Bill Merchant EUB megathread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by wilsonn, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I had an opportunity to play the Merchant Vertical Bass, built by New York luthier Bill Merchant, yesterday. Great experience.

    My impressions: sounds much more like a real acoustic upright bass than others that I've played. The ebony fingerboard looks and feels like one straight from any upright. The neck feels exactly like an upright. The bridge is a standard, adjustable, upright bridge. The string tension, the geometry of how the strings are set up--just like an upright.

    Biggest difference--He's figured out how to get the springiness of a real bass top with these spruce "spring bars" that the bridge sits on top of. These move...vibrate, like the top of a bass.

    Pickup on the sample I played was Fishman Full Circle. Bill said he's experimented with lots of pickups and preamps and continues to look for the best sound. The Full Circle was very good. Played through a Alembic pre and a Crest Power, and some 1x15. By cutting bass and mid on the Alembic, I got what I felt was a very believable upright tone. Much more authentic than other EUBs I've tried.

    I didn't buy one. I have an Ergo, and am really shopping for a real double bass. So, while I was impressed, I will next be looking for a real upright. But, for guys who need to travel this is a very good option, and you should try to get to NY to play it if you're in the market. I liked its sound much more than the Palatino, NS, Azola, Kydd and Ergo basses I have played. Love my Ergo, but this instrument is much, much closer to a real upright sound.

    kmobass likes this.
  2. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Have you tried the Lightning Bug? If so, any comparison?


  3. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    No experience with that Instrument.
  4. Those spring bars are an interesting idea. I've toyed with the idea of routing out most of the wood under the bridge of a solid-body to build in some flex, but this is a much simpler (though not very aesthetic) solution.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    It looks like (from the info page) that you can take the measurements of your neck, overstand etc. to him so that you can duplicate the "feel" of your DB; that's pretty hip.
  6. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    yeah, merchant basses are cool. harvie s plays one whith great results. i think he uses a realist on his, maybe combined with another pickup. if i were to get one, i'd get the barbera pickup, which he offers combined with anotner one like the underwood or realist, but the feel is great.
    kmobass likes this.
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I was in his shop the other day too, and I tried one out briefly - the neck feels great - didn't plug it in though.
  8. I've had one for almost 12 Years now, and I love it! It comes in very handy when the logistics of transporting a URB are not feasible. And I can tell you from experience, It can take a licking and keep on ticking. It also records very well.
    kmobass likes this.
  9. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Just finished installing the Full Circle on my V Bass. The "hot" side is facing down in contact with the springer bar. With the AA Clarus SLR and EA WZ 112, it has a nice clean sound with a good bit of thump. Rotating the wheel 1/4 turn makes it a bit drier as per the manual. Looking forward to the first gig.
    kmobass likes this.
  10. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Just got back from the gig. It's a fairly raucous (at times) 7 piece Western Swing/Honkytonk band. This setup is a winner. Everybody from bandmates to soundman remarked on the "woody" and "clear and balanced" sound. Thanks to Bill Merchant for the recommendation.
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Any chance you could post pics of the whole bass, and a closeup of the pickup arrangement you're describing?
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I justed checked Bill Merchant's site. Looks like there were some slight changes to his vertical bass. Did you guys catch this?

    Gone is the faux rib that's been replaced with a more typical "hip" brace. I was thinking about ordering one but wanted the faux fib specifically. Oh well.
    kmobass likes this.
  14. wxfloyd


    Mar 4, 2005
    Denver, CO
    interesting. looks like its been nearly overhauled in design. different body, pickup, hip brace, and removable neck. I'm curious as to how all of this has affected pricing, since he is no longer posting prices on the site.
  15. JoeLurker

    JoeLurker Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2008

    Anybody on this list have an older (non-foldable) merchant bass that they have flown with? If so what did you use for a case?

    Or did you use a flight case at all?

  16. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    Hey all,
    I got an email from Upton Bass the other day saying they are going to be producing a bass designed by Bill Merchant (maybe a joint design project between the two) with a removable neck, and i think it said three inch ribs. It showed a pic of the neck joint. Anyone checked any prototypes of these or have any other info? I have a Merchant Vertical, and I think Bill has a good handle on what an EUB needs to be played easily by a DB player, (ergonomics, etc).
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I was at Upton Bass recently and had the opportunity to play one of the first of these to be built. It sounded much better acoustically than I ever thought it would. Really, it had a quite respectable sound even unplugged. The workmanship was nice as well. The arrangement of the removable neck, etc. is very smoothly done. As far as the "feel" goes, well, it had the usual smooth-playing Upton setup. Very nice. My timing was right on as the one I played and its brother were shipped off to Bill Merchant's place only days after I saw them.
  18. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I've been talking to Mooradian about making me a new case for my (first generation/non-folding) Vertical Bass. I sent a tracing, but it would be very helpful if they had an actual instrument to measure. Any VBass owners in the area wanna volunteer?
  19. JoeLurker

    JoeLurker Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    I have the same bass and it came with a mooradian bag. You'd think they'd still have the specs on it.
  20. hello there
    anyone out there have sound samples of their merchant Vbass. looked on the sight but could not find anything .

    would really apreciate it.