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Electric bass guitars that "sound like an upright"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bholder, Aug 8, 2017.


  1. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Not sure we've had one of these threads recently, but the topic often comes up as side discussions in ABG related threads. Anyway, let's chat about electric bass guitars (and related) that sound like an upright (more or less) when plugged in / recorded. I'll start by nominating the two candidates I have - an older Gold Tone Bass Banjo BB-400+ fretless, which I'd rate a "near miss" and my new Christopher DBG Double Bass Guitar, which gets closer than anything else I've heard (see my recent NBD thread for clips).

    Looking for plug-in bass guitar format only (either EABG or EBG), let's stick with normal scale lengths and format and exclude electric URBs for this discussion.

    Any other nominations? Renaissances? Mice? What else is out there?
     
  2. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2004
    Millbury Ma.
    Believe it or not Rickenbacker 4003FL's and 4001FL's can sound a lot like an upright with tapewounds, so can Gibson EB-2's (at least the timbre).
     
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    True, I've got flats on my 4003s fretless, and it does get in the ballpark. But missing that "woody breath" sound that a semi or full hollow adds. I'd love to hear a 4005 fretless - anyone got one?
     
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    A solid body bass's notes don't 'bloom'
     
  5. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2004
    Millbury Ma.
    I've never heard of one, maybe Jeff Scott would know?
     
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, me neither, and a Google search seems to indicate it's wishful thinking. I suppose someone could defret one, but....
     
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  7. fenjazz

    fenjazz Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Portand, OR
    Of all my basses, the Hofner Hi-Series B-Bass with light gauge Beatle LaBella flats is the one that I use for upright tones. The bass has no tone block in the body area so it's extremely light and has a really open tone. It gets bonus points for being extremely affordable too.
     
  8. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2004
    Millbury Ma.
    Maybe not but check this out, this is not me:



    and especially this one, bass starts at about 0:30:

     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  9. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Rick Turner Renaissance is certainly a top contender. It does take a little getting used to the T-I strings, but no question they add to the tone.
    I played a Rob Allen MB2 once and it also came close. I haven't tried a Mouse.
     
  10. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    Is there an effects pedal that can take any electric bass and make it sound uprightish? If not, why not?
     
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Don't know of one, and I imagine it's because it's difficult to simulate. But you'd think with all the digital modelling out there, it ought to be a question of software? Maybe a business opportunity for someone...
     
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    The strings on my Christopher DBG are Labella 1954 Deep Talkin flats and I'm thinking they're also contributing quite a bit to the sound.
     
  13. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    Electric bass guitars that "sound like an upright"
    Forget it.
     
  14. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Have you checked out the Cristopher DBG? Might just be the elusive unicorn...
     
    cnltb and JRA like this.
  15. jaymelewis

    jaymelewis

    Jan 6, 2010
    Fillmore, CA
    I know you said stick to normal scale instruments, but a fretless U-Bass sounds really close to the upright sound.
     
    ArteK, pudge, JRA and 2 others like this.
  16. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    I haven't yet. Interesting looking bass. Is there a website?
     
  17. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Ok, that's fair, let's let Uke basses in too. Should have said "normal BG scale or less" I guess. I have the Gold Tone 25"er and it's really nice too.
     
  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Sure, didn't want to seem to spammy, but I'm a real believe now. Built by our own smithcreek, he has a build thread on the Luthier's forum too.
    My NBD thread with clips: NBD Christopher DBG Double Bass Guitar
    Build thread: "Double-Bass Guitar", Archtop Acoustic/Electric Hybrid Build Thread
    Website: Smith Creek Mandolin and Tonewood, Smith Creek Mandolin and Tonewood Christopher Bass Guitar

    Edit: I'm really curious to find out how this one compares to some of the other popular candidates.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
    Groove Doctor and cnltb like this.
  19. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    It seems like something had should already exist. That, or an onboard preamp that emulates the sound. Put such a preamp in an appropriately faux-upright-styled electric bass. Just for fun. Maybe nobody thought of it, or maybe there just isn't demand.
     
  20. hondo4life

    hondo4life

    Feb 29, 2016
    SC
    Okay, that is cool, and mostly answers my last post. I don't suppose you even have to put foam under the strings to really get a close sound out of that.