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Ordering EUB: 4 string or 5?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by wilsonn, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I've been playing 4 string basses (acoustic and bg) for almost 30 years. I am ordering an Ergo. Seriously considering a 5-string. Any thoughts on how difficult the transition will be? Any regrets from folks who bought a 5 but now wish they'd stuck with 4? At the end of the day, I like the idea of having a low D, C and B to go to, but concerned that the learning curve will be steep and that I won't be comfortable.
  2. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I am a little surprised that more than 40 people reviewed the post and no one has an opinion.
  3. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    ok then-
    5 all the way here.
    nothing like an arco low b. or d.... etc.
    never played an ergo, the ns is very comfortable.
    as for learning curve, that's up to you.
    i started playing erb years ago, just had to practice the fingerings a bit.
    the tuning is the same interval as the rest, the scales are the same patterns, so if you understand basic theory, it should be relatively easy in the brain. just gotta get the hands use to it.
    you can do it!
    also maybe think this: just 5 more notes than before.
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    It really depends on you and how you believe you'll react to the change. I have played both four and five string electric basses in the last several years-- the bands and the predominant keys and styles have dictated the want of the low B string, and I like having the positioning advantages the lower string provides. I will often switch between a four (fretless) and five on a gig... however, I know players who do not feel comfortable doing that. I haven't felt the need for a five string URB/EUB- the requirements are simply different for me.

    You'll have to rely on your own past, parallel experiences to predetermine if the fiver will throw you.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I agree with Bob. I seem to be "traditional" when it comes to fretless and upright stuff. 4 string all the way, especially for big band and jazz combo stuff.
  6. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I placed an order for a 5 string Ergo today. I am really excited about this and a little nervous (Ha!). So, I'll let everyone know how this turns out when the instrument shows up.
    Thanks for your comments.
  7. Congrats...If you really WANT to play a 5-string EUB, you made the right decision.
  8. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    no need to be nervous...
    may i suggest in the time you have before it's arrival(if any)
    that you pull out some staff paper and notate at least the first
    position scales, in notation and tab....the tab is great for pattern visualization, this could really help things click. i remember
    the first time i wrote out the modes...click!
    i swear it was like understanding the matrix' binary flow or something...
    anyway, i'm curious to hear how you feel about it when it shows up
    cheers and congrats again!
  9. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I think I've had the Ergo 5 string now for about 3 weeks?, maybe a couple days short of that. In any event, it's very good overall.

    A couple of observations:

    (1) The action is set a little too low for me. The fingerboard buzzes a bit too much for my liking. Jesse states that he sends them out this way because most of his customers are BG users who are transitioning to UB//EUB. So, I started on UB, and perhaps I could use higher action. Jesse's solution to this is a wooden popsicle stick under the bridge to increase action a bit. I cannot imagine that a pine popsicle stick under a maple bridge is ideal, so I plan to either try to carve a new bridge myself (or modify an UB bridge) or spec out a new maple bridge and have someone else make it.

    (2) The tone control on the back of the Ergo has an almost imperceptible effect.

    (3) I am presently running it through a Behringer BX600 practice amp at home (in the studio we rent, they have an Eden WT600 but haven't played through that yet...optimistic). The BX600 has an Active and a Passive input. The bass sounds a little better through the Passive input...maybe that's impedance, maybe it's just a db filter...dunno. I can eq it so that it sounds very electric, fretless slab-like, or I can dial it in so that it sounds more like an UB, but it is not a direct replacement for an UB sound. It is a cool sound, though. It's got more thump than a fretless BG. Sounds good with 'unplugged' tunes, jazz. I am liking it.

    (4) I played it through a GK400. Liked the sound, but it wasn't really loud enough compared to the BX600, so I didn't buy it. Same thing for an Ampeg B2R. Good sound with an Ampeg 410, but not loud enough to add to my gear. I think I am going to buy a GK1001RB II and mate that to an 8-ohm 2x10 or 2x12 cabinet like the the ones that Dr Bass offers.

    (5) I have ordered the Undercover NS case from BassCentral as a gig bag for local travel. I have someone building an Anvil-style ATA case for air travel. Will be much less expensive than the cases offered by NS for air travel.

    Overall, I am pleased with the purchase. It is much, much less expensive than other comparable instruments. It is much better than the comparably priced Dean, which I really didn't like (and I played it many times because I was trying to convince myself to like it). So much happier with this. Regarding other owners observations about the loose stand mount, this must have been designed-out of later models. Mine is rock solid. Regarding my concern over getting used to 5 string? It took a week to figure out what a great thing a low B is. Fun having that there for impact.

    Thanks for everyone's input.

  10. speedster


    Aug 19, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    The tone control on my Ergo was similar in that I didn't see a difference other than a volume thing when I first got it.....

    I've been playing around with different peizo's as I had a couple problems with the originals and other mod's just to see what all can be done with the instrument.

    What I discovered while soldering in the different peizo's is that there was a cold solder joint on the pot between the two cross over terminals (found it purely by accident when my hand was not so steady and the soldering iron hit the terminal and knocked off the crossover.

    Upon resoldering it to the original connector on the pot and trying the bass I immediately found that I now have a huge control over tone on the bass and can make it sound like an electric or like a UB by ranging the tone control. At least that is the case while running through both of my GK amps (the MB 200 and the MB 150)

    You may want to try those crossover joints before writing off the tone control......
  11. I'm intrigued with the Ergo as well. I am not looking necessarily for a true DB sound but an instrument that is portable, fun, & giggable.

    Went to the Ergo website & gave it a listen. Does anyone either have a couple of MP3's they could post using the ergo fingerstyle or can direct me to a link that does. thanks!!!
  12. speedster


    Aug 19, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Jesse has some sound bites on his website from the ERGO EUB however I don't think the sound bites do any of the bass's the justice they deserve.

    I've played around with my Ergo a bit since obtaining it almost a yr ago, the original pickups had a fault from day one and it still sounded pretty good. The crossover also had a cold solder joint (could have been caused by shipping in cold weather from Tenn. to Ontario Canada).

    Recently installed new replacement piezo's in it from Jesse McNeil the Ergo Luthier and man it sounds really good. While it was apart I added a bit more dense foam to the bridge slot area which has cut the overtones to nil which are a problem for stick type bass's as a rule.

    Played a very large stage/hall last weekend runnnig through my GK MB150 and from all accounts from the folks I have spoken too in the audience the Ergo sounded as good as the Eminence that Terry Smith was playing (The Grascals Band) on the same stage two sets later.

    The Ergo cuts the stage mix really well and I didn't run any bass in the monitors, just used the GK as my stage monitor sitting on a chair 10ft behind me. Line out off the back to the main board.

    I loved the sound of Terry Smith's Eminence out front in the hall so I'd say from all accounts that the Ergo is a pretty good deal considering the feedback I received from this show.

    Not to mention the $2300 US difference in price between the Ergo and the Eminence and the fact that the Ergo takes up even less room than the Eminence and the stand comes with it and is not an option as it is with the Eminence.

    Still loved the sound of the Eminence its a great bass !