1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

bow playing

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by x4x, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. x4x


    May 10, 2003

    I'm just wondering

    What if i want to achieve a sound like Sigur Ros' guitar but on a bass, so lower in sound

    I did some research on how the guitar sound is achieved, and basicly it's a cello bow with loads of rosin drowned in alot of reverb.

    Could this work with a bass guitar? Because i think reverb isn't as effective on bass then as it is on a guitar. What effects should i considder looking at if i want to achieve such a sound? Reverb, maybe delay? Any tips or recommendations?

    Any help is welcome

    Thank you
  2. Reverb works on bass nicely, in the right context (used to use it on my Ampeg V4).

    I play bow on my Ric for one of our songs, both in front and behind the bridge. The fact that the bridge and neck are flat means you really only have access to the E and G strings, but you can get some interesting sounds (via harmonics and mis-bowing on the other strings) when playing octaves or chords.
    I've been thinking of taking a broken cello bridge and installing that to get a decent radius.

    Anyways, I run the bowed Ric into a Boss bass chorus, distortion (with treble turned down to 9o'clock) and super-long-regenerative delay (a Korg dynamic echo). The disto gives the sustain, the delay fills in alot of space (great, 'cause i'm pretty bad at arco anyways), and the chorus adds some shine and chiming to the treble. Lotsa rosin on the bow, 'cause i'm using roundwounds (wouldn't need as much, and would be easier, on flatwounds).

    I can get sounds anywhere from near-arco sound to synthy keyboards (one person commented about the keyboard player after hearing a demo of ours!).

    Watch out that you don't start eating into the top edge of your bass with the bow's frog! (i've got a number of chips in my Ric now from not paying attention) A bit of gaffer tape around the horsehair "clamp" helps.

    Hope that helps a bit.
  3. x4x


    May 10, 2003
    what about reverb?

    if i had to choose, delay or reverb? what are the pro cons?
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Didn't they make a bass version of the E-bow? I know I tried our guitar player's E-bow on my bass a couple of times, and it sort of works. A bass version may work better (it has to move more mass than the guitar strings).

  5. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    As far as I know, there is no bass E-Bow. I use a regular E-Bow on my bass all the time, though, and it works wonderfully. In fact, Georg of Sigur Ros uses E-Bow on track 6 on "( )" (the song is even called "E-Bow" on the band's setlists). I find that the E-Bow sound is too raunchy and overdriven on the lower strings to sound like a real bow; it really has a sound of its own. Also, you lose a lot low end.

    If you're up to the logistical problems that Nil talked about, I'd give a real bow a try. I also think reverb can sound great on bass, but I'm mostly a solo player, so it may not work as well in a band context. Delay is good, too, but to get that huge cascading sound that Jonsi gets, I thin reverb is much better.

    Or maybe you could just get a doublebass. :D
  6. Hmmm...both are kinda different effects here.

    Reverb is alot more subtle, alot more ethereal and dreamy, but causes loss of definition.

    Delay is great at getting evolving ambient textures, and to fill in spaces while playing (not masking mistakes or omissions, moreso filling out the sound).

    I play a huge amount behind the bridge (getting screaming notes, harmonics, etc), and hitting notes in front of the bridge (ie proper bowing and bowed bass sound) while the harmonics/weirdness are delaying in the background.

    One or the other? I'd probably go for delay (you can kinda approximate a reverb with a really short delay time). If you're really keen on ambient textures, get both! :D