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Michael's bass

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Nickthebassist, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. Does Michael use a ZOn hyper bass? I may be wrong but I seem to remember seeing a picture of him with it once, while I was looking at some Zon basses. Doesn't it have hipsjot de-tuners on each string and a 3 octave neck? It looks awesome whatever it is. :cool:
  2. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    Correct. The Hyperbass is Michael's signature bass. It has a three octave neck, hipshot xtenders on each string, and very light gauge strings. I think something like 0.5-0.1. I believe the electronics are also a bit special. A transducer in the body and in the neck, others may be able to give more insight on that...

  3. It looks awesome, I was reading a review of it and I was thinking of all the crazy stuff you could do with a 3 octave neck, like guitar pitch solos and stuff, and then you can go deeper by using the hipshots, very kool indeedy.
  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks for answering and making my job easier, Dave! Yes Nickthebassist, the Hyperbass is my signature instrument. As mentioned, the neck is just shy of three octaves, there are Hipshot Extender Keys on all four strings and there are transducers mounted in the body and headstock. Also, the bridge allows for instant retuning of all four strings and the magnetic pickup is quadraphonic, i.e., there is a separate output for each string. I usually string it with D'Addario XL280s -- .020-.052. It’s big fun.
  5. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    Michael - do the transducers have seperate outs or are they blended in with the pick-up signals? Do you also have transducers on your regular Zon fretless?

    Is there a recording where you really emphasised the transducer's sound?

    I'm very curious.

  6. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Jeff, the Hyperbass has six outputs: one for each of the four strings from the magnetic pickup, one for the blend of the four transducers in the body and one that sums all the signals together. It’s a wonderful feature and unfortunately I haven’t yet had a chance to set up something similar in my regular fretless. I’ve written a few pieces which really feature the sound of the ceramic pickups on the Hyperbass. One is called “Diagonal Head Trauma” and it appears on the Artist’s Profile TV show about me; another is a new piece that will be on my upcoming solo CD.
  7. Michael,

    How do you get the 6 outputs out of your bass? I assume you don't have 6 1/4" jacks? ;) I guess you have control over the blending output re: how much of each signal comes through. On recordings of tracks like "The enormous room" and "Music for armchair funambulists" you have wonderful separation across the stereo space. Almost like each string (output?) is panned a little to left and right. How do you manage this? I have visions of a giant multicore snake coming out the back of your Hyperbass! But I'm sure that's not how it's done... :eek:

    I'm listening to Enormous Room at the minute. It has to be one of my favourite pieces of music full-stop. Not just a favourite "bass track", but generally. Truly wonderful.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your next CD.
  8. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Just to confirm, those 20-52 gauge strings are indeed a "piccolo" set, correct? I remember from my skinny string days that 52-gauge E.

    Does the Hyperbass perform as well with more "regular bass" gauge strings? I've always wanted to try one out, the one Zon I used to have was a great thing indeed.
  9. Rumzini


    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    How bout a pic?
  10. I've been wondering that too. Wouldn't there be problem with the nut, if it's initially set up for piccolo strings?
  11. flea-bass


    Jan 30, 2004
    What is the bass that you play at the bass day 98, its fretless it looks like a hyperbass but it has two pickups and a kinda orange finish also what kind of pickups are in it?
  12. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    The sum output of the Hyperbass is a standard ¼” jack. It doesn’t offer control of the separate outputs other than allowing the transducers to be switched in or out of the signal path. However, there is a small trim pot mixer on the back of the bass that allows you to set the level for each transducer separately -- or should -- it’s never quite worked the way we want it to! The remaining 5 (the separate four magnetics and 1 transducer) outputs are on a multi-channel Lemo output jack. These travel on a single cable to a small breakout box that has five ¼” output plugs. These five outputs are completely direct out so that I can do any tone shaping or panning at an outside mixer. I can’t afford to take an extra mixing board with me on the road, so unfortunately I rarely get to use the multi-output setup live, but I almost always use it for recording. As MKS noticed (good listening!), I like to use subtle panning of the strings to try to achieve a more spacious sound. It’s way fun.

    As to the strings I use, they are standard D’Addario Piccolo strings. It’s a piece of cake to set the bass up for larger strings -- you just need an appropriate nut and bridge saddles. It’s a very simple conversion. I’ve played Hyperbasses set up that way and they are terrific.

    The similar bass that I played on the Bass Day 98 video is my main fretless. It combines some of the Hyperbass features with some features from my previous main fretless, so we call it as “Junior”! It has two Bartolini pickups and I string it with standard light gauge D’Addarios.
  13. I have one more question, what tunings do you set the hipshots to?
  14. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    I believe the Hipshots are whole tones, but the bridge detuners are semitones.

    There was talk some time ago of Michael doing a 6 string bass with Hipshots and bridge detuners on each string. Wasn't the total amount of different tunings in the 65,000 range?
  15. The Reff

    The Reff

    Feb 11, 2004
    Regarding the Hipshot X-tender tuners : Do any of you know if there's a system out there that allows you to change your tunings on the bridge the same way you do with with the X-tenders ??

    I think Ibanez introduced a Soundgear bass with a system like that, but you could only detune the E-String.

    Thanks in advance

    Edit : sorry Dynna I didn't read your answer to well I suppose :rolleyes: But how does Michaels system on the bridge work ??
  16. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    I'm not sure how Michael's bridge works. I'm not totally sure that his hyper bass had it, but I'm pretty confident it did.

    As far as Soundgears & Hipshots go, for the longest time Hipshots were way too big to go on Sndgr headstocks, so this must be a recent development you're talking about.
  17. The Reff

    The Reff

    Feb 11, 2004
  18. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    Okay, that makes sense. I have seen those Ibanez. The "Hipshot" tuners go on the headstock, and they are still to big for the Sndgr. Which would be why they threw on a "D-Tuner" which, if I remember correctly, is an adjustable lever that you throw. As opposed to the D-Tuna which just turns and slips into the bridge in such a way as to drop the pitch. I hope that the "Tuner" is 'geared' so its easy to toss back up to E. That's probably why Michael uses such light strings.

    I was going to look for that Bass Player sidebar from the Zon site. Now that I see it described, the bridge tuning mechanics sound similar to what's on the Steinberger guitars. Think "Summer Nights" by Van Halen.
  19. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks for the interest in the Hyperbass, guys. I change the intervals on my Hipshots frequently, usually between tunes on a solo gig. It’s very easy to do -- there’s a little set screw on the back that determines the throw of the mechanism. I set them anywhere from a minor second to a perfect fifth, and will usually have a mix of intervals for any one piece.

    The Hyperbass bridge is similar to a Stienberger Trans-trem (I have one of those as well and it‘s quite nice), but not quite the same. On the Hyperbass, the bridge is set up to offer three tunings of the entire instrument, high, medium and low. The strings sit on bocks which in turn rest on cams; there are are levers on either side of the bridge that turn the cams and raise or lower the strings. The Trans-trem is designed like a whammy bar and is made more for transpositions. I rarely change the intervals on the Hyperbass bridge as it’s a bit more complicated a process than changing the intervals on the Hipshots.

    While the tautness of a string makes a difference in the ease of movement of all the devices, I have yet to find a situation where they were rendered unusable because of excessive tension. However, lighter gauge strings do tend to give a bit more throw and so wider interval options -- which is lucky for me because I prefer the way they sound!