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Best effect for bowed EUB ?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Silvint, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Silvint


    May 7, 2007
    London UK
    I moved to EUB after years of DB abd BG. I find the instrument so convenient I got used to it.
    Bow sound is not great though, although reverb helps a bit. I don't aim to reproduce the DB sound, but am trying to get some cool original tones out of it. Anybody using effects pedals with good result?

    Please share !
  2. Echo? Phase Shifting? Chorus?
  3. Eberhard Weber, who played an EUB almost exclusively in the last twenty (or thirty) years, said that he wants to keep the basic sound of a double bass to be identifiable with his instrument, even if the sound is different to an acoustic double bass. (He doesn't want to go too artificial.)

    He used modulated delays (chorus/flanger) and a bit of reverb mostly and used looping devices/freezed delays a lot when he played solo parts.

    Pitch shifting/transposition is possible too, since it doesn't alter the sound too much if the transposition inside the range of a fifth. Maybe a bit of wahwah if it is used rather seldom.

    Some people even use overdrive and other distortion effects. Interesting when used with the bow.
  4. John Burgess

    John Burgess

    Nov 28, 2011
    You may want to try the Boss AC-3 acoustic simulator. It's designed for electric guitars, but Im using it for an NS CR5 and it's giving some interesting results. The resonance modelling helps to soften the overpowering piezo sawtooth sounds when bowing the bass. It reminds me more of the fishman full circle now when played arco.

    Im trying it out with my smaller setup ie Bass -> Boss AC-3 -> Amp. I use a rack of effects when playing solo stuff through a PA, but for smaller gigs, jazz combos etc, that isnt suitable. This pedal looks promising and isn't very expensive.

    Plus if you don't like it for pizz, you can just switch it on/off with your foot when you pull the bow out.
  5. Though I play electric cello instead of electric upright, the pickup mechanism and overall range is quite similar. And I do LOTS of arco playing, from pads to leads.

    The most important box in my entire signal chain is a Behringer ADI21. Yes, really. It's a cheap-ass clone of the Sansamp Acoustic DI, which was the predecessor of the Sansamp Para Driver DI. The Behringer box has better headroom than the Sansamp boxes, so I buy a couple to make up for its relative fragility compared to the Sansamp boxes. But I did say "cheap-ass". Even the ADI21 can clip given too hot a signal, so experiment to find the point before it clips, and make up for lost gain with the output knob on the ADI21. Turn the blend knob at least halfway up, leave the tone controls at 12:00 to start and adjust them sparingly.

    To my ear these boxes vastly improve the sound of bowed electric instruments. Make them sound less "scrapey" and more "acoustic". Plus, I use it for bass playing pizz on the E-cello too--I don't like the Bass Driver DI for bass playing, like many electric bassists I prefer the Acoustic DI and relatives and clones.

    The "functional description" of these boxes is "Take the sound of saddle or bridge foot pickups, and somewhat simulate the sound of a miced up body". Which is, incidentally, what the Boss AC-3 acoustic simulator mentioned by John Burgess does. Note that the AC-3 does have a "body type" of "upright bass" to simulate.

    I find that using one of these boxes first in the effects chain makes any further effects respond quite a bit better. And this box _does_ serve as a buffer preamp with reasonably high input impedance, though I wouldn't rely on it as one's sole preamp.

    I use chorus, reverb and delay quite often on bowed solos. I also use overdrive, either Tube Screamer pedals or the Marshall Guv'nor, or clones or emulations of these. Note that using a drive pedal doesn't mean one has to make the sound all fizzy; I usually set the gain relatively low and the output level relatively high, and play with the tone controls somewhat.

    If you _do_ want a more "fuzzy" distortion sound, you _will_ have to turn the gain way up, because the natural scraping sound of a bow makes it harder to hear the "fuzziness" in the sound. Don't be afraid to let the pedal scoop out lower frequencies--the ear compensates somewhat.

    I've used the Zoom bass _and_ guitar pedals for arco effects.