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Can you make an electic sound like an upright?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by cobberbass10, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. cobberbass10


    Mar 18, 2008
    I've thrown together an idea of how i could get a nice upright like tone. I know I like the way a p-bass sounds sits in a jazz setting already. So I figured that a short scale p-bass (for plunkyness) and a piezo bridge might do the trick. Let me know if you've tried or seen anything like this.

    Attached Files:

  2. ezrs


    Sep 24, 2008
    The upright emulator for many on TB is the Rob Allen Mouse 30.
    I have one, and it fits right between a Fretless P and an upright.
    It may be one of the finest basses out there.
  3. What about just putting some foam under the strings near the bridge?
  4. cobberbass10


    Mar 18, 2008
    Being that the Rob Allen Mouse 30 is semi-hollow, I looked to find a highly affordable semi-hollow fretless bass (being that this is somewhat of an experiment). What I found was a fretless violin bass, with much simpler electronic controls than the original. The new plan is to wire a 2 piezo buzzers from radio shack parallel (to half the impedance) and in reverse (so they act as a pickup). I will then connect these to the collar tab of the output jack, and use the same set-up as the rest of the plan. Except I think that I might try nylon wrapped strings instead of steel flats.

    I have tired the foam before. Although I was able to get the thump of an upright, when it came time to solo the bass couldn't do much talking. In retrospect the articulation simply wasn't as clear or expressive as I would have liked it to be.

    Thank you for both for your input, It's really helped me shape my thoughts in this quest for tone!:)
  5. duckyincarnate


    Oct 18, 2005
    London, UK

    Exactly, and try plucking fairly hard with your thumb. The more flesh on the string, the closer you'll get to the sound of double bass pizzicato.

    And why a short scale bass? Double basses have a far longer scale than bass guitars.
  6. Another important aspect is how we play and what we play.

    I got results by raising the string height, turning down amp and plucking harder, striking right through the strings. Making those strings vibrate, and keeping them vibrating through each pluck sounds good. Don't damp the string, pull it, then release it to make a tone, but strike right through in one motion.

    It's helpful to play across the open strings and climb the G to get register, as opposed to climbing the E and then moving across the strings to get register. The initially 'cumbersome' upright style fingerings on a fretless electric bass add a lot to the phrasing and sound of the lines and figures we play. Learning Simandl style fingers can help one play in tune a 34" scale fretless bass. On a 30", one may be able to use 1234 fingers... it depends on how it sounds.

    Some of the stuff on the posted picture, seems overly optimistic.

    There is always this bass to get...

    Very portable, and very good sounding with the right amp, but can be hard to play in tune as the scale is so short and the strings so fat in relation to scale length.

    Then of course, an electric bass is nothing with out an amp and speaker, so we need a quality amp/speaker combo to get a quality sound. And the EQ has to be adjusted to deliver what we want to hear.

    Keep in mind though, as we move towards a 'DB' sound with our electrics, double bass players are moving towards an electric sound with our DB's. As soon as we plug in a DB with a piezo pickup. it becomes a hybrid EUB. As the volume increases and more of the sound which audience hears is amplified from the piezo, then the more electric a DB sounds.

    (studio recording)

    It's important to play well, with a sound that goes well the music being played. Then all sorts of things work.
  7. aesopslyre


    Oct 27, 2007
    I have recently acquired a Takamine B10 bass, which I immediately strung with 1/4 size spirocore strings. I also paid a visit to the local luthier, to get some mods done...An Ebony nut, And ebony Db tailpiece to replace the stock parts. I want the afterlength of the strings to be greater, so the tailpiece will have to be shorter, and it will align itself with natural pressure. I will also remove the brass plate which the present tailpiece rests upon. Then I will have a sound post fitted, and possibly have the treble foot bass bar shaved down.

    The instrument already was 3/4 of the way to a "real" amplified DB timbre. I'm hoping these adjustments will push it over firmly into "mini-DB" land, rather like a 1/16 size bass body with an ABG -length neck.
    I also have a Takamine Cool tube pre, and I will add a soundboard transducer to the undersaddle piezo. Hopefully, these mods will add more of a hollow reverberant tone to the amplified signal, which is what most noticeably separates this instrument's amplified timbre from that of an amplified DB.
  8. cobberbass10


    Mar 18, 2008
    what sparked my curiosity with this idea was when a buddy of mine defretted an Ibanez Artcore semi-hollow. He also added a piezoelectric element. I liked his results. It has the sound I'm going for, a woody sound with an articulation that is crisp and full of body simultaneously!

    right now I'm thinking of using a fret-less violin bass instead of the p bass. I really liked the tone that Paul McCartney got in a video I heard on you tube (). I will also use piezoelectric traducers from radio shack and epoxy them inside the body under the bridge. This project is very experimental. I simply want to make a sound that can function as a DB in a big band setting without feedback, and that is very portable.
  9. Bass Junkie

    Bass Junkie

    Nov 3, 2009
    The F Bass AC models get a very nice upright type tone. There was a clip on YouTube with Baba Belafonte playing one that listening to it you would have sworn it was an upright, but it seems to be gone.

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