Is a piezo pickup the “secret” to the upright bass sound?

In a recent article we featured an Ibanez fretted/fretless hybrid where the fretless part of the bass has a piezo pickup. We also mentioned that we carry piezo bass bridges.

Is the piezo pickup the “secret” to the upright bass sound?

The best way to answer that is to say first that nothing sounds like a real upright bass. When you want that low, boomy-in-a-good-way sound, you need a big acoustic bass to do it with.

When attempting to get that sound out of an electric bass, yes it can be done, but it takes the right hardware to do it.

Below you will see  a video of the Veillette Paris model bass, which does have a convincing upright bass sound. But of course they used a proprietary “dovetail” wooden bridge along with specialized construction.

Could you get a sound like this on your fretless electric bass? You can – even on a plain solid-body – but it is suggested that in addition to the piezo bass bridge you use tapewound strings (although stainless steel flatwounds could be used), and learning basic upright playing techniques also helps out quite a bit.

If you are planning on installing a piezo bass bridge, you probably have questions about the electronics, some of which may specifically be around grounding. We can help. Ask us.

The sound of piezo

4 thoughts on “Is a piezo pickup the “secret” to the upright bass sound?

  1. Can you post a picture of the bottom of a Hipshot Piezo bridge on your website? I would like to know what, if any, special routing is required to accommodate the wires coming off the saddles. Also, is it available in a standard Fender 5 hole mount?

  2. No matter how hard everyone tries to get that upright sound, there’s no piezo that comes anywhere near. They all sound fake, thin and clickety i.m.h.o.
    I play a big acoustic fretless bass guitar for over 37 years and after lots & lots of experiments with muffled techniques, strings, piezos, etc… the closest I came to the upright sound is by combining Roundwound el. Bass strings (yes), a good magnetic pick-up in the sound hole under the strings and a microphone inside the body.
    The combination gives a warm full sound without all that click-clack sound of all piezzi I tried… no matter which preamps, nylon strings, etc. I tried over the years.
    My experience. Good luck.

  3. I’ve been searching for this answer. I found that using La Bella nylon wrapped strings will get you really close, or at the least get you that very fat vintage sound. JMO.

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