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ebow on fretless bass

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Sweetnighter, Sep 4, 2004.


  1. Sweetnighter

    Sweetnighter

    Sep 4, 2004
    This is for Michael Manring

    Hey, I don't know if you remember, but when you played at Nighttown in Cleveland this summer somebody asked if you could play Jaco's Portrait of Tracy? Well that was me. Hi!

    So I have a question for you. Of all the things you did during your performance, I absolutely loved your use of the ebow... especially on Sagrada Familia, just sweet. From what I've read they're designed for guitar... is yours custom made for bass or have you just found a way to make it work? And how much do they cost? I'd really like to get a sound like that.

    On your suggestion I decided to go straight to fretless instead of learning on frets and then buying a fretless. I got 2004 Aria SB-40 fretless bass. I'd love to hear anybody's thoughts on it, and, for that matter, how to play it better :)

    thanks mike
    ian
     
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    I'm certainly not Michael, but I've seen discussion of the use of an ebow on a bass here before. IIRC, it takes a lot of experimentation to get the "sweet spot" on a bass, 'cause bass strings are so much larger and harder to move. Since the problem is getting the string moving in the first place and not maintaining that movement, a lot of people use a hammer-on or left hand tap or whatever you want to call it to get the string started moving, and then use the ebow to sustain the note indefinitely. An ebow is usually well over $100 CAD.

    I wish I learned on fretless, to be honest. My fretless is now my main bass. Even though Michael and a lot of other virtuosic bass players use unlined fretless, for a beginner, I probably would've reccomended lined, but a lot of people end up prefering unlined because the lines themselves aren't always right. I use lined boards -- they have less of a "cool factor", but it's way easier for me. That may not be the case for you, as it isn't for a lot of people. In any case, get a teacher -- preferably someone who avidly plays fretless so they can help you with intonation and other basics.
     
  3. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi Ian. I’m so glad to hear you’re having fun with fretless! For the most part I use standard, off-the-shelf Ebows and I find they work beautifully on bass. There have been a number of threads here on how to use the Ebow as well as some dealing with learning to play fretless and many folks have offered good advice, so you might want to look those up. Of course, if you have further questions we’d be happy to help out. Good luck!