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can you use on bow on an electric?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by texture'62, Sep 5, 2000.

  1. texture'62


    Aug 14, 2000
    howdy y'all. i'm playing in a band right now that allows me space to "experiment" with the bass instead of just using it as a foundation (we all know we're the backbone) so i was wondering if anyone has used a bow on the electric bass. if so, what kind, how much, and how long will the darn thing last before strings shred it. oh yeah, most importantly, whay kinds of eerie sounds can i expect. thanks!
  2. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    This came up not too long ago, but I'll tell you what I know. I used a bow way back when; there's a few limitations to doing this. First, you need to use a cello bow, since they are a bit sturdier. Second, not having an arched bridge limited me to playing up near the neck joint, and only on the G string. It can be very cool sounding, and you can use the D string a little, but I found myself staying in the key of G for maximum tonal range. The rosin will get on the strings, and unless you're trying to be Jimmy Page (gee, where did I get the idea?), you shouldn't damage the bow too badly. Now, toss in a nice flanger pedal.....

    Personally, I think you might be more successful in digging up an old Gizmo for Bass.
  3. Chris Wood of Medeski, Martin and Wood bows his electric occasionally. He also has played the upright with a pick!
  4. texture'62


    Aug 14, 2000
    gweimer, i noticed that you capitalized the word Gizmo in your post. does that mean there is actually a gizmo called a Gizmo that could get me the drawn out drones i am looking for on the electric bass? also, does anyone know where i can get a sturdy bow for cheap. thanks!
  5. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    If anyone remembers "I'm Not In Love" from 10cc, then that violin-like tone will stick in your ears. It was created on a guitar using a Godley-Creme invention called The Gizmo. It was a motorized attachment to the bridge of the guitar, and had a nylon wheel for each string that simulated the action of a bow when pressing a trigger button attached to each wheel. They also made this for bass. I don't know how many were made, but it's probably hard to find one now. Maybe contacting Godley & Creme direct?

    (uh-oh, we're headed for Effects if I'm not careful....)
  6. Staci


    Dec 11, 1999
    Try and E-bow I hear they are getting used for basses now.
  7. Well, if you're going to use a bow, you may as well use a bass bow! I suspect for your purposes, you're probably not going to need a very fine master bow, so your best bet is to go to your local violin (and family) shop and ask if they have any Glasser fiberglass bass bows. They should only be about $50 bucks. If you can't find one locally, which I'd be surprised, try Lemur Music, a California based mail order store specializing in double basses and accessories. Their toll free number is 1-800-246-BASS unless they've changed it recently. Their web address is:


    Of course you will need some good rosin. Don't waste your time with anything other than Carlsson or Nyman (they are identical, so you may as well get the Nyman, it's cheaper).

    [Edited by Rob W on 09-08-2000 at 06:02 PM]
  8. texture'62


    Aug 14, 2000
    Well, I found an e-mail address for Godley-Creme and am waiting for a response. The Gizmo sounds like a really cool invention but I'm not too optimistic that I will be able to get my hands on one. I have tried the ebow and it sounds to harsh and electronic for my taste. I think I'm going to try to pick up an inexpensive bass bow like Rob W. suggested. Thanks for the information. I'll post the results of my experimenting soon..talk bass rocks!
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I've played my Steinberger fretless with a bow and the sound was HUGE. The downside is that hte fingerboard radius is flat on a bass guitar, so it's hard to play strings individually. The other thing is that the strings don't do much for the horsehair longeviti, neither does the bow rosin have a good effect on string longevity.

    Will C.:cool:
  10. My apologies for the OT post, but I'm not entirely convinced the Profile e-mailer is working; it sent messages to $emailaddress, or some such strange variable-type "address".

    Rob W, could you drop me a quick e-mail (andrew@plumb.org)? It's regarding Jim Creegan/BNL and an up-coming gig.

    Mondo thanks!

    ...we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
  11. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    E-Bow harsh and electronic? I've never found that to be the case - it's worth pursuing. I use one extensively on my solo album (see http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk for more info and sound clips) and it doesn't sound like either of those qualities. Also check out Michael Manring's use of the e-bow - he's the king of the bass e-bow!


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