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Trying to get an upright type sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mizzou541, Sep 25, 2013.


  1. mizzou541

    mizzou541

    Jan 8, 2010
    MO
    I've only ever played electric bass but we are wanting to mess around a little with some jam stuff similar to The Wood Brothers (which if you haven't heard them...I HIGHLY recommend you make it a point to check them out).

    Anyway, I'm not looking to spend a TON of money but looking for a good way to get an upright type sound. Any suggestions that won't break the bank? Hofner or similar copy? Ibanez Artcore? used Spectorcore? P-Bass with a mute? What do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. The closest sound I've ever heard was a rob allen semi acoustic, fretless and strung with tapewounds.

    I imagine that any fretless acoustic with tapes would get a pretty decent DB sound
     
  3. P bass or soloed neck pickup with a foam mute will get you fairly close without dropping serious $$$.
     
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Whatever bass you already own, do the following.
    Put some flats on it.
    Put a piece of foam rubber under the strings very near (or even at) the bridge.
    If you have a neck pickup, solo it.
    Roll the tone back.
    Pluck over the body end of the neck.
    If you want to get crazy with it, tilt the head of your bass up a little and pluck with the side of your finger, like an URB player would on an actual URB.

    Enjoy the (semi) upright tone. It really does get amazingly close. Not close enough for a real URB player. But close enough for rock n roll.

    Edit to add: If you just can't stand flats, try it with rounds but make sure the tone knob is all the way down. It won't be as close as the flats will get you, but it is still good enough for a band mix.
     
  5. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Oh c'mon! Cross over to the other side and get a REAL Double Bass. :D
     
  6. Magnetic pickups lack the dynamic of a piezo. Piezos will pick up a lot of finger noise, which adds a lot of element to the sound of something like a Rob Allen.
     
  7. DuShauh

    DuShauh

    Aug 29, 2011
    West Michigan
    U-Bass :bag:
     
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Blah blah blah........:D

    I did a freaking theater gig (musical review) and played "upright" on a P bass all night and it sounded great. My "foam mute" was actually a last minute dish sponge cut in half I stole from the local Armory next door. (Don't tell the Gubmint I dun it!)
     
  9. The P pickup is probably the closest any magnetic pickup can possibly get. Tapewounds on a chambered piezo bass will add a lot more depth and pick up a lot more finger noise and percussion.

    Two of my Rob Allen basses have magnetic pickups, allowing me to A/B between the piezo and mags. The piezo wins by a landslide, making the addition of pickups a very expensive experiment. :meh: Luckily, the magnetic pickups don't take anything away from the piezo tone.
     
  10. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Another vote for Rob Allen. BTW I have a 5 string MB2 which is going up for sale soon, PM me if you're interested.
     
  11. 1954bassman

    1954bassman

    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    The $64000 question: how do I make my electric bass sound like an upright bass?

    64000 answers to follow

    My answer?

    Technique

    Good luck
     
  12. SpruceGoose54

    SpruceGoose54

    May 21, 2013
    +1

    Try playing with your thumb and keep your notes down near the headstock with open positions. Don't be afraid to keep the treble up if you can keep the sound of finger noise down (easy with flatwounds and tapewounds).

    It might sound thin by yourself but in the mix of the band it'll fool a lot of people.
     
  13. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Madison,Wisconsin
    P bass + foam + 0 tone + flats + plucking at fretboard + fretless = close enough for many applications.

    I would like to try the above formula but with an ABG. Has anybody given that a shot? Anybody want to?
     
  14. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE

    ^This ;)
     
  15. taurus1

    taurus1

    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    right hand technique, muting.
     
  16. taurus1

    taurus1

    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    right hand technique, muting.
    that and a DOD FX-25 with the sensitivity set really low.
     
  17. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    This again, OK. I guess I can sympathize. I play and teach upright nearly every day. IMHO, the musical material, performance style, and expressive articulation you use matters 1000 times more than your exact timbre. It's the musical utterance, not the musical instrument.
     
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Got to be good looking
    'Cause he's so hard to see? :ninja:
     
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Best way to get upright tone is to play like an upright player would. Doesn't matter what bass, what strings, what amp, what ever...think like an upright player.
     
  20. The U-bass does a pretty good job getting the upright tone.
     

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