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.

Shimmer effect for double bass

Rx: You want to integrate some technology into your performance. In particular, you’re looking for a shimmer effect–sort of organ-like.

Pre-requisite: The Eventide Pitchfactor pedal, and an amplification system for your bass.

Trevor Robinson demos using this pedal to make some great, interesting sounds. Perhaps something for you to explore in improvisation or when you’re collaborating with a composer on something.

Mic tests on upright bass

Different mics have an impact on how your tone is captured, especially when it comes to the sound of the bow itself going across the strings. The location of mic placement also has a strong impact and is different for every instrument.

Here is a series of audio samples by ribbon mic manufacturer AEA of a variety of different mics set up and and recording bowed double bass. If you click through to an individual sample you can see how the mics are placed as well.

If you are doing your own recording, this kind of thing can be extremely important to how your tone and overall sound comes through. Experimentation will often yield some surprising results. Use samples such as this one as a starting point to get rolling quicker.


Because they recorded this arco bass playing in batches of four mics, there are different performances. But the melody is simple enough that the player can keep the performances pretty even–it’s close enough that you can hear some of the general differences in microphone character.

Amplification signal path for bass

Most performance technology involves amplification. Here is an overview to signal path –how sound goes from your mind to someone else’s mind by way of air, electrons, and moving speaker parts — for electrifying your bass.

Definition of the major parts of a bass amplification rig:

Amp: typically this means …