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Good EUB For Arco (Around $1k)?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Matthew_84, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. DISCLAIMER: I know an acoustic DB would be better for arco and classical music, but I cannot get an acoustic DB due to severe noise restrictions for the foreseeable future.

    I really want to get an EUB to start learning to bow and play classical music on.

    Ideally, this EUB would have the following:
    - 41" to 42" scale.
    - completely unlined fingerboard, no dots or anything.
    - same neck specs as a DB (size, fingerboard radius, fingerboard length, where the neck connects to the body, etc.).
    - adjustable bridge.
    - stands on an end-pin, not a tripod.
    - has a balancing/support bar so it can lean against you while you're standing, but prevents the bass from spinning when you bow it.
    - solid body so that it is quieter unplugged than a hollowbody/chambered EUB.
    - piezo pickup(s).
    - somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1k (USD) +/- a few hundred.

    I know there's the Stagg and the Palatino, but I don't have good experience with Stagg as a company, and I don't like how much work is required to make the Palatino decent.

    There is the Warwick Triumph Lite which seems like it may fit my requirements really well, but I haven't seen any information on these in the last 2-3 years, and I cannot find any clips or reviews of anyone who has taken a bow to one of these.

    I'm sure there's a couple more that may work for me, but I don't know where else to look. I've read a bunch of threads, but most of the highly recommended ones are well above my budget, or as far as I can tell, have been discontinued.

    Anyone have any recommendations? Thanks.
  2. Other than price, a Merchant Vertical Bass checks all your boxes. A friend of mine has an early one in fixerupper condition. Want me to ask for you?
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  3. madbanjoman

    madbanjoman Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    IMG_1012.JPG MK Studio. (mine was built basically left handed so look at the website for better idea)

    Mod.Studio - Contrabbassi Elettrici MK

    I can't speak to the arco sound as I am still terrible at it on either the EUB or DB but it plays like my DB and is completely silent when not amped. I am very happy with the piz sound.

    price I think was around 1250 euro plus 240 euro for shipping.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  4. The Triumph Lite is not good, I once tried one and was very disappointed, even the Stagg was better.
    I think the MK Studio might be closest to a useable instrument or maybe a used Yamaha Silent Bass, but both a bit above your budget.

    Acoustic basses are often cheaper if you want a useable beginners instrument and bowing on a solid body EUB is harder than on an instrument with a moving top.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    For $1000ish you're more shopping for least crappy than good. I've played a lot of EUBs and nothing to recommend under $2K used comes to mind....so few balance like a DB and sound good arco at any price.

    I also would not completely rule out instruments on tripod stands. Those feel more like playing a DB sitting than any EUB on an endpin will ever feel like a playing a DB standing. I completely understand why it's not your preference but if say a Czech made NS Design bass came your way for $1500 you'd be nuts to pass on it.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  6. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    Like above, the NS NXT fits most of your requirements at a somewhat higher new price. It is a well made instrument and the tripod stand is really not a problem IMHO.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  7. PM'ed
  8. Looks great, but I think it may be too rich for my blood, unless I can find one used or something. $1250 Euro = $1770 CAD, which is a few hundred over my budget, but thanks for the recommendation though - I will keep an eye out.
  9. Thanks for chiming in about the Triumph. To be honest, I'm not surprised. I have very bad luck with Warwick Rockbass products and the company hasn't been very helpful at making things right. I have been pretty adamant to avoid Wariwck for the last few years, but the Triumph looked like it may be perfect for me and my budget... So it somewhat peaked my interest, but the lack of threads and info on them did get me extra suspicious.

    Yeah, I realize a used student acoustic DB is probably cheaper and better than a decent EUB, but I just cant learn an acoustic right now... My only option is a solid body EUB.
  10. Thanks for chiming in guys. I watched a few youtube videos of a guy playing classical music on an NS NXT and it sounded great. I saw a used one in a store earlier today and while it was overpriced (I thought anyway), it didn't feel that bad - at least it won't spin as I bow it. I may try to find a better priced one.
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Something like this Merchant Vertical would be my first choice. Bill is a very good NYC luthier who understands what a DB player needs in terms of how an EUB sounds and balances. His basses have evolved over the years but even the older ones are nice instruments. The problem with the price range you're shopping in now is that unless you get incredibly lucky and someone is desperate to sell or gifts you you're looking at an instrument that is likely to be less than ideal and arguably even somewhat disposable. A high quality handmade bass like the Merchant on the other hand is an instrument that has the potential to be something you have for many years.

    One argument is that a bass you can afford now gets you playing now and there truly is something to that. But if it's only a mater of a few extra weeks of saving to get a keeper it might be worth what in the big picture is a fairly short wait. EUB's are not especially easy to re-sell. If you buy something new that doesn't do it for you it will be nigh on impossible to get your money back out of it.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  12. Thanks for your input.

    Yeah, if I could only save up for a few extra weeks to get something in the 2-3k range then I would, but it's hard to justify that kind of purchase right now. I'm just a hobbyist and I won't be gigging or joining any orchestras or ensembles any time soon. I simply want to learn to bow and play along to some classical music.

    And thanks for the perspective about new vs used. I'll try to keep my out for used instruments only.
  13. I stumbled on these last night. They're really cheap, but seem to be handmade by China. I only say they look handmade because every EUB the seller has looks different.

    New 3/4 Electric Upright Double bass Powerful Sound Solid wood #1442 | eBay

    I probably wouldn't spring for it unless someone else has and it wasn't all that bad. It looks decent from the pics.

    Edit to add: I found two reviews online for their electric violins and people were shocked at how good they were for the price. The bridges and tailpieces needed to be readjusted/modified and the strings are horrible, but after replacing the strings and adjusting the bridge and tailpiece, these two reviewers both thought they had professional level instruments. They both were shocked at how good the electronics sounded.

    I watched a YouTube reviewer of a guy with a 5 string electric cello and he had some complaints about the neck being different proportions from a real cello, but he should have been able to tell that from the photos. They have some basses on their website that have tiny bodies with long stick necks, and other basses that look closer to DB proportions.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  14. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    I don't know that instrument, but suspect it is not quite in the same ballpark as those mentioned earlier. And on this one it may be difficult to get dependable long-term user reviews. I suspect it is more like the Palatino/Harley Benton, which is well known on TB.
    Furthermore, I don't think that one is really cheap for what I suspect you'll get; the HB/Palatino would be substantially cheaper.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  15. Yeah, I stumbled on this unboxing video of an acoustic violin:

    I'll look elsewhere. Thanks.
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Check in at the downtown L&M regularly to see what they have used and to get more time in playing some different ones. They carry and rent NS, Palatino and Yamaha EUBs and out here in Vancouver I've occasionally seen used Eminence basses.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  17. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Well, that's just a video of a lady who doesn't know what to do with what she ordered. She's doubtlessly an excellent player (though for many good players 4 strings is enough), but the way that instrument came is normal. (For transport the bridge is off, and then the SP commonly drops, and strings loosely tightened either side of the FB.) She should first have put up the soundpost before anything else. And the bridge fell because she didn't put it right. But the tailgut should not have broken, and I'm not saying this is a fine violin. Just that her criticism is largely unfair. If you expect a fully set-up high quality instrument, ready to go immediately, buy from a luthier.

    You should expect something similar with any mail order EUB (bridge somewhere in a pouch, strings either side of the FB), and also these cheap EUB's do not come with any proper set-up worth mentioning. Expect to have to adapt the bridge & nut, at least.

    If at all possible, go see the thing you want to buy, play it (or have an experienced player or teacher do so), and then take that one. Then you'll know better what you get. Downtown, as Jeff says.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  18. I'll definitely check out L&M. I think the Eminence and Yamahas are out of my range but I may be able to squeeze for an NS NXT.

    My local L&M has a used NXT4 in there now, but I suspect someone bought it new and returned it a few weeks later. They only took $100 off the new price. I think I'd just rather buy a new one.

    I'm also debating getting a Palatino as well. They look great and I read the mod thread again last night and most of the repairs I was most concerned with are fairly cheap for the DIY'er (reshaping bridge, muting tailpiece, adding some padding to the pickup, etc).

    I see that the Palatino is chambered... Anyone know how loud it is when bowed, unplugged? Is it much louder than an NS NXT? is it a lot quieter than an acoustic DB with a big rubber practice mute?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  19. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    The HB appears to be chambered, but not acoustically meaningfully I suspect. That construction could make it relatively lighter & stiffer, and indeed slightly louder acoustically. Check w/ the guys who have one. For me that would be a pro, but indeed I forgot; you wanted a silent solid-body one. Play it downtown, if you can, and also buy the one you play.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  20. I agree. I think it was mostly her disappointment that swayed me. You're right though. I was expecting the bridge to be off anyway, and maybe she didn't set it or right or something. The tailpiece and soundpost falling off sucks, but the tailpiece would be an easy fix and I wouldn't have to worry about a soundpost.
    You're right. I certainly expected to re-shape and re-groove the bridge and nut anyway if I was going this route. I'm more comfortable playing something first though so I'll keep my eyes peeled for something local.

    I found a used NXT at a good price last night on Kijiji. Unfortunately, I don't have all of my money together yet (I need to sell an electric guitar to help), but the seller wasn't interested in trades. I forgot to list the guitar though. I'm going to do that now.

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