Re: Anyone have experience on an electric upright?


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Posted by Zach on October 13, 2001 at 00:44:07:

In Reply to: Re: Anyone have experience on an electric upright? posted by anonymouse on October 12, 2001 at 12:13:32:

I too have been in the realm of investing in an upright bass. Like yourself, I'm mainly an electric player, but I am also a heavy trad-jazz and big band jazz player, meaning that my abilities on upright are required. I do not own an upright...I use an old 1986 Kay 3/4 acoustic with a Fishman BP-100 pickup, both of which are loaned to me by the university's fine arts department. Although the sound is "good enough", needless to say, I'm looking for something a lot more versatile, not only for jazz, but also for other stuff in which upright is required. I'm also in a pop cover band, and surprisingly, a lot of the songs we do sound really nice on upright. I also do classical stuff, as well as studio work.

At first I thought an acoustic upright would be okay, but then, a kind gentleman at Grandma's Music loaned me a Ned Steinberger 5-string electric upright for a gig, and I fell instantly in love. The combination of the piezo pickups along with the magnetic pickups and three-band EQ made this bass an absolute joy to play. It's sounded excellent with both arco and pizzicato styles (plucked and bowed). The only thing wrong with it was that it didn't feel like an upright...the strings were normal electric flatwounds (or something similar), and it just felt like I was playing an electric fretless bass vertically.

If you're looking for a traditional upright feel for an electric upright, I suggest Clevinger, Azola, or the Yamaha Silent Bass. For a player like yourself (crossing over), I'd recommend either the Ned Steinberger basses, the Moses KP basses, or the Kydd electric upright. If you want the traditional upright with a few "extras", I'd highly recommend either the BSX Allegro, the NS Design, or Ray Ramirez basses. These basses come with 3-band EQs, ideal for getting the best tone, not just your normal volume and tone controls like the Yamaha.

If you're looking to use an acoustic upright, I have to recommend staying away from the plywood basses. Get a bass with the most dense wood you can find. Plywood is extremely shallow in terms of tone and will feed back easily. My bass teacher at the university owns an older Czech-made 7/8-size upright, with extender keys to take the low E down to a low B. Man!!! What a tone that bass has! He choses not to put a pickup on it, but I have no doubt it would sound amazing with one. Pickup-wise, the Fishman BP-100 is a safe bet, but you might want to go for something hotter. I'm no expert on upright pickups, but if I had a choice, I would probably go for either the Realist or the K&K.

Hope this helps a bit!
Zach


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