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Electric Upright: a possible purchase.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rockin John, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Providence may - if I'm very fortunate - place me in a position to buy one of these beauties.

    I've yearned for an upright sound for quite some time and this type of bass appears to be my best route towards that goal.

    Thing is, I've never even touched a DB, let alone plucked one, and I'm V worried that the technique of playing an EUB may be so far removed from BG that I may may never do it justice. The money might, therefore, be wasted and a fretless may have been the better original option even though it's nothing like an upright in style, sound, etc.

    Advice genuinely appreciated.

    Thanks V much.

  2. Well, it wouldn't hurt to take some lessons to get you started. The adjsuting to Upright is not much of an impediment. The price of an EUB is, however.

    Take some lessons. They will teach you to not look at the fingerboard. You learn to find middle C in first position, the nyou adjust to the scale lengnth and use your pinky as a way to support the third finger. You pluck differently, and it takes getting used to to get a meaty sound on the E string.

    And if you don't love it, you will be able to sell that thing to any of the heaps of bassists who lust after a decent, used EUB.

    You can look at the fingerboard for the higher positions, but not first, second and third. Otherwise, you will look like a wanker.
  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    try to find one that has real DB scale and is bowable, then look for an open minded symphony player as a teacher.

    i use a www.messengerbass.com
  4. boogiedown


    Nov 1, 2004
    I bought an upright bass two years ago and have not regretted it for a moment. I was able to pick it up pretty quickly because of my experience playing fretless electric bass. The most important thing in playing upright is your ear. The thing about electric uprights is they generally dont produce a very good upright tone. I played a NS design EUB and it didnt sound much different from my fender fretless jazz bass. If you really want real upright tone get the real thing.
  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I think on the otherside of the boards [DB side] in the basses forum-there's a link under the newbie section that addresses the different EUBs. For sound-i'd probably go with an Eminence EUB, however, that's only my opinion. For size-there's several, IIRC, Bass Central has some that the name escapes me. Also-always the option of an Azola.

    Sound reasons for an EUB? They have a sound that isn't quite the same as a real acousticupright-however, very few things do as the physics just don't allow it IMO. In contrast-a good EUB, can sound better than a poorly amplified upright. Finding a good sound with an EUB [so it seems] would be easier than with a amped acoustic. Currently i play a Kay S1 w/a fishman pickup on it until my bass [current is school's] arrives. My bass is a New Standard Cleveland and i will be getting the Bass Master Pro electronics package from Bob G. :) I've only got a few more weeks.

    Scale length....if you want it to be most similar to an upright strive for at least a 41 inch scale length.

    Best of Luck-i would definately like to pick up an EUB at some point...my GAS for upright/EUB stuff is nearly as bad as it is for electric. :help: :D
  6. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    John, here are some threads that you might want to take a look at:





    Hopefully Bruce Lindfield will be able to contribute to this thread - he has had a lot of experience of shopping for EUBs and DBs in the UK.

    To get something close to a DB sound/feel on an EUB, you should be looking for 42" scale, piezo pickup, curved fingerboard.

    Most of the decent-quality EUBs I have seen/tried in the UK have cost the best part of £2000 and upwards.

    If it's an acoustic DB that you really want, contact Turner Violins in Beeston (www.turnerviolins.co.uk) - they should be able to advise you.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Here I am - as David has said, I've contributed to loads of threads about this before - mostly on the DB side.

    Summing up my experience - I think the more you play them like a DB the more they sound like one - getting real DB strings also helps a lot and raising the action!

    Conversely, the more you play them like a BG, the more they sound like a BG!! ;)

    Any more specific questions, John?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree - but my problem has been that although you can get real DBs for less - those I have tried, have sounded worse to me than my EUB - and you have to add in the cost/hassle of getting pickups added etc.

    It seems to me that DBs in the UK are £5,000 and up or "budget" !! :meh:

    Having said that, I recently tried a German carved DB on sale for £2,500 (reduced from £3k) that really tempted me - now if only I had £2,500 to spend!! ;)
  9. Hello Rockin' John & Co.

    I had no experience with anything other than a fretted bass. I just bought an EUB on a whim, and then played it and played it.

    I didn't take lessons - maybe I should have, but I'm not interested in solo'ing or getting really busy up at the dusty end.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you could do a lot worse than check out Bassix. They're based in the UK and well worth a look. They're a bit pricier than they used to be, but still a lot lower than most. Plus, their basses don't sound like upright fretted electric basses - they sound suprisingly acoustic.
  10. Hello everyone . . . :D

    Thanks for taking the trouble.

    Yes, I had a trawl round for EUB threads and have read a couple of those David mentioned. And of course I respect Bruce's thoughts and views.

    This is a difficult one for me, Bruce. Providence may allow me sufficient money to buy a lot of EUBs if I so wished (then again she may not :bawl: ). But just having the cash doesn't really entitle me to rush out and buy. I really need to get some feel for whether I would be able to make a sensible go of it. And, from comments so far, it seems the only way would be to spend £2000+ and find out.

    I get the clear message that a DB sound is almost obtainable if the EUB technique is correct. That seems to suggest to me the player should really have some working knowledge of playing a DB. I have none.

    I suppose the transition from BG to EUB might be fairly easy as has been said.

    Hmmm. I don't know. I just don't know what to say or ask next.

    Perhaps the EUB isn't for me for a variety of reasons.

    Just slightly confused............

  11. Alan at Bassix (mentioned above) can rent you one for a while, if you just want to have a try.
  12. I just got a recent catalog from them and they're selling a series of EUBs now for under $1k.

    *shrug* no idea if they're a good value or not though.
  13. those are too small. A 35" scale length? Might as well strap it on like a BG. My BG has a 36" scale lenght. I guess I should put a pin on it and play it upright.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - you are "entitled" to buy what you like if you have the money - I see terrible drivers in Ferraris - did anyone say to them that they weren't entitled to buy that car!!?? :meh:


    VERY EASY - get thee to a Bass Centre and try them!!
    I would never buy an instrument without trying it extensively first. So - I asked the Bass centre in London and they got a few of these in for me and I spent a whole morning trying different configurations of NS EUBs - 4,5 strings, higher/lower action and with/without magnetic pickups. etc

    It's a painless train ride to London, short tube trip to Liverpool St. Station and you're there!! DO IT!! ;)

    Get a teacher, get a video, books etc. etc.

    Well - I played a gig with one a few weeks after buying my first ever EUB!! :) Although I have it on good authority that it sounded nothing like DB - but once you have it, you can work on technique!! :)
  15. What Bruce said... get it and play it! The rest will come in time...
  16. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Try this - put your electric on a stand and put that on a stool. Make sure everything is sturdy and won't topple. You can, trust me. I tried this with my electric fretless, just to get a vague idea how it feels to play in the upright position. You may be surprised how natural it is to reach up and forward with your fret hand, compared to out to the side as in electric bass. A DB teacher suggested this to me, as in "Play your electric on a chair".
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmm....I don't think this is anything like playing a "proper" i.e. full-scale EUB ...? :meh:

    So the big thing is the thickness, weight and spacing of the longer-scale strings - it takes a lot more effort to move them and you have to completely re-think how you are going to play things that are pretty easy on BG, but are very hard, with bigger strings.

    Secondly - when you are playing nearer the nut it is very different. So imagine you are playing what would be the 1st and 3rd frets - now you can only just about reach between these on a full-size EUB with 1st and 4th fingers - and this is the position you are likely to be in most often!! :eek:

    You have to go into a shop and try - no way round it!!
  18. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    You're right Bruce. String tension, action, scale length, neck thickness, balance (assuming a proper EUB with body extension, compared to an instrument that's mounted) are all drastically different.

    I guess I was only refering to a way for someone to reference the most basic relative arm postioning. That is to say, how surprisingly natural the feel of appraoching the instrument with a hug rather than a sideways handshake.

    Not sure how else to say it...perhaps that was bad advice.
  19. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK

    EUB brands that are available in the UK and are worth looking at, include:
    - NS EUB (Czech-built versions)
    - Eminence
    - Vektor
    - Starfish
    - Bassix
    - Clevinger (think there is currently a used one at the Bass Gallery)
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've never seen an Eminence in the UK or seen one advertised? I had a discussion with a Swedish TBer who was importing one from the US as they weren't available in Europe..?

    Where would you get to see/try these?