“When I started, there were no amplifiers, and hardly any microphones. I mean, you just stood in the back of the band, and you never got to play over the microphone. The microphone was for the vocalist usually, or announcements—and once in a while a saxophone or a trumpet would go down there and play. So you had to be heard; you had to play with a lot of strength and dexterity.”
– Ray Brown**
Today, pickups and amplifier are widely available to double bass players. It's no problem anymore to compete with the band's volume level anymore. However, it's still a challenge to get a natural sound reproduction of your double bass.
Some double bass pickups are easy to test on your own bass - e. g. pickups that get mounted under the bridge foot. But other pickup models need alterations to the bridge or pickup to get mounted. In order to give our customers an idea of these pickup’s sound and character, we’ve installed them to our pickup testing bass, which is availble to our customers at our showroom.
For soundclips we've made with our pickup testing bass, please visit www.soundcloud.com/landomusic
Read my article on the evolution of double bass amlification, from the early days in the 1940ies until today, at my website www.doublebassguide.com.
The Realist acoustic transducer was designed by Ned Steinberger in collaboration with double bass luthier David Gage. It is endorsed by bassists like Christian McBride, George Mraz, John Patitucci, Peter Washington, Harvie S, Michael Moore and Ron Carter.
Ned Steinberger on the development of The Realist: “(...) The first is finding the right structure within and around the piezo crystal to respond optimally to the acoustic resonance of the instrument itself. This involves endless comparisons that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and we have David's sensitivity and patience to thank for the excellent result. We owe a debt also to the many fine players who were corralled into helping evaluate the various options. Second, placing the transducer under the foot of the bridge puts it exactly were the sound is transferred from the strings to the sound board. This is definitely where the action is, and the rich, powerful response, both pizzicato and bowed, testifies to this simple fact. The copper foil sandwich construction is the third key element in the system. It provides total shielding to eliminate hum from light fixtures and other electrical or radio interference. It is flexible enough to conform to the curve of the top of the instrument, so that the full pressure of the bridge is concentrated evenly onto the piezo surface (...)“
209 €* (incl. LANDO pickup clamp)
Because it is made of wood, the element will not have any chance of marking the top of the instrument on to which it is installed. Simple installation. No change to the instrument required.
Very transparent sound color, although texture is very slightly compressed. Less darker sound than the original Realist.
209 €* (incl. LANDO pickup clamp)
The newest member of the Realist family of pickups. The piezos are built into a U-shaped metal housing that slides between bridge and height adjuster screw. Very easy to install, if you already have adjusters on your bridge.
NEW: XL version for bridge adjusters that need a 10 mm slot (Moser MPM, wood adjuster screws)
219 €* (incl. LANDO pickup clamp)
This danish pickup was introduced by Jørgen Wilson in 1983. The sound is picked up by small cylinder shaped piezo elements with the size of 5 x 15 mm installed in holes (drilled into the bridge). The Wilson K4 was designed to be installed directly underneath the strings. The volume and sound of each string can be regulated individually by turning the elements.
The Wilson pickup is also available as single element (K1), which can be installed into the bridge's leg. Depending on its position, the element capture more of the strings' or the body's vibrations (see picture), and less of the string noise.
K1 model, price for single element, incl. mounting to existing bridge, excl. tools.
K4 (4 sensors), incl. mounting tools
K5 (5 sensors; 910,-€ / incl. mounting tools) also available.
The Full Circle pickups combines bridge height adjusters and pickup: four small piezo ceramics are built into a aluminium height adjuster wheel. Turning the screw not only adjusts the height of the bridge, but also gives you different sound colours.
We stock the SAE (inch) thread type model, which fits our Christopher and Eminence bridges.
329,- €* (incl. LANDO pickup clamp)
Also available: Christopher bridge blank (3/4), fits the inch-threaded Full Circle.
This pickup consists of a conical brass pin which is 4 cm long and as thick as a pencil. This pin is put into a conical hole drilled into the top end of the foot of the bridge. If you turn this brass pin in the bridge, you can adapt the sound to your instrument.
For installing the Bassbalsereit pickup, a special tool is needed (a conical reamer for cello pegs). The installation can be easily done by every luthier, or you can either bring in or send us the bridge, so we can install the pickup for you.
Bassbalsereit Standard – passive; works with most bassamps/preamps, no phantom power needed. Incl. LANDO pickup clamp
Göran Ehrlund from Sweden is a designer and manufacturer of high-end studio microphones. Their capsules don't have a round shape, but a patented triangular shape. This special triangular shape reduces unwanted resonances and is also used for the Ehrlund contact pickup. This contact pickup is mounted to the belly by means of three small balls of putty.
Most important for best results is to find the sweet spot on your instrument’s top (on my bass, it's over the bassbar, near the bridge foot – customers also report good results near the ƒ-holes). Once you’ve found this place for your individual instrument, the pickup can stay on the bass or can be detached after use. Besides for double bass, the pickup is suited for other instruments like guitar, cello or violin.
A preamp isn't needed for the Ehrlund pickup, but for best results, we recommend the Ehrlund preamp, which is voiced to match the Ehrlund pickup perfectly.
LANDO SPECIAL – Double Bass modification: The Ehrlund pickup comes with a cable of 1,40 m length and 1/4" male plug. We can shorten the cable for you and change the male plug to a Switchcraft 121 1/4" female jack for mounting the pickup to the double bass tailpiece. 11,– € surcharge, incl. LANDO pickup clamp
Also available: bundle price Ehrlund pickup + Ehrlund preamp:
The Prodipe BL21 is a budget-priced electret microphone that comes with a special double bass attachment. The rubber clip mounts to the string afterlengths; the mic’s flexible gooseneck allows you to place it near the bridge – at the very heart of the sound.
The ADX20iP has a uniformly controlled cardioid polar pattern, which provides excellent isolation and feedback control on stage with natural sound reproduction at very close distances. The ADX20iP is lightweight, compact and simple to use. Included with the ADX20iP is a gooseneck clip with spring tension for easy mounting to the instrument.
LANDO UPGRADE: We ship the Audix with our BassBall. This microphone mount can used instead of a gooseneck: just put it into the bridge arch (between bridge and top). Due to the ball shape, the capsule can point in any angle to the top. The distance from mike to top can also adjusted very easily. Use the included velcro to fasten the cable to the tailpiece, in order to avoid cable noise.
The BassBall: the easy way to mike a double bass!
The dpa d:vote 4099B is a unique clip microphone inheriting the sonic approach from the legendary DPA studio microphones to a new instrument microphone. The d:vote 4099B microphone and mounting system is meticulously designed and optimized for the double bass. This is to ensure the best possible mount and audio reinforcement is achieved when performing live. The d:vote 4099B attaches to the E and G string below the bridge and allows for microphone capsule placement in the sweet spot.
Representing years of research and development, the d:vote 4099 condenser microphones feature supercardioid polar patterns for superior gain-before-feedback. Fully capable of handling the double bass’s dynamic range and subtle details, these microphones live up to their pedigree with sound as accurate as DPA’s other world-class microphones.
Despite its tiny, discreet size and elegant, lightweight design, 4099B is extremely rugged. The versatile gooseneck provides stable and repeatable positioning. The mics can be easily unclipped and repositioned or moved to another instrument, while the mounting system is designed never to mar or scratch the finish of your instrument nor changing the sonic character of it.
The dpa d:vote 4099B microphone comes with mounting clip, case, XLR connector DAD6001 XLR (without roll-off). Upon request, the XLR connector DAD4099 XLR (with 80 Hz roll-off) is also available.
How to mic a double bass – more informations on dpa's website
The Vektor Kontramike pickup is a contact microphone. It gets installed between bridge and top, with the microphone capsule facing the top. By means of a screw, you can adjust the pickup to different instrument sizes, or reduce or increase the pressure on the microphone in order to adjust the sound.
The Vektor pickup runs on 9V phantom power. For use with 48V phantom power supplies, an adapter is available to protect the pickup from damage.
With the S.Phantom phantom power supply, you can use microphones (like e.g. the dpa4099) or pickups like the Bassbalsereit Aktiv/PStudio or Vektor with amps or powered speakers that don't have a phantom power supply.
The BBand pickups don't use piezo, but electret film for the sensors. Two transducers fit at the wing slots of the bridge, using non-adhesive cork shims. The third pickup is installed under the foot of the bridge’s bass side, using the string pressure on the bridge to hold it in place. The D1 system includes a simple and unobtrusive active preamp that is an all-in-one construction with the 1/4”output jack. Inside the preamp, there is a user mix control to set the balance between the bridge and the body sound. Originally, the jack attaches onto the two middle strings between the bridge and tailpiece.
The design of the Shadow pickups is already popular for decades. The transducers get mounted to the bridge wing slots. Every transducer element has two inversed piezo sensors, picking up the vibrations from the strings and the top. Compared to pickups that mounts under the bridge feet, bridge wing pickups sound more mid-rangy.
Shadow offers two models: the SH950 has two transducer elements (one for each bridge wing slot), the SH951 has just one transducer element that usually gets mounted to the bass side bridge wing.
LANDO UPGRADE: we replace the plastic jack + velcro fastener that the Shadow pickups come with by a high-quality Switchcraft jack plus Lando pickup clamp.
SH 951 (one transducer)
SH 950 (two transducer)
Shadow offers the SH951 bundled with the RB-Pro two-channel-preamp. See Preamp category!
The piezo pickup from Denmark mounts into the gap between the wing and the bass-side leg of the bridge and comes with high quality cable and 1/4" connector. The rubber strip allows to tighten the connector to the backside of the tailpiece and to mount/dismount the pickup in a matter of seconds. Dimensions: diameter 0.826"/21 mm - thickness 0.185"/4,7 mm.
The british company Headway, manufacturer of the popular EDB1 preamp, has developed a line of transducers for string instruments that has sensors embedded into a plastic band (or tube) which wraps around the instrument’s body. The Band also has the jack integrated, so mounting and taking off the whole pickup is done in seconds.
The Band is also available for violin, viola and cello on request.
With our pickup mounting clamp, the pickup’s jack is mounted (and detached) to the tailpiece in seconds. The clamp is made of black plastic and has virtually no weight. The washers of soft, rubber-like pastic prevent the clamp from buzzing and dampen the transmission of tailpice resonances to the pickup. Two versions available: besides the standard version for all 1/2" jacks (like used for Fishman, Wilson, Shadow, Underwood etc.), we also offer a larger size for XLR (ANS/Bassbalsereit, dpa).
This Switchcraft jack is used by the most double bass pickups manufacturers. It's very reliable and doesn't have any parts that may rattle or buzz. We bundle this jack with a piece of shrinking tube and our Lando pickup clamp for mounting to the double bass tailpiece.
* All prices incl. 19% VAT, excl. shipping.
** Ray Brown quote: Copyright © 1980, Les Tomkins. All Rights Reserved.