Are Zeta EUB's any good?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by nil, Sep 20, 2001.

  1. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Here's the deal:

    I'm an electric player wanting to play upright. I'm not keen on a "real" acoustic DB, mainly due to the size, cost and transportability.
    Style of playing? Who the heck knows? :) Mainly a continuation of dub/experimental/jazz noodlings, but also for numbers with the band in an acoustic setting.

    I'm quite partial to their looks and price...and the 34" scale doesn't put me off - since the EUB won't be my primary instrument, I like the fact that i'll be able to switch easily, and that it's small enough to get around.

    I've done a search on TB about them, and most people were a bit negative, but this seems mainly from a comparison to a real URB.

    I'm quite aware that only a few EUBs get close to a real URB tone, but how would a Zeta Crossover perform for my application? Their upper models are probably out of my price range.

    Again, since I can't find one here, you guys are my best judge! :D
     
  2. If you want my honest opinion - I have one:
    http://www.k1wd.com/music/bass/Zeta_PB304.jpg
    - and I thought it was pretty good...

    ...until I played a real double-bass (http://www.k1wd.com/music/bass/URB.jpg), and I was immediately hooked - they're so different, they really are! Go with a REAL double-bass; you'll never regret it - even with the hassle of awkward size, weight, difficulty of playing - IT'S WORTH IT! Believe me - IT IS WORTH IT!!!

    - Wil
     
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  3. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Wil - thanks for the reply - I was hoping you might post! :D

    I'd love to have the money and space for a real URB, but they're pretty expensive - ~$3000NZD for a Chinese soapbox with strings! :eek: I'd rather put the money into a good EUB, also considering that the EUB wouldn't be my primary instrument. $850USD for a Educator to me seems like a better option (is yours still for sale?)

    Any other comments about the playability and sound? Does it kinda approach a URB sound or is it really more like a fretless on a pole?


    Thanks!
     
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I used to own a Zeta Crossover.

    I got rid of it because soundwise, I already had fretless bass guitars that could match it and the bow sound was useless in my opinion (likely due to the strings).

    I have yet to find an electric upright I really like (used to own a Baby Bass, too). So I still lug the real thing thing around most of the time, though if you check out my recent thread elsewhere there are gigs where my patience has been tried.

    As a learning instrument, you should at least look into an EUB with a 41" scale. Otherwise you'll have to relearn all your positions if you do "graduate" to a real upright. There's a tendency to use all four left hand fingers on a 34" scale and there's also no need for thumb position playing on a Zeta because the heel is further up the neck and the body is cutaway.

    Here in the US you can get brand new Chinese made plywood basses (admittedly cheesy) for as little as $500 and decent starter basses for about a grand, no more dough than the Zeta.
     
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  5. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I agree that as a learning instrument, a 34" scale would be a hindrance, but i'm figuring, for the amount of UR playing i'd be doing that a matching scale (to my electric) would be nice...it's my intention at some stage in the future to upgrade to a URB, so this is kinda a "in-between" stick for me.

    Brian, could you coax a URB-like tone from your Zeta at all? If not, what was lacking?

    A $500 URB would be cool, but try shipping the sucker to New Zealand! :eek: :D To a point, i'm a quality not cost kind of guy though, so i'd kinda feel cheated buying a cheese URB I think. Also, that magical word "portability" comes into play...I dig any instument I can transport on the back of my Vespa!
     
    johnny_bolt likes this.
  6. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Hi nil,

    Consider the Rossco's Easy Travel Double Bass. He is a luthier who works out of his home near my place. Nice guy.

    [​IMG]

    Full-scale double bass, made with a smaller body for portability. Also fully acoustic unlike an EUB. Would be easier to ship from Melbourne than from the US. :)

    His website is here:

    http://home.iprimus.com.au/rossjazz/Double_Bass.htm
     
  7. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Yeah, i'd noticed those before...how much do they go for? I never saw any details on his site and didn't really want to email for a price just in case it was ludicrously outside of what I can deal with...
     
  8. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Those basses are not cheap - over US$3000 if I'm not mistaken, if not more. This is much cheaper than a double bass. Best to email him and ask him for exact prices. Like I said, he's a friendly guy, open to all enquiries.
     
  9. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    ouch! :eek: Almost the downpayment on a house! :D
     
  10. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    That's so true, especially with our currency now only 49 cents to the US dollar. Good if you are selling gear to the Americans, but bad if you are buying from them, like I have been... :(
     
  11. Billy Harrel

    Billy Harrel Guest

    Apr 22, 2000
    Nil,
    I have a XB304, ZB224 and a Zeta Prism. I would suggest the XB304 (Crossover) for you because it has a 34 inch scale. This would allow you to use the same LH fingering as you use on a bass guitar. I would also suggest you get the tripod stand and a cello bow.

    My Zetas do not sound as good as an excellent plywood or good carved double bass. However, the action is very good for the money and to me that makes up for the sound quality loss.
     
  12. nil

    nil Guest

    Apr 6, 2000
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Well, the Zeta I had my eye on got sold, so it's back to the drawing board for me! :)
     
  13. Mojo34

    Mojo34

    Sep 25, 2022
    This is an old thread, but I have had a Zeta (full size) upright since the mid 90s. It plays great, it bows great, but never sounded right through an amp until today: 3 Sigma Audio has a new generation of double bass IRs with specific support for the Zeta. Loaded into my Two Notes Cab M and playing through a Tech 21 Deuce Deluxe, the sound was so smooth and rich that the family was wondering if I'd gotten an acoustic upright. There are other basses available today, not even too expensive, but the IR solution might really make your (amplified) day.
     
  14. A guy I was friends with 20 years ago owned a Zeta Crossover. When he moved to Berkeley he met the CEO of Zeta and the CEO apologized about how bad that bass sucked.
     
    Ric Vice, uprightbass.com and carl h. like this.
  15. marcox

    marcox

    Dec 10, 2007
    Phoenix
    22+ years between posts — is that TB record?
     
    KentClarkOnBass likes this.
  16. Ah, 2001, when NZD$6000 was still the down-payment on a house.
     
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I owned one briefly. It didn't sound much like an upright, but it was very well made. The 34" scale probably didn't help with the sound.
     
    KUNGfuSHERIFF likes this.
  18. Mojo34

    Mojo34

    Sep 25, 2022
    I can understand that the Crossover was not brilliant, but the full-size EUB is amazingly well made, ebony fingerboard, super smooth finishing and top quality all around, and now I can say that the electronics work great with the new IRs. I did a demo at lunch to a musician friend who could not believe how much like an acoustic bass it sounds. I'm satisfied now for the first time.

    I guess the purpose of my post is to raise awareness about the fact that such a bass (or a new one from Thomann or wherever) can sound more amazing than one might first think when plugging into an amp, just by using today's technology tools.
     
  19. notabene

    notabene

    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    My wife has the "full size". It is beautifully made in every way. It feels, sounds wonderful, but to me, not like an acoustic bass. But it is still a real pleasure to play.
     
  20. Mojo34

    Mojo34

    Sep 25, 2022
    Agreed. I just don't happen to have an acoustic bass this decade, so the Zeta is back in play!