Ebow for bass?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by funkedupbass, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. I was wondering how well the bow works on the bass?
    Anybody out there have any experience with this?
  2. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Works fine on bass you just need to practice with it, check out the Steve Lawson & Michael Manring Forum and do a search loads of ebow talk in there.
  3. When a song calls for a long sustaining/growing bass tone I can often fill in by tapping on a string as close to the bridge as I can. It requires a very light touch so you don't hear the tapping, just the bassy goodness. Usually I'll do a double tab with my index/middle finger in a flam type tap. It quite effective.

    - Andrew
  4. westland

    westland Supporting Member

    There are two major problems (IMHO) with using the eBow on Bass.

    First is that the eBow is only just as wide as two string widths on a bass so you need to learn very fine control to keep it positioned properly. The middle groove tends to touch the string and creates an ugly buzzing. I rectified this by gluing two epoxy impregnated balsa wood 'wings' onto the edges of the eBow (see the attached pictures of my "b-Bow") that give the eBow a bass groove, and this makes it actually easier to position than on a guitar. Technique then becomes mostly the same as with a guitar (Steve Lawson says that the eBow developers actually showed hime a prototype b-Bow, but Steve wasn't interested, and they never followed up with a commercial product)

    The second problem is that bass strings being heavier are slow to respond, and you need to learn a hammer on technique to get them moving.

    Not that I'm any good with using the eBow, but I think doing these two things will make it a lot easier to get started using it. And I believe Steve Lawson and Michael Manring when they say that it is a very useful device once you master the technique.

    Attached Files:

    DucRyder, LXP and Korladis like this.
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Interesting! ..So you do this repeatedly to get the swell, I presume - right?

    I gotta try this tonight.

  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For me, it was always difficult, but I never put too much effort into it. Another bassist I've seen do this is our own Bryan R Tyler. Worth a PM I think.
  7. as steve lawson told me many times, its another technique. its like slap bass, very few people get it right on the first try, but after practice, you'll have it down...
    so i took his advice, and after a few days, i started to get the hang of it, sometimes you have to manually start the string vibrations, but it is very usable on bass...
    40Hz likes this.
  8. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I use it and its fun.
  9. I don't really like the tone I get with it. The ebow seems to overdrive a lot.
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    That'll happen if you play with both pickups on or have the EBow too close to the one pickup that's on. For a sustaining note that has little to none of the overdrive/distortin, solo your bridge pickup and play the EBow further up body, coming close to the neck
  11. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    It's not always practical, but sometimes I move back to the amp and press the bottom strap button against the speaker cab. I use the volume control to control the feedback.
  12. yes, that's right. Sometimes I'll try to hide the sound of striking the string under the bass drum if he's playing. I'm generally striking every eighth note(ish). So, when the bassdrum strikes is when I hit the strings the hardest (which will swell), and in-between I strike softer to sustain.

    Let me know if it works for you.

    - Andrew
  13. rega1


    May 1, 2011

    I am incredibly interested in this. How well does it work still? How precise are the two wooden 'wings' or is it just so that they cover the two opposing strings with leeway?

    Will send a PM in case you don't check this...

    depending on how hard it was for you to make the wings, would you be willing to fab a couple up in exchange for some $$?? :)
  14. irvinz


    Nov 23, 2006
    has too much gas
    if you hold the ebow with your fingers along the edges, your fingers would be pretty much exactly what your string width is so you know where it sits...
  15. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    I do the finger thing also - like a drum roll, right in front of the bridge, with the pads of my 2 fingers. If you do it lightly, you do not hear the individual taps, and it is easy to vary the intensity.
  16. Same with me...once you get a feel for it, the tone can be amazing!
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I want someone to explain to me why the Ebow folks never bothered to make one set up for bass... I bought one 15 years ago and found the setup to be very confounding...
  18. maguire


    Nov 24, 2010
    New Hope PA
    Hey - I modified my EBow so it rests on the bass strings nicely. I basically just removed the outer guides by sanding them down.

    Now it sits nice and even - without rolling off the strings, easy mod. It doesn't have the wings like westland's (nice!) but I prefer to stabilize it on the adjacent strings with my thumb and forefinger.

    It's still slow though - takes forever to fire up the low strings.

    I use a high C string on all of my setups because of mostly solo work, so it works nicely on that high C.

    My basses also have narrower string spacing, so the edges of the EBow do have something to sit on without adding wings.
  19. Gopher Bob

    Gopher Bob

    Nov 24, 2001
    Anyone know why they don't make one more powerful for bass?
  20. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    The customer base of bassists buying EBows is probably far too small to go through the costs of retooling and production.