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Upright tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassjus, Apr 1, 2005.


  1. bassjus

    bassjus

    Mar 30, 2004
    Mass
    I've been looking for an electric bass that I can almost mimic my upright tone with. I really don't like electric uprights, so I guess I really narrowed down my choices. After a lot of searching and digging through threads it has come between a Fretless Lightwave sabre www.lightwave-music.com or a line6 variax www.line6.com . I'm not too sure about the variax just because I've heard a lot of it sounding very digital, and that's what I'm defiantly trying to stay away from. I havn't found that many people who I could talk to that have played the lightwave, so does anyone have any first hand experiences with these? Is there another bass I should look into. I'd really like to keep it around the $1000 range, a littler higher could be possible (and lower is always better!)

    thanks,
    jus
     
  2. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    I've heard some recordings of a Godin A4 fretless that sounded pretty close (IMHO, of course). I've also heard a lot of good things about Rob Allen fretless basses.
     
  3. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    IMO, any fretless bass with a set of flatwounds will get you closer to a real upright sound than a digitally enhanced version will. I just bought an FBB fretless 6 that is amazingly close ......
     
  4. 0557

    0557

    Apr 12, 2004
    Peizo pickups help in this area,
    I played a bongo 5 fretless with a peizo bridge, with the treble rolled off and it was amazing.
    I was able to get the upright tone for the trio I ocassionally play with. I even got the upright tone on "the barry williams show " by peter gabriel.
     
  5. gkintn

    gkintn

    Mar 6, 2005
    I checked out a Godin recently but then I got excited and ordered a Rob Allen MB2. I LOVE the Rob Allen! I'm going to do some road work this summer with the MB2 in a bluegrass band. Still, for under a grand the Godin is very nice and sounds sweet. The main thing the Rob Allen seems to have over the Godin is that it is MUCH lighter, plays better, and has a somewhat richer tone. You can't beat the quality of the Rob Allen, however the Godin is quite nice for a mass produced factory instrument.

    For others that may be interested I just bought a Sennheiser EW172 G2 wireless. It works great with the Rob Allen bass and my electric guitar.
     
  6. mheintz

    mheintz

    Nov 18, 2004
    I principally play upright and I own a lightwave. The lightwave doesn't sound anything like my upright, but it's get some really nice sounds. What kind of upright do you play? What kind of strings do you use? What kind of sound are you after? To me, the principal problem is one of scale length and string type. The longer scale length on the upright requires a stronger pull, more flesh, thereby yielding a more percussive attack. The strings have an all together different tension and sound, because they are designed for both arco and pizz. However, some players like Eddie Gomez play with exceptionally bright strings and a low action such that the upright can almost sound electric. What are you after?

    There was an electric bass advertised in the left advertising panel on talkbass that had a really nice "upright" sound. Not perfect, but pretty nice. In fact, I downloaded one of their sound samples. For the life of me, I can't remember their name. The unique characteristic was that the bass had only volume and tone controls, both of which I believe were located beneath a pickguard. Passive pickups. Very jazzy sound. Anyone recall?
     
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I got close when I used the neck pickup on my fretless, put some foam under the strings at the bridge and played over the fingerboard. If I had flats on it I thing it would have been better. I need rounds on it for most of the music I play on it.

    I'm looking for a cheap Yamaha or something with a "P" type pickup that I can put flats and foam on and use for my "upright" when I don't want to haul it around.
     
  8. gkintn

    gkintn

    Mar 6, 2005
    When I was trying out the Godin at my local Sam Ash I also asked about the Line 6 bass. They said it hadn't come in yet. However they did say that every single Line 6 guitar they had sold had come back in for one factory defect or another. They then said get the Godin.

    Neither the Rob Allen or Godin will sound "just like" an upright. However either sound WAY more "uprightish" than any of the acoustic guitar like basses I've tried. My Rob Allen sounds worlds more in an upright direction than my other bass, a standard Fender Precision.
     
  9. bassjus

    bassjus

    Mar 30, 2004
    Mass
    Thanks for the input guys. As 0557 suggested I think piezos are going to be a must have. (I've been reading a lot, and it seems like all the basses that get a real close to upright sound have them) Any magnetic/piezo combo seems like it could work, but the lightwave might be a better choice because I will be able to put on nylon core strings, which a lot of people seem to be saying will get a more upright sound.
     
  10. mheintz

    mheintz

    Nov 18, 2004
    Another question is whether you want to imitate your upright as it sounds recorded or as it sounds acoustically. If you want the recorded sound, an EB has to circumvent that mag pu sound, because most of the UB recordings use piezo and/or mic. Personally, when I record my upright I use a Fishman piezo and an external mic mixed through the boards rather than a bass blender. An ABG might come closer to this recorded sound. I'm not a big fan of my upright recorded, particularly with piezos, because it seems to take the presence from the bass (for lack of a better description). So if I were going to search for an EB that sounds like an upright, I might pick some pu's that are fairly transparent, which sound more like a mic'd upright.
     
  11. mheintz

    mheintz

    Nov 18, 2004
    No really... one last thought! Lightwaves are fairly transparent, but they do have this strange phasey tone depending on the string. They also pick up lots of the overtones. The harmonics are brighter than any other pu that I've tried. However, both the phaseyness and the overtones are uncharacteristic of my upright sound. I definitely suggest getting your hands on one before you buy so that you can play with the EQ.
     
  12. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Hofner takes my vote. :bassist:
     
  13. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    I think the tone of my StingRay on the piezo alone with TI Jazz Flats sounds very much like an amplified acoustic. I think Warwicks do a very good job at this, as well, even only on the mag pickups, though I do wish now that I'd gotten the piezo option on mine. I'd also like to try out some tapewounds.

    I think the keys are piezo pickups, flatwounds or tapewounds, and judicious usage of active EQ (big smiley face, brings out the boom and the snap, cuts the mid honk), through a hi-fi amplifier system. String mutes help, but aren't necessarily required.
     
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    We could put a man on the Moon in the 60's, but we still CANNOT make a bass guitar sound or feel like an Upright bass. The physics involved must be baffling!!
     
  15. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
  16. Try out a p bass with some flats.
     
  17. I have been chasing the upright tone on electric for years. In my opinion, The Turner Renaissance strung with the Thomastic Acousticore strings is BY FAR the closest, at just about any volume. The low tension of those strings provides an altogether different level of "mwah."

    I have found that piezo crystals housed in steel bridge saddles (like the Music Man, Carvin, etc.) sound more peaky and brittle than ribbon transducers that fit under an acoustic guitar type saddle. While my verbiage might not get the point across, trying some basses out should make it more clear. This holds true for the Turners, Allens, and Taylors I've owned and/or played. If you are serious, you need to try the Turner before you spend. There are a lot of used ones around for not too much money, right around your price range!
     
  18. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    UHHHH...NO!! That's not a bass guitar, it's a cross between a cello and an acoustic guitar, like a bloated Martin or something, YUCK!! Hauling that thing around defeats the idea, it's big, looks fragile, it's a fat cello!! I don't doubt that it sounds good though..
     
  19. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I have a fretless P that does a very respectable upright fake if you get the foam under the strings just right. I find the rapid decay caused by the foam to be the critical component.

    I would never claim that it can reproduce the acoustic sound of an unamplified upright but for Bluegrass, country, salsa in a band context either live or recorded...it get's the job done well.
     
  20. I palm my bass across the bridge and hit the notes with my thumb for the desired upright effect:oops: