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Discussion in 'Barker Bass Forum' started by Daniel Baskin, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. I had the privaledge of playing a fretted, fretless, and lined fretless (5 string) barker. This is my blunt opinion.

    Barker basses are no replacement to the stand-up, of which they don't claim to be. It is no replacement to the bass guitar, of which it doesn't claim to be. Barker basses play very smoothly, and the new playing style is very quickly learned. I am not quite sure where, in terms of genre, this instrument falls, because it is not a typical bass. It may not have the tambre of an upright, but it has the feel, and it is much easier to move around on it.

    All in all, they are fun to play. I would not buy one personally, but that's due in large part to the fact that I'm going into college this year and I have no disposable income. The sound is warm and it sustains pretty well. And because it is a bass guitar neck, there are many things technique-wise that you can do on it that can't be done on an upright bass.
  2. modeshapes


    Oct 17, 2005
    NYC Area
    This is true -- Barker does not make that claim.
    However I personally, as a player of a fretless 4-string Barker Bass, do assert that when played with an appropriate touch and concept, it is a replacement. And a great quality one at that.

    My basis for saying so is that everyone who has employed me as an upright player since February '05 saw me show up to their job with my Barker. I have not gotten a single complaint, and the bass has gotten heaps of praise for its looks and sound. This is in about 30 dates.

    My 3/4 plywood Merson, in about 6 years of service, never got any such praise. And it was a headache to play, amplify and carry. So it's taking up room in my basement now.
  3. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Many instruments (even run of the mill jazz basses) can do a decent enough job of emulating an upright in a live setting behind a band (when played with the approriate touch ;) ).

    That being said, what techniques do you use to help get the most "upright-like" sound out of your Barker? Do you use flatwound strings? This may be a stretch, but do you ever bow the Barker?
  4. modeshapes


    Oct 17, 2005
    NYC Area
    The Barker cannot be bowed -- the strings are not arranged in an arc as they would be on a double bass, and my experience on other instruments tells me that magnetic pickups don't deal with bowing as well as bridge-mounted pickups.
    The bowing issue is covered well in other threads on this forum, but as far as I'm concerned it's not a big deal that I can't bow, since all my work is jazz or "society" gigs where my bowing opportunity would likely be limited to sawing out a great big whole note w/fermata at the end of a ballad.
    So what we're talking about here is a jazz-oriented pizzicato (more connected/legato than what we might associate with classical pizz).
    For me it's a big topic and a huge selling point for the Barker Bass.

    Very soon I will start a new thread dedicated to the "upright-emulation" issue because I think I have a few things to say about that. If I can find a half a second to fire up my recording gear (HA!) I'll post sound samples too.
  5. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Cool. Looking forward to it.
  6. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    I refer to my Barker as an 'electric upright bass guitar', and people seem to understand that phrase. Would that make it an EUBG? later, ron
  7. Scwwitt


    Nov 2, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    as far as replacing an instrument I am in the process of doing that. im selling a Carvin LB75F and I am going to buy a barker fretless to replace it. It by far plays better and sounds so much better.