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Is there any way I could go about bowing a Uke Bass?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by stephen3547, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. stephen3547

    stephen3547 Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2013
    Fayetteville, AR
    A Kala U-Bass or a Gold Tone Microbass. Fretless. I'm wondering if it would be possible to buy one and bow it. And if so, what kind of bow would be preferable? Keep in mind it can be any kind of bow not necessarily a bass bow
  2. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    I believe the short answer is *no* because the necks of both instruments are flat, not curved, and so there's no way to reach the 2 inner strings with a bow without striking other strings at the same time. With a great deal of difficulty, you could probably use a bow on the two outter strings, but even that wouldn't be easy because the instruments aren't shaped like bowable instruments.
  3. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
  4. davewave

    davewave Old and in the way...

    Jun 23, 2012
    Lincoln, NE

    U-basses have plastic strings and a piezo transducer, so wouldn't work in this application, nor on a nylon-stringed guitar, etc.

    They're fun, I've used one on conventional electric bass, which like electric guitar use magnetic pickups and steel strings.
  5. Nuggulux


    Oct 24, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    There is someone Who was showing off very short-scale steel-strings for the uke bass at the namm show. Someone mumbled something to me about them being made by pyramid strings, but I can't confirm. Kala and Ohana both had basses with them, so theoretically at least you could use an Ebow on them.
  6. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Yes, Pyramid makes U-Bass Strings for the Kala U-Bass and SUB bass.

    They basically make the bass sound more like an Acoustic/Electric Bass Guitar.
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    You'd have to start by replacing the bridge with, I dunno, a viola bridge, maybe. Can't have a flat bow and a flat profile to the strings, and since bow hair is suspended under tension, it's going to be flat, so you're left with fixing a bridge.

    Why would someone want to do this?

  8. generation zero

    generation zero

    Jul 24, 2012
    Barring the technical roadblocks, I imagine the sound would not be stellar, to say the least... surely there are better ways to reach your end goal.

    Unless of course you are picturing holding the U-Bass like a violin and bowing it for a bowed bass sound with a unique visual impact, which could be cool... but would likely require heavy modifications to the bass.
  9. cultrvultr

    cultrvultr Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oakland, California
    There is a thread somewhere on the EB side showing a Ubass sized EUB from New Zealand. If you put metal strings on that it could work.

    I have a regular ubass and I doubt that the pahoehoe strings can be bowed without a modification.
  10. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Unfortunately, you can't bow it any more than you can blow through it. In addition to what already's been mentioned (fingerboard radius, bridge), you'd need a sound post within to keep the top from collapsing.

    If you succeeded at making all this modifications, they have a name for that: a viola.

    Nice that you're thinking outside the (sound) box, though. ������