How to get
the best tone and response
An upright bass can be very
difficult to play. Set-up is one way to make it a little more
forgiving. Have your bass set up by a luthier, the fingerboard should be
planed correctly and your bass should not have any string buzz. You want
to make sure that your bridge sits on your basses belly perfectly (no gaps).
The sound post should be snug, but not too tight.
I've found that the best way
to fight feedback is a equalizer. Either, one built into your amp or a preamp
will work great. Usually the cause of feedback is a poorly fitted pickup, bad
EQ settings or simply too loud of an environment.
slappers have a sound post under both sides of the bridge to help fight
feedback. Other ways to fight feed back are wedge something in between
your tailpiece and you basses belly, put tape over your f holes, put foam in
your f holes, play at a lower stage volume and mic your amp, don't stand too
close to any speaker, squeeze your bass with your knees. For more
sugestions search the message
board for 'feedback'.
The action should
be fairly low to make the bass easy to play, but high enough to allow for the
string vibration. Your tone may be better with higher action as well, I
suggest finding that happy medium, with experimentation. I recommend an
adjustable bridge (especially if your action changes during the different
Measuring at the bottom of the fingerboard, my recommended heights for
G - 9mm
D - 9mm
|A - 9mm
E - 9mm
Or about a 1/4 to a 1/3 inch above the fingerboard for slap style rockabilly
Three of the most
popular pickups for slap bass are the Revolution SOLO, the Underwood and
K&K's Rockabilly model pickup.
As of 2005 I've been using
the Revolution SOLO pickup with great results. When in a big theatre I think it
sounds best to pick up the fingerboard noise with a mic. But for small clubs,
large venues and rehearsal it seems to be the best bang for the buck.
players recommend bass guitar pickups mounted on the end of your fingerboard,
but then you can only use steel strings. If you want to play real loud, this
may be a good option, but in my opinion, your bass will sound more like an
electric bass than an acoustic bass.
of rockabilly players use gut strings. If you want to use steel strings you should use an
Orchestral set, they are a little looser when tuned to E, and may save your
finger tips... Strings are heavily debated issue, depending on the tone
your after. Search the message
board for 'strings' and you'll have plenty of reading.
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