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Playing with a bow

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nick man, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Does anyone here bow their electric bass?

    I have been thinking about this for years now, and Im curious if there is any reason why I shouldnt try.

    Would I need flatwounds like bowed instruments, or could I stick with rounds?

    I understand that It would be dificult without the proper radius and with the strings a the same level, but If its at all plausible perhaps I will develop a bass just for this.

    Yes I know Jimmy Page did it on guitar.

    Any ideas?
    Anyone try it yet?

  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    1. The fretboard radius is too large, you can only play the outer two strings effectively - or all at once.

    2. The rosin will ruin your (roundwound) strings.
  3. NioeZero


    Sep 2, 2001

    That seems to be the most logical choice for playing an electric bass with a bow.

    I found one on eBay for 500 bucks about a month or so ago, and I continuously bewail the fact that I didn't have the money at the time.

  4. There's a little device, Ebow I think its called, which simulates the effect of a bow with electrical signal. Its mainly for guitar, but I'm sure you could use it for bass.
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I was expecting the radius issues and I already took notice of that.

    Would the rosin ruin flatwound strings?

    Nioe Zero:
    Ive already seen these, and its somewhere along the lines of what I was thinking. I was thinking of something more traditional (In the electric bass sense) though. More Leo Fender I guess is a way to put it.

    Ive heard of this, and from what Ive heard, it seems that the magnetic field it creates is too weak to effectively work on bass. I heard that they once made a bass version, but it was sooo strong that it ruined the magnets on most pickups.

  6. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    It shouldnt, the double basses our school district has have flatwounds on them.

    Ive tried my bow on my bass guitar and it was hard enough to even get a sound out of it, so its probably to much to do if you want to actually do something more that whole notes with a bow.
  7. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Not only the radius but the angle of attack makes it impossible to use any type of real bowing technique. I tried it once with my double bass bow and it was pretty much impossible to get any kind of listenable tone, not to mention it still doesn't sound like a bowed instrument. If you really want to try it you could probably find a student level violin bow on ebay for $20 or so.
  8. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    What if I had a very round finger board with a raised bridge (of course matched to the radius of the neck), and neck angle to match.

    The body would be semi hollow (similar to some alembics), and it would be equiped with piezos.

    Ok so it may not be too close to traditional designs anymore, but does anyone have any objections?

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    Primary TB Assistant

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    Dec 3, 2020

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