E-Bow Idea

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Bassist4Life, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Hey guys! I had an idea when I was driving home from work. I haven't used an E-Bow before, but I was listening to Equilibre and got this idea.

    What if the E-Bow was resting on a music stand at string level? Could you make use of the E-Bow by moving the bass to the E-Bow instead of moving the E-Bow to the bass?

    It would free up your hands to play other things (or mute strings). Is this something that any of you have tried?

    Just curious...

  2. it'd work in theory, but in practice the ebow doesn't have enough power to start a bass string going from more than 1 inch away (for me at least), so you'd really have to get it close...
  3. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Hmm... Is there a way to make it stronger? Perhaps it wouldn't be all that hard to get that close. Maybe it could be mounted on a mic stand. Then there wouldn't be the danger of hurting your bass on the edge of a music stand.

  4. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    I suppose, but then you would lose all the subtle nuances you can obtain the the ebow. Different angles, sweeps, strokes, etc.

    I don't think you'd get anywhere near the same amount of control, or dexterity that you would holding it traditionally.
  5. you need a specially made ebow that is much larger and way more powerful to do that imo...it still could be done, and you would really have to put a LOT of power into it! plus another downside is that the ebow's field would really be quite large i would guess and you'd probably be spending a lot of time muting the strings you don't want, unless you had a special tuning for the bass...i would try DGDG and then you could let all the strings be ebow'd (i guess i don't know the proper verb :)) and then play a melody too...
    you know, you could also look into the fernandes sustainer system (they might have one for bass) because you can get all the strings going with those too...
  6. If you pry the eBow apart, you will see that it is a pickup in reverse (or maybe inside-out) ... the battery charges the coil, the resulting magnetic field attracts the string, and you get a feedback loop. Since the force field drops off by the square of the distance, expect anything strong enough to act at a foot to require a lot bigger battery (try borrowing your car's battery for starters), and would be very squirrely... micromovements of your bass would change the character entirely. Not practical.
  7. interesting...

    i recall someone somewhere ...invented a device that produced a controlled feedback using an e-bow like device mounted in the guitar and then it got its "cues" from the pickups on what to do...

    my recollection is sketchy on this, unfortunately...
  8. I was more modest in my objectives ... I just wanted to make my eBow sit properly on the bass (since it is made for guitar string widths) ... here's how I modified it (eBow with wings)
  9. the fernandes sustainer system?
  10. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA

    Well that certainly places it firmly on a single string.

    You'll find even more uses and sounds by keeping the e-bow in your hand and moving it around from string to string and different places on the neck along the strings.
  11. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    If you are looking to spice up your performance with some movement based effects cues you could get one of those airFX things... or a theramin. :p I've seen some excellent performances on both.
  12. One step at a time ... I have found it difficult to use, and getting it to sit on a string (as it does on a guitar) is a big help. I've still got a way to go before I show anyone my eBow technique :eyebrow:

  13. ummmm....

    THAT'S IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think I read about it in guitar buyer magazine...(in case you don't know, it's a UK mag)
  14. i think they even made it for bass, although not a big hit IIRC...
  15. ... I'm curious, Jeff. If you had the option, how might you redesign the eBow specifically for your technique in using it on the bass. I think getting the accuracy needed for the way you and Michael Manring use the eBow is something that requires a great deal of facility. Might this be redesigned to ease the learning process?
  16. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    This is a good point.
    I like your idea about making all of the strings vibrate when using an altered tuning. Then you could put a hair scrunchie over a fret to create harmonic vibrations. Hmmm...
    Car battery! :eek: That's awesome! :p Another good point.

    Do you have any recordings featuring your use of the E-bow?

    This is a great discussion!
  17. its all good in theory, but i think that the power required would be amazingly high to the point of rediculus. i would imagine that the ebow would need to be redesigned as the unit probably would not be able to take on a car battery without something going wrong...i think you might like something more to the tune of a fernandes sustainer...i will look around to see what i can find for more info for that on bass...
  18. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I agree. Showing up to a gig with a car battery would be hilarious! And what if something did go wrong?! Can you imagine it?!?! Complete E-bow meltdown. Simply awesome.

    The sustanic sustainer looks like a neat invention. I'll have to read a little more about it. Thanks for the link.

  19. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    I don't think I would "re-design" it. Well - I might make it a little less wide. I think the groove on the bottom misleads people into how to use it. I don't rest it on the strings the way a guitarist might.

    I usually rest one side of the e-bow on the fingerboard and slowly bring the field to the string I'm working on. It does take practice - (we're all still learning the possibilities)

    The key for me is trying to get melodic ideas out using the various attack options and limits of the ebow. Again - takes lots of practice. :D

    The 3 mulit-bass overdub pieces I have streaming at my myspace site (Fracture, Rain Pulse, Boomerang) all have e-bow lines in them. Mostly ambiences and background effects so they're not e-bow "feature" pieces.

    But HERE is something I laid down with the e-bow just for you.