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How Do you make an electric bass sound like an upright bass??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Sir_gabealot, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Sir_gabealot


    Jun 1, 2005
    im trying to play "the lovecats" by the Cure and i wanna know how to get that sound!!
  2. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    The BOSS GT-6B had a nice acoustic bass effect, but the pedal overall wasn't that good. BOSS might have such a stomp.

  3. Palm muting does wonders! Seriously, lay your right hand's side on the bridge and pluck the strings with your t humb. I do Fever like this and get many compliments:-D
  4. I would say turn the low end up, keep the treble down in the middle/middle-low range, and then mess with the mid-shift. I don't have much experience with this though, its just something to try. And btw, pick up the real thing, you won't regret it with a good teacher. I'm not saying you have to though.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    You'll have pretty good results with the following:

    - use the neck pickup
    - roll your tone off a bit / less treble, more bass - but just a little
    - put a piece of foam under your strings by the bridge
    - use just a touch of chorus (gets that slightly out of tune thing going)
    - play closer to (even over) the fingerboard
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Good luck.

    That said, the advice from TimC is good stuff. What's even better is this:
  7. Daytona955i


    Feb 17, 2005
    Albany, NY
    Use flatwounds.
  8. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    The_Ryst and SteveC have the right idea.

    I can't figure out exactly why, but my electric bass sounds more like an upright when I strum the strings with the side of my thumb. I know I am not crazy because Ed Friedland (I won't go into it, but he's got good "credentials") devoted a chapter to this in his book, "The Working Bassist's Tool Kit" [(c) Backbeat Books 2001]. The chapter is entitled "The Thumb Thing - How to Get An Upright Sound on Electric Bass."

    He goes into a lot of detail. For my playing, I just occasssionally use the thumb and palm mute with the right hand. For your benefit, Sir_gabelalot, I'll mention some of the other stuff he says:

    "Flatten" your hand and rest it just in front of the bridge, with the side of your hand on the strings near the bridge. Each bass is different so you have to find the right "resting pressure." The key thing, he writes, is that a thumb downstroke duplicates, somewhat, an upright bass' articulation.

    For faster than walking quarter notes, use index finger upstrokes.

    On 5 or 6 string basses he said to use the B string and play very high up the neck.

    Another suggestion he mentions, but does not seem in favor of, is using a foam mute. It will work, but Mr. Friedland feels palm muting gives you more control.

    'Hope that helps. Good luck!
  9. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    To get an upright sound for me, I play my fretless P-bass with flatwounds and I palm mute and play with my thumb. Very convincing.

    I'mma gonna give that Chorus idear a try.
  10. +1 for flatwounds

    +1 for foam under the strings (right next to the bridge)
  11. billio

    billio Bass Head

    I can get a reasonable upright/acoustic sound using my Boss GT6B but I've recently bought an upright and find (funny old thing) that it sounds more like an upright than my electric through the Boss!

    And... it's bloody good fun to play. A bit hard on the fingers and my left elbow at first, but getting easier. New strings in the post too whcih should make a difference.
  12. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I should hope so.
  13. Sir_gabealot


    Jun 1, 2005
    thanks alot guys your good help :p
  14. a great "accoustic" sound i love using in quiet parts of the songs I play is making use of the neck and treble on my bass...heres what i do :

    -finished heavy part :p

    -quickly roll off the treble too virtually nil

    -using fingers (not pick) play with your right hand at about the 16-19th fret, if you need it to move up to accomodate the left then do so, but try not to leave the fretboard.

    Something about there being less tension towards the middle of the strings makes it sound much softer, and really rounds off the attack on the notes.
  15. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    dig a 1' /4' hole in your electric
  16. A muter can help... you could always try what the reggae guys do and put a rag underneath the strings at the bridge. :)
  17. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Well, those cheapass chinese plys don't really sound much of anything, so you never know ;).