What’s a suitable EUB to play bowed?

I got a question from a reader asking:

I’m interested in building an electric upright bass myself, and whilst I’d predominantly be playing pizz I would also play a reasonable amount of arco. I’d just like to know what your experience of playing arco with this is like. So far as I’m aware getting a good arco sound is best acheived on an EUB with certain pickups – could you point me towards the correct types?

Does anyone have an opinion about bowing the EUB? Personally, I don’t really like bowing on my ebass. I miss the acoustic contact with the bass, although the instrument can be played with a bow. Perhaps it’s time to reinvestigate this…
What’s your opinion. Do you have a electric upright bass that really produces a beautiful sound when played with the bow? Or do you believe that there is no EUB suitable for bowed playing? Which kind of pickups work best? Do you need a hollow body? Leave your opinion below or use the AnswerGarden.

What’s a suitable EUB to be played arco (bowed?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

Biggest advantage of playing an acoustic upright

There is one major disadvantage of playing an electric upright people should be aware of. As the size of the instrument is smaller, the size of the gig bag is also reduced considerably. Now, this might actually seem an advantage, but the regular double bass gig bags are a continuous source of amusement in the life of double bass players and their fellow musicians. How? People have the tendency of ‘putting on’ those bags and making themselves disappear.
Happened to me three times now. And the third time it happened, I made a video with my phone, which is embedded here for your watching pleasure.

This time, Sietse performs a silly dance on the music of Ibo, during a rehearsal.
Eventually, the people in the gig bag are trapped inside the bag and have a hard time getting out of the thing. Ibo asks in Dutch: do you know what happens if someone puts a billiard ball in his mouth? Ah, the usual sillyness. But be warned: electric upright gig bags aren’t half as much fun!

Which strings to buy for your bass?

My basses are equipped with Thomastik Spirocore strings. Many bassists love these strings, and so do I. Luthier Lucas Suringar in the Netherlands suggested these many years ago, and it still seems a perfect match to me. But still, it’s possible, that there’s a better match for a bass, but how to find out which set sounds nice?

You could randomly buy some sets of strings, but if you know how expensive double bass strings are, that probably is gonna be a very costly trip through stringland. And it’s a lot of work too, winding strings till eternity (they have string winders for that, by the way). Probably the best thing to do, is to go to a bass luthier, tell him your needs and show your instrument…

But if you are just curious what the differences amongst strings are, there is a great resource. Hervé Jeanne offers a stringmatrix on his site: he plays the same tunes on fifteen sets of strings on the same bass!

Visit Hervé Jeanne’s stringmatrix

Which strings do you use?

Which double bass strings?… at AnswerGarden.ch.

A guide to the bowed electric instrument

One very important decision that has to be made before you can play an electric double bass is which bass to buy. This seems to be a no-brainer, but I find that many new players are amazed by the many models that are available on this planet and just do not know where to start. Do you choose between the three available models at your local shop, or is it better to look for expertise in another country?

Veronica Bresci of AlterEgo (based in Italy) sent me a document written by Alexander Hohenegge. Alexander describes several issues that are very relevant for making that one big decision. Click the link below to read the guide.

AlterEgo logo

Please note that I’m not affiliated in any way to AlterEgo. I do like their basses, they sound GOOD. The information seems usable for buyers in general and refers to very general motivational factors for buying a bass. Should you have comments how you made the decision or what is very important for you, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Some styling formatting and images have been added for the ease of the reader, the original document with the same content can be downloaded as PDF [download link].

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Questions about EUB feedback

There are several reasons why people decide to play an electric upright bass. Some have lots of children and do not have the space for a large doghouse bass in their crowded houses…Others have weak spines and refuse to carry heaps of wood on their backs. Taking a double bass with you in trans-continental flights costs as much as inviting your girlfriend for a trip (which is mostly more rewarding as she is able to walk, as opposed to the large block of wood that is waiting to be transported). Some think the sound of EUBs is more versatile and prefer the growl some basses offer. Taking your eighty-year old Hungarian bass to a hot dance club is also not favourable. The look of the wooden eub-sticks mostly appeals the audience.

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