1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Upright Bass Gear: Acoustic or Bass Gear?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by will_b_vinson14, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. Acoustic

    7 vote(s)
  2. Bass

    3 vote(s)
  1. Hey there,
    I was wondering, what kind of pedals, preamps, amps, and electronics are better for upright bass: gear made for acoustics or gear made for basses? I use all bass gear right now, but I just want to make sure I'm using the right stuff. I have a feeling that if I try gear for acoustics, it might blow out, like when you play an electric bass through a guitar amp too loud. I use the Shadow SH-RB-Pro on my upright which is also a preamp, so essentially, I do have some control over the impedance, ohms, and hertz. Other than that, my pedalboard includes a tuner, bass compressor, signal boost, and noise killer, which then goes into an Ampeg BA115HP. Any suggestions/help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Most doublebassist don't use pedals beyond a pre-amp, so I'm not sure you're going to get much response.

    A few players do or experiment with them. I saw Christian McBride play an arco solo with a wah wah pedal once. But, it's not a standard part of signal chain for most of us, including Christian McBride on most days. You'll have to follow your muse if you want to experiment with things, I'm afraid.
  3. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    Acoustic Preamp (Hi-Z > 3 MOhm) with HPF and Notch mostly, maybe a little reverb, slight compression is possible. Everything else is a waste of money with a double bass.
  4. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    If you’re using just pickup is notch necessary? I’d put a phase reverse higher up the list.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  5. Right, by pedals I didn't mean anything crazy like fuzz or flanger or anything, more so just compressors, boosts, filters, EQs, etc.
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Right. I understand. Most doublebassists don't use pedals. I would say 95% of my gigs I go straight to the amp. I do have a pre-amp with a hi-pass filter that can be useful, but usually isn't necessary.

    Based on always checking out people's setups when I see a band play and listening to people here for 20 years or so, players who use anything are generally only using a pre-amp with a high-pass filter or just a hi-pass filter. People who use both a pickup and a mic (vast minority) tend to use a 2 channel pre-amp so that they can manage the signals separately.

    Let's see what other replies you get, but I think most of us use nothing most or all of the time. On a good day, I don't even use an amp, but that's not normally practical.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  7. I actually ordered an HPF-Pre low-cut/high-pass filter, and yeah, Robert Russell on YouTube actually has two separate chains for the bridge and fingerboard channels (K&K Bass Master RB) and a bit of reverb on the fingerboard channel.
  8. I get that, I think the majority of upright players want their tone to sound like THEIR BASS, really capture its sound, but you really need all the help you can get with a piezo pickup, especially on an upright bass.
  9. I mean with an upright bass, such a huge, hollow, and boomy instrument, I think you need all the help you can get when using a piezo pickup.
  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Sure. Piezos are tough to deal with. That's why amps designed for DB are designed to match the impedance coming off of them. If you are using an amp not designed for DB and a piezo pickup, with a few exceptions (the Realist), then you have to buffer your input with a pre-amp that does that. HPF can be handy too, but honestly I've not found it to be as necessary as often claimed. I don't think compression is necessary for live performance. Tuners certainly don't hurt. It used to be trendy to use a volume pedal to boost your signal for a solo, but I haven't seen that in years.

    The only consistent and common trends that I see for DB are pre-amp and HPF or nothing at all. I'll stop typing, let's see what other responses you get. I'm prepared to be wrong, but I don't think so.
  11. neddyrow

    neddyrow Captain of Team Orange Jacket Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    i can get a decent sound out of most bass amps if i have a high pass filter using a piezo.
  12. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Dive into Youtube and check out Chris Wood and Victor Krauss, they both use pedals quite a bit.
  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I'm in the "keep-it-simple" camp. For recording, I just put a mic in front of the bass. For live - when I NEED to use the pickup - I plug my KNA DB-1 pickup straight into my amp (Traynor SB112, which has proper input impedance and useful tone controls). It's plenty good enough for me.
  14. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I have a full pedalboard that I use with my Eminence EUB, but I don't find much of it useful for my full-bodied DB. The board has a tube-based Tube Injection preamp, Boss Bass Chorus, TC Spectracomp compressor, tuner, and an fDeck HPF. the only really useful pedals with the full-size DB are the tuner and the HPF (sometimes useful in a boomy room).
  15. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    My pedal board use is not limited by the fact that I choose to play a double bass.

    It is limited by the narrow mindedness of the bandleaders who hire me. More open minded people ask me to use it all of the time.....
    LaFaro01, Joshua and Ric Vice like this.
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Good call Roger, but with the Phase Reverse on the Walter Woods Amplifiers I find it's either going to work or not, so it's a 50/50 shot.
    james condino likes this.
  17. LaFaro01


    Aug 27, 2018
    I would take a look to Miles Mosley, if you want pedals to create an "own, individual" sound..:)

    Looking for a most-natural realistic amplification of your I would look for "acoustic" or better "studio-like" gear...
    not for nothing is for example Grace Design Felix is a popular preamp for doublebass....and it's a
    "very studio-like" piece of gear concerning his specs..
    Using a piezo with "normal bass gear" can create problems because impedance missmatch...
    james condino likes this.
  18. Bass (which means bass guitar) oriented pedals and amps almost always have a sound baked in that attenuates frequencies to let the BG sound „better“. On the other hand EQ frequencies are more oriented to lower sounding instruments. Effets might be more oriented to the electric sound with more drastic sound changes.

    Acoustic pedals and amps are made primarily for acoustic guitar (!), so the EQ frequencies are different from what you might expect for the DB/EUB. The good thing is that they are more neutral in the frequency range and effects might be more oriented to acoustic sounds.

    In the end you need to try for yourself if one of them fits your needs.

    For DB I would hardly use anything beyond reverb, delay and maybe a little bit of delay feedback modulation. But modulation rather on an EUB or a cheap ply DB and just a bit. BTW, this is also what Eberhard Weber used for his EUB (but with two often more strongly modulated delays and sometimes a chorus).

    For the reverb you need to be able to EQ the lower frequencies down going into the reverb, but keep them in the direct sound. You won’t like to let the fundamental stay long when you already changed to a different one. So you need good control over a lot of the the reverb parameters, often not possible with a foot stomp multi-effect unit.

    But all these effects all have a rather low input impedance (maybe except the acoustic ones, but acoustic guitars with pickups often have a preamp built-in) with a maximum of 1 MegOhms. So you might want a high impedance buffer/preamp of about 5 MegOhms or higher in front.

    With DB I often feel that a more processed sound (starts with modulation, chorus, flanger) interferes with the acoustic one if not played with a really loud amplification. So rehearsing at home with lower volume sounds often strange. The EUB works better in such a situation.
  19. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    For DB amplification, good to stay "clean" to let the acoustic character of the instrument shine through. Aside from the pedal issue, your Ampeg BA115HP has a definite tonal character that I would not find attractive with DB. (I don't care for the "Ampeg tone" for EB either, but that's another story.)
    AGCurry likes this.
  20. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I would probably avoid most acoustic guitar amps & speakers. Pedals, perhaps, but the fDeck buffer/HPF is the only outboard unit I ever use. (Would love to phase even that out but haven't yet had an amp that works better for me without it.)
    There is PA gear that can hold up to the more punishing bass requirements, as well as bass gear that is designed to have less coloration. I have been gravitating toward the latter: a Glockenklang Soul head with a Bergantino 2x10. A bit unwieldy perhaps for cocktail Jazz, but I am hooked on the way that pairing lets me hear and feel everything I play. (I've also tried my powered PA speakers, which are getting flatter and more powerful all the time, but for now I still prefer a bona fide bass amp.)
    I may take a turn back toward electric bass coloration this spring if I can re-incorporate an all-tube head; swap some neutrality for a more musical overall response. (I have enjoyed this approach in the past, but had to retreat when my last 50 watt tube head became unreliable.)
    IME when I get the initial capture right (i.e. good buffer/HPF) subsequent stages are much more flexible & forgiving.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 4, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.