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Electric bass vs. Upright bass...


Jason Hoyt

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Since the inception of the Electric Bass, players have both tried to achieve an "Upright Bass" sound through them, or doubled on the Upright, or both... With the abundance of electric URB makers, and effects processors like the Roland "V-Bass" (with nine URB simulator effects), it seems as if the popularity of URB's, or at least the sound of one, is increasing. (I also wondered after reading BassPlayer's review of the V-Bass, if an URB could reproduce the sound of an electric!! :freak: ) What does this mean for the future of accoustic upright bass?

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

-Mark Twain

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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This answer has been moved from another forum: ;)

 

They do make magnetic pickups for upright, using one of these alone (with no piezo or mic) makes the URB sound more like an electric. A magnetic is best used live (with a transducer) to approximate the full sound of a nice mic'd bass without the feedback and seperation problems (if you use a good condenser on upright live, you're basically just putting a room mic on the drums :) ) I know an engineer who likes to use a magnetic pickupon upright in the studio in addition to a Neumann (seperate tracks). If the bass needs to share space with toms or cello or whatever, he has something else to work with.

 

Anyone seen Ocean's 11? Great soundtrack (by David Holmes). I think the bassist is the guy from the Tonight Show (there may have been more than one bassist on the soundtrack). About half of the tunes use upright, but the electric & upright sound similar- at least more alike than you might think.

 

I didn't even come close to answering your question.

 

Upright basses and bassists will always be in demand.

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No matter how well a processor can reproduce the sound of an URB, it will never match all the nuances of both instrument and player. Plus, for some kinds of music (classical and traditional jazz comes to mind) nothing beats an URB in the hands of a skilled player. Some people may be to lazy to learn to play URB, relying instead on processors, but that true sound cannot be copied. Plus, that big URB just looks very cool onstage. This being said, the URB will not go away. It's number of players may go down in time, but this will make the remaining players a valuable commodity.

 

I can't wait to get my URB out of layaway this january!

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Umm, err... players of bass-oriented string instruments have a large number of options these days, many hybrids and approaches, many styles of pickups available. There are also many genres of music, of which quite a few seem to insist on certain appearances and/or sonic characteristics.

 

...What was the question again? ; }

 

<-- greenboy ---<<<<    you could have it in any color as long as it was black

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Hmmmm....

 

Well, I know I can take the old upright, stand in a small venue without electricity, and play bluegrass with a banjo, guitar and vocalist. And we will sound authentic and great. I can play along with James Taylor, Dave Matthews, Aretha Franklin.

 

I can throw a pool party and we can sit around and jam. The other night, my son had his first "can I get my friends over and jam" session...I walked in to his bedroom, and there was a guy on guitar and he was on the URB...and he was actually shakin' the walls!!!

 

Of course, with 60 or 70 people, we can play a whole bunch of classical.

 

There is simply no alternative for an unamplified bass sound...this alone will guarantee it's survival.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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I've heard some upright pizz samples that sound pretty close to the real deal; only a bass player would be able to tell the difference.

 

The visual aspect can't be replicated though. How cheezy would it be for a jazz trio to have another keyboard player thunking notes on a Korg with his left hand?

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The advent of synthesizers, some time ago, predicted an end to conventional instruments -- hasn't happened yet, though it has certainly cut down on live and studio work over the years.

 

There has been a real resurgence in interest in the double bass these last few years. Regardless of the technology, I think there will always be interest.

 

I guess I have one question about the technology-- does the V-Bass and similar devices produce any subtle differences among notes??? If I play an open D or a D on the A or E string, does the device give me the same sampled D in that octave, no matter what?? There are so many different types of "upright bass" sounds, even from the same bass, depending on how and where it is mic'd, or what kind of transducer(s) are used, etc.

 

As much as hauling around the big girl can be a pain, I don't think I could live with a generic and dimensionless single URB sound. Perhaps deep in the mix it is a "who cares?", but how unsatisfying!!

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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What in the wide world of sports is going on here?! :freak: Somebody better darn-tooten tell me where my poll went! :freak::D

 

oh, and the picture above Sid Vicious's head will probably yield the EXACT opposite of "Low-End"... At least vocally... ;)

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

-Mark Twain

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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I haven't found any emulating technology that can truly replace the sound of the double-bass. There are intangibles in acoustic instruments which just cannot be quantified. I play both URB and electric,fretless and fretted,4,5 and 6 string, and all have their place.(I'm partial to URB's, but then the first bass I ever played was my Grandpa's washtub , when I was very young.)I don't think the URB is in any danger of dying out. After all, it works without electricity.
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Somehow a piano and electric bass duo don't have the same blended sound and organic feeling of the piano and an upright. Besides, I can use the bow on my upright. Its notes also have a harmonic structure that cuts through any mix. I have not heard a sampled bass sound like that.
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Just to clear up any misconceptions that may have surfaced here: the Roland V-bass has nothing to do with samples or conventional synthesis. it's a new implimentation of a relatively new concept. Way ahead of the game, and worth considering for those who would otherwise be carring lots of cartage.

 

Well worth hearing.

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Originally posted by greenboy:

Just to clear up any misconceptions that may have surfaced here: the Roland V-bass has nothing to do with samples or conventional synthesis. it's a new implimentation of a relatively new concept. Way ahead of the game, and worth considering for those who would otherwise be carring lots of cartage.

 

Well worth hearing.

Can you elaborate?

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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'K, Bob. I thought to run for the local search and refer to Bassaddik'd and AlembicKoa's pilgramage to hear and play the V-bass, or a link to Roland's info. But it seemed as easy to just type until I thought I'd said something ; }

 

First, V-bass is not dependent on conventional pitch-detection and then comversion to MIDI data, which means it is not constrained by the relatively slow process involved. Also, it does not ned to feed a MID modul through the tiny pipe MIDI represents. It seems to respond just as quickly as any acoustic instrument.

 

Since it is not using samples the sound is not static once the attack decay part of the transient envelope hits the sample loop, na dit need not stor multiple samples to cover a large pitch range in order to sound authentic, nor need it have separate sample sets for each type of performance nuance (pizz, slapped, fingerpicked, plectrum, hard, soft etc).

 

Instead it makes use of very fast DSP chips designed especially to its needs and an incredible amount of research into the nature of how acoustic sound is constructed. Once many instruments are templated and understood it actually reacts to the player's performance/hand responses in real time and seems to translate all the nuances into actual sonic equivalents based on Karplus-Strong [plucked string] and a number of other algorithms I suspect they have designed to define how sound works in relation to string mass, tunings, tension, length, etc, as well as pickup placement, body and neck materials, diaghram.chamber sizes, etc.

 

So, they are actually having their magic box build "instruments" in virtual space on demand based on actual physical and psychoacoustic principles and play in real time varying all repsonse to what is bweing delivered by the host instrument under control of the player's hands.

 

So it comes down to their analysis of various instruments and recreation of these via algorithms designed to accomodate all their qualities. This was first done by them for guitar a number of years ago and was pretty impressive (still is) for its flexibility and sometimes astonishing accuracy. About the same time Yamaha came out with several modeling instruments driven by keyboard and wind drivers, that allowed the user to play with concepts like grafting a bell 19 feet in diameter to an oboe mouthpiece, and many less facetious examples. And their Korg division used modeling research to build virtual drums that were similarly drum-centric and organic sounding.

 

Anyway, Bassiaddik and AlembicKoa reported back that they were shocked by the verisimilitude of the unit, and fretless bass and standup were a couple of the ones I've heard them mention as especially shocking. The little bit I got to diddle with the guitar version and later the demoing of the V-bass left me similarly convinced that something new had come about that was not merely a toy - actually reacting to hands-on gestures in all ways.

 

I think Bassaddik was a little bit miffed that a properly setup Squire could sound as good driving one as a top-line fully-csutom MTD 635 ; } ...I told him that the MTD would still look and feel cooler, and he could always blend the instrument tone in with the V-bass sound ; }

 

Oh, yeah: the V-bass has head, cab and cab-micing modeling, as well as effects, but those are all really just icing on the cake. The cake itself is far more nutritional and could live well without the icing. Did I mention that it can do tunings of all descriptions as facilely as Manring at the simple call of a preset? Still, the convincing feel, response, and tones available when driving the unit with your chosen bass is what makes it impressive and useful.

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Note to self: never type as fast as possible with feet and legs kicked up on the desk while eating sticky Rice Krispy treats unless also prepared to preview the post and do major typo-editing... My typing ain't exactly Woild Class even on the best of days ; }
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