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URB with piezo vs. EUB?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by junglebike, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    An observation:

    Seems like almost all of the gigs I play I use my URB, with a Fishman pickup, through an EA combo. I fight a lot with feedback, and it's a pain to fit on stage, etc.

    Am I really getting a better sound than I would with a good EUB (i.e. Azola floating top)? Seems like unless I'm playing acoustic or micing ('nother can of worms), I might as well be using an EUB and saving myself a bunch of trouble.

    Could an EUB even sound better, given that it was designed specifically for a piezo?

    Is my URB just a prop at this point? I think I'm gonna pay the Azolas a visit.
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I dunno, but I would think long soundwaves bouncing in a big hollow body would have much more of a difference than long soundwaves bouncing in a tiny little box. Despite that you're using a piezo, I think you're always going to get a deeper and fuller sound on a DB. That deep sound simply isn't there on an EUB so I think it'll be difficult to get it, unless you have another method, maybe with FX that could give you that sound.

    I haven't done enough work with pickups and DBs, but from my geetar experience, I know it's true. A piezo solid body guitar is never going to sound as full as a big jazz box of hollow body by itself. It can only mimic it.
  3. Attention: Shhhhhhhhh...........do not let Paul see this thread
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I use a K&K RAB p/u system, which is a bassmax in the bridgewing, and an additional piezo element under the fingerboard. I play thru an swr super redhead for medium jobs, and add a goliath III cab at bigger venues. Needless to say, this can move a lot of air. I have no feedback issues..maybe I'm just lucky though...
  5. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Well, you've got a KingBass, which seem to have been designed for exactly that kind of situation (thick top, etc. to prevent feedback) -- maybe that's part of it.

    I know an EUB can't touch a mic'ed or acoustic URB. But piezo's pick up mostly string vibrations, and they have a strong sound signature themselves. Given that, maybe the huge body is unnecessary.

    Hdiddy has a good point about piezo pups on acoustic guitars. But -- there's a new crop of acoustic-electric guitars designed for peizo-based stage amplification that may be analogous to Azola's concept (These godin guitars, for example ). Any thoughts?
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I know my point has some validity but of course at some point it's going to become apples & oranges since a guitar has different physical characteristics than a DB. However, yeah there are a lot of new guitars that feature a piezo on a solid body that sounds similar to a hollow one, but they also rely on some FX to increase the mimicry of an acoustic instrument. Guitarists today will employ all kinds of stuff but piezo's tend to usually be used only for acoustic guitars, not jazz boxes. They still rely rely on big magnetic humbucking pickups for the nice warm sound. Not to mention that humbuckers handle feedback much better than a piezo on a guitar. Personally, I like magnets more than a piezo as well on the 6-string wanger.

    But I'll go one step further, Line 6 (Maker of the POD FX stuff) has a guitar (a Variax I think it's called) that supposed to digitally model different guitars, including the sound of a hollowbody. They use digital modeling to make a solidbody instrument sound hollow. But I doubt if it sounds anything like an L-5 or a ES-330 thinline. If I remember correctly from guitar magazine review, the Variax just wasn't there when it came to warmth and presence I think when compared to a big jazzbox. It can't make you sound like Jim Hall or Grant Green yet, and I hope it'll never be able to IMO.

    Is digital modeling possible for an EUB to sound like a DB? I dunno. But I doubt it if someone could come up with an accurate model for a pedigree DB and cover every nuance of the instrument i.e. the sound of a Panormo for both Pizz AND Arco. Maybe not with today's technology.

    But don't forget that piezo pickups like an underwood will pickup overtones/vibrations/other stuff coming from the big hollow chamber as well. Otherwise we'd all play stick basses and not bother with the big body to lug around if they sounded as good. But of course, the only way to tell is by trying it out for yourself.

    Speaking for myself, I just recieved my Ergo 4 string bass on thursday. Let me say that my Chrissy rips my Ergo apart when it comes to tone and sound. The Chrissy is just alot more even between strings, warm, and big sounding. The Ergo is very nasal. I can't imagine that a Floating Top Azola Scarab that much of a better result that my Ergo can. The same comparison can be made with guitars when comparing an L-5 to a thinline guitar to a stratocaster. The L-5 always sounds the best for jazz and has the most even sound IMO.
  7. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    You should be enjoying the gigs. It's hard to do that when you're unhappy with your sound. If you have that much trouble with feedback, it's probably a matter of speaker placement and/or high stage volume levels.
    At a certain point, all the knob tweaking in the world may not get you a satisfactory sound. You can get a good sound out of a quality EUB. It won't sound the same as a double bass, but it may be an improvement over the sound you can get out of your DB rig given the circumstances.
  8. Too late
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
  10. You may find a big difference in tone with other strings.
    My Carruthers also sound nasal with Corellis and Obligatos, but not with Flexocors, Original Flexocors, and a lot of other string brands...
  11. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks, guys. A few comments:

    1. Has anyone actually played one of the "new crop" of EUBs (i.e. Azola floating top, messagner V-bass, etc) vs. a piezo-equipped URB? That's really what I'm looking for. I've played solid-body EUBs, including the Ergo.

    2. With regards to the latter, I felt it was far, far short of an URB tone. But it's just a stick with strings -- string break angle, bridge tension, etc. are all very very different than a URB *or* a high-end EUB; all of these will dramatically impact peizo tone, not to mention the solid vs. hollow body. Perhaps the Ergo is analagous to a piezo bridge on a Strat, whereas one of those Godins (hollowbody, piezo) could be analagous to an Azola.

    3. Modeling is a whole different can of worms -- I don't even want to go there! :)
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Thanks for the tip. The Spiro Weich's that came with the bass are a killer on my fingers. I had Orchs on my Chrissy and it seemed like not much diff in tension than my Corelli's. But the strings on the Ergo... they make my RH fingers go numb, but it sounds cool when I can get a strong pull and growl. But that just hurts too much. I know, I'm a wimp. :bawl:

    I'll try some 1/2 size Flexocors on the Ergo.
  13. Which Fishman pickup are you using? The BP100 can be somewhat muffled and feedback-prone. Also, are you using a preamp? Piezo pickups are ultrahigh impedance, and need a preamp to impedance-match almost anything you'd run the signal into.

    I know both of these things because my bass came with a BP100 and no preamp! :crying:

    There are a lot of good (better than the BP100) bass pickups available, including Fishman's own Full Circle. I use a K&K Bassmax with a K&K preamp myself, and am quite happy with its performance in the bluegrass and Americana stuff that I play.

    Cheers, Tim
  14. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    That is good to hear, because I just ordered an acoustic baby bass from Steve!
  15. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks, Patrick -- that's exactly the kind of comparison I was looking for. I see from your profile you use a Fishman Full Circle -- that's what I use as well. I assume you mean your flatback has more "depth and character" through the Fishman.

    I've noticed frequent comments along the lines of "the pickup sounds worse at higher volumes" -- I wonder if some of what you're hearing as "depth and character" is actually the acoustic tone of the bass itself over the piezo tone?

    I'd love to hear recordings of piezo URB vs an Eurocoustic.
  16. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Me too!

    I plan to take your suggestion as soon as possible. Will report on the results here once I do!

    Thanks again for your very helpful input!
  17. kaybass1952


    Mar 12, 2004
    Great Thread! I've been recently shopping around for a hollow body EUB.It would seem these basses with sound posts ect... would give more natural bloom to notes and move more air compared to soild body EUB's.Some thoughts thus far...

    1)The Emminence seems nice, but the Azola Eurocoustic Bug Bass seems about the same size and is a carved solid(non ply)wood (Azola by consensus seem really well crafted).

    2)The Azola Eurocoustic Baby Bass is a bit bigger yet. Bigger sound I'd guess , but a little less portable (I need something that will fit in back seat of a cab)

    3)Gage travel looks a bit odd, but seems to have a big body cavity (also ply) and yet quite portable.

    -Has anyboby had a chance to hear the two Azolas (Baby and Bug side by side?

    -Also has anyone tryed out the Gage Bass?

    Any feedback would be appreciated as I 'm not close enough to either New York or California to check these basses out.I guess I'll make a decision based on info found on the net and word of mouth.
  18. I'm not sure how important depth and character are when playing live. Over a band, that will be darn hard to hear. In the studio, or when playing in a prominent role, I'd say take the real bass any time, but I think that if an EUB lacks resonance, that's a small price to pay for a small size.
  19. Same here. At the volumes that I use my EUB (a Fichter), it does not matter whether the bass has depth, airiness, or acoustic qualities. My EUB is a solid body, and I originally bought it to do gigs that are usually done on bass guitar (which I do not play anymore). But I noticed that my EUB also is more usable in situations where I would use my acoustic, but heavily amplified. Perhaps the "original" looks of an acoustic are missing, but my Fichter looks interesting enough to compensate for that.

  20. mister_k


    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
    It is not a crime to tape up your f's to buffer the feedback, and it won't adversely affect your sound (if you're playing at a volume that requires it.) I find myself regularly playing in tiny, cramped LOUD rooms where finding my feedback mecca is basically impossible. So I carry some wood friendly tape in the bag wherever I go.

    It's ugly, but effective. And it still sounds way better than any EUB I've ever tried.