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Turning bass guitar into upright

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by leftyderek, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Hi guys, I've been wondering about something. Did a search and nothing really came up. Are there any ways to convert a bass guitar so that it can be played upright?

    I have read about the ministar basstar onto which you can add a 'stand up kit', but of course, that kit is nowhere to be sold... otherwise I probably would have spend the $200 just for the fun of it.

    It's mostly for curiosity, or to open up options/inspirations because I think playing in different physical positions opens up different possibilities... but I can't justify spending big bucks on an EUB.

    Maybe a stand/leg that adds on somewhere to the body strap button? Or can any of you think of other strange and relatively easy kludges?

    And mods, feel free to move this if I posted in the wrong forum... does this belong to hardware or even luthier's corner?
  2. sort of like a barker bass? i bet he'd have some good insight on this.
  3. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Oooh. Never heard of it before. Took a quick peek at the website. Ya. Pretty much like so, but w/o the $4000 price tag...

    Gave me an idea though... Time to go find that spare cymbal stand of mine and see if it fits into the strap button screw hole. (Heehee. I said screw hole.)
  4. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    There is no instrument or modification at the price range you are thinking, but there are a couple of options that might get you real close to the sound (at least) of an upright below the $500 amount.

    1. On your electric, raise the action, get real big heavy flatwound strings, and then put some foam or something underneath the strings at the bridge. This will just give you an idea of what an upright might sound like.

    2. Kala u-bass. It's a small ukelele bass that uses weedwhacker style strings. Out of every acoustic bass guitar I have ever played, upright sound really is not there, except with THIS instrument. I recorded myself doing a gig where I usually use an amplified upright, and it sounded strikingly similar to the real thing.

    If you can find a used Mexican guitarrone, you might get very close in sound, but those are still much more expensive then maybe what you had in mind just to experiment with.
  5. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Hmm. I guess suggestion #1 would indeed get me closer to an upright sound. But right now I'm looking for the playing position more than the sound itself...
  6. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    That's gonna be a problem!

    Maybe just rent an upright for a month, then.
  7. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Interesting... now I just have to re-route that to fit jazz pickups... :D

    Maybe I should just buy a double bass endpin and drill an extra hole at the bottom of my bass.
    edit: Just realize that won't work. No one makes endpins that long, methinks. Maybe a trip to the hardware store would be worth it...
  8. you will need something a lot longer than the endpin itself to make it upright

    honestly most of these conversion type basses arent really uprights at all
    but electric basses turned sideways
    the flatter profile boards like on a Ministar or Dean Pace makes bowing pretty much impossible
    but if all you want is a different position and you dont care about looks
    I am sure you can take a beater bass and attach a drum boom stand or something
  9. Hi.

    Your idea about attaching the bass into a cymbal stand will work, sort of. It'll be more or less a fixed position, like the acoustic guitar stands some electric players use on stage.

    The Gibson EB-O came with a endpin originally IIRC, might be worth to look at that.

    Personally I'd insert a hollow metal tube that fits a quality telescopic boom stand into the butt end of the bass. Quite a bit of work, but will be pretty much what You're after.

  10. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    @yellofury: Yeah. At this point I just want to play with a different position- so yes, bass guitar turned 'sideways'. Haven't really thought about bowing actually. Well in the worst case if I really, really wanted to, I could probably just raise the saddle for the middle two strings. Bad idea probably.

    I am seriously thinking about attaching a cymbal stand to the bass. I guess that would mean I'll have to widen the hole for the strap button or drill a new hole. Unless there is some kind of threaded sleeve/tube shaped nut that I am unaware of...

    @sam: Oh the EB-O does? Interesting. And while inserting a hollow metal tube would probably be a better idea, it is probably beyond my woodworking/shop skill level...

    edit: And of course either way, the insert can only go as far as the bridge mounting screws. That might make the joint a little weak, considering the short insert. Hmm. :-/

    I should have posted this in luthier's corner.
  11. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    Duct tape and a chair.

    Seriously though, you might want to consider want the neck of your bass will do to your wrist if you play it upright style. Upright basses tend to have more circular necks (i.e. chunkier with relatively narrow string spacing) whereas regular electric basses have more oblong necks. To give you an idea... it's like the difference between a vintage Fender U neck for a Precision and an Ibanez Soundgear neck. Trust me, it'll be a lot easier on your wrists if you find a bass with a chunky, narrow neck... for example the Schecter Stiletto (however, that's an example, please don't mod such a beautiful bass haha).

    If you can't justify getting another bass (I know I can't haha). Take the hardware and neck off your body and attach them to a long 2x4. Screw a screw into the end of the board and you can test to see if you can play on the neck like that for extended periods of time without killing your wrist.
  12. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Heh. Been screwing around playing my bass on a high stool today, (w/o the duct tape) that's why I was wondering. I don't think the neck is going to be a big problem for me. My bass has a jazz width neck. As for thickness/chunkiness... I've no idea. I actually have never touched a double bass before ever in my life.
  13. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I can see the "Laborie BG 2X4 end pin" on the horizon.
  14. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    That gave me an idea to make a 'Gandalf bass'... maybe I should just buy a thick wizard staff online and install pickups.

    skwee likes this.
  15. A friend of mine made a homemade 5-string "sideways bass" similar to a Barker. The neck and hardware are takeoffs from a Rogue starter bass. It has a PJ p/u configuration.

    She ground down the end of some sort of drum stand, to make a tapered post that goes into a hole in the back of the body, near the neck joint. It has an end pin, but she prefers to use it on the stand.

    Like Barker, she reports crazy sustain- minutes rather than seconds. I don't know how much of that is due to the minimal-contact mounting system, and how much is from having that large a slab body.

    Part of her reason for building it, was to ease the strain on her back and wrists, and she reports that she finds the upright position much easier on her hands.
  16. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    hahahah now this is the funniest request I have seen in a while....
    let me get this straight...you wanna play your electric vertical?

    that is too funny because I was ALSO curious so I did a joke video to see what it would look like almost 6 months ago.

    and unless I did what the others said about the action/etc.. I could never bow the strings flat against the board as they are :) :)

  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    This is what I do:

  18. leftyderek


    Oct 24, 2010
    Yeah, I also find playing in the upright position easier on my hands...

    mongo, what kind of stand is it?
  19. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    yellowfury said everything I was going to say. :mad: ;)

    I am not a fan of the Barker or the Dean Pace, but that's because I wanted a DB feel/sound (or at least an EUB feel/sound). Given that you want the feel of a bass guitar vertical, I'd think that the ebay link is a good starting point, if you can find a long endpin.

    In addition to ones menitoned, Other options include the Gibson or Epiphone EB-1, or the Taylor or Takamine B10.


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