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Electric Upright Bass Generally

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by islandman, May 10, 2001.

  1. Hi folks,

    a complete double bass newbie here. I am an electric bass player with no prior upright experience. I have decided to plunge into the double bass area to start playing some bebop jazz gigs (due to the prodding of my wife)...

    I am keen on acquiring a Zeta Crossover bass (electric upright) as I don't have the space for a real acoustic double bass; besides shipping to Willemstad, Curacao will surely cost a fortune.

    Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

    As well, I would appreciate recommendations on beginner bass lessons/books.

    masha danki,

    the island man

  2. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Good grief! Is there a way to say 'double bass' in Papamiento?
  3. I have a Zeta (http://www.k1wd.com/music/bass/Zeta_PB304.jpg ), but when I tried a REAL double-bass (http://www.k1wd.com/music/bass/URB.jpg), I was immediately hooked, and would recommend anyone who was serious about the double-bass, not to bother with the intermediate step, and to go straight for the real thing. The difference is like night and day!

    Step 1:
    Get a good teacher

    Step 2:
    Do you have a good teacher yet?

    If the answer to 2 is "no", then go to step 1


    - Wil
  4. as I have mentioned, no space for the real thing, that's why I prefer an EUB right now...
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't care at all for EUB's, but the EUB of choice on this board seems to be the Eminence. Search in the "Basses" (DB) archives and you'll find an entire thread devoted to it.

    Good luck.
  6. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Zeta crossover is NOT an EUB. It's a fretless bass guitar rigged so that you can play it in an upright position.

    If you're serious about making the move to db from bg, first off you will want a teacher. Second off, you'll find that it's easier than you think to find the space for a DB. I'd make the argument, in fact, that a DB is less of a space hog than BG, once you take into account the need for an amp.

    After all, I'm playing DB at a church gig tomorrow partly because I didn't want to lug the BG stuff there.

  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you decide to go the EUB route, I'd recommend something with a more traditional 40-42" scale, so that the eventual transition to a full acoustic won't be too difficult. The Crossover, as far as I can recall, is a 34" instrument.

    If you're pressed for space, I notice that www.stringbass.com is selling one of those new shallow-bodied "fusion" Meisels. Seems like a good deal for the price (about twice the wood for half the price of an Eminence) but I have no idea how it sounds or how well it's built. Caveat Emptor.
  8. mschaner


    May 16, 2001
    Like Christopher, I would recommend trying an EUB that is scaled like a DB. Have you looked at or tried the Yamaha Silent Bass?

  9. Aria makes EUB's, and the top model is quite good, and very reasonably priced compared to the likes of Eminence, Carruthers, Fichter, NS, etc. I have one Which I use if I'm travelling out of town.
  10. To add to that, my Aria has both piezo and magnetic pickups and comprehensive electronics. By using different combinations thereof, I can make my EUB sound like an EUB, a fretless bass, or an acoustic upright. Before I get a deluge of protest from people saying "acoustic? Impossible!" , I might add that I also have a German carved top round back acoustic with Barbera pickup/bridge, and YES, the EUB does sound better, and that's not just my opinion, but the opinion of people who specifically ask for the EUB when booking me for a gig. In fact my poor old acoustic never gets used any more, so I might sell it one of these days.
  11. Hey, more power to you, man - but I think I'll wait until I see even one major orchestra replace their DB section with EUBs before I agree with you... ;>

    - Wil
  12. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    But you're forgetting the classical music prejudice against amplification. Sharon Isbin, who plays classical guitar, only managed to get around this by having all of her electronics completely hidden, including using wireless transmission between the guitar and the (hidden) sound system. If something like classical guitar (which really requires amplification to compete with an orchestra) can't get a pass on amplification, then a bass section has no hope in the foreseeable future, regardless of what it might sound like.

  13. Actually, there is a guy playing EUB with a major orchestra, he's the solo bassist and section leader. I saw a photo of the orchestra playing, and there's this EUB played by a guy in tux. Trouble is, I saw it in a Bass Player Mag that I was riffing thru in a bookstore, so I've forgotten his name, and the name of the orchestra. Oh, well.
  14. Could it be Laurence Mollerup?
  15. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I know this is an ancient thread, but: the guy in that picture (I forget his name--Francois is right, I think) plays bass with Peter Nero's trio. He isn't actually in that bass section, he's in the "jazz" trio that is playing with the accompaniment of the orchestra. Someday, though, I'm sure that Yamaha will assemble an orchestra made entirely of their "silent" instruments, if just for a photo shoot...
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well this is where I actually disagree with ED - a first!;) - I have been having great fun with my NS EUB and love the sound of it! In fact it is exactly the sound I hear in my head - and it is so much easier to get into and play than any "real" DBs I tried.

    So - maybe my ear for DB isn't that good, but growing up with Weather Report albums, as the first Jazz I ever heard - to me the bass sounds on "I Sing the Body Electric", "Mysterious Traveller" etc were my introduction to the art and the idea for sound/tone that I always had.

    Like others (possibly?) I don't like bowed DB in Jazz and prefer the more sustained pizz sound that approaches fretless bass - I played fretless BG for several years in the 1980s!

    I have been playing along with a video titled (ironically-enough!) "Essential Techniques for Acoustic Bass" by Todd Phillips and the sound I hear when I play what he does, sounds to my ears just like the sounds coming out of the speakers from his Acoustic bass! Or as close as I can distinguish?

    I get the sound I want, no callouses, no difficulty with playing or intonation and as I only have a small flat in the middle of a busy city, plus a small car; I have all the benefits with none of the downside of a "real" bass - so DBers I have played with in Jazz workshops have had problems with feedback, muffled indistinct sound and playing anything above the octave - amongst other things.

    The only reason left that I can think of for not playing an EUB, is that I feel guilty about how easy it seems to be and I feel it ought to require more effort!! :D
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Hmmm...was that an admission that you only play DB because it looks cool or was it a swinging racist attack on the Welsh!??

    I am off to Wales in a few weeks time - I have even bought a bass myself in Wales - but it was a bit of a plank! ;)

    I could tell them all about this guy in New York who think they are all....... :D
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I've given up comparing my bass to my EUB or my slabs; it's futile. My bass has about a million times more depth, more potential music inside it than all of my EUB's and slabs put together. That's just how it is for me, individual mileage may vary. The EUB is for touring, so that I don't have to deal with a badly set up bass shaped object on the road. It's a great bass. The slabs are for work that calls for them, and I enjoy them very much. Virtually everyone I play with prefers the sound of the DB.
  19. your DB, or DBs in general - c'mon Marcus, 'fess up - inquiring minds want to know... ;)
  20. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that. I meant that most people prefer it when I play DB, and that's probably because most of the calls I get are for jazz, classical, or Hawaiian music. I only play URB and slab about 10% of the time these days. I'm sure that my enthusiasm for DB comes out in my playing, just as Marcus Miller's playing reflects his love for electric bass.

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