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Bowed bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Armand Karlsen, Sep 22, 2004.


  1. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Are there any bowed electric bass guitars around, specifically, bowed bass guitars? I play rock/metal on my normal bass and I've become interested in playing around with a bowed sound; but, obviously, it would be rather difficult on my existing instrument. I've seen various DB/cello-guitar hybrids, but are there any instruments out there that are just guitars, but happen to be playable with a bow?
     
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    The biggest problem is the radius at the bridge, where it's often too flat to bow individual strings. If you could find a very round bridge, on a bass with deep enough cutouts it works. Flatwounds help especially too.
     
  3. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Woulc the fretboard have to be rounded aswell?
     
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Yes - and they nornally are not.
     
  5. For a while, Brubaker ( http://www.brubakerguitars.com ) offered a fretted electric bass with an upright-style arched fretboard, intended for bowing. I haven't seen anything about it for a while, but you might email them and ask.

    Mike
     
  6. xcental34x

    xcental34x

    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    There is an instrumental indie band called Questions in Dialect. Their bassist plays with all sorts of different accessories, including a bow. It sounded just beautiful. He also used a drinking glass as a slide. I'd reccomend checking them out. Really amazing band.
     
  7. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    On a standard electric bass it would be hard to play with a bow but not impossible. I would go with an ebow and some delay. Also I've seen Tony Levin on several occasions play a Ned Steinberger electric upright with a bow while playing with Peter Gabriel.
     
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    The eBow works great on bass, you can sound not unlike a cello.
    unfortunately, the magnet was designed for weak stringers and you can't play very fast.
     
  9. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Ive used my DB bow on my electric just to see what it would sound like. Basically you can only use it on the E or G strings or whatever you have the top and bottom strings tuned to. The bow doesnt really get the string moving very well due to the round winding but when you pull it off the string it resonates a lot. It actually grows in volume before the decay and it sounds very odd because there is no attack. Its an ok effect but not very practical. Of course the worst part is getting rosin on your strings.
     
  10. sal paradise

    sal paradise

    Aug 12, 2004
    NJ
    The guitar player from Sigur Ros uses a cello bow.
     
  11. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
  12. Robman

    Robman

    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
  13. bluemonk

    bluemonk

    Dec 17, 2002
    Michigan
    This might be very different from what you're after, but Zeta makes a bass (called the Crossover) that can be played as and electib upright or on a strap like a bass guitar. The fretboard is curved and it is able to be bowed. I love mine!

    Here are some nice photos:
    http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/PB304-BLK.htm
     
  14. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Looks like my best shot, so far.

    PS: Though you are right, I am looking for something like a guitar, perhaps with a longer scale length closer to a double bass, but looking more "angry", if you know what I mean.
     
  15. 6-3-2

    6-3-2

    Sep 20, 2003
    This japanese company Jiraud makes a bass for that purpose called the Klein bass, it's not that great of a looker but they've got an MP3 of the bowed sound, and it's sounds pretty good, at least to me. http://www.jiraud.com/mp3/Kleinbow.mp3 check it out.
     
  16. Dude, look at the Clevinger line of standup electric basses. They are excellent!!!! :)
     
  17. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Great sound from the Clevinger, found an mp3 on their site. :)
     
  18. gilbert46

    gilbert46

    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    FWIT, I used my violin bow on my bass for giggles. I could bow the G and E string. Unfortunatly, I think the rosin rusted the strings, cause where the bow touched it got all tarnished and yucky.
     
  19. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    PS: Can you get the longer scale basses on a strap? I've seen all the 34" and 35" scale instruments with straps, but none of the one with 41" or so scales. Are they simply too unwieldy with straps?