Comments on Zeta basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. More and more am I thinking about getting an Electric Upright, though nothing so grand as a Ned Steinberger or anything like it in the near future.

    I was wondering what you guys/gals thought about something like this:

    1) 35" scale
    2) Supposed to have an upright-like sound
    3) More affordable than most other full size upright EUBs.

    Do you think it's worth it, or don't waste time and money on something that's not a full sized EUB.

    I know there are no right or wrong answers, I just wanted some informed opinions.

    You can tell G.A.S. is building up, can't you?


  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you want a stepping stone towards a true acoustic double bass, this thing isn't such a good option.

    First off, it has balance issues and is actually harder to play in upright position than a standard doghouse. Second, it sounds like a bass guitar and certainly doesn't feel like one, esp. if you plan on learning to play with a bow. Third, while smaller than a double bass, it's still pretty bulky and thus not all that comfortable to play in bass guitar position.
  3. Here's a picture of my Zeta -

    It feels nothing like a double-bass.

    Christopher is absolutely right - no way is it a substitute for a real double-bass.

    I bought my Zeta about 4 years ago because I thought it might be fun to learn to play arco. I found a teacher and took the Zeta along to him, and heard him play it, and he looked at it, and thought for a moment and put the Zeta aside, reached for one of the many instruments in his showroom, and said "Here, try a real double-bass…" and I've never looked back.

    The reason I've hung on to the Zeta is that it is quite portable and it can be played arco, but not as easily as a real double-bass (the radius of the Zeta bridge is too large, and the string spacing is very slightly too narrow). Played pizzicato, it sounds like an electric bass-guitar; played arco it sounds, well - it sounds like an electric bass-guitar being played arco… The Zeta is uncomfortable to play when held in the conventional "electric bass-guitar" style. I use it occasionally with one of my bands when we play kids' concerts - they think it's "cool looking" and it does provide a talking point. Having a solid body means the Zeta is less susceptible to feed-back problems which often plague amplified acoustic instruments. When played in the "upright position" the Zeta is quite uncomfortable - especially for anyone used to playing a double-bass; (that's something you won't read on the Zeta site!) - I can never seem to get it in the "right" position for playing. I find I have to look at the fingerboard more as there is no "heel" on the neck for reference in the same way as there is on a double-bass (I found the same problem when I tried an NS electric URB - perhaps Bruce would like to comment on that…)

    What more can I say?

    Oh, by the way, if you're really interested in buying one, mine is for sale, but I feel sure you'll be disappointed…

    (sorry about the length, but you did ask…)

    Hope this helps -
    - Wil
  4. Well Christopher and Wil D., that's the kind of non sugar-coated advice I appreciate. :cool:

    I don't know if I'll ever get an acoustic upright bass, but EUBs have really been getting my attention in the past year. I love the way they sound on some Latin jazz CDs I have.I thought that maybe a Zeta, or a Kidd bass might be a good transition instrument, but you guys are probably right: better to go to a full size innstrument rather than fool around halfway.

    So, what do you guys think of one of these?

    I don't think I'll be getting anything very soon, but I want to start getting as much info together as possible so I can make a good choice when I am ready.

    Thanks again guys.

    Mike :)
  5. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    how bout this one, i like it mostly because it looks a lot like a stand up.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Tater Salad,

    I played a Bug Bass about two weeks ago. I really liked it. I'm speaking totally to the look, feel and playability as it was unplugged, but I would love to have one if it sounded right.

    I also suggest trying out an Eminence if you are truly pursuing an EUB. They play and sound great.

    Even though I just dropped nearly $3k on a nice DB upgrade, I would still love to own an EUB. Maybe someday.

    And now for a slight digression into shameless self indulgence, my new bass:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  7. sambass


    Apr 15, 2003
    my bass teacher got an azola bug bass recently, and i must say it was pretty cool. very acid jazz sounding. but still felt enough like an upright bass for him to be able to transition between the two well
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Yep, go for the Azola. They show up used on the For Sale section of this site every now and then too.
  9. Thanks again guys.

    This is just the beginning of my search.

    Chas, looking good. :cool:

    Keep it coming.

  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    What's wrong with looking at the fingeboard? ;)

    Actually it was quite funny - somebody commented on this. So I bought my NS bass a couple of years ago and took it to Jazz Summerschool only a short time after that.

    So - I was a bit nervous about it and a guitarist friend said it was very comical to watch me - when I was playing live in the nightly Jazz club, as I was constantly moving my neck to look at the fingerboard, then back at the music and so on!! I think he likened me to a chicken or something!! :)

    Having played it a bit more, I can find notes without looking when I am playing close to the nut - 1st /half position? But I do have to look when I go higher up the neck.

    It's not a problem in Jazz - so when I am first playing a tune, I stick to low notes and look at the chart. When I have got the sequence in my head - one or two choruses - then I don't need to look at the chart and look at the neck for higher notes!