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Has anyone tried usinga Bow on a Bass Guitar ??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by magnusdeus123, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. I've seen a pic somewhere once and I cant seem to find it again . A famous band bassist uses a bow on a bass guitar . I'm very interested in this technique , if it's even possible that is . Does anyone have any idea about this ??
  2. tmw

    tmw Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Delmar, NY
    I believe the pictured bassist was John Paul Jones.

    I have never tried it.
  3. samnoz


    Jul 26, 2007
    Paul Jones didnt ever use a bow, although the guitarist Jimmy Page did, are you sure your not getting confused?

    And i did try it once but i got a horrible sound, i probably wasnt doing it right though.
  4. rockwarnick


    Jul 29, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    man that hurt.

    yea it was jimmy page on guitar from led zeppElin. he used to do it in songs like dazed and confused(live) and some others i cant put my finger on right now. i've seen other guitarists do it too like claudio from Co&Ca. Acutally i saw him do it live at three different shows. he uses it in the "final cut".

    i tried using a bow on my bass about three years ago. i couldnt produce a sound though. i tried it on my guitar and i could only get the harmonics to work.
  5. It would be difficult on BG to do it, due to the relative flatness of the strings. And upright bass's strings (and other bowed instruments) are arched/radiused to allow for easier bowing on one string without hitting the others. It works on guitars because you normally play chords, not necessarily singular notes, like you might want to on the bass (I don't think Jimmy played lots of singular notes with the bow).

    Plus the amount of rosin you'd need to get the bass strings to sounds nice would be messy.
  6. JeffSki


    Apr 18, 2007
    I tried using a violin bow on my bass. Due to the body shape and neck, I could only bow the E string. Could be good to use as an effect.

    If you want to play all strings with the bow, you'd need a neck that's radiused enough to allow it.
  7. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I believe Jimmy used an EBow, not an actual bass bow. Without a curved bridge, using a standard bow would be difficult if not impossible.
  8. ebow? don't think they were around then.

  9. It was an actual bow . I've seen a video of him do it . I dont know , I need to go to my guitar class tomorrow , and the music shop is right next to it , and I was thinking of picking up a bow , kinda cheap one , but still one , so that I could atleast try out . You never know man . The guy who first invented slapping and popping in theory was probably told "It'll never work !!" for it . You never know......

    and my bass strings are arched a bit . Not too much , but i think I could get something fixed for experiemental purposes , but only If I'm able to get atleast some sound out of it...
  10. tell that to the guy from Sigur Ros


    he plays with a bow more than he does a pick, it creates the sound of a string section, and some great opportunities for very spacey sounds.

    I've successfully used a bow on guitar, it's pretty simple, you just gotta keep at the bridge where the strings are tight, and remember to keep the bow flat.. it's sounds best with open chords.

    I've tried on electric bass. it's harder to get a sound, but I've got it to work on the g string.
  11. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I stand corrected on Jimmy Page. stedtale, I don't know when that pic was taken, but the EBow has been around since '76.

    But my statement was referring to bow on EB, not EG.
  12. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    which is what's keeping me from doing it. i have the tools at home an zero inclination to put that crap on my strings (you apply it to the bow but it will rub off on the strings). maybe before changing the strings one day if i remember, but otherwise forget it.
  13. pepsbro


    Jun 16, 2007
    Rhode Island
    I tried it back in the 70's with a very weird band called " Pig Town"
    I had to make a curved bridge to slide under the strings to get the Bow on to make real contact. Used it on one song kept it very simple. Looked cool sounded bad.
  14. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i like how you guys are saying jimmy page 'USED' a bow on his guitar, because it didn't sound musical to me. infact i think that particular 'technique' is one of the most overrated things that led zeppelin did. he mainly produced percussive sounds/chordal sounds when saw him do it on a DVD, and i wasn't terribly impressed.

    maybe he was just a little too arrogant for his own sake.

    loved the band's music though:smug:
  15. Cheers . I'm probably gonna get way-layed for this , but I dont even like the bands music even after all that . :rolleyes:
  16. rockwarnick


    Jul 29, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    well he did "USE" a bow on his guitar. its not like he never did it. i think it was great. it was innovative and i feel it fit well with the performance. especially in dazed and confused. it really added to the already haunting tone of the song.

    You suck and I hate you.
  17. I'm on your side. :)
  18. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I've tried it on my fretless. I regret trying it.
  19. For 'Gawd's sake..... get a life.......:rolleyes: :p
  20. Yeah you will end up with your strings a bit sticky where you are bowing from the rosin.

    I've done it, and i will say, if you are trying to create ambient/space out type things it sounds awesome to have a delay going as well.

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