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Is it possible to get a pure tone from electric?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by waxlabltabler, Sep 1, 2002.


  1. waxlabltabler

    waxlabltabler

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ohio
    I mean a sound close to a double. Every bass I've tried just sounds electric. No character really. Double has character, a rich, full sound. Is it possible to get a sound similar to that from an electric?
     
  2. From a solidbody instrument with frets and a much shorter scale length? No. The closest most people get are the Lightwave pickups, but those still don't sound much like an upright.

    FWIW, I heartily dispute the notion that no electric bass has "character," and question your aesthetic judgement. I have also heard quite a few thin-sounding uprights.
     
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    From what I've heard, the Bassline Viper basses do a really good job on this.

    They feature a patented resonance system made from maple, which emulates the resonance of a acoustic (double) bass, and piezo pickups.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.bassline-bass.de/english/index.htm

    The website is messed up somehow, when you choose English at the top page www.bassline-bass.de you still get the German text.
     
  4. waxlabltabler

    waxlabltabler

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ohio
    I didn't mean no character, its just that they sound really different. Uprights just seem to be a little brighter and more robust. Maybe it's the genres the instruments are used in.

    I can't put this into words. Different instruments sound different, I guess. Why do you question my judgement? I just think uprights sound better in some situations than electrics do.

    Maybe it's my playing. I just have a hard time getting a good sound out of my bass. Then again my equipment sucks.

    Just disregard the other stuff and answer the question. I can't seem to express it properly.
     
  5. FWIW, there are plenty of "pure," "hi-fi" solidbody electrics out there. What's your budget? Looking at your equipment list, you're dealing with a pretty low-fi rig, so I can sympathize with your situation.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - one thing you have to take into account is the size and scale length of Double Basses. So, I have an NS Electric Upright Bass - now this sounds much more like a double bass - but it has a 42" scale length and piezo pickups.



    So, I took this and a bass guitar to my Jazz Summerschool and there are definitely songs where the Electric upright sounds much more appropriate - slow ballads for example.

    When I bought the EUB, I also tried examples with magnetic pickups as well as the piezos and these sounded more like fretless BG - so I bought the one with piezos only as this was the "sound" I was looking for as well.

    Of course nothing but a real Double Bass gets exactly that sound and it is a function of the size and construction that makes it like that and why so many Jazz and Orchestral players are prepared to put up with the inconveninces of transporting and playing such a large and awkward instrument.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My NS Electric Double Bass :

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think that this is because your profile only mentions "Squier P Bass and matching amp" now this is probably the most limited setup you can have and there are huge numbers and variety of electric bass guitars out there with fantastically rich and varied tones.

    Many, highly experienced luthiers have devoted their lives to making great, "pure sounding" (for example) bass guitars with very high levels of craftsmanship - to dismiss this in a few sentences, betrays a lack of understanding and experience of what is "out there" - to say the least!
     
  9. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    Since when does an upright bass sound "bright and robust"?! Not any recordings I've heard!

    Give me an electric bass any day of the week for a more even, punchier, and "robust" tone! Did I mention even(balanced)?;)
     
  10. Now now guys, play nice.

    Don't make me bring the smack down.

    As to your question wax, I would try and get a hold of an acoustic bass guitar. I've alawys loved the sound of those big bodies, and my personal fav is the Tacoma Acoustic/Electric series. Very deep, rumble-y tyoe sound.

    Rock on
    Eric
     
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Why can't an electric bass guitar sound like a double bass viol? I'm not that knowledgable about double bass, but from what I do know (and I may be wrong on a few of these, please correct me) let's see...

    1. bass guitar: 30-35" scale length; double bass: 42" or so.
    2. bass guitar: (with one exception I know of) all metal strings; double bass: (I believe) mixed construction, maybe not steel core? maybe non-steel wraps? and maybe fiber layers between core and wraps?
    3. bass guitar: solid body or slight chambering; double bass: huge resonant cavity.
    4. bass guitar: string achored to a solid metal bridge, screwed down to a solid body; double bass: strings traverse a very thin wooden bridge, suspended far above a flexible face plate.
    5. bass guitar: lower string tension; double bass: much higher string tension.
    6. bass guitar: sound generated by a vibrating string causing disturbances in a magnetic field, which which cause current in a coil, which goes through a lot of electronic amplification circuitry, which causes a current in a speaker voice coil, which vibrates a paper cone, which causes air vibrations that you hear; double bass: vibrating string vibrates the wooden bridge, which flexes the top plate of the bass; the vibrations excite the cavity, which resonates; the cavity resonations then affect the top plate vibration, etc.; finally the vibrating shell causes air vibrations, which combine in a complex manner with the cavity vibrations exiting the f-hole, all of which which you hear.
    7. bass guitar: if fretted (like most), string has one end cleanly terminated against a metal fret; double bass: always fretless, so one end of the string is clamped between a fleshy finger and a piece of wood.
    8. bass guitar: horizontal-to-45º orientation of the instrument forces one of a few plucking hand positions, which create certain tones; double bass: vertical orientation forces a different (or maybe one of a few different?) plucking hand position, which creates a different tone(s).
    9, 10, 11... there are many more points that can be contrasted regarding vastly varying construction techniques, and setup...

    All that being said, a bass guitar has as many differences from a standup as it has similarities to it. They generally sound quite different. It is remarkable to me that there are in fact a few bass guitars that sound somewhat like an upright.
     
  12. waxlabltabler

    waxlabltabler

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ohio
    I already retracted the comment, but I see your point. I don't want to argue.
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Why not!!?? That's a big part of this site to me - there's nothing like a good argument! ;) My view is that if I can't argue my points convincingly then I must be wrong and there's nothing wrong with admitting you're wrong every now and again! ;)

    That's how you learn things! :D
     
  14. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    If you have loads of cash look at Rob Allen Basses

    http://www.roballenguitars.com/

    if not then try plucking the strings up by the twelfth fret and add a little bass and mids to your tone. It's not quite like an upright but hey it's free and it sounds cool.
     
  15. Guild accustic electric with the strings damped with a piece of foam rubber. If you could find one that was frettless I think you would have it.
     
  16. Sprinkler

    Sprinkler [account disabled]

    Jul 31, 2002
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    :eek: Patented :eek:

    It looks like a patented ripoff to me.
    Here is the U bass Christophe Leduc has been building for more than 10 years :
    [​IMG]