4 Ways To Get An Upright Sound From Your Electric Bass

4 Ways To Get An Upright Sound From Your Electric Bass

How do you get this [electric bass shot] to
sound more like this? [upright bass shot] Hi, I’m Luke from Become A Bassist and in
this bass lesson, you’re going to get 4 super practical ways to get an upright bass
sound from your electric bass without changing your bass, your strings or any of your gear
at all. [Video Intro] Welcome to Become A Bassist where it’s all
about No-B.S. bass lessons designed to get you playing better bass, having more fun and
becoming the best bassist you can be and today, we’re talking about how to get an upright
sound from your electric. Now they might have the same function, but the sound of the electric
and the upright are very different. Check it out. Here’s a bunch of F’s on an upright
[plays] and the same thing from an electric [plays]. What’s the difference in sound? Two things I notice – first of all, the electric
has a lot more high end information – more treble basically. This is especially true
if you’re using roundwound strings – they’re really bright. And secondly the upright is
a lot more explosive. There’s this massive explosion of sound at the start of the note
and quick decay whereas the electric bass isn’t as explosive, but it has a very long
decay – a long tail. In fact, you can see it in the waveforms of each. Check this out.
The top one is an upright bass – big explosion, then a quick decay, and underneath, the electric
has that super long tail on it, right? So if you want to sound more like an upright
bass on your electric, you have to do 2 things. You have to darken up your sound and you have
to shorten up your notes – cut off that long tail that the electric has. And yes – you
can do both these things on your electric and without changing strings or basses or
anything about your existing gear. Just a few simple tweaks is all you need. The first thing you can do instantly, is make
a tiny change in your technique. Just pluck your notes closer to the neck – or even right
on the neck like this: CLOSE UP [plays] See how I’m right up on
the neck here? This is going to give you a darker sound than if you were plucking somewhere
in the middle here and definitely darker than if you plucked all the way towards your bridge.
Have a listen to the difference. [plays] At the bridge, in the middle and on the neck.
Which one sounds most like an upright bass? It’s the one on the neck, right? You don’t
hear upright basses with this kind of bite you get back on the bridge, right? Such a
small change in technique, but a big difference in sound. LONG SHOT Of course, the next thing you can
do is darken your sound up a little bit using the on-board electronics on your bass. If
it’s as simple as a tone knob for you, then try turning it down a little. CLOSE UP On this bass, I’ve got independent
bass and treble control, so I can simply turn the treble down a little [plays] until it
sounds roughly like I want it to. [plays] That sounds a bit better to me. Depending
on your electronics, this might take a bit of fiddling, but once you know how to get
the sound you want, you can use it for the rest of your life. LONG SHOT The next way to sound like an upright
on electric is to use a technique called palm muting. It’s where you’re semi-muting
the strings using this part of your hand. It looks like this CLOSE UP [plays] Doing this cuts that long
tail off the notes on an electric and makes it sound more like an upright. [plays] Hear
how the muting of the palm shortens up the notes? That’s exactly what you want. It
can take a bit of getting used to this technique. You have to pluck the strings at a different
angle, and sometimes use the thumb, but this does exactly what we need it to – makes notes
shorter. LONG SHOT The last thing I want to show you
is almost like cheating. It darkens up your sound, makes the notes thumpier and takes
away the really long sustain tail without ever needing to really change your technique.
So what’s the secret? Something like this little guy right here. This is just a simple
piece of semi-hard foam, and you don’t need much of it at all. CLOSE UP You need just enough that you can
slip it in between your strings and the body of your bass at the bridge. Have a listen
to what this does to the sound. [plays] Pretty cool, right? If you want a kind of jazz walking
sound [plays] you’ve got it right there without really needing to change technique
at all. This almost replaces what we were doing with the palm muting earlier except
you don’t have to change your technique at all. Have a listen to the difference. This is what
we started with [plays] and this is what we have now [plays] and this is what we were
going for [plays] It’s pretty good, right? Obviously if you’re playing electric bass,
it’s never going to sound 100% like an upright, but what we’ve done here is pretty solid. If you’re trying to get an upright sound,
then you might be trying to play some bluegrass, or acoustic music OR you’re trying to sound
more authentic in your jazz walking bass lines. And if THAT sounds like you, then you have
to check out my video 5 Plug-And-Play Walking Bass Line Formulas right here. These are walking
bass formulas that the absolute best bass players in the world use all the time, so
if you’re ready to take your walking game to the next level, I’ll see you in that

2 Replies to “4 Ways To Get An Upright Sound From Your Electric Bass”

  1. P-bass + flatwounds, totally rolled-off tone, playing close to the neck, and some folded up felt under the strings by the bridge. It gives me a mix of upright bass and 60's thump. To each his own–I'm sure the guys who like their high end shudder when they hear my muddy bass.

  2. Great tips. I also play with the side of my first finger like a double bass play often does. Not sure it makes much difference. Love the idea for home made string mute for that Carole Kaye sound! Agee that’s a brilliant dog.

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