Help Me Find a Sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lyle Caldwell, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I want a bass guitar that can sound as similar as possible to the upright bass on Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks." I know nothing will sound as good as an upright, but I have neither the budget, the room, nor the years of practice necessary to get an upright.

    I'm not interested in the Variax bass. Aside from that, are there any electric bass guitars that can sound similar?
  2. baritones


    Oct 5, 2005
    I have the same problem. I have limited space for an upright but I love the sound. Im looking into buying a Kydd or baby electric upright of some kind in the future. For right now, I play a Fender Jazz fretless with flatwound strings. I use lots of low end and some meaty mids but its the fingering technique that seems to make a big difference. Watch how acoustic players finger their bass and approximate that form. Instead of plucking up in the usual electric style, try holding the bass guitar more like an upright and play across the strings with yr plucking hand near the neck. Try lightly muting the strings at the same time with the side of the hand. It aint an acoustic but it has a nice upright feel to it.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I've tried that. Close but not close enough. I haven't tried any of the piezo-equipped basses, the Rob Allens, etc. I didn't know if there was something out there aside from what a Jazz or electric upright could do.
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Ok, just looked into, heard, and priced Rob Allens.

    Yowza, those are nice.

    So, what can give a similar sound under $1000?

    I think there's a Godin dealer in town - ugly as sin, but maybe they can approach this sound.
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    How about a Pbass with flats? Roll the tone off? Might work for u

  6. CLJMB

    CLJMB Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    North Alabama
    P bass with flats, pluck at the base of neck or higher.
  7. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I already have a Jazz with flats, tried it set to series with the tone rolled off, plucked just about everywhere, even tried a mute. Used to have a fretless Jazz, and it didn't come any closer.

    I'm not after a Jaco sound - just as close to an upright as I can get.
  8. MikeM


    Apr 21, 2004
  9. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    I love Richard Davis' lines and tone on that album and I also want to know which electric can sound close enough to that upright tone.
  10. +1
  11. Lyle

    Try inserting a piece of foam rubber under the strings right up near the bridge...roll tone off and pluck just below the fingerboard as already suggested. The foam with cut the overtones and increase the rate at which the note decays. Its a great way to 'deaden the note for an approximation of the upright's cushioned "thump". You will never get an electric to truly sound like an upright, but you will cop an old school vibe which is great for playing jazz...sustain is the enemy...especially in walking lines. Just a suggestion.
  12. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Like I said, and you quoted, I tried that. And I got the classic muted Fender with flats tone. But that isn't what I'm trying to find.
  13. people - it really isn't that hard - just get an upright. You do have the room - they are not that big, they are not that hard to play, and they are the only instrument that will sound like an upright. sheesh!
  14. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    No, I do not have the room, I can't afford an upright of any quality, and it would take a year or two to become even reasonably proficient.

    While we're being honest, upright bass and bass guitar are separate instruments that fill a similar musical role. I respect the upright too much to think that I can pick one up and find it interchangeable.

    And I'm not looking for something that sounds like a great upright - I'm looking for that very midrangey "low-fi" upright on that Van Morrison record. Tons of character, but it's not what most people would look for in a real upright.
  15. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    rob allen?
  16. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004

    (that is so weird typing that)

    I agree the Rob Allens would do it, but I can't afford one. I'm going to try a Godin later today - perhaps it will come somewhat close.