Re: Anyone have experience on an electric upright?


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Posted by anonymouse on October 12, 2001 at 12:13:32:

In Reply to: Anyone have experience on an electric upright? posted by DDazey on October 12, 2001 at 10:37:02:

Check out the acoustic page of this site for more info. Give Bob Golihur a call also - he is a lot of help.

I play both electric (fretted and fretless) and upright bass. The upright is really a different animal than the upright mainly because the longer fingerboard length forces a entirely different approach to fingering the strings. If you are really serious about learning upright, you will have to relearn the fingering pattern. You can fake it by using conventional electric bass fingering on an upright, but a) you will probably have intonation problems and b) you may wind up with permanent tendon damage.

The electric bass is somewhere around 34" to 35" scale length, while the upright has a scale length is around 44" for a typical 3/4 scale instrument. This length difference is magnified at the lower frets/positions.

On electric bass, the fingering is generally 1 finger to a fret, so a reach of four frets (semitones) is possible without moving the hand. On a upright, the longer scale length reduced the reach to three frets, so a lot more repositioning is required in the lower positions which is the crux of playing upright. In the lower positions, the first,second and fourth fingers are used. The third finger backs up the fourth finger. The fingers are always flexed which is good technique for both el. and Up. Count on three to six months to master this switchover. A good teacher is highly recommended to learn the correct technique.

Hardwarewise - look around for a used bass that is properly set-up (proper action height and setup is very important and can cost several hundred dollars extra to have done. I have a used 3/4Engelhardt which had been reworked by a luthier - cost me $1000 total. New plywood basses like Engelhardt go for $1000-$1400, but generally need adjusting (again - call Bob Golihur). A GOOD carved top bass can run $8000-$12,000 and is a delicate beast.

Pick-ups - many differenct brands of transducers out there, most require a preamp as well. Figure $250 - $400 for this.

Playing - PLaying at high volumes directly in front of an amp invites feedback. I play the upright in small clubs with an SWR Workingman 10" or a basic black 15" which is low volume. Consult a rockabilly bass player for info on avoiding feedback.

Good Luck

PS - My Email address is bogus; someone got my correct address from an earlier post to this site and has been spamming me.


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