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Azola floating top bug bass vs. DB

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by lucas vigor, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Forgive me if there have been similar posts:

    My needs are very specific: I need an upright style bass for a hawaiian band, where I will always be amplified. I need it to sound and feel as much like an DB as possible. I have heard good things about the floating top bugbass, but I have been reading posts where the purists here say there is a marked difference in sound. One question would be this: If I run an acoustic with piezos thru an amp, doesn't that already ruin the acoustic tone, and make it sound like a fretless BG?

    So, understanding that, (aside from practice,) I would NEVER not use amplification....is there still that much of a difference in sound/tone?

    And out of all the EUB's out there, isn't the floating top Bug or Scarab the closest in sound? I realize that Azola has some other styles that are not as easy to move around, like the baby bass and Eurocoustic series..so I am not looking at those..portability and sound are my main concerns..

    Any advice would be appreciated, and no, a full size DB would absolutely not fit in the car I have right now!
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I have a New Standard La Scala double bass and a floating top Azola. I've played with many Hawaiian artists on both of them. Both have their virtues and shortcomings.

    My double bass is a very nice one, and I've spent a lot of time and money on mics, pickups, amps, and so on. So, at this point, I can get a good, natural sound in virtually any venue, at any reasonable volume. At a certain point, you're in the P.A. anyway. The bass itself is superb, so I try to use it any time it is possible to get it to the gig safely. I love playing the thing. The only downside, literally, is dealing with the airlines.

    The Azola, on the other hand, has been a Godsend when it comes to road gigs. I've played huge stadiums and halls, and it always sounds and plays great. Given some tweaking and setup, it can sound very close to a well-amped DB. (That is not to say that "well-amped" is what I try to get from my DB; there, I'm trying for the "my sound, but louder" thing). The Azola is very nicely made, with a beautiful ebony fingerboard, and is pretty bulletproof. I like it a lot.

    If I had to choose one...well, you probably know where that one would fall! No contest.

    Here is a link to some recordings that I did, with the singer Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom http://www.hanaialii.com/music.asp . On the "Pu'uhonua" CD, I'm playing the Azola, on the "Nostalgia" CD, track 6 in particular, it was my previous double bass (replaced with my current New Standard bass). You can listen to the clips and judge for yourself.
  3. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Well, shoot....can't get the clip to work on my PC...drats!!!!!

    Funny though, that album "nostalgia" is basically our band's entire set list (well, half of it, at least)!!

    Gotta love that Hapa-haole style!

    I will have to buy one of those recordings at the store, I think...'cause it looks like the kind of music I really dig!
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Yeah, just tried them myself, no luck. I'll let Amy know.

    Check out Willie K's CD "Awihilima", I'm on "real bass" on that one. Good album...(sorry if I'm getting too spammy, guys).
  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I also own a New Standard Cleveland (laminated) and a solid-body Azola Bug II. I agree with everything Marcus said. My tonal standards probably aren't as stringent as the jazz guys' but I've found the amplified Bugbass tone to be every bit as serviceable as the piezo pickup-amplified tone of any URB I've had. For portability/durability, there is no contest. I just had a road case built for my Azola for the gigs I'd prefer not to take my URB (and there are several). Sure eases the travel stress by several degrees.

    That said...if I could only have one bass...I'd keep my Cleveland, no question. Although if I owned a lesser URB, that might not be the choice.
  6. I have an Azola bugbass 2 and an Eberle plywood upright (which isn't really that nice). If you want a natural sound, I think the acoustic is the way to go. I play the upright at rock gigs, usually clubs 500-1500 but sometimes bigger, and while it's a struggle, the sound is incomparable. I use the Azola on gigs where a more electric sound is appropriate. But for my main gig, having the acoustic look and sound is important.

    It's a trade-off, tone and look for convenience and volume. It's certainly a lot easier to fly with an electric upright rather than the real thing. I fly with both- one flight case fits in a car, one absolutely does not.

    Good luck.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    What kind of car can't you get a bass into?

    Check out the Alter Ego. I did a whole review on mine right here in the EUB section.
  8. I can get the bass into just about anything. I was referring to the flight case for the two basses. The flight case for my azola looks like a big keyboard case. The flight case for my upright is truly ginormous!

  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Oops -- I was asking Lucas (original poster) who said he can't get a bass in his car.

    Sorry for the confusion.
  10. I play an Azola floating-top Bug as well as an acoustic Strunal. Like most of the other posts, I really dig the true acoustic sound of my upright. However, I have gotten lots of good feedback (no pun intended) with the Bug, especially church stuff, where whatever I play has to compete with electric guitars, keyboard and drums.

    It is also easier to transport!
  11. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    I have been using the Azola Floating Top bass for several years. I love it; great feeling and sounding bass. It gives me a beautiful round and solid sound everywhere I use it. Arco is excellent for a EUB.

    It is no substitute for an acoustic upright though. I prefer the sound of my acoustic bass minimaly amplified/miked in a good room, mixing with other acoustic instruments.

    The Azola covers any situation that I'd prefer to play upright with, that is less than ideal for acoustic instruments. In that case, the acoustic upright is no substitute for the Azola. That has been really good news for me since the day I purchased it.

    The bad news is, Azola has just announced that the Floating Top/Scarab model has been retired from regular production. I'm hoping that that will change! They make alot of other excellent basses, though. Maybe you could find a used 'floater", or talk Steve into building one on a custom basis. Good luck!

  12. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Like several of you, I have an American Standard (from the '60s) and a solid top BugBass. My long-time band does jump blues and old school blues. The BugBass goes to the gigs...the stages are too small and the music too loud for the URB to be very effective or convenient.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I just looked at their website and they've added 3 new models/versions of older basses to their lineup while taking the scarab out. Looks like the Acoustic Bugbass has replaced the scarab. Personally I liked the Euro-coustic bugbass that they had and looks like it's gone too. In any case, I'd probably seriously look at a Czech-Ease before I took the plunge into an Azola.

    As far as loud situations go, I think my Full Circle PU seems to do the job.
  14. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    The Full Circle, a beautiful pickup! I have one on my acoustic bass and really like it. I'd agree that it does the job very well.

    I understand that the KYDD "full size" EUB comes with the Full Circle system from the factory; anybody tried one of those puppies?
  15. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Well, I have a Honda passport small SUV, and the passenger seats won't go down much..so, I don't know how the heck I am going to do this!

    And I have decided on going all acoustic.