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CoolBass

United States
209 posts
since 11/19/09

11/20/2009 07:45:48 Reply with Quote

What would be the best way to make my electric Fender Squire P-Bass Special sound more like an acoustic bass? Any tricks?

Thanks,

-cool

bluegrassyfz

United States
7 posts since 11/20/09

11/20/2009 10:06:11 Reply with Quote

There are several options in strings that may help. Others more knowledgeable in strings can help you there. I have found how you pick and where you pick the strings makes a difference. The closer to the tailpiece, the more electric sounding. Instead of picking with the tip of your fingers, assuming you don't use a pick, try picking with more of the side of your finger, or even your thumb. Anything that creates more skin contact to the strings give a more acoustic sound. Also you can dampen the sustain, which to me is one of the biggest difference between acoustic and electric, by weaving a cloth between the strings at the tailpiece. These are a few easy things I have done in the past that you could try.

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guitdawg

United States
12 posts since 11/20/09

11/20/2009 11:38:49 Reply with Quote

The trick I used on my electric bass is to use Flatwound strings, and roll the tone back. It is about as close to acoustic as I have found

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CoolBass

United States
209 posts since 11/19/09

11/21/2009 09:34:11 Reply with Quote

Thanks all! I'll try those suggestions.

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guitdawg

United States
12 posts since 11/20/09

11/21/2009 11:40:45 Reply with Quote

Another trick that works pretty well is to cut a piece of medium/ low density foam ( 1"X 1" X 4" +/- ) and stuff it under the strings directly in front of the bridge/saddle. This acts as a dampener, and emulates the sustain, or lack of, in the upright/DB sound.

You may want to be careful of the type of foam, and the absence of a pick guard. Certain plastics do bad things to certain finishes.

Try a few different dampeners with different amounts of force/dampening to tailor your tone.

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guitdawg

United States
12 posts since 11/20/09

11/21/2009 11:42:37 Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by guitdawg

Another trick that works pretty well is to cut a piece of medium/ low density foam ( 1"X 1" X 4" +/- ) and stuff it under the strings directly in front of the bridge/saddle. This acts as a dampener, and emulates the sustain, or lack of, in the upright/DB sound.

You may want to be careful of the type of foam, and the absence of a pick guard. Certain plastics do bad things to certain finishes.

Try a few different dampeners with different amounts of force/dampening to tailor your tone.



Woops! just noticed John beat me to it on the dampening....

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musicaljuice

United States
14 posts since 11/24/09

11/24/2009 05:31:33 Reply with Quote

I like that suggestion about weaving a piece of cloth in the string near the tailpiece. I have a Wav4 upright I use from time-to-time and I can dial it back, adjust the wave shape on my bass amp and so forth, but it still sounds a little electric. That cloth idea is pretty cool, gotta try it.

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Steve Haynie

United States
12 posts since 11/24/09

11/24/2009 05:53:52 Reply with Quote

Let me second the suggestion of rolling back the tone knob. You can also try using the side of your thumb to pick the strings to cut down on the attack. This worked when a friend asked me to play on a recording.

It also helps to listen to what you are playing and think about whether or not the type of bass lines you are playing sound appropriate for an upright bass.

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jazzeuph

United States
3 posts since 11/24/09

11/24/2009 06:57:56 View jazzeuph's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Kinda off-post, but for about $250 or less (eBay) an Ashbory bass (now sold by Fender) sounds about as close as you can get to a real upright. It is fretless and uses silicone rubber strings. Go to largesound.com has more info.

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CoolBass

United States
209 posts since 11/19/09

11/26/2009 12:20:39 Reply with Quote

That Ashbory is pretty neat. Thanks for the link.

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richbass

United States
9 posts since 11/30/09

11/30/2009 10:06:59 Reply with Quote

I have a Fender acoustic/electric resonator bass. (Yes they really made one but only sold it a couple of years ending in about 2003. It was Model FR51, a companion to Fenders 6-string resonator, Model 50CE.) I have a number of basses, but the Fender resonator comes as close as anything I've heard to an acoustic, upright bass sound. Of course, you need to have your amp settings right -- meaning set for as plain vanilla bass as possible. I use a 1963 vintage Fender Bassman or 1967 Ampeg, both of which produce good ol' fashioned, unsweetened bass sound. Played through such a rig, the Fender resonator sounds remarkably uprightish.

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Longstring

United States
8 posts since 11/20/09

12/04/2009 14:03:34 View Longstring's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I found the first step was to get flatwound strings. They are also easier on your fingers. Also sound the string with the side of your finger as you would on an upright. I turned down the amp also but didn't think to try cloth damping.

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guitdawg

United States
12 posts since 11/20/09

12/05/2009 08:59:03 Reply with Quote

Another string option is Tape Wound. They are mainly black tape (vinyl maybe.. I dunno) Even more thumpy than the steel flats. These might even be too dull.

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richbass

United States
9 posts since 11/30/09

12/08/2009 18:00:58 Reply with Quote

I have roundwounds on my electric/acoustic Fender resonator bass guitar. It came strung that way. On the one hand the rounds help the guitar project when it's played acoustically. On the other, I expect the rounds fight the acoustic sound when it's played electrically. I really like the uprightish sound of the guitar when amplified and I'm thinking of putting flatwounds or tapewounds on the guitar to enhance the thumpy acoustic sound. But I'm concerned that this will produce too muffled a sound when the guitar is played acoustically. Any thoughts on this? Are acoustic bass guitars so inherently low in volume that one must play them with roundwounds in order for there to be any sound projection?

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shadygrove

United States
8 posts since 11/30/09

12/09/2009 21:05:14 Reply with Quote

Richbass - You may do better than most ABG's with a resonator, but I didn't get enough volume to keep up with more than a guitar and quiet fiddle with my Takamine ABG even with roundwounds. More than one fiddle, a loud fiddle or a banjo would bury it.

Fixed that problem by getting an upright bass and only play the ABG plugged in now. Through the amp I hated the roundwounds... probably spoiled by the sound of the upright, but they sounded too boingy. I like it much more with flatwounds for both the sound and feel. You're right though that you will probably lose some acoustic volume with flats.

+1 to damping, playing with side of thumb, and rolling treble off the eq. to get a more UB sound. Something else that worked well for me is playing with a felt pick .

- Jeff

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sgtp3pp3r

United States
22 posts since 12/7/09

12/11/2009 21:56:43 Reply with Quote

I have a set of black tapewound strings (Carvin/LaBella) on my fretless bass. Definitely has more of an uprighty-sort-of sound than my other electric basses, which have stainless roundwounds on them. I haven't done it, but some kind of foam or cloth dampener would limit the sustain, thus imitating another key element of an upright bass's sound. Don't forget that Fender's early basses came stock with a foam dampener for the same reason - to reduce the sustain in an attempt to get them to sound more like an upright.

--Steve


Edited by - sgtp3pp3r on 12/11/2009 21:57:15

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kimmattis123

United States
5 posts since 12/18/09

02/06/2010 07:21:33 Reply with Quote

My old fender fretless has rotosound black wound tape strings. [they look like plastic] that really helps- but they are hard to find. And the old fender did come with a foam dampener in the tailpiece[ I took it off when I redid the bridge with a badass] but a piece of foam [you can find foam rubber for free or buy a cheap sponge] cut and placed under the strings at the bridge helps[just experiment] . Your own playing style helps too. You gotta slap it not pick it. Frank Zappa put contact [acoustic sytle like barcus berrys] on all of his guitars. I have one on my old danelectro under the bridge and wired into the guitar with the reg. pickup. and a vol. control pot. This gives you a really woody slap sound when you turn it on.

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Wildigree

United States
2 posts since 1/22/10

02/11/2010 18:04:32View Wildigree's MP3 Archive View Wildigree's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

GHS #3060 Black Nylon Tape Wound.......use them on my '81 P-Bass and on the Trinity River Acoustic/Electric I play....

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Kemo Sabe

United States
9 posts since 1/5/10

02/25/2010 14:53:29 View Kemo Sabe's Classified Ads View Kemo Sabe's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by jazzeuph

Kinda off-post, but for about $250 or less (eBay) an Ashbory bass (now sold by Fender) sounds about as close as you can get to a real upright. It is fretless and uses silicone rubber strings. Go to largesound.com has more info.



jazzeuph

That Ashbory is awesome. As I have said over on another Hangout (Banjo Hangout) - they ought to call that thing the 'Awesome Ashbory' - what an incredible sound from a little (18" neck I think) instrument! My friend has ordered one and will get it tomorrow - he has played elec bass for a lot of yrs and is looking forward to the Ashbory. I believe he will get over the learning curve on those strings in short order and will enjoy playing that instrument a lot - and I am looking forward to playing my banjo along with him. Thanks for your post!

Phil
BTW...and I know this is off-topic but you guys have a great resource here with the Bass Hangout. Eric Schlange has done another great creation with launching this Hangout... I am looking forward to the growth of the Bass Hangout!


Edited by - Kemo Sabe on 02/25/2010 15:12:17

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