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Electric upright bass for serious professional, experienced double bass players.

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Horganstein, Mar 14, 2016.


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  1. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    I thought of creating this new thread for Professional double bassists who do not believe in spending crazy amounts of money for an electric upright bass and wanting to discuss the possibilities of getting the best results from a decent inexpensive electric upright bass since we all know that even if you end up buying the best and most expensive electric upright bass, you're still dealing with a solid piece of wood or minuscule sound chamber that doesn't justify you paying insane amounts of money and believe that with the right modifications and I say the right modification and not the Dr. Frankenstein cheap modifications which many people on TalkBass end up doing and believing they will get any kind of serious results. Because of the short amount of time I've been hanging out in here I've noticed that before getting any useful info of any sort, you have to go through reading a bunch of useless information by beginner, amateur players who are more concerned about looks rather than sound.
    I bought a Palatino VE-500 electric upright bass not too long ago and have managed with the right modifications and of course extra money invested in getting it to sound as good as any electric upright bass on the market which cost at least 5 or 6 times the money. If I were to spend that kind of money I would go the removable neck double bass route before spending what some people end up spending buying an electric upright bass. Now you may say: Why in the hell would you buy a cheap Palatino bass if you are a professional double bassist? Well, my answer is that I have heard and played some of the most expensive electric upright basses out there and believe that in the short amount of time I have had with my Palatino bass that I have improved it's possibilities way beyond my expectations especially after having tried all these expensive electric upright basses. I believe that unless you are a serious professional double bassist and know how to play the instrument you can forget about thinking you will a great sound out of an electric upright bass just by doing modifications. Only by understanding the fundamentals and spending your money wisely on getting this instrument sounding right will you ever get close to having it sounding good enough to use on professional gigs.
    Therefore I am hoping that more of you guys out there drop in so that we can exchange professional experiences using this one instrument called the Electric Upright Bass which in the end with the right thought out modifications can be a life saver for most of us who need to travel abroad without the nightmare of having our expensive double basses destroyed by idiots working in airports let alone the insane cargo fees or showing up at some jazz festival who have a rented bass waiting for you that not only sounds like sh,,, but is set up in such a way that you would like to throw it at the guy and say: You play it !!!!
    So far, I've installed a good bridge on my bass, new tailpiece and had some work done on the fingerboard and am using the Full Circle pickup. I will be having my luthier remove the neck and installing a clip-on system so that I can remove the neck and travel light as a feather and even with the extra money spent I am still way under the cost of spending $6000 for a fancy not so great electric upright bass. I'm curious as I am sure many other players are about what effective modifications you have done to your electric upright bass or any gear you are using to help in getting the best sound.
    Let's get down to some serious exchange of ideas and get this bass rolling. Haaaaaaaaa !!!
    P.S.
    I've been playing double bass for at least 30 years and have worked with many international Jazz artist around the world. I own an 1800 french double bass. And no my name is not John Patitucci since I wouldn't be here discussing using an electric upright bass if I were being paid what he is being paid to travel with his own bass.
    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
    amusicalperson and Ductapeman like this.
  2. Ductapeman

    Ductapeman Ringmaster and Resident Geriatric Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2016
    The West Pole
    I am not a crook
    I have no real claim to be here, other than I've been an electric bass guitarist for umpteen years, and got some upright in college, and have been looking wistfully at the EUBs while knowing very little about them. I have learned a lot reading your thread about the Palatino, Mr. H, and I just wanted you to know I was reading. Thanks! There are a few "transverse bassists" who are actually housebroken . . .
     
  3. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Thanks for coming in and before you buy the Palatino bass just uncase your thinking of it, which is an inexpensive electric upright bass just remember the sound starts with your fingers and ears and then making sure the instrument is well set up by a luthier so that you are comfortable playing it. No doubt the biggest problem with these EUBs is getting the right pickup and amplification so that they sound as close as possible to a real double bass which is not a given thing since they ain't. Haaaaa !! but as I said if they are set up right and you know how to play a double bass then you will get a better sound and then all we can really hope for is that some company comes out with some gadget which will make it even easier to get closer to the real deal.
    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
    Ductapeman likes this.
  4. Lot's of people like the Eminence, including me. It is a narrow amplified acoustic upright. It is acoustic enough for unamplified practice, and feels and sounds like an upright.
     
    Bass Dao, rickwolff and Ductapeman like this.
  5. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Hi there !!!
    I know and have played the Eminence bass and yes it is a pretty decent electric upright bass and definitely a step above my Palatino VE-500 but then again you did end up paying quite a bit more for it and to my ears after having set up my Palatino I am not convinced that the Eminence sounds that much better for the price. If you're already happy with the sound your getting then that's great. I wasn't totally blown away with it when I tried one a while back. Maybe they have gotten better. Can you tell me what kind of pickup is installed on your Eminence and what kind of amplification you are using?
    Cheers
     
    Ductapeman likes this.
  6. It has the modified David Gage Realist that came with it, through an Acoustic Image Coda.
     
  7. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Great pickup and great amp. So you're flying. When you say a modified David Gage pickup what do you mean ? since I have a regular David Gage pickup on my normal double bass
     
  8. Gage makes a Realist specifically for the Eminence. I don't know the differences myself. It is customized for the Eminence.
     
  9. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Interesting, I didn't know about that. I'll check with him since it probably would fit my electric upright also since I have the Eminence bridge on my Palatino bass.
    Thanks for the cue
    Cheers
     
  10. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Not necessarily the best opener...:thumbsup:

    That being said most people around here do not own this white elephant 6k EUB you seem to reference, most are 3k or less which is what seems to be what you are going to be into this bass. Would love to see pictures of the modifications you've made and hear a sound clip of your Palatino vs. your $30k, 1800s french bass with a full circle.

    I also find myself a bit confused, have you achieved the goal of getting the Palatino to sound better than all the other EUBs you've played or are you soliciting opinions on how to?
     
  11. I'm missing his calculation how much his modified Palatino has cost him by adding the cost of the original instrument, the needed material for the modifications and time needed to make these modifications (it is at least lost quality time that could be expressed in money).
    If his Palatino might get stolen and he wants one in the same state without modifying it himself but pay someone to do these mods, how much would this instrument cost then?

    I think the Palatino is not a good base for a well sounding EUB, because the bridge feet stand on the ribs and so the bridge cannot move up and down, so arco would be as bad as on a solid body EUB.
    I don't like the a Eminence too much myself, but it would be much better with the bow than any modified Palatino.
    Adding rubber or cork under the bridge feet only cuts off some frequencies in the transducer signal, it is no working replacement for a moving top.
     
  12. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Alright so lets do the calculations and you will see for yourself that even with the modifications I have done I am still below more than half the cost of a 3k electric upright bass. 1- Palatino bass $800 2- Eminence bridge $80 3- tailpiece modification (removed the metal piece and kept the wooden section and bought a piece of stranded wire to fit exactly into the slots already present on the wooden section of the tailpiece cost? $2 time involved to modify 1/2 hour) Fingerboard set up at luthier $100. Full Circle pick up $220 for a Total of $1,202 compared to 3k
    Now once I get the neck taken off by my luthier and have the clip-on system installed it will probably cost me around $300 which will bring me to a Grand Total of $1,502 which compared to the Eminence removable neck which is more than 3k I am still way down there in total spending to get my Palatino gig workable and sounding pretty damn good since the Eminence in the end is not the greatest of EUBs anyway.
    Now to answer your question about the 6k great white elephant electric upright bass, go and check out the "Alter Ego Basso" model although they don't make them in white elephant ivory.
    P.S.
    I am always soliciting opinions about getting the best possible sound out of my bass since I don't fall to pieces easily when it comes to trying new technologies and waiting for the next one to show up which could revolutionize the EUB and take it a step further. As far as pictures go for my modifications on my Palatino go, there isn't really anything so special and probably nothing you haven't already seen (new bridge, tailpiece, fingerboard set up and pickup) straight forward. And finally as far as a sound clip comparison of my Palatino and my 30k french bass is completely ridiculous since my serious french double bass would probably blow your speaker just playing one note. And finally the big cue to getting a better sound is all in the fingers and seriously knowing how to play a double bass to get anywhere near getting a good sound from an electric upright bass.
    Cheers
     
  13. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I have a pretty good memory, yesterday you had $1000 in modifications into the $800 bass before making the neck removable, your French bass was worth $25,000 and the good EUBs were $6000 (at least one was). Today you've got $400 into the $800 bass, you've found a professional luthier not a "Dr Frankenstein cheap modification" to make this bass a removable neck for $300, a good EUB with a removable neck is $3200 (Eminence Electric Upright Bass at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists) and your French bass is worth $30,000.

    I'm not interested in calling you out on this stuff and I think it's interesting that you want to make this a usable bass on budget, the Palantino does sound pretty good as stock instrument so I am not surprised. But we are not fools, you claim you have a solution but it is really a work in progress. Being a bit humble in asking for advice may be a bit more tactful rather than screaming about how great you are.

    Not sure if you intend on being arrogant and condescending but it certainly comes across that way.
     
  14. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Sorry if I am coming across as arrogant which is not my intention and is not because i think I am so great either. I am just a regular professional double bassist who is serious about music and am also trying to get the best sound and info possible about my EUB. Now that being said, I only started this thread because I got tired of reading amateur blogs about how great they got their EUBs to look and less concern about the real problem which is as we all know, is getting the right amplification going from pickup to amp. Also the next point I am trying to put across and believe I have made clear, is that whether it's $800 or 3k or 6k that some people are paying for an EUB we are still all stuck with the same problem (a piece of solid wood, or mini sound chamber) but in my case since I've decided that I won't deal with bringing my expensive double bass anymore to play overseas with all its complications and disasters or using rented basses from festival which usually are pretty bad, I've decided probably like many of us to get the EUB up to a higher level and hope certain musical instrument companies will start getting serious about it since there seems to be more and more of us needing new technologies that will make getting a better sound on our EUBs a lot easier.
    As I said, I am truly sorry for sounding as if as I know it all and gave that impression. Since these chat discussion sites often can be very cold and frustrating I would think the more I get to know people in here a little better and knowing who I am dealing with then certainly certain tones will disappear.
    I look forward to hearing more of your input.
    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  15. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Also regarding my modification costs, I don't believe I said I spent $1000 in modifications but in any case the real figure is more around the 800 mark since the Eminence bridge was about $80, tailpiece practically nothing since I just modified with a piece of stranded wire, fingerboard about a $100 and pickup $220. clip on neck $300. Which even if all of this came to $1600 including the bass I'm still way under $3200 for the Eminence. And my french double bass has been evaluated between $25,000 and $30,000. Hope things are clearer now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  16. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Thank you, you won't hear anymore negativity from me I promise...

    I don't fly with my bass, wish I had that problem. There has been a lot of discussion on the issue both in traditional logistics of traveling with a removable neck or a down sized bass. There has also been a bit more of an un-traditional discussion of using more bass guitar like instruments Rob Allen, NS Omni, Tacomine TB10 etc. In some circles here there's also the ability to network, maybe befriend someone who can lend you an instrument or point you to a local shop to rent all around the world.

    I did meet Miroslav at the Kolstein shop when he did a clinic, maybe a year ago. Have you played his bass or met him? Very interesting guy and particularly the direction he is moving his music. I got to meet some cool guys who travel with a Kolstein bass that night, Harvey S, Phil Palombi, Dave Siegel and a few others, all play nice orchestra quality basses and have written off using an EUB. Miroslav was picking up a newly designed one while he was here, longer mensure, deeper ribs.

    For me the removable neck Kolstein is the top of the food chain, the Eminence being a pretty good budget friendly option. Both in their case would seem to be reasonable. That Alter Ego Basso and the Yamaha with fake wings always felt and looked to odd for me to enjoy playing. I first played a Merchant vertical bass in the early 90s, I agree that design like the Palatino are all pretty similar and don't sound all that much like a double bass to me. The NS NXT sounds as good as those options, it's easily portable and relatively inexpensive.

    Cheap, portable, sounds great; I'm not sure it exists....I'll be reading along with your progress.
     
  17. Too much thinking and not enough doing in this thread.

    The modifications I have made to my Palatino are documented here on TB. 9 days ago I brought it to a gathering of bassists and let anyone who cared to give it a try play it. They all agreed it sounded like an upright and not a fretless bass on a stick. And when the bow was used - through the amplifier - it still sounds like an upright, though one person thought it sounded more like a cello when playing higher up.

    Stock pickup, replaced pre-amp, better strings. It's really that simple.
     
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  18. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    No doubt my Palatino or any other EUB will never sound as good as your Kolstein bass. I played one a few years ago and met Miroslav in Italy when I was living there and also got together with him here in Montreal, Canada with his new Kolstein. I'm giving this EUB thing a try and if I can't get it sounding exactly as I'd like it to, who knows one day soon I might just sell my french bass buy a small sail boat and a Kolstein bass and live happily ever after. Haaaaaaa !!!
    Cheers
     
    peterpalmieri likes this.
  19. Horganstein

    Horganstein Banned

    Feb 24, 2016
    Glad to hear you're happy with your set up. Mine also doesn't sound like a fretless bass but I do have a very expensive double bass and know that no matter what I do to this Palatino of mine I'll be lucky if I can get it up to 60% of it sounding anywhere near the real deal. I still haven't given up on finding some magical combination of amp and pickup for now that will have me satisfied enough to totally enjoy its sound on a live gig and being able to accept the gap between the real deal and Yeah ! it kind of sounds like the real deal but....
    What kind of strings are you using?
    Cheers
     
  20. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Most of us recognize that a beautiful old double bass sounds wonderful but once you put a piezo on it and hear it through an amp you lose a lot, unless you are willing to put a mic on it and deal with all that comes along with it and even that does not guarantee success. In fact sometimes that great projected sound works against us in amplified situations. If your setting the bar at getting an EUB to sound close to the acoustic sound of your French bass you will ultimately fail. Getting an EUB to sound close to a good amplified DB is tough, but achievable. Getting an instrument that works well and sounds good in contexts where a double bass is traditionally used is maybe the most realistic.
     
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