Eminence Megathread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Christopher, Mar 21, 2001.


  1. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    Chris, I'd describe it as a hollow wooden overtone. Almost as if you were tapping the top, but without the sharp attack of a knuckle. It's more soft and subtle like using the pad of a finger to tap. It happens mainly *for me* when the right hand is at about 2" up from the end of the fingerboard. If it's plucked higher the "thunk" is more intermittent.
     
  2. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I should also add, the "thunk" is a cross between that wooden overtone and someone popping their p's into a mic. It's there acoustically, it's not a problem with the Realist.
     
  3. I'm playing an Eminence with Velvet Garbo strings on it that came set up that way from Gary Bartig last December. I've not had any false sounds like the thunk described above on the A or any of the strings. That said, the Garbo's sound a lot like old style gut and the percussive "thunky" sound is what I really like about them.

    My experience with the Eminence, at least with these strings, is that you have to really dig in and pull hard on the strings, just like you do on an acoustic bass, if you want the instrument to sound natural and bass like. It is this very non-electric bass like sound that I love and which has garnered a lot of compliments from other players, particularly drummers who say they can hear the bass clearly and find it easier to lock up with than an acoustic bass.

    I'm taking the bass out on the road for an extended six-week trip that will take me round the world beginning this Sunday. It will be my first experience traveling with the bass, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it does. I'm going to take a set of Obligato's with me since I have some concern about how the Velvet's are going to handle being loosened and tightened up a bunch.
     
  4. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I like a warm percussive sound. But this is not a thump, thump, thump. It's kind of a tonk. It's very different from the sound from the other strings attack. Instead of the attack being percussive there's this tonk. I mean, you still have the basic tone, but then there's this added tonk.

    I pluck fairly hard and have the action at 9mm on the E and maybe a hair lower on the G. I've tried the action from 11mm & 8mm to 8.5mm & 6mm, still there.

    I appreciate the input guys. This is definitely a "false" sound. The sound can be heard acoustically, so it's not the Realist. Amplified, the sound is proportional to total volume. In other words, it doesn't get buried, it gets louder. It's annoying for live and would be totally unacceptable for recording.

    The dealer is working with me to either get it solved or get another.
     
  5. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    I've been playing my Eminence since Febuary and have not experianced any sort of "thunk" sound on my A string, or anywhere else on the bass for that matter. I've tried the original strings, Helicores, Obligatos, Spirocore Orchestra Gauge and most recently Weichs, which by the way I'm liking most for the type of music that I most often use the bass for. This "thunk" sound just does not happen, either acousticaly or thru my very accurate amps, (Walter Woods, Raezers Edge and Clarus).
    This makes me wonder if this has more to do with the way you play than the bass itself. The biggest, richest pitzacato sound can only be achived by striking the strings with more or less the side of your index finger, that how Ray Brown got it, and guys like the great Al Mckibbon and Senator Eugene Wright still get it. They rarely, if ever played on just the tips of their right hand fingers (bass guitar style), and only then just for speed. If they used a two finger style once in a while they still used as much meat of their fingers as possable, and nevertheless dug in!
    Now while I havn't heard you play, the thunky, woody, hollow sound you describe sound suspisiously like the sound one gets when playing on the tips of your fingers, perhaps a bit too lightly at that. If you have caulouses on the tips from playing bass guitar on roundwound string (like I do) the sound can be even worse! Try getting as much of the side of your finger on the string as you can before letting it fly and see if that doesn't turn the "thunk" into some funk!
     
  6. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Also, you might check to make sure your bridge is set and centered properly. If the bridge foot isn't sitting just right I've noticed the sound of the bass suffers a bit, with less of the good body sound. Then you wind up hearing too much "string", and can be noticed acoustically or while the bass is plugged in. That could certainly account for or at least add too what you might be describing as "thunk". I've noticed on mine that moving the bridge feet even as little as 1/8 of an inch in the wrong direction can change the sound a lot.
     
  7. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    After giving this some more thought, I'm wondering if this strange sound you are hearing is the sound of the strings ringing behind the tail piece, since the Eminence is not a real loud bass unplugged you might be noticing it more because you are not hearing as much of the deep body sound that you might be used to when playing a normal sized double bass. A little bit of this string ringing behind the tail piece sound comes thru when playing most any double bass thru a pickup and amp, it's cool most of the time, part of why a double bass sounds like a double bass and why the Eminence sounds like a double bass. Can be a bit distracting while playing real loud thru an amp if one is not used to it. You might try threading a bit of foam, or even an old rag thru the strings behind the tail piece, maybe that's the sound you have been hearing that has been bothering you so much.
    I took my Eminence into Lisa at LA Bass Works today for some very minor ajustments, just want to get my bridge to be able to go a bit lower than it's adjusters allow and am getting the bridge wings opened up a bit just in case I need to slip a Bass Max or Underwood in there in the very unlikly event of a failier of the stock pickup. I'm leaving town soon for a three month jazz gig in the Far-East and don't know of any qualified luthiers in Jakarta!
    Lisa had never seen one before and seemed quite impressed. Lisa works on many basses owned by the top players here in LA (Brian Bromberg, and many of the busy studio and top orchestra guys) so she certainly knows good from bad! She didn't hear any sort of "thunk" coming out of my bass either.
     
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Lots of great advice and ideas here, thanks!

    It's not the strings ringing, I've had that and taken it away by winding a piece of cloth between the strings.

    I believe it is partly a technique issue though, playing with the fingertips makes it worse as you say, I just hope my brain and fingers will subconsciously (sp?) adjust to use a technique that avoids the noise. I don't know why the A string is worst, perhaps it has to do with the angle the string is plucked with the finger and that it just happens to be more difficult to pluck correctly?
     
  9. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I've also already tried damping the strings behind the bridge, not it.

    For technique I use the fingers similar to Todd Phillips. Not the tips, but not vertical either. A good portion of "meat" is involved.

    Actually for me, the more meat and less tip I use, the worse it is. I get it worst when I go almost total side. Just using the tips it rarely happens, but the overall tone sucks.

    The thing that make me thing it's a structural problem with this particualar bass is that I can get wonderful sound out of all the strings but the A-string. Also, the higher up the A-string is played the less it's noticed.

    I figured it might be the bridge, but I've re-set it several times. The feet seem to have good contact. Although, perhaps the treble foot could be better.
     
  10. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The finger hitting the E string after plucking the A can result in thump as the shock is transmitted to the leg of the bridge and then to the pickup. I've seen this on some other electric uprights that mount the pickup on the bass side of the bridge, but technique as well as some judicious EQ can minimize this. You might also trying moving the pickup to the treble side of the bridge.

    I only played an Eminence once, but I gotta say that thing really had a great sound. Ugly wood, but great sound.
     
  11. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    The thing is, I can get the sound acoustically. I can get it just concentrating on that string and not just normal playing.
     
  12. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    The woods on this one are fairly nice.[​IMG]
     
  13. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The back and table were nice; the neck looked like a cheap baseball bat.
     
  14. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    LOL! This one is the same!
     
  15. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    OK, I just got word, this problem has occured before. The solution is pretty simple. It's the A-string itself.

    I was pretty sure it was not *me* because as I said, the other strings sounded good and I don't get that "tonk" on any other string.
     
  16. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I was just going to suggest that the string be checked out. The last Eminence I sold had a problem A string. Perhaps D'Addario had a bad run.
     
  17. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'm not sure I buy the bad string theory one hundred percent, I think my bass has that "thunk" tendency with the A string even after changing to Obligatos. It's better but not totally gone. Perhaps the remaining problem can be explained with my poor technique though. Rod, please report your experience if you change strings.
     
  18. Basso Profoundo

    Basso Profoundo Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Indiana
    I noticed that if i change my technique and anchor my thumb on the edge of the fretboard instead of the e-string, the problem goes away.
     
  19. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I will. The thing that sparks hope it might just be the string is, it seems the less "proper" the attack the less it does it. If I play just that string and totally concentrate on good right hand technique it does it. If I play BG style with the tips, it rarely does it, but sounds bad period. Doing that I get a thin tone and a lot of finger noise.
     
  20. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    My thumb is kinda under the fingerboard. It floats to different depths and is not really anchored.
     
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