone of my URB (if the amplified tone is all that's taken into consideration). I think you'd need to investigate a solid-body EUB and certainly the Azolas.
  5. ztpbassman


    Apr 11, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have a carved top Juzek with the Fishman sytem and Labella tapewounds which feels great and sounds wonderful in an intimate setting, but which is useless at any kind of volume. I bought a BSX Allegro - carved spruce thick top with f - holes and urethane finish - very roadworthy. Look it up on BSXBASS.com. Dino is the guy who makes them. Nice guy - always ready to answer questions. The Allegro looks legit enought to keep the upright vibe, but holds up great against a club date big band or with my Rockabilly band (3 guitar players!) Feedback is not an issue. I have plenty of headroom and control over my sound. Like any instrument you intend to play a lot you've gotta tweak it. Spirocores weichs make it a dream to play.
    My two cents

  6. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I just bought a Wendler electroCoustic bass to "replace" my upright. Check out the sound clips at his sight. I think you'll be impressed. He is great at answering emails and questions.

  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Make sure you have tried ALL the usual fixes for feedback before you give up and go with an EUB...it's an expensive solution!!! Do a search, there are numerous threads on this.
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I don't use the EUB for volume, I use it for transportability. With modern amplification, I can get the real bass as loud as the EUB without any problems. The EUB sits idle unless I need to get on a plane headed for somewhere that doesn't have a decent double bass available. It's awfully handy in those siuations.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Sidestepping the obvious cutting and derisive remark about musicians who play loud enough that they can't hear other musicians, a few suggestions.

    1. 12 inch speaker - always liked the sound of a 12", still a very tight sound but it seems to handle the prodcution of the fundamental very nicely

    2. Get up wif it - off the floor and on a stand. Not a chair or a stool, but something that gets it about ear level

    3. mic that sucker up - not the cab, but put a mic on the bass and through the house/band PA. I imagine everybody else is mic'ed, why not you. There may be some initial resistance (for some reason, even though you're holding a mic right in front of them, whoever owns/runs the PA thinks you want to plug your pick up into it and that it's going to blow the speakers), but calm persistence usually wins out. The mic on the bass and not the cab puts some nice wood sound out in the front room and helps fill in the bass sound.

    Try those 3 things and I bet you can play with LESS volume than you usually use.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh and your profile says you already own an electric bass, why buy another one? Just play the one you got. If tha band wants you to play upright, then they should be amenable to playing at a volume level that supports that.
  11. Ed -- thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    As for "sidestepping the derisive comment"s about musicians who play too loud -- why sidestep? I make these comments every week. To no avail . . .

    Regarding the 12-inch speaker, got one (GK M 150S 112), unless you mean a 12-inch extension cab to add to the combo amp? I am considering this.

    "Get up wif it" -- I've got it on a stand that gets it to about waist/chest level. This isn't quite ear level, but close. Still doesn't do the trick with this bash-full band.

    "mic that sucker up - not the cab, but put a mic on the bass and through the house/band PA." -- At most of my big band gigs, I don't have a problem because I can go into the PA. But at our rehearsals, and occasional gigs at small joints where there's no house sound system, that's where the problems occur.

    "The mic on the bass and not the cab puts some nice wood sound out in the front room and helps fill in the bass sound." -- Good idea, I will give that a shot.

    "Try those 3 things and I bet you can play with LESS volume than you usually use." -- I'll keep you posted.

    I also know what you mean about why buy another electric instrument when I've already got an electric bass guitar. I have tried the EBG with the big band, but we all agree the sound isn't right.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.
  12. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I play double bass, bass guitar, and EUB. My EUB is a Messenger (made by John Knutson in Forestville, CA--not too too far from Berkeley) with an alder back, hollow chamber, and spruce top. It is very easily to amplify (has a Barbera bridge pickup and custom Messenger piezo). I have used it at high volumes with octave, distortion, autowah, flanger, compressor and other FX. The only time I've gotten feedback was playing arco using compressor/distortion really loud.

    I've also played a few gigs at high volume with my New Standard Cleveland DB (a large, resonant instrument). I was running a Schertler Stat-B pickup-->Fishman Platinum Bass EQ-->GK400RB head-->EA Wizzy and running a post-EQ signal from the Fishman's XLR into the house PA (which included 4 18" subs sitting on the hollow stage). By adjusting my position relative to my amp and the PA and using the Fishman's EQ, phase, and low-cut filter controls I was able to get much louder than I would have thought possible. I was standing about 6-8 feet in front of my amp, which was on the floor.

    Maybe if you got an extension cab you could position it so that it wouldn't point at you but would help project the sound further. Talking to the other musicians--and the drummer ;-) --about matching your volume could help.
  13. nostyle


    Jul 20, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    If you don't want to buy another instument, try a magnetic pick-up. I'm completely sold on them. It's not true acoustic sound, it's just a lot less hassle.

  14. Yes, thanks I am now considering this. I'm not quite clear on how it attaches to the bass, but it is interesting. I wll research this, thanks for the suggestion.
  15. Hi greitzer :bassist:

    I also play double bass, electric and EUB . When I first got my first EUB (a vintage Ampeg baby bass) it had the original metal bridge that was supposed to emulate the sound of an acoustic bass, but overall produced a very thuddy, muddy sound with no sustain. I exchanged the metal bridge with a wooden bridge and piezo bridge pickup from Steve Azola and it made all the difference in the world at improving the sound.

    Let's face it though, although we want to get the best sound possible, and smoothest playability, we also like to play different varieties because of the novelty of it and an EUB gets noticed.

    Personally, I don't care for the smaller EUB's like the bug basses or the smaller ones. I'm 6'4" and like a good solid anchor to be playing on. But that's just my personal preference.

    I'm looking at geting something in the way of the AZOLA EuroCoustic http://www.azola.com/sys-tmpl/azolaeurocousticbabybass/ or carved acoustic baby bass CARVED ACOUSTIC http://www.azola.com/sys-tmpl/babybass1/ The solid body vintage baby bass is ok, but they say it is more designed for latin music and I'm more a blues and jazz aficionado, and thought it might be a nice change to try the acoustic EUB model.

    But getting the right pickup and amp is going to make the difference whether you can cut through the rest of the band using these EUB's.

    Anyways, good luck.

    Chas :bag:
  16. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Eurocoustic Baby bass has been discontinued, or so the cats at Azola say. One of my Bud's has a Carved baby Bass, and the thing is beast. If you can afford it, that is a crazy good alternative to an URB, if the situation requires it. I still think that the URB is the best option, but I know just as well as anybody that sometimes the situation requires an EUB. Stay away from the Zeta series though.
  17. Yeah, I did see that the Eurocoustics were discontinued due to the overseas shipping problems. I happened to see someone on the forum thinking about selling one though and I was giving that a thought. Like I said, I did play a vintage solid body ampeg baby (modified bridge and pickup) for quite a few years before I sold it.

    I was wondering what the difference between the hollows and the solidbody's were though. I read the hollows were 14 lbs while the solid bodies are 20+ lbs. I'd be curious to see if the hollows feel as solid in your hands when you are playing them. Also whether they hold the tone sustain as well without feedbacking at higher volumes.

    Also, I do like the look of the Carved better than the Eurocoustic. I'd rather go with that style but like you said, they are a bit pricey.
  18. Chaz and Peter -- thanks for the up-to-date info on Azolas. They sure do look interesting. My problem is there's no place I can go to play one before deciding whether to buy one. There is a dealer about a two-hour drive from me, but by the time I find out he's got one or two in stock, they're gone already. He puts in his order and it takes Azola six months to get him the new basses. How 'bout you guys -- do you buy EUBs sight unseen, or do you have places you can go to try them before you buy them?
  19. John,

    Yeah, when I decided I wanted to get an EUB years ago, I couldn't find one anywhere to try out. I found a vintage ampeg baby bass on eBay from a guy in Canada for $1000 (I was in Florida) so I gambled and went for it. It came in two pieces (I had to bolt the neck on) and even though I played an URB since high school, it took a little bit to get used to. It had the original metal bridge which I didn't like and no gig bag so I bought a new wooden bridge and piezo pickup from Steve Azola in California and bought a new gig bag from the ampeg website.

    But for me it it was the novelty of it more than anything else. You definitley get stopped all the time and asked about it when you're playing out because a lot of people have never seen one. But the jazz and blues group I was in broke up and I actually sold it to another guy in Canada on eBay for $2000. So for playing it fairly steady for about 5 years and only putting about $300 into it, I did alright.

    Now I'm wanting to get a Bridge Cetus-bass. It has the look and size I really want in a EUB. http://www.electricviolins.com/index.html and click basses.
    but I can't find one used anywhere online, and the website says they price new at $5300. Ouch!!
  20. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    John, you might want to just contact Steve or Jill Azola directly. Maybe they can hook you up with someone who owns one in your area. They are really into customer service, some of the best in the business.

    Gotta be some Azolas floating around somewhere in the Bay Area.

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