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Travel Basses

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Farin, Feb 27, 2006.


  1. Farin

    Farin

    Oct 19, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    So I'm looking for a good travel bass. Something that gets as close to a read upright around as possible. Preferably somthing with a hollow body, such as the Czech Ease bass or Azola Baby Bass. Whats the best travel bass in your opinion? Or at least the best travel bass that sounds like a real UR.
    Also, I saw Esperanza Spalding with the Joe Lovano quartet and she had a travel bass of some sort, but I'm not sure what it was. Anyone know what she plays?
    Thanks
     
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
  3. RadicalDad

    RadicalDad

    Mar 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Farin -

    Not sure what Francois's links refer to, but they don't seem to reply to your post. One of the links produces gibberish.

    If you want something that plays like a your regular upright, you'll want a hollow body EUB. The only real choices for something that plays and feels like a real upright are the BSX Allegro and the Eminence. I tried both, and both were good, but I liked the BSX much better. The Eminence sounded nasal and shallow to me where the Allegro was much warmer. I also think the BSX has more playability, especially arco. I was able to try two Eminences and two Allegros during my search, and can report that both brands were pretty consistent instrument to instrument. My only complaint about the Allegro is that it comes with an E-flat neck (though Dino claims its a D neck).

    I think the way the Eminence is set up for travel is better than what Dino at BSX is doing to make the Allegro portable. However, its possible to pull the same golf bag stunt with the Allegro (just like the Eminence). I had a custom padded neck bag made for my Allegro and had a friend make me a bag for the bridge so it won't flop around (the electronics are in the bridge, so its tethered to the base body by the pickup wires). Now it knocks down pretty quickly, and I put the whole thing in an SKB hard shell golf case. Its lighter and more compact than Dino's solution, and because its a golf bag there is never a question about airline special baggage charges. I travel with it often, and it always comes out OK - even the time that TSA managed to drop the case 4 feet (the case was damaged beyond repair, but the bass was fine). I'm sure my friend would be willing to make you a bridge bag for a donation to her church, and I can give you the name of the place that made my neck bag. Or I can take photos and you can have it done for yourself locally.

    Reply here or contact me at 503-203-1106 ext 202 if you want more info.

    --Bruce
     
  4. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    My post had two purposes:
    • remind the user about the search function in the forums
    • provide him a link to a thread discussing travel basses
    Sorry if I failed at doing it!
    ;)
     
  5. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Much depends on the electronics. Does the Allegro have a built in preamp? I tried a friend's Eminence with a K&K preamp, into an AI Clarus driving a CXL-110, and it sounded excellent. My Fishman BP-100 sounded nasal until I found the right preamp front end for it.
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I have the Alter Ego, and have played the others mentioned, and for my money the Alter Ego is the only one that feels/sounds/balances/plays like a real bass.
     
  7. Farin

    Farin

    Oct 19, 2004
    Akron, Ohio
    But what about the Czech Ease Bass? Anyone have any expirence with this? If I got this one, could I take it as a carry on on a plane?
     
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've played those in Gage's shop. It felt like a regular bass, although the balance was a little funny because of the weight -- but nothing too serious. Sounds like 'boo' acoustically, and actually sounds just like it looks.

    For my money, though, it's not that much more transportable than a real bass and you have all the same worries about the luggage monsters destroying it. Plus, I think you're likely to have the same feedback and clarity issues that you would have with a real bass.

    The Alter Ego with the detachable neck is very transportable. It breaks apart and goes into a hard case for golf clubs. The airlines take these with no questions, hassle, overage charges, insurance waivers, etc. On the tour bus it usually fits easily into one of those airline-sized coat closets.

    It sounds like a bass through an amp, which is the best that you're going to get from any of this class of instrument. It plays and feels like a bass, both arco and pizz, so when I come back off the road I don't have road-rust problems when I get my real bass out again. In town I use it on really loud gigs and where there isn't enough space for a bass. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Well, maybe one of those little guitar-shaped Testores....
     
  9. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    Ray,

    You've gone on quite a bit about your beloved Alter Ego, but I'll be damned if I've ever encountered anyone who's ever seen one much play one like yourself. Where did you find yours? How do they sound acoustically? How much do they cost, ect...?

    From your descriptions it sounds like an Eminence, which are pretty damn easily found and don't cost an arm and a leg.

    Curious.
     
  10. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    Great bass for big city dwellers who travel primarily by taxi and who play in cramped stage enviornments. Like those found in Manhatten.

    Lousy bass for air travel as it requires an oversize trunk with all the shreck and expenses associated with same. No way to carry it on, unless you bought a seat for it and by then you ought have brought your regular bass anyway.

    I actually liked the acoustic sound of the Czech Ease when I played one at Gage's shop, and plugged in it was acceptable. But simply reducing a bout size and overall length does not properly address the flying bassists number one issue which is logistics. It's a cool bass for someone, but not me of anyone I know however.

    IMHO.
     
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    :)
    They are a bit on the pricey side and are without a U.S. distributer (I think). I'd had my eye on these for a long time, hoping to play one. When I set upon a search to find the best travel bass for my purposes I found one of these at Gage's shop, where it landed after an ISB or NAMM convention. After trying a bunch of travel basses, this is the one that really stood head and shoulders over the other participants in my screening as far as overall tone, playability and comfort -- for an upright bass player. I wrote a long review and would be happy to forward it along, if you'd like.
    They have a number of different models, including the new Baby Ego, which looks to be more in the Azola neighborhood, designwise, and I don't have a price list. The detachable necked 4 stringer that I have weighs in at about $5,500, I think. The sound acoustically is just loud enough to hear in a hotel room with the news channel of your choice at a low volume.
    I played the Eminence and almost instantly disliked it. But -- it was in the same room as the AE and I played the AE first. To me the Eminence felt like a McCartney model Hofner on a stick.
     
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Alter Ego site:http://www.alter-ego.it/
    Baby Ego: http://www.babyego.com/

    The Baby would interest me, particularly as a pizz-only instrument. From the picture it looks like it would probably handle a lot like its big brother. I'd be curious as to how it handles with the bow with its solid-body design.
     
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Oh, (manic me) there are some sound clips at the site to hear the AE. The sound is the next point that originally sold me on the things, right after I saw that they had set the thing up with all the proper setup stuff (neck-to-body angle, string break across the bridge, regular bass bridge that allows pickup choice and easy repair at any luthier, etc) of a DB.
     
  14. RadicalDad

    RadicalDad

    Mar 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I was speaking about how the various basses (BSX Allegro versus the Eminence) sound WITHOUT amplification. The Eminence just sounds nasal even un-amplified. The electronics it comes with didn't seem to help the situation. And yes, you have to have a pre-amp with the Eminence or else it will sound even worse. Built-in pre-amps (like the one built into certain SWR amp/speaker combos) did not work well. You really need an outboard pre-amp to make the Eminence sound its best. All that being said, you are starting with sound production that is nasal to begin with, at least to my ears. No amount of EQ will fix that for me.

    The Allegro does have a built-in preamp. I think the entire Allegro electronics package sounds great and really enhances the BSX sound. There are trim pots for each individual string if that becomes a problem, and there is also built-in EQ. Someone else (on another thread?) mentioned that there is excessive raspiness using a bow while amplified on all EUBs. Again, I find that problem to be minimal on the Allegro.
     
  15. bobsax

    bobsax

    Jan 16, 2011
    Southern Oregon
    I realize some of you are hardcore about starting new threads.
    This one has some good discussion and isn't 15+ pages with 600+ replies.

    I found some great sounding videos on youtube of the Czech Ease Bass.
     
  16. I'd have to say eminence, it's very close to an acoustic.
    However, I have two more suggestions (which probably won't help at all, just thought i'd throw them in as they're VERY portable).
    o krappy basses, punk bass: EUB
    Not very upright, but cheap, completely custom, and portable
    oministar basstar
    This isn't very DBish, but you can play it upright or like a fretless BG. I played one the other day and was blown away by how much FUN it was. And, it's incredibly cheap, incredibly portable and very versatile.
    However, if you want to sound like a DB, go with an eminence.
    One final suggestion. Get someone from talkbass to build you one. I'm currently building my own, and there are a lot of people on here who would be quite happy to build you one. They'll be very high quality (being built by actual bassists) and tailor-made to your requirements. Just my $0.02
     
  17. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Great resource, thanks for posting.