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need help getting an "upright" sound

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by thump326, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. thump326


    Apr 30, 2004
    I'm building a fretless solid body bass this summer, but I have no idea what pickups to get. I want it to sound as close to a double bass as possible. Any suggestions? Is it possible to use double bass pickups on an electric guitar, or do they work completely different?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Use a piezo.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounding like an upright requires one thing...playing it like an upright player would. I can sound sort of like an upright (you'll never get dead on with it unless you buy an upright) on any bass I own from my P copy with flats to my boutique 5-string with roundwounds because I think like an upright player when I need that groove. The equipment you use to do it with is immaterial.
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Jimmy's right, a lot of the tone comes from the technique and feel. URB players and electric players play quite differently.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    While the playing style is of course vital, a piezo will also help.
  6. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    fretless P with flatwounds, maybe?
  7. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Plucking the strings at the end of the fretboard can give an upright sound. Let the string really roll of your fingertips. May want to turn up treble a bit so you still get attack. Works really good on fretless bass guitars.
  8. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    When I play my Fretless P-bass with Flatwounds palm muting and with my thumb, it's pretty convincing.

    If you want clips, ask here, or email me, or IM me... whatever. :)
  9. I can make my Fretless P w/ Flats sound like it. When I want it to sound most like an upright, I play up on the neck and usually with two fingers together acting as one, similar to how you would play an upright. If you want that clack of the upright, you can slap the strings into the neck a bit. It sounds pretty convincing, I think. If you mess with an EQ enough, you can get pretty close, but a lot of the sound comes from how you play.

    You could also -GASP- buy an upright bass!
  10. I've worked for years at this, and I think all of you are right. Technique is certainly the most important factor, and a piezo really helps make it convincing. A good piezo with a good preamp will translate the technique much better than a magnetic pickup. Why do you think most of us doublebassists have piezo's and very few of us have magnetic pickups? :)

    Also, strings are very crucial. The most convincing upright tone I've got so far has been on an acoustic fretless Guild bass guitar with Rotosound black tape flat strings. The piezo/preamp was a Fishman and it worked well, but Rick Turner is the absolute king at piezo systems...

    This bass was also short scale which I think helped too. It had the slower bloom and quicker decay of a doublebass.

  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    While I'd agree that a bass with flats sounds more like an upright than one with rounds, I regularly play upright-style lines with my roundwound-equipped basses (well, I did until I bought an upright) and they sound pretty close. Close enough for the audience, anyway.