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Thread: Emulating a bass guitar

  1. #26
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    1. I have read that the Ashbory is a "one trick pony".
    That's true I suppose, but it's a good tone for accompanying a wide range of music styles, especially traditional acoustic genres. Nothing too fancy required for that, and there's something to be said for bass players sticking to the role of a one trick pony. What it can't do are things you mostly hear in more aggressive rock and pop styles, like string popping, ultra-deep 5-string or 6-string tunings, etc. But do you really need that?

    2. I am in love with fifths-tuning and I don't want to change to fourths-tuning unless I absolutely have to. I know that people "say" that the Ashbory can be tuned in fifths. However, I haven't seen any reviews from people who actually play the Ashbory in fifths-tuning.
    Yeah, I'd want to hear from someone's actual experience before I'd believe it works as well in 5ths, since there is only one gauge of string set available. I can understand being in love with 5ths tuning coming from mandolin playing, but bass doesn't play melody. A 4ths tuning works really well for the basic root - 5th interval. If you learn to play bass in 4ths and get out of your mandolin comfort zone, it might might force you to play more like a bass and less like a melody instrument, which might be a good thing.

    3. It looks kind of silly.
    It does, but it will also look a little silly if you stick with the original idea of using a mandolin and processing. I wish they had an alternative body shape like a mini P-bass or something. But it is what it is. You can either embrace the weirdness and make it part of your performance style, or go a different route with a full-size electric bass or standup electric for a more conventional stage appearance.

  2. #27
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    Hi all,

    1. I have read that the Ashbory is a "one trick pony".

    Not sure what that means; if the one trick is playing bass guitar, then isn't that what you want? I don't use effects, so I don't know if the Ashbory works well with them or not -- whether you can get it to sound like a Fender P-Bass or a Rickenbacker or whatever. Mine sounds reminiscent of an acoustic bass, more boomy than cutting.

    2. I am in love with fifths-tuning and I don't want to change to fourths-tuning unless I absolutely have to. I know that people "say" that the Ashbory can be tuned in fifths. However, I haven't seen any reviews from people who actually play the Ashbory in fifths-tuning.

    Never tried mine in fifths tuning, so can't tell you. I would say that the silicone/rubber strings can be a bit prone to breakage if over-stretched, and they're fairly pricey. I broke a G string, and couldn't get a single-string replacement; finally complained to Fender, which is now the company selling Ashbories under the D'Armond nameplate, and they graciously sent me one that the service rep "found in his desk" or so he said. So if you're thinking GDAE instead of EADG, you'd better think twice.

    3. It looks kind of silly.

    Yeah, and don't we all. It is an odd shape, but I find that one of its charms rather than a drawback. And if you're playing an EM shaped like a Flying V or a Telecaster, you've no status to criticize the humpy little Ashbory.

    Can you dispel my concerns?

    Not really. It is what it is, and you have to either love it for itself, and live with its characteristics and limitations, or find another New Best Friend.
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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    Hi all,


    3. It looks kind of silly.

    Huda
    Can't get past the mental image of someone squatting with their mandolin standing up on the floor (a la upright bass style) thumping away on that little monster...
    Chuck

  4. #29
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    1. I have read that the Ashbory is a "one trick pony".
    The same could be said about upright bass or just about any acoustic instrument. This is an issue if you are (say) playing with electric guitars and want to be able to dratically change your instrument's timbre like they do, but if you're playing with acoustic or electroacoustic instruments then one trick is all you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    2. I am in love with fifths-tuning and I don't want to change to fourths-tuning unless I absolutely have to. I know that people "say" that the Ashbory can be tuned in fifths. However, I haven't seen any reviews from people who actually play the Ashbory in fifths-tuning.
    I felt that way before getting my Ashbory and went as far as finding a source for alternative gauges of silocon rubber cord so that I could try to tune it in fifths. However when I got my Ashbory I decided to try it in 4ths for a while and found that it works well like that so I'll be sticking with 4ths.

    The big change for me in learning bass has been learning to play bass lines instead of chords or melodies. I've never felt like I've changed tuning because I've been learning a different approach to playing anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huda View Post
    3. It looks kind of silly.
    You'll get used to it, and if you don't it's so small you can easily hide behind the guitar player.

    Patrick

  5. #30
    Registered User mando.player's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    4ths really does work well for riding the 1/5 train. I pulled most of my bass runs out of a Steve Kaufman flatpicking guitar book. There was a section that gave two bar runs based on the starting and ending chord.

    I'll play my ashbory once and awhile with my father in-law's BG band. The only comments I get are:
    - What is that?
    - Neat and/or Cool!

    Since no one is saying my playing sounds horrible I just keep my hands covered in talc and keep playing.
    Charlie Jones

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  6. #31

    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Just adding my 2 cents into this discussion:
    While I am mainly a mandolinist these days, I have been (and still am at times) a bass player. My main bass is a 6 string electric. I had never heard of the Ashbory until I came across this thread a few weeks ago. After some quick research, I went out and ordered one, which arrived last week. I am IN LOVE! I play in an acoustic duo (mandolin / guitar) and while a bass part would be useful on some of our music, I always resisted dragging it out due to size, etc. Now, with the Ashbory, that will all change. For under $300 bucks, I cant imagine finding a more useful musical instrument to fill the low frequency gap. Right now I run it straight into a Bose PAS with no effects, and it sounds great!
    As far as the tuning in fifths, It is possible in theory. The issue is the top G string, which is already right at its maximum tension, so going to, say ADGC (top down) might be a problem. However, you could drop that a whole step to GCFBb might work. The strings have a lot of leeway on the low side, thought the Bb might be a bit sloppy. I used my G as a D in an emergency fix the other day, and it worked fine.
    I know the desire to keep it simple by using one axe to do both, but having gone the route of adding the Ashbory, I can sure see the benefits.
    I am currently contemplating running the Ashbory through a loop pedal, so I could run a bass part the first time through a song, trigger the loop, then pick up the mando for the rest of the song...
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  7. #32
    Registered User Jim MacDaniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    I was going to offer another vote for the Ashbory -- but based upon Mr. McGann's first-hand experience, maybe you can get more utility out of an emando.
    "The problem with quotes on the internet, is everybody has one, and most of them are wrong."
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  8. #33

    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    I'd like to toss an idea into the pot.
    A regular topic amongst electric bassists is "how to make an electric bass guitar sound like an acoustic upright?" Being a long time bassist on both upright and electric I've gotten lots of comments over the years on how much my electric playing sounds like an upright. Maybe some folks have been happy buying gear that might help one instrument emulate another but I never really thought about doing that or even consciously tried....and lets face it, soloed in the mix and A/B'ed with an upright an electric bass sounds waaaaaay different no matter what you process it through. But because the upright was my first love and what I sweated blood to learn I think like an upright player and articulate like an upright player even on the little bass. Pulling off covering the bass parts with a mandolin is going to be a whole heck of a lot tougher but maybe this gives some food for thought.....(and an octave pedal is not likely to hurt.)
    jeff bonny

  9. #34
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Hi all,

    After much thought, I realized that I really needed an instrument with a longer scale length. The octave pedal brought the tone down, but it didn't sound as good as long, heavy strings naturally vibrating with long wavelengths and low frequencies.

    So what did I do?

    I built an electric upright washtub bass. Total cost: $15.

    It was easy and fun to build. For details, see Dennis Havlena and Tubtonia.

    The scale length is 30 inches (which is a relatively short scale length for a bass). Hopefully, my little mandolin fingers can handle it.

    I had to tune it in fourths (EADG from the bottom). Otherwise, the strings would break. However, I am banking on foldedpath's statement:

    I can understand being in love with 5ths tuning coming from mandolin playing, but bass doesn't play melody. A 4ths tuning works really well for the basic root - 5th interval. If you learn to play bass in 4ths and get out of your mandolin comfort zone, it might might force you to play more like a bass and less like a melody instrument, which might be a good thing.
    It sounds great. Now I just have to learn to play it!

  10. #35
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    <3. It looks kind of silly.

    Huda>

    Just tell people it's a bass mandolin.

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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    I"m a little late in this one and Yes I also play a Asbury Bass and I tuned it just like my Mandolin. 1 string (at the floor) Is a E not a tight G 2, A 3,D,an 4, g this is at lot looser than bass EADG most if the time the tight G is the one that breaks I use baby podder on the strings (smells good) a:nd play as if any Mandolin not Bass clef. The other day I was in the den playing walking bass runs and some other bass stuff and my wife came in to see what I had on the CD player with my bad health The weight and size really helps and I have played it thru a Wa Wa pedal ( as I also have my mandolin ) and with echo I sometimes play Bluegrass and now I"m studing Blues old southern slow Blues Best of luck and pkease let us know what you dicide and mayby a U tube copy thanks fred
    fred davis

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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    OK, I'm back.

    I tried to play in fourths. I really tried. But after playing in fifths, I just couldn't go back.

    There is something magical and intuitive about fifths playing.

    Bottom line: I retuned my washtub bass to fifths: CGDA (from the bottom).

    So now I have an electric upright washtub mandobass!

    For pictures, see my website: Yarkon

  13. #38
    Registered User man dough nollij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Sorry if I'm recovering old ground from this old thread, but why not make an electric mando-bass?

    From what I understand, the main problem with the MB was that it just didn't put out any volume. That surely wouldn't be a problem with amplification.


  14. #39
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    After finding that this thread was going on I was about to ask if he wanted me to build him a solid body mandobass. But I'm glad you found a much cheaper solution. Hooray for inginuity!
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

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  15. #40
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    After wearing a P bass for just a couple songs, I wanted a peg out the bottom to hold it up.

    there are already solid body stand-up style electric basses

    don't know if they offer a second peg to support them at an angle like fretted mando Bass offered..

    tweaking a guitar bass with a peg to support it would be a worthy project..
    writing about music
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  16. #41
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Yeah, but then the Fender Bass SWAT team would nab ya for sure!

    That would be like trying to use a mando as a bass. Now where have I heard of that being done?.......
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

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  17. #42
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by man dough nollij View Post
    Sorry if I'm recovering old ground from this old thread, but why not make an electric mando-bass? From what I understand, the main problem with the MB was that it just didn't put out any volume. That surely wouldn't be a problem with amplification.
    Wouldn't solve the 5ths/4ths controversy, though; mando-basses were tuned like "regular" basses, in 4ths, EADG. Of course, that's not mandatory, and an electric mando-bass tuned in 5ths could definitely be made.
    Allen Hopkins
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  18. #43
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Wouldn't solve the 5ths/4ths controversy, though; mando-basses were tuned like "regular" basses, in 4ths, EADG. Of course, that's not mandatory, and an electric mando-bass tuned in 5ths could definitely be made.
    Can you say "short scale"?
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

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  19. #44
    Different Text eadg145's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    After wearing a P bass for just a couple songs, I wanted a peg out the bottom to hold it up.
    there are already solid body stand-up style electric basses
    don't know if they offer a second peg to support them at an angle like fretted mando Bass offered..
    tweaking a guitar bass with a peg to support it would be a worthy project..
    I will never forgive the unknown first owner of my wonderful fretless P-bass who drilled a hole in the end of the instrument so he could stick a broomstick in it and try to play it like an upright. Oh, the HORROR! I suppose as a result I got a very attractive deal on an otherwise pristine instrument, but that hole just haunts me. Some day I will fill it with something wonderful and attractive.

    It's my own opinion, of course, but if you want an upright bass, get an upright bass. If not get a nice W I D E strap and enjoy your P-bass.

    cheers,

    David
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  20. #45
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    David,
    Gadzooks! Is a PBass thick enough to support a broom stick? The HORROR indeed!
    Thanks for the giggle.

    Daniel

  21. #46
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Emulating a bass guitar

    I know this thread is emando but I built an acoustic mandolin 2 octave below a regular mandolin with a 30" scale. I also saw a thread about tuning a gold tone banjo cello down to the same tuning. I would tink the same could be done with a short scale (like hofner) electric bass.
    Dave Schneider

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