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User reviews on Bowed Intrument products

Stagg EDB 3/4 (Stagg - EDB-3/4)

By MGR/Laklander, 30/11/2009
I've played bass professionally for 44 years. I currently play in a praise band in a local church and also do studio work. I favor rock but have played just about every style, even -- shame -- disco. Favorite players include Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Tony Levin, Chris Squire, Joe Osborn, Bob Glaub and Sting.

Stagg EDB 3/4 Electric Upright Bass; transparent yellow finish; 3/4 size (same as standard upright); 42' scale. Includes a headphone out 1/8' jack and a CD in 1/8' jack to allow practice long with recordings. Controls are volume and Sub-bass, which is a bass boost control. Piezo bridge pickup. Strings are standard 3/4 size upright strings. 1/4 output jack to amplifier. Solid maple body; neck might be some kind of composite -- it's hard to tell.

I purchased this instrument used from EBay in November 2009 to use in acoustic settings in my church band. I previously owned the NS Design WAV but sold it because I was not using it enough. Sure enough, not long after it sold, I found I'd need an EUB. Doh! I paid $399 with shipping and a fiberglass German bow was include in the price.

To me, the Stagg sounds more like a 'real' upright bass than the NS Design did. It's hard to describe, but it sounds 'woodier' and has more 'mwah' than the NS, even though it has a slab body. I like that the Stagg has a wire hip brace that allows you to hold the bass away from you while playing, and also that it has an endpin, which allows you to move while playing. There's also a plug-in wireframe for the treble side of the bass that allows someone used to playing upright a reference point for where to switch to 'thumb' position. Since I'm not really an upright player, this doesn't bother me because I don't use thumb position. But it is a selling point for many upright players looking to move to EUB. I also like the larger, open tuning gears as opposed to the NS closed. Gotoh bass guitar type tuners. (See my review of the NS here on MGR to see why I don't like Gotohs on an upright.)

The piezo pickup system is very sensitive and makes the entire body of the bass microphonic -- it picks up noises when anything hits the body -- a cord, a gnat, you name it. Stagg calls it 'noiseless,' and it may be electronically, but it picks up too many superfluous souunds. I attempted to alleviate this by putting thin foam under the legs of the bridge, which is where the pickup poles sit, but the effect is minimal. The endpin also rattles in some positions, which is picked up and sent to the amp. I had read that there are shielding issues with the control cavity, which is unshielded, but my bass is quiet. Maybe that has been improved over the years by Stagg.

The Stagg is solidly built and the finish is very good. All components seem to be of good quality. Since this bass was purchased used, I'm not sure what strings are on it or if they are stock strings, but they sound good. The bass comes with a padded gigbag and, under normal handling, should stand up well.

Even at a normal price -- they sell new for anywhere from $449 to $629 -- Stagg offers a decent quality for not a lot of money. Workmanship is not as good at the ND Design WAV, but the NS costs $300 to $500 more. If you're looking to experiment with upright or want to play EUB only occasionally, Stagg offers an affordable, good-sounding instrument.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
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Zeta Strados Crossover Bass (Zeta - Strados Crossover Bass 5 C)

By MGR/Golem, 26/01/2010
Natural finish, longer than most bass guitars but can squeeze into SOME gig bags but not all [nor even most ... ] It's not a rock/blues/pfunk ax in any typical sense. It's more of a trainer for orchestral and jazz players ... usually sold to schools, but I use it in the Diva Duo: vox, KB and bass.

I got it cheap from GC cuz they don't like to have weird or unusual axes in stock. The price is hard to pin down, but it were cheap enuf.

It has a 6' radius neck that can be played as a bass guitar or a 34' EUB, pizz or arco.

The piezo PU's are unusual and outstanding. Somehow the electronics manage to sound a very 'non-guitar' bass voice.

There is no fretted version available, nor any lefty version, cuz it's not a guitar. I am left handed and find it very pleasant to play. It balances very well on the strap, even tho it's really a 'converted' EUB.

If it had a 2+2 headstock instead of the 4 in line, it would fit in a much wider choice of gig bags and cases.

It has an exagerated angle to the butt end which makes it impossible to lean it against a wall and you hafta be careful how you set it into some guitar stands [neck hanger stand is no problem].

Nothing fancy at all, but very plain and solid. Weighs about the same as a Fender.

Wood varies with price, as there are different prices of Strados. Everything is properly finished and fits neatly. Mine is alder, with a rosewood FB on a maple neck. The FB is hugely thick.

The reason for this review is for someone who happens upon one of these as used, like I did. New, they are thousands of dollars and most players will not spend that on this uglee duckie. But under $1000 used, it's a cool ax. It is spozed to come with both an end pin and a 'bout mimic' for EUB style playing. It does not come with a bow.

I'm gonna rate it as a 4. I mentioned [above] some minor details that I would change, and I don't consider them personal preferences. Anyone would benefit by them, and they would not raise the cost, so therefore I cannot rate it a 5. But those details are about transporting it, and parking it during breaks, not about playing it. On the gig, between the breaks, it's most definitely a 5 !


This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
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Great low-end violin pickup (Shadow - SH SV1 Single Disc Violin Pickup)

By JeffTadashi, 21/06/2012
The Shadow SH SV1 is a single disc electrical pickup, designed to be used with a regular acoustic violin. The transducer disc in 12mm in diameter, and it is made of piezoelectric material, and creates electrical signals from vibrations. The disc is placed inside one of the slots in the bridge, and depending on your bridge, you may need to either file the bridge or insert a copper metal spacer (which comes with the pickup). This can be annoying, but I found the transducer disc to fit perfectly and tightly in my violin bridge, and it stays in place no matter where I place or move the instrument. It can also be removed without extreme force or any special tools.

The transducer disc is a little ugly and it seems to be a little too large, but it functions just fine. There is a short cable running from the transducer disc to the external connector, which is a 1/4" cable, similar to guitar cable. I do with the connector was an 1/8" connector, as the guitar cables tend to be very heavy, and they can pull on the cabling too much. The connector also comes with velcro and adhesive, which can be attached to the side of the violin. This is absolutely necessary, but I do hope the adhesive does not damage my violin. I've read and heard that the adhesive is safe on the violin material, however.

The sound from this relatively low-end pickup is surprisingly good: The EQ seems balanced, it's not too trebly, lots of warms, and sounds very realistic. I was expected much worse, seeing how acoustic guitar pickups can differ greatly from mic-ing the guitar. But the sound here really does sound like the instrument is being mic-ed, and the pickup picks up everything. In fact, at times it can be too sensitive, picking up various noises, bumps, and movements. The cable itself can make loud popping sounds when pressed or touched, so you have to be careful where that cable lays. The noise produced from touching the cable can be excessively loud as well.
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News Bowed Intrument

[Musikmesse] Pure Acoustic Skyinbow

Published on 03/21/12
Pure Acoustic has announced that it is to reintroduce the Skyinbow electric violin series at Frankfurt Musikmesse.

Yamaha SV-250 & SV-255

Published on 06/05/10

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