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  1. #1

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    I've always wanted to play a double bass, but I would need a new apartment and new wife if I brought one home! Space is scarce. So, the best I could do is an electric upright bass, EUB. I already play bass guitar, fretted and fretless.

    Some EUB's sound like 1980s and 90s bad fretless bass guitars. I'm looking for a double bass sound, but, alas, on a budget. I'd be playing traditional jazz upright bass, endlessly walking :-)

    Some have a flat fingerboard, some curved, some five strings, some four, some have fret markers, some none.

    Any suggestions?

    How about this one? NSXT 5 string Electric Upright Bass | eBay

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My main bassist often uses an old Ampeg Baby Bass that he got cheap. Maybe ask here as well:

    TalkBass.com

  4. #3

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    rob..check out this site..plenty good info about eub's

    all the latest..inc strings and accessories

    Upright Basses & EUB's, at Gollihur Music - Upright Basses, Pickups, Preamps, Amps, and More


    strings, pickups and technique are hugely influential! like with all else! hah

    the ned steinberger ns basses are very well regarded..tho many models to choose from..check ^link

    cheers

    ps- have fooled with the dean pace bass...flat fretboard...not a bad tone..esp with the right strings, but a curved radius fretboard would be an improvement..dean currently offers one with curved (they learned)...plus you can go arco!

    Dean Pace Contra - Solid-Body Electric Upright Bass at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists
    Last edited by neatomic; 12-11-2019 at 07:45 PM.

  5. #4

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    I use one of these for most bass gigs, just because it's so easy to transport:

    Eminence bass

    It's a real acoustic upright, not a "Fender on a stick" like many of the EUBs I've seen. Although not very loud acoustically, it has a very resonant sound when amplified. Players are always skeptical when I walk in with it for the first time, but I've had nothing but compliments (and callbacks) once they hear it. I play a full upright at home, and in a perfect world I'd drag it everywhere, but the Eminence is a pretty good substitute.

  6. #5

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    while i understand the allure of a more traditionally styled eub, if it's not being played acoustically, (where it can never compete with a true acoustic bass regardless)... its design matters less...

    the aforementioned ^ ampeg baby bass...was basically made of some kind of molded synthetic foam!!!..it wasn't really the great acoustic inspired bass that ampeg dreamed of, but was effective nevertheless...in 70's nyc it became the preeminent salsa bass!!! used throughout that rather large community with great results...

    it's not the design as much as what can be done by the individual player with that design!!

    i trust rob to shake some good stuff out of stick and some fishing line! hah

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 12-11-2019 at 11:38 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #6

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    I play in a big band with a union bassist that plays in the regional symphony. When he uses an electric upright, it a deluxe four string model made by the same brand that you linked to. It sounds great pizzicato or arco.

  8. #7

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    My band's bassist is really happy with a Harley Benton EUB500 he bought used. The tone, coming through a G+K MB200 and a TOOB 10B cab (by Yours Truly) is impeccable. Changing the strings made all the difference. The original bridge was bent, and getting a replacement from Thomann took months. A pro multi-instrumentalist has the same instrument with a different sticker - can't remember the brand - and plays it through an EBS Reidmar amp and a TOOB 12B in upright position. He also uses the bow, an acid test for the electric signal chain. An upwards-pointing speaker is really great for upright bass, as the tone spreads hemispherically to all directions. Bandmates appreciate this, and first-row listeners don't suffer. (The same is true, BTW, for jazz guitar. TOOB 12J now comes with extra legs for playing upright - a 10 lbs take on Johnny Smith's Fountain of Tone, which was more or less the size and weight of a pool table.)

    The EUB500 appears to be discontinued, but can certainly be found used. Thomann now offers several near-identical EUBs in the sub-600 EUR range. Their bodies are of Paulownia instead of the heavy slab of pine. This wood, which I use in my open-back cabs, is next to hard balsa in terms of weight and hardness. Coarse-thread wood screws do hold, but a dent-resistant surface requires a deep-penetrating resin impregnation before varnishing/painting.

  9. #8

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    Thanks, folks. I'll keep a lookout for something locally, as I'd like to try before buying.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Thanks, folks. I'll keep a lookout for something locally, as I'd like to try before buying.
    I've played a bunch of electric uprights and the one that I've never gotten to play but I hear consistently recommended as the best is the eminence bass.

    I understand space being at a premium, I have lived my entire adult life in NYC apartments between 500-800 square feet with a wife and dog. THAT SAID, honestly, if you have a corner to lean the bass into, a regular upright bass (which is technically 3/4 and not "full") doesn't actually take up very much space. It definitely takes up a lot of space if you lay it sideways on the floor, and uprights are definitely more of a pain to transport, no doubt. BUT, if storage space is your main concern, I'd encourage you to look at your space and consider. Most people have more space than they think, I store my bass (standing upright, endpin all the way in, neck resting against wall) in a corner next to a bookshelf where we used to keep a trash can.

    so, if you have a spare corner in your room/house, consider that option.

  11. #10

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    as far as small nyc apartments..you could store the standup bass on the fire escape...unless your drum kits already out there!!! haha


    cheers

  12. #11

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    The guy in my big band uses the Stagg. He's very happy with it, and I like the sound. This one is black, but I think they also come in natural finish.

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Stagg/E...istoricalItems

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    The guy in my big band uses the Stagg. He's very happy with it, and I like the sound. This one is black, but I think they also come in natural finish.
    Stagg Electric Double Bass Black | Guitar Center
    I use one of these as well when I don't want to use one of my good upright basses, and it functions well. It can be found cheap, if pretty functional, and you can improve/customize it as you see fit without worrying about its value.

  14. #13

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    Thanks, guys. Whatever I get, it will be taking the space soon to be occupied by the Christmas tree! The bass will have to wait.

    Yes, a real acoustic 3/4 bass would be highly desireable, but I fear my hands might find the action too high and the tension too strong.

  15. #14

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    For me, storage space at home isn’t so much the issue as ease of transport. A lot of players drive SUVs or hatchbacks, but experienced bass players seem to take pride in being able to stuff a full size (3/4) upright into anything bigger than a mini-Cooper. I’ve seem some amazing feats, but as a practical matter, I want to be able to get my bass in an out of a sedan without a lot of hassle. My upright takes some effort, but the Eminence isn’t much more complicated than packing a guitar.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Thanks, guys. Whatever I get, it will be taking the space soon to be occupied by the Christmas tree! The bass will have to wait.
    get the bass, and just hang it upside down...with enough garland & tinsel no one will be the wiser!!! haha

    cheers

    ps- or just get a really big tree &...


  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    For me, storage space at home isn’t so much the issue as ease of transport. A lot of players drive SUVs or hatchbacks, but experienced bass players seem to take pride in being able to stuff a full size (3/4) upright into anything bigger than a mini-Cooper. I’ve seem some amazing feats, but as a practical matter, I want to be able to get my bass in an out of a sedan without a lot of hassle. My upright takes some effort, but the Eminence isn’t much more complicated than packing a guitar.
    A guy I know puts his full-size into his Prius. Just fits end-to-end.

  18. #17

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    Look into the Karla U-Bass. It’s unconventional but gets a really good tone. Not exactly identical to an upright, but pretty close.

  19. #18

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    I also dream about getting one. There are some interesting italian designs, but they're quite expensive: Solid body, hollow body, traditional string instruments - Alter Ego Travel Bass

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    ...Yes, a real acoustic 3/4 bass would be highly desireable, but I fear my hands might find the action too high and the tension too strong.
    . You can get any decent upright bass set up with very low action and low-tension strings. That's a simple set-up issue.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Yes, a real acoustic 3/4 bass would be highly desireable, but I fear my hands might find the action too high and the tension too strong.
    Many guys have both acoustic and electric upright set up exactly the same.

  22. #21

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    Have you tried a bass ukulele? Astonishingly jazzy sound, light touch and takes next to no space.

  23. #22

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    Yes, I did. Great fun for half an hour, and then...I got bored.

  24. #23

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    Rob, although I usually refrain from pumping another forum it's worth noting the dedicated EUB topic on the TalkBass.com double bass board.

    I owned and used a 41.5" EUB for a few years. It was great for ugly winters and outdoor gigs. For a while I used it for a rehearsal trio where the drummer played VDrums and the guitarist (who posts here) played a solid-body and it was tremendous how quietly we could play at high intensity.

    Ultimately the EUB is a different instrument from DB. It's not like L5 vs Strat. For me, if you want to play EUB play EUB. If you want to play DB, pay the cost and reap the benefits.

    I gave up convenience when I plight my troth to the DB long ago.

  25. #24

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    Cheers, Sam. I'm already a member, but haven't been there for years. I'll pay it a visit soon.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    For me, storage space at home isn’t so much the issue as ease of transport. A lot of players drive SUVs or hatchbacks, but experienced bass players seem to take pride in being able to stuff a full size (3/4) upright into anything bigger than a mini-Cooper. I’ve seem some amazing feats, but as a practical matter, I want to be able to get my bass in an out of a sedan without a lot of hassle. My upright takes some effort, but the Eminence isn’t much more complicated than packing a guitar.
    100%, couldn't agree more. I won't lie, I bought my car, a honda fit, mostly because it could easily accommodate my upright. I took my bass when I went to buy the car, and I can't imagine buying a car without testing out bass loading in and out.

  27. #26

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    I played classical double bass all through my teens and first two semesters at Berklee (summer and fall 1998). My principal instrument was bass and I played electric bass during semesters 3 and 4. I stopped playing upright in 2001, until I picked up a Harley Benton EUB 500 last year.

    The NS basses are nice, but have their own sound.

    You don’t need fret markers or side dots if using classical positions. Curved fingerboards allow for arco (use of a bow).

    The biggest hurdle for proper ”fretting” hand technique for those coming from guitar and bass guitar backgrounds is that the ring finger is not used for playing notes until up in thumb position. This means that only fingers 1, 2, and 4, are used. Finger 3 supports finger 4. There should be a half step between fingers 2 and 4 and a whole step between fingers 1 and 4. (Half step between fingers 1 and 2.)

    The position starting with the first finger on what would be the first fret is called half-position and the position starting from first finger on what would be the second fret is called 1st position. All subsequent positions are numbered in order from here on until the start of thumb position.

    If you want to transfer your fretless bass knowledge directly, then I suggest you hunt down a Zeta bass from early 2000’s. They’re hard to get but the closest thing to an upright experience for someone who might not want to go through the process of learning the classical positions. The Zetas can be played like an upright or like a bass guitar with a strap.

    On a side note, learning classical hand positioning will make one’s fretless playing even better. I tend to use classical left hand technique when playing bass guitar, but do so because I have small hands. I can’t do one finger per fret comfortably in first position on a standard bass guitar. So I apply double bass technique up to the 7th or 8th fret and then use one finger per fret from there up.

    EDIT: Closest thing to a real double bass in EUB format I have heard are the ones made by Yamaha. Silent upright basses that guys like Chris Minh Doky use. Way too expensive for me, but man I would love to own one.
    Last edited by dtfan4ever; 12-24-2019 at 05:21 AM.

  28. #27

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    ^ great quick overview of left hand fingering technique...always something i consider when trying to add upright inflection to horizontal electric bass playing...really two unique skill sets...but with a little thought can be made to sound closer!!

    cheers

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtfan4ever
    I played classical double bass.
    Thanks for all that. I was aware that the third finger is not used, and some play that way on an electric bass guitar as well, at least in the lowest positions. I have large hands, long fingers, and have no problem in first position on a bass guitar playing one finger per fret, but I anticipate that would not be possible on a db fingerboard. I have a long-scale fretless and a short-scale fretted Danelectro, which is the most fun to run around on.

    I'm no further forward in my quest to at least try out an upright, hoping to do so locally in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and will not purchase anything before doing so.

    One driving force stems from an experience at school when I was 13 years old. The only pupils who got music lessons were the ones whose parents could afford to buy an instrument. We were poor, and I was told there was no chance of any instrument coming my way. At one point I sneaked into the school's musical--instrument cupboard and tried to play melodies on the double bass. I was really digging the magical sound when the Head of Music burst into the room shouting at me, and then giving me six lashes of the leather belt, and was banned for life. How about that?! Fast forward twenty years and I sent the school a cutting from a newspaper where I had a Number 1 CD in the Scottish Classical Music Chart. I never got a response. Now I'm 60, I'd like to try a db before I stop breathing. By the way, that Head of Music was later jailed for abusing the boys...

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Thanks for all that. I was aware that the third finger is not used, and some play that way on an electric bass guitar as well, at least in the lowest positions. I have large hands, long fingers, and have no problem in first position on a bass guitar playing one finger per fret, but I anticipate that would not be possible on a db fingerboard. I have a long-scale fretless and a short-scale fretted Danelectro, which is the most fun to run around on.

    I'm no further forward in my quest to at least try out an upright, hoping to do so locally in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and will not purchase anything before doing so.

    One driving force stems from an experience at school when I was 13 years old. The only pupils who got music lessons were the ones whose parents could afford to buy an instrument. We were poor, and I was told there was no chance of any instrument coming my way. At one point I sneaked into the school's musical--instrument cupboard and tried to play melodies on the double bass. I was really digging the magical sound when the Head of Music burst into the room shouting at me, and then giving me six lashes of the leather belt, and was banned for life. How about that?! Fast forward twenty years and I sent the school a cutting from a newspaper where I had a Number 1 CD in the Scottish Classical Music Chart. I never got a response. Now I'm 60, I'd like to try a db before I stop breathing. By the way, that Head of Music was later jailed for abusing the boys...
    Sorry to hear about the abuse. That shouldn’t have happened you. I won’t go into it here, but I’ll just say #metoo.

    Hope you get to fulfill your dream. My oldest student (a decade ago) was 73. It is never too late Just keep on making choices that take you closer to accomplishing the goals you have. Happy holidays!

  31. #30

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    Rob:

    I have the 4 string version of this bass....after playing fretted/ fretless for 40 years decided to take the plunge...it’s taking work as it’s a totally different technique.

    Cant compare to an acoustic bass as I’ve never played one but the bass sounds great and can go from woody to growly (is that a word?) pretty easily via the piezo switch.

    I use a Mark Bass for my amp with two cabs...the 12 in sounds a little thin..the 15 in sounds great.

    hope this helps...good luck with your search.

  32. #31

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    Cheers. Growly is definitely in my dictionary, and if it isn't I'll ask my wife to put it in - she works for the Oxford English Dictionary

  33. #32

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    Hi Rob
    Regarding your question about the EUB. I play both the Double Bass and EUB--have done for many years.
    I think you will find that no EUB has that Double Bass sound--you can get close but for me the EUB will not have that full 'richness / ambiance ' of the Double bass. Whatever EUB you choose you will have that 'electric'ness' (If there is such a word!) there. I think I have the nearest EUB that gets close--that is the Eminence--due to that it is acoustically made.
    The EUB is completely a different proposition to the Bass Guitar.( About 50 years ago I played Bass Guitar.) Learn the Double Bass L/H fingering.--1 / 2 / 4.
    Given the choice I would much prefer the Double Bass but given the problem of space / portability choose a quality EUB--it takes up far less space.
    A few pointers: As you play guitar the EUB / Double Bass has the amp / strings equation--strings for the EUB / Double Bass are very expensive--guitar strings are relatively cheap---different amps / pickups all sound different. Like guitars all Bass strings have their own sound--'on it goes!'
    Whatever you decide to get have good Double Bass luthier set it up--well worth it--and get a good orchestral teacher.
    I would recommend visit the web sites 'Talkbass' and 'Basschat'---so helpful--anything you want to know about the Double Bass and EUB someone will have an answer to your question.

    Just to mention: Your web site is wonderful--so good--playing of the first order.

  34. #33

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    Many thanks, swingtoneman! I appreciate all you've said, and I've heard good things about the Eminence basses, though I can't find them in the UK. We do have theses, though: BSX Basses UK, EUB, Upright electric bass guitars, Allegro, USA, Hand made - Basses specialist Bass Direct - Acoustic, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Warwick, for sale, on offer which are similar. Either way, I might opt for something cheaper until I know what I'm getting myself into. Cheers.