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Why the Puny Arco Sound from Stagg EUB?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by OldFenderPlayer, Dec 2, 2019 at 11:25 AM.

  1. I recently installed a set of D'Addario Zyex Medium Tension strings (DX610 3/4M) on my Stagg EUB, and what an improvement over the factory strings that had been on it for several years (well .. at least when you play pizzicato).

    At the next rehearsal with my string band, I used the Stagg rather than my Sam Eastman upright (we had a gig the next day and it was still bagged from our last gig).

    Despite having the Stagg for several years and using it for many rehearsals, gigs and practice sessions, not once had I bowed it. During the rehearsal, as usual, I applied a lot of Pops Rosin to my bass bow, and when I bowed the bass ..... just a pathetic little squeak came out of the amp (a Markbass Little Mark Tube 800 and Ampeg 1x15 cabinet). The pizzicato volume was fine, but there was no "body" whatsoever to the sound when the bass was bowed. I was expecting to have to turn down the volume on the amp when I bowed the bass, not crank it to 11.

    Does anyone have any insight on why this might have happened?
    > The strings were steel and were new
    > The pizz sound was loud
    > The 9-volt in the bass was good (I swapped it out to make certain)
    > The amp settings were not adjusted to a lower volume
    > The bow was the typical tightness and had plenty of Pop's Rosin (which I reapplied and still got the same results)
    > D'Addario's web site says the strings "provid(e) a rich, complex tone with power and clarity ... for both pizzicato and bowing."
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 11:34 AM
  2. Was it the same with the previous string set?
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  3. Great question! Yes, the string setup was the same as before the new strings were installed.

    After I took off the factory strings and installed the new ones (one string at a time), the string height and play-ability was the same. I had previously adjusted the bridge for a low action (its been several years since I had made any adjustments to the Stagg's bridge) ... its been a very stable instrument, even after gigging with it.
  4. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'm not a Stag owner so I'm not familiar with the mag pickup layout, but is it possible that bowing moves the strings out of range of the mag pickups? if so, does playing near the bridge improve things?
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  5. nogbert


    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    my stagg i have has a piezo type pickup underneath the bridge feet.

    i've also noticed that on my stagg the A string is completely dead with a bow when amplified. I chalk it up to it being a relatively cheap bit of gear :thumbsdown::bored:
    OldFenderPlayer and dhergert like this.
  6. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Thank you for the info! Sorry, I was guessing since the OP specified steel strings and fresh battery that the pickups were magnetic.

    I'm listening and learning... :)
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  7. nogbert


    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    no worries. its a really strange pickup... im reluctant to even call it a piezo... it looks like a wire under each foot that is pressed into submission. it reminds me more of a thermocouple than a piezo wafer or anything like that. lol
  8. Well, that may be the culprit, but my question was in fact to know if the arco sound was the same with the previous strings set, amplified of course.
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  9. For whatever reason, I never once bowed the Stagg until a few weeks ago. I guess walking across the room, picking up the bass bow from the hanger on the back of the upright bass stand, applying some rosin, then using it on the EUB, was too much effort.
  10. I didn't know that it wasn't a piezo pickup .... I just know that when you play it pizzicato it has plenty of volume. Its strange that the bowed volume is so weak.
  11. nogbert


    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    sorry for my confusing wordage; it IS a piezo of some sort, but it looks unlike any ive seen before.
  12. It is piezo cable (just a few inches).

    Try one of the old strings with the bow.
    You might disconnect one piezo cable plug from the PCB for a better sound.
  13. jleguy

    jleguy Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    I had a Stagg and put Zyex lights on it. I hated the preamp. Putting it through another preamp without disabling the existing preamp helped. Remember that this is a very inexpensive EUB, and an EUB, so you’ll only get so much out of it, especially arco IMO. The body on the Stagg is just a slab of wood. So, expectations need to be tempered. And to me, Zyex strings are great for pizz, not so much for arco. I do like the tension on Zyex for pizz.

    I sold my Stagg recently and upgraded to a Yamaha Silent Bass that was a bit beat up but very playable, and got it for about $800. I also put Zyex lights on it and it does pretty well on both pizz and arco. The arco is way better on this then the Stagg. Remember the Stagg is just a slab of wood for a body, where my Yamaha actually has a chambered body, small but chambered. The Yamaha is my beach bass when I go there, most weekends, so was the Stagg when I had it.

    Does your bow need a rehair or maybe try different rosin? I use Nymans, but make sure it’s a fresh cake, I bought one once that was too dry, probably sitting in stock too long. I don't remember any more but I think I remember the Stagg preamp having a gain control internally that can be adjusted with a small screw driver. Maybe that needs a tweak.

    Also check out the Stagg Megathread for some insights.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 5:05 AM
  14. Thanks, jleguy. Its looking that the Stagg EUB arco volume issue is with the bass itself and not the strings, the bass' setup or my bowing technique. I'll just avoid bowing it.

    I did read through the Stagg Megathread before posting this, and while I found a few references to arco volume, I didn't find any in-depth back-n-forth conversations (but I may have missed something, since some threads are extremely long and include many topics). So I posted here and am very satisfied with the responses and insight that has been provided.
    dhergert and jleguy like this.

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