EUB: tap and arco. Possible?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mheintz, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    For curiousity and amusement: Given the string tension, action and string type necessary to play arco, could an EUB be built that could both be bowed and tapped? I'm picturing a modified Ruby Gamba ( or a Conklin MEU ( We now have basses susceptible to slap, tap, strumming, picking and pizzicato. Arco too? If not, what are the hurdles. Wiseacre comments welcome, but thoughtful responses much appreciated.

    (Oh yes, and Ebows don't count.)
  2. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Perhaps I should let this topic descend into the archives, but here are a few thoughts:

    The action of the bass would need to be easily adjustable. Bridge adjusters on most DB require retuning the strings. i.e. if you lower the bridge, the strings go flat and the intonation changes. A few solutions:
    1. A neck that moves. Rather like James Ham's bass, which Gary Karr plays.
    2. Adjustable frets like the Ruby Gamba. i.e. you could place large frets on the instrument for tapping and remove them for arco. Perhaps this is the easiest solution to implement, but I imagine that precision fretting would be difficult.
    3. Adjusters at both the nut and the bridge. Rather like a combination of a Stick's dual flaps and the NS/Stick bridge. Or perhaps piezo extenders at both the bridge and the nut. The piezo extenders would permit extremely precise movement. Although they seem to be rather expensive.

    With a sufficiently low action for tapping, the string tension necessary for arco might not be a problem.

    I suppose that bright strings would be necessary. Pirastro Obligatos or similar probably wouldn't be bright enough for tapping.
  3. shortest_straw

    shortest_straw Ruby Instruments

    Jun 12, 2005
    Strasbourg, France

    We use Super-sensitive sensicore perlon strings on the Ruby-Gamba. It is possible to tap (especially effective on the low strings) and to bow at the same time.

    It is not new!

    Marin Marais, a French composer of the 17Th century, already wrote a piece called "le tact" in which he used left hand tapping and bowing.

    I am there to answer all your questions!

    Jean-Baptiste Collinet
    Ruby Instruments