Pickups for double bass

Here’s a video showing different kinds of double bass amplification options from. It’s in German but most of it is examples with pictures and not much talking. So if you don’t speak German don’t let that stop you from watching.

Some of the things to notice:

Different ways to amplify the double bass include:

  • microphones (on a stand, or attached like the DPA)
  • Piezo clipped somewhere near the bridge or even in the bridge
  • Contact microphones attached to the body or under the bridge
  • Magnetic pickups like on an electric bass guitar (but bigger)

Different locations to mount pickups to the bass include:

  • Clipped to the bridge
  • Under the feet of the bridge
  • Inside an adjustable bridge’s wheel mechanism
  • In the wings of the bridge
  • Drilled through the bridge
  • Attached to the bottom of the fingerboard
  • Attached to some part of the top of the bass

The video producer goes through a variety of styles with each of the amplification options. The “swing” option is good for a quick tour of the basic character of each system.

He also does a check for how it picks up other sounds around it (useful for considering feedback).

The arco test  double bass amplification starts around 6:30.

One final thing to consider is that in tests like this is that the bridge is loaded down quite heavily with all these different pickup mountings etc. So the instrument isn’t going to be performing at it’s best overall. This will probably slightly disadvantage the microphone and body-mounted options. In addition, the positioning of microphones and body mounts will have a strong impact on the character of the sound capture.

Still: useful to see these options and how they’re attached.