Techniques for emulating an upright

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jive1, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Does anyone have any techniques to share to emulate an upright sound on an electric bass? I know you can't make an electric bass sound exactly like an upright, but I'm sure there are ways to get a similar tone. I've been using flatwounds but that alone doesn't quite do it.

    I have been playing around with picking up high on the neck. I pluck the string anywhere from the 19 to the 10th fret, to get my electric to sound sorta like an upright. I have also been plucking with one finger only in an altered pluck that is more like a pizzicato. It also makes my timing and feel more like an upright. I've been happy with the results thus far, but it doesn't help me practice my "proper" technique. Also, when I listen to a Mingus or Ray Brown CD, I know that my bass can't sound like theirs even if I have a fretless with flatwounds and a magic technique. Maybe I need to tweak the EQ on the amp more, who knows? I'd much rather get my sound out of my fingers, but that may not be possible.

    'Nuff said. Anybody else have any tips or ideas?
  2. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Tacoma WA
    Will Lee uses a technique where he keeps the side of his right hand palm laid across all strings when he needs to imitate an upright.

    I've used this technique and it works quite well.

    You can hear him use it all the way through "Walk Between The Raindrops" on Donald Fagen's "Nightfly" album.
  3. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    From the Bass Player magazine archives:

    The Thumb Thing: How To Get An Upright Sound On Electric Bass By Ed Friedland (February '96)

    Do you reach for foam when you need to simulate the sound of an acoustic? With just your hands, you can get that upright sound—as well as tones useful in Latin, reggae, and rap.