EBGs for Doublers

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by vanderbrook, Apr 2, 2002.

  1. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Although I'd prefer to play strictly straight-ahead jazz on the upright, I'm thinking about picking up an EBG to make myself more marketable. The last BG I owned was a nice (I thought) Guild model that I hardly ever played; I sold it over 10 years ago. I've failed to keep up with the developments in the EBG industry since that time.

    So, those of you who double: what are your recommendations? Can I pick up a $250 Yamaha 4-stringer at one of the big retailers and be a happy camper? Should I be perusing eBay? What are the considerations I ought to be aware of? I'm not sure just what other musical genres I might wander into as my day job becomes increasingly less secure, so I probably want something that's quite versatile. (I can say that I don't foresee needing anything that would be particularly well-suited to Death Thrash.) Guess I may need to pick up an amp, too, since my Contra may not cut it with the slab. Hmmmm.

    I'd be eager to hear your ideas, although I know I haven't given you much to work with. Thanks for your input!

  2. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    I think you could get better response on the BG side of talkbass, I just would say that if you are thinking about freelancing with a lot of bands get a five string bass, a lot of the pop music these days are played on 5 string bass guitar, in fact the few times I've got the call to do that they asked if I had a 5 string, but then again if you move your question to the other side of the board you'll get more replies, a lot lot more!!!:p
  3. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Thanks for the reply, Bijoux. Actually, I was hoping to get the opinions of other upright bassists, working on the assumption that they would have insights about my situation that strictly-slab players would not. So I'll avoid the noise that I'd get if I were to post in the BG forum. Thanks for the insight about the fifth string, tho!

  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Spend the extra money on a neck-through bass.

    Pick up any 34" wood-neck bolt-on plank. Play middle-C on the G string: It will die quick. (Compare Bb.) Play Ab on the E string, and it will die almost as quick. (Compare G.) Neck-through slabs may have different dead spots -- check carefully, YMMV -- but at least you'll be able to play deeply-meaningful Celine Dion power-ballads in the key of C major. Then, you will know what true happiness is.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I just started on bass, I have been playing bass guitar for about 16 years. You are correct. I get as much work as I want. Usually about 100 dates a year. That's all I can stand with two pre-schoolers and another career.

    I would agree with Samuel about most bolt-ons. Although my Modulus Quantum 5 is bolt-on and has more clarity and sustain than any neckthrough I have ever played. Then again, it isn't exactly a budget slab. It isn't 34" and it isn't wood. So, I guess I agree completely with Samuel.

    Bass guitars are like DBs or anything else in that you get what you pay for. If you find yourself gaining any real interest in playing it, you'll be left wanting if you go with a $250 guitar.

    I very much recommend the 5 string. I play it all the time, but actually use it on 90 percent of the work I get. It is probably fair to say that it has become professional standard, but if I say that on the other board, it just starts a fight.

    You don't have to drop a few grand though. You should be able to get a decent guitar for $600-800.

    As far as brand, there are more than I could list. IF you like anywhere near one of those musician's walmarts, (Mars/GuitarCenter) stop by. They usually have a few zillion to try out.

  6. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Good information, guys -- I really appreciate it. Keep it coming!

    (Gee... just thinking about playing Celine Dion power ballads on the slab has me all tingly... I think I'd better go...)
  7. I definately would recommend a five string. A good starting point would be the new budget Lakland skyline series. A dealer buddy of mine has been raving about them since the NAMM show. He won't carry the US series (lotsa $$$) but says the offshore series is VERY close to the US models. I actually prefer my fretted basses bolt-on. My fretted bass ( a Lull M5V) doesn't have any problems with dead spots, of course it isn't exactly a budget bass. If you go with a five a 35" scale can be preferable. This however is not written in stone. My old Warwick had a 34'' scale and sounded great. ( wow, I feel like I'm on the other side of the board :eek: ) As far as amps go, I have used a Clarus a couple of times with my electric (subbing on a show for a friend) and didn't like the downward firing woofer. It kind of muffled the electric. I use EA speakers. They are great for DB and electric. I just picked up a CXL112 cab and cannot believe this speaker. Once again it's not cheap.
  8. HeY eD yOu FoRgOt To TeLl Us WhAt YoU ARe UsInG In YoUr KoRn TriBuTe BaND!!!!!!!

    :eek: Now I really feel like I am on the other side of the board.
  9. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    No, we ain't talking the horizontal mambo here.

    I've been doing some research, and while you guys have sold me on the fifth string, there's no way I can swing a nech-through NOW. Maybe later, if my electric playing really takes off.

    Among the under-$500 5-stringers I find gitters with passive pickups, passive pickups and active EQs, and active pickups (apparently). Is this stuff important? If so, how important?

    Guess I'd better get down to Guitar Center this weekend...

    Thanks again for your thoughts!
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Since this is the one thing one thing on this side of the board that I know a little bit about, I will be sure to milk it for all it is worth.

    So, you want a fiver under $500? Ok.

    Your pickings are fairly slim, in fact, I have only played one bass in that catagory that I would actually buy. MTD Kingston. It is passive, but the spine of the bass is stiff and they are put together pretty well for what they cost.

    It is about the only 5 string I know of in that range that has a B string that you can actually use.

    In the active vs. passive argument, I have pretty strong opinions. On a four, I could care less, it just needs to sound good. But with a very few exceptions, you need the added output of a preamp to reproduce the B frequencies.

    I would still buy the Kingston. You can get into new for less than $500. An extra $100 to slap in a preamp and you have a pretty nice bass. And it will get you by in it's stock state until you decide to upgrade it.

  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I just brought home my Ken Smith 6 from the store today, and I have to disagree with the above. This thing SINGS, and it does it evenly across the entire range. Wow.

    I will say, however, that this is one of the few slabs that I've ever played that felt like a real instrument. It's also my reward for playing crappy ones for so many years while I was a bit more "hand to mouth".


    Best of all worlds is a bass that plays OK and is versatile tonally. Sometimes you might get stuck playing jazz with it, and sometimes you may have to rattle the walls.

    If I only had about $500 to spend, I'd look at things like the RB series from Washburn, of all people. The one I played was a 5 string, single humbucker, and that thing sounded great. They use this strange technology in this series where they load the headstock with brass to increase sustain and eliminate dead spots, and it really seems to work. Plus, the pickup is active, and can get as hot as you want. Before I thought I could afford the Smith, I was looking at one of these, and it surprised me because I never cared much for their stuff before. If you get a chance to check out an RB2501 or 2502, give them a look. Bang for the buck in that pricerange.

    Although I do it less and less, I still think it pays to have the plank handy. It seems that most of the doubling gigs I get pay a boatload.
  12. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Some days, I miss frets... Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Finally... I'd been waiting for this moment... (*rapturous grin*)...

    I'll look into the Washboard. :D