Need help with my upright sound?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Melvin7822, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    My upright is a 3/4 Panormo flat back fully carved upright. The strings I use are Thomastik Spirocore. I have a Realist installed on it. I also have a Acme Low B2 cabinet. Currently, I'm looking into the Acoustic Image Focus because I don't think I'd be able to afford or find a Walter Woods.

    In the past I've been running the upright through my Alembic F-1X but I have not been happy with the sound. The upper strings just have that ugly hollow sound when amplified and the overall tone seems a little dark. I was thinking about adding an Underwood to my bass as well and using a blender. My favorite upright sounds are Stanley Clarke and Christian McBride. So kind of a blend in between is what I'm going for. I just want some clarity and a great balance between pizz and arco (my bass is incompatible with a Fishman Full Circle btw). What do you think I should do?
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sounds like my luck with the Realist as well -- and all of those that I've heard using it, pretty much.
  3. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I've had some of the same thing going on with my Realist setup - the Realist works well for me at lower volumes but in a bad room it gets eaten alive. I have a nice bass with a resonant top, and I get a nice sound in some places and unclear in others.

    I just bought an Underwood for the same reason as you, and it works much better in difficult rooms and higher volumes. It has a more electric response but it will get your sound through. I was going to get a blender unit for them, but to tell you the truth I've just been using the Underwood for the last few weeks and its fine by itself...especially with Acoustic Image amps.

  4. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My feeling is that the realist alone don't
    be happenin. The raven labs blender with
    the underwood in da upper channel and
    the realist in da lower channel (just a little
    bit) works very well. Might start using a
    wilson with the realist soon. Who knows...
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The last V. Panormo I saw for sale (which I think Kolstein actually ended up buying) was $80K. The last Hawkes Panormo I played at Gage's was around $20K.

    What kind of Panormo you got?

    I don't know how many other upright players use Alembic stuff, have you tried your bass and pickup through any other amplification? If I might ask, how long have you been playing upright? I know when I started out, I got a pretty terrible sound through the amp and was going through ALL kind of changes - strings, pick ups, amps, speakers. What I didn't really understand at the time is something Rufus Reid says very succinctly - what you get out of the amplifier is just an amplified version of the sound going into the amplifier. If you don't do a lot of playing without an amp - sessions, gigs where possible- or work with your teacher to get a good physical approach, it's going to be hard to get a big, focused, open sound that projects. And unless you have that on the bass, it's not going to come out the amp.

    I generally don't play loud gigs. Even the big band stuff I do, I use my Woods and a little cabinet with a 12" in it (unless I'm just using a mic). I know Ray plays some gigs that aren't precisely jazz and that the volume gets kinda up there, so he knows whereof he speaks. But I use a Realist and really dig the sound I get out of it, pizz and arco.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The setup on your bass sounds just fine. I don't think the Alembic is a good preamp for double bass however. It is too dark and muddy sounding. What you really need is a flat sounding amp. The Acoustic Image Focus would be a good purchase, especially matched with the B2. I was thinking about picking up a B1, but I am not playing many gigs with an amp any more.
  7. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I might second the suggestion that the Alembic pre might not be good for upright. However, I also get mixed results with just the Clarus and the Realist...a kind of muddy and dark at high volumes. Its sounds fine for walking, but it doesn't give up great pitch definition.

    I say try the Underwood with your setup...its bright, and if you're using Spirocores the brightness of the strings and pickup might balance the preamp out and sound fine.

    I'm using some custom made 2x8 longthrow cabs I really like.

  8. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I'm curious, especially since I just ordered one, Why was the Full Circle not compatable?
  9. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    My thread height is incompatible with the thread height of the Full Circle.
  10. Too long? Too Short?
  11. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    I had a simliar "hollow-ness" to my upper-mid register for a while. I was using a Realist too. I switched to the FC, but that only helped a little. Though I agree with Ed that you need to start with your un-amped sound, the biggest factor for me was getting an amp with a better EQ (I was using an SWR Baby Blue head and switched to an SM900. A bit heavy and expensive, but a great head for upright, IMO). If I can scoop out a whole lot of mid, my sound is alright. BTW I also just switched to Obligato strings, and that helped a bit too.