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Messenger EUB megathread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by clochard, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Greetings lads and gals,

    would like to hear from those of you that have gotten their hands on some of the "the messenger" EUBs. (http://www.messengerbass.com/)

    Any comments or comparisons on that model would be appreciated : am considering buying a used one but have never played eubs.

  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I haven't played one, but I would recommend playing as many as possible before buying any of them. There's a pretty comprehensive listing around here somewhere, and at the bottom of Francois' posts is a link to an EUB-dedicated board where you can find some player critiques and the like. My personal fave of this bunch is: http://www.alter-ego.it/ and just recently these folks came out with this: http://www.babyego.com/
  3. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i have a messenger. i like it alot. things i like about it... real double bass bridge, adjustable height bridge, not tiltable neck. Eb or D neck. real upright bass fingerboard. i believe the string length is adjustable from around 40-42 inches. mine is 41.5. barbera pickup sounds great. this is definately an eub designed to replicate the feel and reference points of a double bass, not an entry into double bass for electric bassists who need a gradual change. i use if for rehearsals and for practicing when i feel like sitting in a regular chair and i dont feel like getting out the big bass. i also use it at a weekly big band gig with a tiny stage. they guys love the sound of it. john knutson was very helpful in making the bass exactly how i wanted it in terms of the Eb neck and the string length and the fingerboard dressing. (the dressing was as good if not better than any i've had here in NYC). there are several good EUB's out there, and i think the messenger is up at the top of the list with the best of them. (i like the merchant vertical bass for all the same reasons, but it's bigger...)
  4. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I just got home from our weekly gig with my messenger. I've had mine for about 13 years and its been great. I also echo the previous TBers comments about the reference points and John Knutson's help. I've travelled with mine a lot to Europe and the U.S. and it has held up great. It's also great for recording. It does have a LOT of sustain, but by playing with different strings and varying my attack it can get a really good sound if not exactly an upright sound. Besides the portability, the sound works really well in situations where the band level is a bit louder. At the BB kings gig I show up with the messenger and my Focus head and use the house cab (hartke with 2alum 2paper speakers) for some louder blues and New Orleans music. It's been a terrific workhorse of a bass, not fragile by any means. :)
  5. thanks for your comments and experiences. i'll soon be trying it up, it seems it needs a good readjustment and a couple of repairs (nut is to be redone (strings buzz if not elevated a bit more from bridge), (bridge needs harmonics readjustment) (and strings are dead); still seems like a good choice.
    i'll need some info on good amps/preamps; i was working with an acoustic image contra on a regular db; is it also a good choice with eubs?

    thanks for your input,
    and have a good day,

  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I have 1 of 3 lefties and I really like mine. John's service is awesome. I didn't even buy the bass from him and he has taken the time to help me with questions that I had.

    Although no EUB sounds like the real thing, the Messenger is built like a tank and sounds great!
  7. Thanks for the input guys (and Seb, since I guess you visit this place too !)
    Just tried the messenger... and it sounded like a bass. I mean, like an eb; i somehow expected it to be somewhat acoustiker... Even on a good ol ampeg amp it was nowhere near an acoustic sound.
    Ah well...
    Explanation of my reaction : (in case this topic serves to further "electric newbies")
    Being at frist a classicly trained cellist/pianist and a self kinda taught Dbassist... i couldn't stand it. good initation to the electric world.

    The same experience brought me to get my hands (for a couple minutes) on an EUB that would make Fan clubs here... the Lamarrio EUB! The luthier, Mario Lamarre from Montreal, is a true professionnal artist. http://www.lamario.ca/ .

    Enjoy your basses,
  8. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I love mine....

    Sounds like a cross between a good fretless and a real wood upright.
  9. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I had a used Messenger DLX with the 41.5" scale. It was a wonderful instrument, the main reason I sold it was that I could not get it to fit into the trunk of my car. I do a lot of city gigs and often find myself bringing the BG instead of DB because I can lock the whole rig in my trunk and go get a bite to eat or run errands before the gig. I am not comfortable leaving my DB in the front seat (for obvious reasons)! The Messenger fit with maybe 1/16" to spare and precluded storing my amp in the trunk too.

    I actually sold the bass back to John Knutson himself. I live about 2 hours away from his shop. I brought it in for some adjustments and he offered to buy it from me on the spot for $50 more than I paid for it! As I am getting married and planning a move soon I figured I could use the money.

    While no EUB can really nail the full DB sound/vibe, I was impressed with the workmanship, playability, and sound of the Messenger. In particular, the dual pickup scheme is brilliant; the phase cancellation between the two pickups allows you to set a blend that will work great for pizz and arco with no on-the-fly twiddling. I wasn't trying to clone a DB sound; in fact much of the time I used the Messenger into a variety of distortion, flanger, octave, and envelope filter FX. Especially arco, I got some crazy sounds.

    I had Thomastik SuperFlexibles and then Pirastro Obligatos on mine. The Obligatos made it sound like a big fretless BG while the SFs were more DB-like for both pizz/arco. Always sounded great into GK, Eden, and EA amps plus Bergantino/EA cabs. I would definitely consider buying another Messenger (maybe a 5 string) if I need an EUB in the future.
  10. porteous


    Mar 24, 2006
    Berkeley, CA
    I purchased a Messenger bass off eBay about a year ago, and have been very happy with it. After playing BG for many years, I decided to try out an EUB, figuring I could see if I liked it before shelling out $$$ for a real acoustic bass. I found a good teacher, and have been spending almost all of my practice time on it (although I can see it will be a long time to get as proficient on it as I am with my BG). My teacher has played a number of "stick basses" (as he calls them) and says this Messnger bass is easily the best sounding of any he has tried. To my ears, it sounds better than some of plywood basses I've played.
  11. SebBass


    Jan 7, 2004
    Hi guys,

    Have bought myself a new bass, so the old one must go. A high school in my area has shown interest in buying my Messenger EUB, and the strings date to the ice age, so they're buying a new set, but they're asking me to choose it.

    And in turn, I consult you guys for a cheap, still decent sounding, maybe preferably good on arco set of strings. So far, I'd thought of the Labellas (75$ a pop)..Open to all suggestions.

    I'd prefer buying from juststrings.com, as Im gonna be ordering a set of strings for the new bass and the electric as well.

    Keep me posted :)

    CHeers !:hyper:
  12. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    I don't have much experience with EUB's but I suggest the DAddario Helicore line of strings. It sounds like the Hybrid's could be what you're looking for. They are 95 bucks from Lemur; I don't know what juststrings.com charges. Remember, super cheap, bad strings can make a bass no fun to play. I have found that you get what you pay for in the gear buisness. I think Helicores are generally a good deal probably because DAddario is a much bigger company than the other double bass string manufactorers and can make and distribute strings more easily than say Pirastro.
  13. I personally dislike the Helicores; on the basses I've played with them, they all sounded sort of cardboard-like, if that makes any sense. I'd say your best bet is probably Spirocore Weichs. IMO, that's about the best all around, do-everything string out there. Plus, they don't cost much and last for ever. ;)
  14. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    Helicores are not my favorite strings either although I've heard people sound great on them. My old teacher had the arco solo set on his Italian bass and it sounded great. Also, Chris McBride and John Patitucci sound great on the Hybrids. They are cheaper than most Thomastik, although the Superflexibles are the same price as Helicores. Good strings. I personally like Pirastro 'Original' arco strings which are more expensive than just about every other option except for Velvets. My budget reccomendations are Superflexibles and Helicore Hybrids.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    How 'bout some Corellis?
    DaveAceofBass likes this.
  16. OliverH


    Aug 2, 2008
    Hi, I've had a Knutson Messenger DLX electric upright for a few years now - I noticed some people on these forums also have this bass so I thought I'd post a message so you can come to my rescue :)

    I fell in love with this bass when I saw and heard it first, and despite never having played ANY upright before I had to have one! I played for about a year without taking any lessons and developed a bad technique, then took a handful of lessons and corrected my technique somewhat, but I've always found the bass to be physically challenging to play.

    Upright bass IS a hard instrument to play, I know you are saying! I much prefer my Fender Jazz Fretless bass which I find a lot easier to play and since it is easier for me, I find the barrier to creating good music is lowered. That being said I really don't want to leave the upright gathering dust on the top of my wardrobe.

    Of course, practicing like a madman is going to be required in any situations but I wonder if I need to set up the bass a bit better. I've always found pressing the strings down with the left hand to be difficult, especially towards the lower end of the fingerboard, but the bridge is adjusted as low as it can go. I wonder also if the strings could be better. They are the original set I got with the bass (although I clean them meticulously after each session).

    I really don't want to consign this instrument to the too hard basket... any advice is welcome!
  17. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    If it's as low as it goes I would work on raising the action and maybe using lighter strings. I actually find the Messenger to be the easiest EUB for me to play. My Eminence is set up with high action and so is my upright.

    How often are you playing the instrument? Upright is one of those things that you can't pick up and put down (not saying that you are:)). I find I have to play and practice it every day or else I start feeling stiff on it.
  18. Bofee


    Aug 19, 2005
    Grass Valley, CA
    All of the above, plus, if the nut isn't properly set up, the bass can be much more difficult to play. I drop mine down to where the strings about a business card thickness away from the fb.
  19. OliverH


    Aug 2, 2008
    Well, I've never been that disciplined at practicing so no I don't pick it up every day, although I know I should. I'm trying to get into the habit of playing every day though... so hopefully that barrier will disappear soon - but the initial hurdle is just being happy with how it feels and sounds so I have motivation to play regularly!

    I believe the strings would be the original Spirocore or Superflexible that John puts on the basses (I have no idea which of those two though). Which light strings would you recommend?

    What effect will raising the action have on playing the bass?
  20. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    John usually has the nut and bridge cut very nicely. His instruments are really well made and set up.

    Raising the action would give you a better sound if you start using lighter or lower tension strings. You could try the spirocore weichs. You might also like Pirastro Obligato strings because they are very low tension. But if you have really low bridge and really light strings it's not going to sound that great.

    But really, it sounds by what you're saying that you're not spending enough time on the instrument. Even a half hour to hour a day would make a huge difference in getting strength built up. Consistency is the thing.

    I would practice long tones with the bow, starting on open G and progressing to all 4 strings. Try bowing open G then fingering G# A A# B C. Then go to open D D# E F F# G etc. on all strings. By bowing whole notes it forces your left hand to hold the note longer and will improve your hand strength.

    Play along with easy songs as well just to get used to moving around, even if its just root-5 type stuff. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts but by practicing consistently I think you'll be surprised at how quickly you start feeling more comfortable.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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