LINGSMA

Electric Upright Bass

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Resonator block

resonator block

The resonator block is designed to get the authentic character of an acoustic bass into an eub. What, how, why…?

Stand

EUB stand Compared to the acoustic bass, the eub offers opportunities to redifine the ergonomic experience.

Neck angle adjustment

Neck angle adjustment

Yes, that’s a picture of crocodile. With a halter and bit. The article is still about neck angle adjustment though.

Endpin

endpin and lever

The endpin is traditional, and has its ergonomic benefits, so that’s why I added one. Although the traditional winged nut or screw knob is replaced by …

Hardware, Electronics And Materials

electric upright bassHere you can read which woods I’ve chosen, which strings and why, which electronics and why…
What is it, ‘carbon’, and why did I use it?

Flightcase

flightcase

The lightweight carbon-aramid flightcase has room for bass and stand…

Hardware, Electronics And Materials

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electric upright bass specifications

Slanted vs round fingerboard
Slanted vs round fingerboard

Fingerboard, slanted E-side:

Slanted E-side: the flat part under the lowest string. If you prefer a round fingerboard, no problem, no extra costs, just ask. Slanted is the default option.
Personally I do not find a slanted E side more difficult to play; the difference between slanted and round is a lot smaller than the difference between e-bass and acoustic bass; few bassplayers experience difficulties here.
The fingerboard is made out of ebony.


Thomastik Spirocore light

Strings: Thomastik Spirocore light, scale: 3/4 (± 105cm)

Thomastik Spirocore are among the most popular strings, and are suitable for pizzicato as well as arco.
I chose the light version because I find them simply easy to play. Heavy strings are usually chosen because of the higher volume you get when playing acoustic; a heavy string moves more mass to drive the topplate. Volume is no issue on an eub, volume-dynamics is, but you don’t need a heavy gauge for that.

string-attachment tailpiece eub
tailpiece, string attachment slots








The overall construction is designed towards, and tested with the Spirocore light strings that come standard with this eub. If you want another set of strings (heavier, another brand etc), you (probably*) can. Just ask.

*)Warning: Like with acoustic basses, too high a tension might lead to failure of the topplate, or in this case the resonatorblock. You might be able to prevent this by moving the ‘soundpost’ a bit towards the ‘suspension’, so the layers of the block do not bend as much under the tension. And, if you choose other strings, be sure you choose strings with a ball end, so they can be hooked into the tailpiece.


Slanted vs round fingerboard
Shadow 955 NFX. It actually has 2 pickups (just one depicted)

Preamp and pickups: Shadow 955 NFX

A lot of EUBs and e-bassguitars are designed so, that the body is as stiff as possible and the pickups and other electronics play an active and important role in tone /timbre shaping. These instruments can have a great sound.

Since my design is ‘a different beast’ because it evolves around capturing a specifically tuned vibration of wood into an electric signal, I looked for neutral electronics that would capture the woodvibrations as is, without electronics colouring the sound, and of course completely noiseless.

The latest generation of contact pickups are made out of so called piezofilm. These filmmaterials are thin and flexible foils that generate an electric current during stress changes /deformation.

The Shadow piezofilm pickups have a very effective noise shielding, you can tell they’ve payed much attention to this; the system really is noiseless. The preamp is straightforward, just one volume and one tone knob. Enough for its purpose.
Although I do like the long battery life, I would like an on-off switch; now you have to unplug each time after playing to save batterylife. But then again, practically all ‘on board’ preamps have this user-unfriendly feature…
…All this considered, I chose the Shadow.
 
 

birdseye maple plank
slight birdseye maple plank. The little spots are the ‘bird eyes’

Slight Birdseye Maple

Birdseye maple is wanted because of its figurative quality. It is however less predictible in terms of constructional strength, because of its irregular grain. This is why I opted for maple with a slight birdseye figuration, which I think is ‘best of both worlds’; an exclusive hardwood with predictable constructional strength.

Not all maple trees ‘produce’ birdseye figuration. The figuration is caused by trauma (damage due to barbed wire, animals, weather etc), which is followed by bacterial infections and hormonal deviations. And this causes abnormal growth patterns in form of little twigs growing all over the trunk of the tree. In other words, it is wood from a diseased tree. The little twigs are called ‘birdeyes’.
 


birdseye maple and carbon tube
birdseye maple and carbon tube

Tube: aluminum /Carbon

Carbon is a very common and versatile atom, which is the building block for many materials like diamonds, graphite (pencils), nanotubes… and it’s an ‘ingredient’ of organic tissues, plastics, fuels, steel … you name it.

The carbon used here, is in the pure form of a graphite fiber textile. And it’s ultra strong; about 4-5 times stronger than ‘regular’ constructional steel (355N/mm² vs 1600N/mm²).

The path of least resistance /impedance….
A principle of the design, is that the resonatorblock should resonate. I want the vibrational energy to dissipate in the tuned resonatorblock where I have control, the energy should be ‘used up’ by the resonatorblock, not by the other parts. And therefore the rest of the instrument has to be stiff and heavy, relatively to the resonatorblock.
As you look more closely, you see that the resonatorblock sort of ‘floats’ between the two tubes; the tubes and the resonatorblock are not connected, they do not touch.

The purpose of the carbon is to increase the stiffness of the aluminum tubes that join the heavy top and bottom part of the instrument. Too much flexibility of these tubes results in a very uncontrolable, blurry and dominant bass-‘boom’ (a loud sub-burst), which really isn’t a desirable quality; remember I want the energy to dissipate in the resonatorblock as much as possible, because there I have control to tune in the character that includes a balanced and voiced spring-like ‘boom’.
So, the carbon not only looks nice, it has a real purpose and function in tonecontrol.

Next to that, its strength provides the possibility to design the tubes a lot thinner than in other materials. Personally I like the flowing thin ‘shoulderline’, I think it gives the overall design a clear coherence and lightness.

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