Eminence VS BSX Allegro? Anyone played both?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by rickwolff, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    I used to own an Eminence RN5 which I really liked, but sold it:crying:

    I have a chance to get a BSX Allegro.

    If you'd played both, do you think I'd be happy with it?

    I'd like to get as close to an actual DB sound as possible. The Eminence did that quite well.

  2. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    Really? Crickets? Surely someone must have played both of these.

    Help a brother out.

  3. bassfiddlesteve

    bassfiddlesteve Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    I own an Eminence and spent some time with a BSX Allegro that was for sale at Bass Central. I prefer the look of the BSX but prefer the sound and feel of the Eminence in terms of being closer to a real double bass.

    - Steve
  4. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    Thank you, Steve. That's exactly the kind of comparison I was hoping to hear.
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  5. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    I expect that EUBs are fairly rare and finding someone who's played two specific products is pretty rare. I've owned an Eminence, own a NS Designs, and played a student's Ergo briefly, but I've never tried the Messenger, Yamaha, or BSX. I suppose, because the instruments are all difficult to come by, I tended to favor those favored by the genre of music I like to play.
    rickwolff likes this.
  6. I did not play the Eminence, but I had a BSX Allegro for a long time. It is very comfortable and I liked it. It sounded good bow. The quality of the instrument and its parts were magnificent. The bass was comfortable, but it's not very similar to a full double bass. I did not like the heel of the neck, which was shifted from the usual double bass to the top positions. (Approximately E-Stop instead of D-Stop.) This expands the possibilities of execution, but makes you change your habits.
    rickwolff likes this.
  7. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i was looking at these two, but have never tried the bsx, but ended up with a czech ease hybrid... really great
    rickwolff likes this.
  8. Rick,

    I've owned both and I sold both. I also apologize in advance for the lengthy post below. I do hope it helps you think it through.

    In answer to your question (IMHO) the Eminence was closer to my acoustic upright than the Allegro. Both sounded great with my preference of DB strings, and again (IMHO) the Eminence sounded better both arco and pizz. Depth of arco was good with the Allegro, pizz "okay" (sounded like "many" amplified uprights) but needed just a touch of reverb to get some "air" into the tone and sound better. Eminence didn't need reverb to sound great on both.

    Whether you will be satisfied with either really depends on what your goals are. I used both in my days subbing in Jazz trios/quartets and in a church band. My particular goals were oriented towards having a suitable substitute for my upright in snowy Colorado winters. Both fulfilled nicely.

    Initially I sought an EUB with "most" of the physical references of my upright. As my skill progressed, the physical references became somewhat irrelevant.

    Ultimately after I sold both, (and went through a Yamaha Silent Bass too) I then bought a NSD CR4M, a neck heel and an end pin stand. For my needs arco and pizz were great in a much smaller package. I even took my NSD to Japan and Hawaii. It travelled well and played great, and was in a much smaller package. Note that I've also bought and sold several NSD CR's over the years - and recently rebought one. Every time I've gone with the same setup as above.

    So, while my specifics may differ from the outcomes you seek, I truly believe that you must define what you want out of an EUB before buying any specific one.

    Determine whether it's tone, physical references, portability, or something else - then it's the music you play/want to play, and whether your bass will be acceptable to both other musicians and the audience. Perhaps (best case) both the musician's and the audience's egos will be checked at the door and your first notes will slam them to the floor.

    Oh, and on another topic, think clearly about how you will be amplifying your EUB. Since I do double on both upright and BG and where I'm playing (generally) focuses on one or the other, I tend not to bring both to a gig - I'm either on BG or upright/EUB. BG gigs have one type of rig and upright/EUB requires another. On upright/EUB I run a very SMALL rig. With a small rig for both acoustic and EUB, I've found that it becomes much less distracting to the audience and my fellow band mates, especially if they are running acoustic only.

    Again, this is all IMHO. YMMV...

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    Jeff Newton, Whippet, RGK and 2 others like this.
  9. I cannot make the comparison... but i own a BSX Allegro for.. 6 years now (maybe more).
    The sound is close to my double bass, but has a slight electric feel to it. I don't know how to describe it, it sounds very solid... and misses the floating body sound.
    It's very portable, i use it every week for band rehearsals.
    I love the ability to be able to set the signal strength of each string.

    Then again, you should also take the amplification method in account. If you'd run it through a Markbass, it'll never come close to an actual double bass ;)
  10. Just saw Rick's Youtube video, putting the BSX through a cool little combo rig using the Ischell contact mic -

    and was pretty impressed by the fantastic tone - congrats, Rick on a great combination of ingredients, and nice playing!

    How has this setup been working for you?

    Right now I'm working on an extremely Lo-Fi instrument build (upright neck + archtop guitar body) employing flatwound bass guitar strings with a mechanical neck joint that could theoretically be taken along as carry-on luggage, when all is said and done. But the full string-length of course puts the BSX & others like it in another league.

    Leave it to bass players to find a solution to a fundamental problem like travel restrictions...
  11. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    This little bass sounds amazing, way better in my experience than the typical Eminence tone, just my take of course
  12. Mouldy


    Feb 27, 2010
    Western Australia
    I expect the Ischell Microphone would have a lot to do with that great sound. Eminence sounds great with an Ischell too I believe.
  13. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Is that 'shark fin' on the treble shoulder a BSX option, or a home-grown accessory?
    Playing in thumb position on an EUB is one of the stick's challenges, so this looks like a solution.
  14. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    Hi Richard,

    The 'sharkfin' is a homegrown solution. I still have it even though I sold the BSX. If you'd like to have it let me know and I could send it to you.

    However, that wouldn't be until I return to Raleigh after the Hurricane is done. We're in our motorhome and attempting to head out of harms way. May end up in Pennsylvania before we're done.
  15. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, Rick. Be safe, by all means.
    Having curated such an enviable sound, why, if I may ask, did you sell the BSX?
    I just tried out an old Moeel T of theirs, and noted its more refined features compared to my old(er) Carruthers. But I am loath to cave in to a fully-solid body, not being a Fender doubler and preferring at least a token amount of acoustic resonance. Sunday I will test-dive a BSX Allegro, and another day try an Eminence. Maybe the secret ingredient is the Ischell mic?
  16. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    Like probably most other DB players, I would far prefer to play a 'regular' DB absent any compelling reason to play a 'stick' (ie travel, tight stage, no car??, etc). None of those factors apply to me AND I recently acquired another carved DB (a 3/4 - my other is a 7/8). That and SWMBO 'prefers' a 'one in-one out' when it come to gear.
  17. Richard Simon

    Richard Simon Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Last Sunday I faced a dilemma like Hamlet's: to be (on an outdoor bandstand on a 90-degree day with one of my carved German basses, facing the likely slings and arrows of bass cracks), or not to be (...hired again by a persnickety singer who might disdain the look or sound of my stick bass). Last year, in a similar situation, despite promises that the band would be shaded by a canopy, the bass did crack due to the heat. But Sunday the little Carruthers bailed me out, and the singer didn't object. Like you and our brethren, I'd much prefer to add the $3k into funding another conventional upright; but climate change and airline arrogance have conspired to head for the sticks.
    rickwolff likes this.
  18. donotfret


    Jun 11, 2018
    In my book practical reasons shouldn't be the determining factor for or against an instrument (I know, I know...). Personally I prefer electric uprights to acoustic double basses and I see them as instruments in their own right. The fact that there have only been a handful of players yet doesn't mean it's just a substitute for something else.

    That said, I had a look at both the Eminence and the BSX and decided for an MK Classic instead. It *might* have a sound that is closer to an acoustic, but I leave that to others. For me it's just the fact that I like its sound for what it is and that I'm expecting it to be nice to play, especially in a standing position. I'll know for sure very soon, because it's almost finished!
  19. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    Yours is certainly a valid viewpoint ("Personally I prefer electric uprights to acoustic double basses and I see them as instruments in their own right"), but as you say yourself probably not a common one. I checked your TB profile and didn't see any information on what instruments you own and play, but also I didn't see any posts of yours regarding double bass (not EUB). I think most people who play an EUB initially played a DB and that is why the EUB is seen as a 'substitute for something else'.

    I also found this quote of yours interesting: "When I got my NS Design double bass, I started off playing it like a bass guitar and that worked fine." You may "prefer electric uprights to acoustic double basses" if you are coming at it as a bass guitarist. I doubt you would find many double bassists to agree with you.
    freemole likes this.
  20. donotfret


    Jun 11, 2018
    No objections, I totally agree with you there. Eberhard Weber is probably a good counter example (or rather that famous exception to the rule). He switched to electric upright fully on purpose and he's gone all the way. Which is exactly as it should be.

    In the end it's about the music you want to play and what sound you need for that. I assume people start playing acoustic double bass because they are looking for that sound that you just can't get with another instrument.

    My background is very different - I started with accordion lessons many years ago, then got a synthesizer and started playing in a band. That band had no bass player, so I started playing bass guitar as well. So for many years I played both keyboards and bass guitars in all kinds of bands and played a bit of jazz piano as well (not very successfully). The electric upright opens up new possibilities for me, mainly for blues and jazz. In the same way as I can get a lot more out of a Fender Rhodes than out of an acoustic piano, the acoustic bass is just not an instrument I will ever make sound good, because I don't feel it.