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#2747303 - 01/16/16 01:33 PM Electric vs Stand-Up Bass
DocPate Offline
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I know each has it's own place in music, but which sound do you personally prefer? I'm an old coot who learned the old stand-up double bass and find it preferable to the electric bass, (even though i admit it's tough to match the versatility of a great electric bass/and amp. Especially the 6 string.

http://guitarplayersforum.boards.net/thread/4/sounds-best-double-electric-bass

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#2747310 - 01/16/16 02:56 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: DocPate]
Imogene Offline
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It depends. I just cant decide.

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#2747311 - 01/16/16 02:57 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Imogene]
jcadmus Offline
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I don't understand the question -- I usually stand up when I play electric bass so which is it?
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#2747321 - 01/16/16 04:20 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jcadmus]
jeremy c Offline
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You're asking a group made up primarily of electric bassists your question.

90% of the music I play requires electric bass, and yes I am an old coot too..67 years old.

The other 10% would like to have the doghouse in the rhythm section but even then there are some songs that require electric bass.

And I don't play upright bass, but I do like to play bass while lying on the couch.
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#2747408 - 01/17/16 06:21 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jeremy c]
Paul K Offline
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Originally Posted By: jeremy c
but I do like to play bass while lying on the couch.


That's not allowed in my house unless I'm the only one home. Soul Mate considers it rather distracting, even if I have clothes on.
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#2747417 - 01/17/16 07:20 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Paul K]
DocPate Offline
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If you play bluegrass, you have to play upright!

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#2747459 - 01/17/16 11:22 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: DocPate]
jeremy c Offline
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Originally Posted By: DocPate
If you play bluegrass, you have to play upright!

exactly.
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#2747725 - 01/18/16 03:53 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jeremy c]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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So no one plays bluegrass lying down? :-)

It's a funny question, but one worth asking ourselves each time we tackle a song. Usually the answer is obvious, but not always.

For instance, Violent Femmes, who I think often used acoustic bass guitars, which I have permanently given up on after owning quite a few. But whether for the sound or for the feel, I more often than not end up preferring upright bass to bass guitar on songs that are normally played on fully acoustic hollow body basses.

Right now I am resurrecting some unreleased jazz material from the 80's, when I didn't own an upright, and finding much of it sounds WAY better on upright bass, even though one would think that the bass guitar would have caused me to come up with parts that don't translate so well. It may have been due to who I was studying with at the time; I haven't yet tried transcribing more recent material from bass guitar to see how well it translates to upright.

Although many often talk about P-Basses getting close to upright territory -- especially with full treble cut and flat wounds, along with felt picks and muting techniques -- the scale length still makes a big difference in my view (even if dealing in fretless bass territory).

I really dislike piezo on upright basses. When properly miked, they tend to have a dark yet warm sound, with good and deep resonance that is a bit tubby but not boomy. Hard to get that on a bass guitar. The tone may be less defined and focused as a result, and this may affect how it blends with other instruments.

For the songs that I am switching to upright from bass guitar, all have archtop guitar in the mix, and I think I am finding that I have a strong preference for matching archtop with upright vs. bass guitar. But it depends on the archtop. I like a somewhat brighter sound, like Pat Metheny, that cuts through and isn't muffled but also isn't harsh. That seems to blend well with the less trebly sound of an upright.

Years ago, I had four active basses on stage, some folk instruments, woodwinds, and an upright bass. All four active basses gave out at the same time (so much for backups) -- which was what initially led me to stop sticking my nose up at passive basses and give them a second chance (and now that's all I play) -- so I did all three sets on upright, even though only two or three songs called for it. :-)

Well, to accommodate the nature of the material, I did get a bit into jump swing and rockabilly mode, but even though my fingers were blistered and bleeding by the end of the night, the crowd went wild, as it was a bit of a novelty for them.

I have never played bluegrass music. I didn't realize it was all about the upright, except for maybe having a hint of that from interviews with Charlie Haden.


Edited by Mark Schmieder (01/18/16 03:56 PM)
Edit Reason: stupid spellcheck changes archtop to "archt." behind my back after I've committed
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#2747787 - 01/18/16 06:39 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Bob Gollihur Moderator Offline
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Depends on which day you ask me.
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#2747857 - 01/19/16 06:14 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
DocPate Offline
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Great Reply Mark. You sure hit the nail on the head.

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#2747965 - 01/19/16 04:11 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: DocPate]
Bottom End Offline
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If one is playing with solely acoustic instruments, then upright is hard to beat. I regularly watch an acoustic group that uses no amplification playing on a wooden stage in a wood building. Originally they used ABG, but most who've played one agree that an ABG seldom makes its presence known in more than a duo setting without amplification/miking. Once the group started using URB, the change was incredible. The URB's low end just resonates with all that wood in a way that no amount of amplification can replicate. Also, the "Mwaahh" from a UEB is different from that produced by a fretless electric, IMO

Doghouse style really the proper sound for rockabilly, jazz, country and blue grass. Bowed URB sounds great and I can't think of an Electric counterpart to that.

That being said, some Electrics can give a good approximation of URB for some songs

Money and time allowed, I'd love to learn URB, but I could afford and electric when I first started playing, and most of what I wanted to play fit that.
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#2747973 - 01/19/16 04:28 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Bottom End]
jeremy c Offline
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I started playing electric bass 50 years ago when I was 17.

It's the instrument of my generation and all the wonderful music which featured it in the 70's.
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#2748006 - 01/19/16 08:54 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jeremy c]
hurricane hugo Offline
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well, there's always this kind of thing:

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#2748012 - 01/19/16 09:54 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: hurricane hugo]
jeremy c Offline
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that's neither one.
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#2748167 - 01/20/16 01:37 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jeremy c]
EddiePlaysBass Offline
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I play an NS Design WAV4 and I can say: it's an instrument all to itself, really.
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#2748328 - 01/21/16 06:21 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
DocPate Offline
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Loc: Virginia
I know bassists have learned to play slap bass on electric, but it sounds best to me on upright.

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#2748536 - 01/21/16 02:12 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: DocPate]
jeremy c Offline
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do bluegrass bassists play slap bass? I've never heard that.

Slap bass on the upright sounds great in rockabilly.
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#2754461 - 02/11/16 04:46 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Paul K]
Ulf Offline
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Originally Posted By: Paul K
Soul Mate considers it rather distracting, even if I have clothes on.


Ouch...
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#2754462 - 02/11/16 04:51 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: hurricane hugo]
Ulf Offline
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Originally Posted By: hurricane hugo
well, there's always this kind of thing:


Keeping my "big" upright at home, practicing sometimes but usually too lazy to schlep it for gigs. But the other day I borrowed a dirt cheap Stagg solid electric upright bass, just like that, because the music required "that" sound and I couldn't bring my bass. And it felt good!

Might need to shop around for something similar.
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#2822145 - 12/18/16 10:36 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Ulf]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Although I still think it's silly to get an "upright" electric bass guitar (i.e. 34" scale), I have renewed interest in "full scale" electric uprights, and put my fretless bass guitar up for sale today after realizing that there are just too many compromises in sound at that scale length.

I figure a full-scale electric upright has its own sound (think Eberhard Weber from the 1970's ECM days), is more practical at many gigs than an acoustic upright, and makes it easier to keep the chops up by playing one or the other pretty regularly. Fretless bass guitar is very different.

Anyway, I've only done a quick search so far, but it does seem that these days NS Design pretty much rules the category, and ahs a gazillion models, so hopefully I can either find one to try, or good enough audio samples to take a chance on one.
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#2822155 - 12/19/16 12:38 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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I must have listened to over thirty brands of EUB's and Fretless Basses over the past two hours, and the only ones that sounded acceptable to me are over $3K so are no-go's.

I feel like an F-Bass or Fodera Bass can get closer to the sound than anything in the EUB category. Similar price too, and of course I now eschew active electronics but have been willing to make an exception for those brands as I have tried a few and they are absolutely remarkable instruments.
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#2822160 - 12/19/16 03:00 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
EddiePlaysBass Offline
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I've given up on trying to incorporate my NS Design WAV into any band I play in.

I will just get a good fretless at some point in the (near) future - I just sold my Palmer FB05 to use in band settings.

I plan on keeping the NS because frankly I enjoy playing it. But in a band and live setting it seems to distract from the music too much (ranging from "wow" to "no") and frankly, I am not good enough on URB to play anywhere near my level of "electric" playing.
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#2822572 - 12/20/16 11:24 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Good feedback. When I had the Eminence Bass -- which is fully acoustic but not loud enough to use at gigs without the piezo pickup -- it strictly got positive feedback and no distraction type nonsense. Probably because it looked and sounded very real.

I sold the Eminence when I bought a regular upright a few years ago, because I found it just couldn't get a good enough studio sound, no matter how I miked it. It was a bit easier to play than a regular upright though.
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#2822613 - 12/21/16 07:34 AM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
SteveC Offline
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I agree. I think EUB's are ok as they have the scale length and you need to use upright technique. It gets you "in the ballpark" of an upright with a pickup or a mic.

Depending on how particular you need to be and the situation, fretless electrics basses - when played with a more "upright" technique, strings and eq - can get you "in the ballpark" for sound.

I used a Rob Allen Mouse (30" scale electric) for a while and a drummer I played with (who is pro all the way) said it sounded more like an upright than an upright.

Nothin can replace the look and feel of an upright, but they are big, can be difficult to amplify and you need to play them consistently to have any kind of "chops" on them.

I think if I had a gig where I needed that sound and looks didn't matter, I'd get a fretless Rob Allen Mouse again.

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#2822986 - 12/22/16 01:47 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: SteveC]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Interesting. When I visited the Rob Allen site a few days ago, I found the Mouse to sound more "real" to me than the more "advanced" models, but "wrote it off" due to 30" scale length.

Maybe I should reconsider.
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#2823046 - 12/22/16 05:12 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: Mark Schmieder]
jeremy c Offline
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My Wendler fretless sounds an awful lot like an upright. mark: If you want to try mine, contact me and come over to my house.
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#2823081 - 12/22/16 09:32 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: jeremy c]
J. Dan Offline
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I've never owned an URB and am not well practiced in the style. That said, when I played bass and keys in an 80s band, we played a couple stray cats songs, and I did my best on my electric to get all the string slap in there and EQ it along with PU selection to mimick the URB as much as possible. It sounded decent. Then I heard another guy in town who's a well-known (locally) top notch bass player do the same thing - use technique to make an electric sound like an URB, and I swear he nailed it! Obviously better than me. My point is that while there are obvious huge differences between the two, if you get somebody who is good enough, a lot can be achieved by your fingers.
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#2823241 - 12/23/16 02:36 PM Re: Electric vs Stand-Up Bass [Re: J. Dan]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Jeremy, thanks -- it'll be awhile before I allow myself to SERIOUSLY consider a replacement for the Warmoth fretless, as I want to force myself first to work on formerly-fretless material with traditional fretted basses and possibly chorus and/or delay pedals before re-evaluating the need.

Although I have a lot of gear, it is because I am a hobbyist ethnomusicologist, always wanting to learn more about sound, and write in a gazillion genres. But I am always trimming down and trying to get to the core of what is really needed, as I find it distracting to have too many choices.
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