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Jazz Bass Pickups with EBow?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Arcy, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Arcy


    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL

    I play both guitar and bass and lately I've been using my ebow a lot on guitar. The bassist in a band I was in a few years ago would use an ebow on his bass a lot too, and it became an integral sound in some of the songs we wrote.

    Well, long story short, I want to get that sound back for myself. I was playing my Fender Geddy Lee Jazz bass the other day, and I tried the ebow on it, and was not pleased with the results. I get a distorted sound, almost like an overdriven preamp sound, but I checked and surely enough it isn't the preamp/amplification being overdriven (I tried 3 different preamps and then a direct box into the board).

    From what I can tell, if I really back it off from the pickup, most of the distortion goes away, but then the signal is very weak and isn't audible enough, nor does the string sustain sufficiently (loses sustain when left hand changes, etc). Almost seems like the pickup is picking up "interference" from the ebow (which couldn't be much otherwise it wouldn't be very usable on any instruments at all!)

    I'm trying to get in touch with my old bassist to see what bass he had, but if I recall, it was a Washburn (looked to be on the cheaper end)... I don't remember whether it had single coils or humbuckers though. The guitar I use the ebow on is a Gibson Les Paul (so, humbuckers), and it sounds clean as can be.

    Is it just the sensitiveness of the single coils on the Geddy? Or something else? Is there any way I can use my ebow with my bass without having to install new pickups just for this purpose? I like the pickups other than this :)

    Thanks for any help.
  2. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    I think it might be in the nature of the Jazz pickups. I've not been happy with the eBow on my Jazz, getting pretty much what you describe. Rolling off the tone and putting both pickups to the same level to get the humbucking effect helped a bit. Using a delay with it works as well.

    I use my E-Bow with my Tanglewood Scorpio. It's a short-scale bass with an EB0-style humbucker at the neck. I get a really full tone off it, and through my EH Memory Man, it sounds great - I can get cello-like sounds and all kinds of swelly synth-like stuff.
  3. Arcy


    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    I didn't think about turning both pickups up, I'll give that a try later today. I bet it will help some. Thanks for the tip :)

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