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UPDATE: EVEN BETTER Make you EUB sound (more) Like Your DB Go to post #19

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by rickwolff, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Recently acquired a very good condition used BSX Allegro 4 string bass. It's a really nice bass, well made, good quality ebony board (which I had dressed) and nice pre-amp and controls.

    The thing I didn't like, which I think is rather common for EUBs, is that it had TOO MUCH SUSTAIN. Years ago I wouldn't have thought there was such a thing, which is why I probably always put Spiros on my DB.

    But too much sustain makes this sound less like a DB with its characteristic 'Thump' and more like a bass guitar. Not the sound I'm going for.

    I tried a couple different orchestra strings to see if the damping would do what I wanted - it made sense and I was hopeful but ended up not at all happy with the result - they just sounded dead. I know another approach is to use foam - I know some people put foam under the strings of their bass guitar near the bridge in order to mimic a double bass.

    My first attempt produced too much damping, but I think my latest effort might be just right. I used a piece of soft-squishable foam like you would use to make chair pads. I cut it to the shape of the bridge and cut 1/2 inch notches for each of the strings. I have included a picture as well as a link to a youtube comparing the bass with and without the foam. I haven't had it on a gig yet but in the practice room it's very promising.


    Attached Files:

    Pat Harris and MR PC like this.
  2. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    On my Azola I am using Steve's afterlength mute above the bridge for a baby bass like thump. I need much more muting than you have here, but same idea. I saw a latin player in LA trying this and I've had good results. It's just a thin piece of leather with velcro.
  3. madbanjoman


    Feb 23, 2011
    I tried this on my Stagg and it worked well in the lower register but as I went high up in thumb position the strings were completely muted.

    Does your foam mute do this?
  4. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Yes, it does seem to do that. Fortunately for me I mostly stay away from thumb position and stay in the 'Money Position'. Was it Ray Brown who call it that??? That would make sense to me as you don't hear a lot of Ray Brown playing above the octave (unlike, say, NHOP or Eddie G, or Christian McBride, or Marc Johnson, or a bunch of others). I'm pretty happy in the money position.
    MR PC likes this.
  5. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Very nice video, thank-you so much, Rick. That informative clip should be a Sticky in the EUB section here. Your bass sounds great too.

    The tone will be even more (or less) muted depending on the density. I remember being seriously forbidden by the Azola's to use foam in front of the bridge :)

    The Azola after length mute is just a strip of double sided velcro like you can purchase at any sewing supply/fabric shop..no real design genius or innovation involved there.
  6. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Thanks, PC. Your comment is kind, 'PC', and appreciated.
  7. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I tried several types of foam on my NXT and then gave up on that. Two stiff a foam affects your intonation, too soft doesn't dampen enough. Interesting technique to cut the holes for the strings, looks like a good solution. I'll have to try that.
  8. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    It may look like I 'cut holes' because of the black dots on the foam, but those are just magic marker dots I used to mark the string location, then I simply cut a slit about a 1/2 inch deep with a scissors.

    Good luck, I hope you can make it work on your NXT!
  9. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I've tried foam in the past. At the moment I have found a decent compromise in tone and sustain by using an old set of helicore orchestras.

    The sustain is just about the same as on my DB and the tone is OK. It still has some growl.
    rickwolff likes this.
  10. Which orchestral strings did you try, and were they 3/4 scale?
    (I remember you tried half-size Preludes but this was not a good idea like I explained in another thread)
  11. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Hi Francois,

    In addition to the Preludes I tried a brand-new Helicore Orchestra Medium Gauge 1/2 size.

    I need to use the 1/2 size because of the short ball-end to silk length (about 48 inches).

    I have Spirocore Mitts on the E and A and Spirocore Weichs on the D and G currently. All 1/2 size. Those strings work beautifully but just have too much sustain for my liking. Fortunately, the foam 'mute' seems to allow me to get just the amount of damping I am looking for.
  12. The increased tension due to the half-size scale strings gives you more sustain, but if the foam gets the job done, all is well!

    P.S. I have a Carruthers EUB with the same short distance between the tailpiece and bridge, there's more slack to wind up at the top, with regular lenght strings, but it's no problem. I cut the strings to leave a only couple of inches of silk at the tuner end.
    longfinger likes this.
  13. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've actually tried this on my Upton for my amplified setup after I changed from gut to Innovations for the same reason - too much sustain. I was using a chunk of weather stripping. It didn't make a noticeable difference for me.

    Maybe it's worth revisiting.
  14. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Do you end up winding past the silk onto the steel? Even with 1/2 size strings I only have about 1 inch of silk not on the shaft.

    Guess I'm lucky the foam is working for me.
  15. Winding the string last the silk onto the peg is no problem with steel core strings. I do this with Spiro 3/4 on my Clevinger EUB which has a very short underlength.
    But I have clipped the strings or push a lot of the string end through the peg slot before starting to wind up the string to reduce the number of windings on the small, thick (Fender-like) bass guitar peg.
    There might be a larger risk of breaking the string with synthetic or gut core strings.
  16. I'm winding the strings exactly the same way as DoubleMidi. No problems at all. (steel strings of course)
  17. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    OK then. I think I'll try it with one of my old sets.

    Would this be OK with Helicore Hybrid?
  18. Sure.
  19. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    Merci Francois !!
    I don't know why I didn't get what you were saying at first. Because the 1/2 size string is designed for app a 38" mensure and my BSX is app 41" that means I am effectively tuning the strings almost a whole step high (which of course will increase tension and therefore sustain).

    I took your advice and cut the excess length off the G and D strings of a 3/4 set of Helicore Hybrid Lights (well used) to account for my very short peg box. Put those on the bass and 'voila', just the right amount of sustain. AND, as a BONUS, wheras the foam had dampened notes in the thumb position to the point of being unusable, this strings play fine above the octave. (More reason for me to work on thumb position).

    I am going to go ahead and put the the HHL A string on as well. I no longer have the E, but I don't mind the extra growl I get from the 1/2 size Spirocore so that can stay put.

    I had put this bass up for sale because it sounded SO unlike my DB (more like a bass guitar). As soon as I got the foam mute working I took down my ad. Now, with the 3/4 strings I am happier than ever.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It just took my a while to process and accept it.
    Francois Blais likes this.
  20. Great!
    I'm really glad I was able to help!
    Enjoy the EUB!


    P.S. Helicore hybrid lights are probably what's working best on mine.
    rickwolff likes this.