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Morphing Jazzes into Uprights

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KYJazzy, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    Well I did numerous searches but couldn't find a good thread for this, found out that talkbass searches don't recognize quotes around items, so if you search for "double bass" you find every post with the word 'bass' in it. that's a lot of posts.

    Plain and simple - what're the best ways to get an upright bass tone out of a MIM fender jazz bass? setup, settings, amp settings, strings, etc. (although I assume flatwound strings are a nobrainer?) Are P-basses better at recreating that double bass sound? just wondering, I want a real fast jazz groove tone. Oh, and and its fretted, which doesn't help in the mission but, just wondering what can be done as far as mods.
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I don't want to crush your buzz here, but what you are asking is not really possible. On a fretless jazz with precise technique and perfect knob tweaking one can sort of reproduce the "feel" of an UB(it's tough to describe verbally), but, no...
  3. -Get flatwounds strings
    -Convert your neck to fretless
    -Raise your string action (for more thump and less mwahh)
    -Cut some highs and use your neck pickup
    -Play with your two fingers together

    These tips can help you imitate the urb sound. The Godin A4 and A5 are, IMHO, the best basses to do that (electro-acoustics with piezos).
  4. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    tough one, but I would change up your technique to look nearly what Sting does, but use the fat of your hand to 'slightly' mute the strings at the bridge... while playing with your thumb.

  5. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    mute the strings with your right hand palm a la gary willis.
  6. If you want this to be your primary tone I'd say just get an upright because an electric will never sound like an upright but if you want to use it as an effect use your palm to mute the strings and pluck with your thumb.
  7. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Alien Audio / Mesa Fanatic!! Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Fretless is a must. My MIM jazz has absolutely NO mwah whatsoever, so I quit trying, raised the action, started (***VERY IMPORTANT) plucking about 1-2 inches onto the fretboard, tweaked the knobs a little bit, and there you have it, a pretty decent imitation of an upright sound.
  9. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    lpb is right. You can't. I play both upright and electric and there is no way to make an electric sound like an upright. You may be able to move "toward" that ideal to some degree but you won't come close. A semi-hollow, fretless with flats might get you in the arena but you won't be on the stage. Listen to Steve Swallow. That's probably as close as you could come.
    This by the way is why I NEVER use electric in my jazz trio.
  10. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    For me personally, from a players standpoint, even if I could reproduce the "sound" somehow I would not be able to get the same "feel". The two instruments are not closely related enough in the way they are played for me to pull it off. I've heard plenty of cats swing hard on EB's but I swing hardest on the real thing. It is almost more a question of feel for me than anything else..
  11. I have two semi-hollow electrics (one is a Rob Allen with a Piezo and fretless that comes the closest to an upright tone) and a plain ole fretless solid body electric. The semi-hollow basses can get the thump of an upright, the fretless solid body has a solid mwah without the thump and sounds so Jaco-esque. However, there is something intangible that a upright has that cannot be duplicated by the electrics. Maybe it is the percussive slap on strings or the incredible warmness of an upright or the richness and complexity of an upright. I am not sure, but when I record these basses, the upright always sounds different. These intangibles can't be replicated. The electrics are wonderful instruments in their own right. I love them and use them frequently in all sorts of settings, but if you are looking for an upright tone then the best thing one can do is get an upright.