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Working with 2 ebows, etc.

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Swimming Bird, May 11, 2006.

  1. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    Mr. Manring, I've heard you sometimes work with two ebows... Is there any major difference in technique? It's not easy to get one working, so I imagine two is quite a handful.

    Eh... sorry for the pun. Also, do you know if there is a Fernandes Sustainer type implement for bass? I asked Fernandes and they don't make one (in fact they said it couldn't be done) but perhaps somebody makes a mod or a homemade version? Or maybe I'm ignorant -- please enlighten me.
  2. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    a local tech cat has developed a small sustainer that does not require body routing and works both on guitar and bass. yet he has not registered it and begun production of the gadget

    here's a couple of movies he has made a while back when he managed to put the thing to work


  3. Alun


    Jun 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist - Elixir strings,Markbass amplification
    That looks like a fun system, may be worth investigating when he starts production.

    On a minor critical note though, he may want to intonate that bass before using the clip as a demo!

  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    For several years I’ve been working with an inventor named Fred Paroutaud who has developed an incredible built-in sustain device for bass. At present it’s on a 5-string with a floor board that has a switch for each string and a pedal for varying the amount of sustain energy. You can sustain any combination of strings and even control the harmonic content of each string’s vibration. It’s a mind-blowing invention -- almost like a kind of acoustic synthesizer, and I’ve recorded with it a good bit, mostly on my solo CD The Book of Flame. Sadly, Fred hasn’t been able to find anyone interested in funding the development of this idea, so it’s been mostly just sitting on the shelf. We’re meeting later this month, though, to see if we can give it one more shot. I hope so -- I feel this has the potential to be a revolutionary instrument.

    As cool as the Paroutaud concept is, I don’t feel it’s in any way a replacement for the Ebow. As a handheld device, the Ebow offers far more flexibility and expressive capability than any other sustain concept I’ve come across. The trade off is that it really doesn’t offer much in the way of polyphony, but as Swimming Bird mentioned, I’ve had good results using two at once. The technique is a little tricky -- I hold both of them in my right hand so that I can activate the outer two stings -- but I find I’m still able to use the Ebow’s expressive capabilities.

    In any case, I believe that gaining control over a string’s attack-sustain-decay characteristics is a major step forward in expanding the expressive scope of the bass. Just imagine if there was no bow for violin!
  5. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    Thanks everyone. I've been looking around and I can't find any production sustainer equipment for bass other than ebow and sustainiac. Saddly the sustainiac is only being made for 4-string basses now.

    I do love my ebow, but polyphony is what I'm after. I suppose there is a certain cheating that is available with a whammy pedal or harmonizer in concert with an ebow, but there's a certain something to feeling a string's powered vibration. The Paroutaud sustainer sounds like just what I've been looking for, but may never enter production?

    As a side note, has anyone tried pedals as sustainers (in the sense we're talking about -- ie infinite)? I once used a combination of E-H Big Muff Pi, Pro Co Rat and Voodoo Lab Super Fuzz that loudly sustained a note (which I slid around the neck) for well over ten minutes.
  6. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hang in there -- we’re going to give the Paroutaud system another shot. I’ll let you know when there’s some more info.

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