The Soundpost - Schertler Bass Pickup

This is the system that every string bass player has been waiting for – a true voiced pick up that allows for an increase in volume without feedback. Swiss-made, this lightweight moving coil mini contact transducer microphone, looking much like a micro-stethoscope, is attached to the top of the instrument underneath the bridge by means of a green adhesive putty. A short fine connecting cable then relays the signal to the jack socket, which fits easily between the A and D strings, incorporating a knurled ring phase reversion switch. Moving the knurled ring allows the player to shift the sonic wavelength from a high pressure zone, with its tendency to interference and feedback, to a low pressure zone while staying in the same position. On test, dialling into the low pressure zone failed to show up any problems standing right in front of the bass amp and speaker cab. The pick up additionally with the PRE A-111 pre-amp/mixer plugged into the return socket of the send and return loop of the amplifier. Adjusting the tone controls on the pre-amp offers a thinner as well as a rich bassy sound, while adjusting the resonance gives a dry, clear sound, all the way through to a rich boomy warm sound. Clearly this is the answer for small stages and where space is limited as well as for larger venues where higher volumes are required and there is a greater tendency towards feedback. But it’s also fine for studio work, as there is a "dry" out on the back of the pre-amp for going straight into the desk, which could also double as an output for a monitor. For more info go to www.thesoundpost.co.uk

Where slurring and “wide” chords can open up the sound palette to a degree that is next to impossible to achieve with the Acoustic Bass. Picking up the EDB for the first time makes you a little suspicious of the sounds that it might produce – it’s very glossy and “plasticy”. Tuning up however turns out to be a piece of cake, especially when compared to tuning an Acoustic Bass.

Although the lightweight machine heads weren’t necessarily to our taste. The neck of the EDB is deeper than a conventional acoustic bass and the nut is substantially wider, which at first might seem awkward but believe me, playing it in does help.

There is a headphone socket so as not to upset the neighbours, and an MP3 “in” connection, um? Down below, the pick up is built into an adjustable bridge to translate the sound waves through the volume and sub-bass controls. The balance however was poor, with the higher pitched strings – particularly the G – sounding thin, while the low E was full and round but with a tendency to boom especially with added sub-bass.

“Live” also takes on a totally different meaning. The whole instrument comes alive when it is plugged in – providing all sorts of sound combinations. Which further reinforces the difference between this instrument and its acoustic cousin. They may be strung with a set of similar strings and tuned to the same pitch, but that’s where the similarities end. Make no mistake, the EDB is its own instrument, with its own peculiarities and sonic palette and with a very individual take on the bass register. For more info go to www.emdmusic.com

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