View Full Version : ebow on an acoustic?
possible? i have one acoustic with a floating pickup and one with those sticky under the bridge pickups. one has regular strings and the other has the bronze acoustic whatever strings. can some combination of those factors make an ebow work as it would on and electric?
never used an ebow before so i'm curious. i think they are cool, but an acoustic might be better for the sounds i'm after- closer to actual stringed instruments. or maybe i'm wrong. how would i know, i've never used one. :)
12-12-2011, 02:42 AM
Served with an extra side of fruity.
ok, after some informative and mostly distracting youtube-ing, (which i probably should have done first, instead of a forum search here) it seems that it can be done, but only very badly, and on unwound strings. but electric guys can do it on all the strings, so i guess there's my answer.
this is closer to what i'm after-
since i have a hollowbody as well, maybe this could work. but the acoustics have to sound better, right? i like the way the chords sounded, but is there a way to keep the feedback down on single note stuff? maybe some flatwounds would be in order here. i want to increase the fretless/bowed type sound. i keep hearing these guys playing just one or two stings on the acoustic and get this ugly metallic clang. is that an action/fret/thin string issue or an ebow thing?
edit-i saw that video and was as displeased as you were, but it was mainly the music
I can get an Ebow to work on an acoustic even with no pickups but it takes time. The Ebow takes awhile to generate steam on the acoustic strings and that makes really quick arpegiated lines like the video above, really difficult/impossible. If you're looking for pad like textures it can be done with single notes on an acoustic. My personal favorite is using a slide with it and creating Theremin type tones on an acoustic.
And in regards to the clanging/metallic noises, the guy in the first videos "vibrato" isn't helping the situation, but you have to be really gentle over-all with the Ebow because it's relation to the strings can be compromised easily and make some disturbing noises in a time that supposed to be full of ambience. If you do too much vibrato the strings move back and forth and hit the edges of the Ebow. Also, if you push the Ebow too far towards the pickups, the string will make contact with the Ebow and produce that clanging sound.
Feedback? On an acoustic I don't think this would be an issue but it can easily get out of control on electric. Find the perfect relation in between the pickups and fiddle with volume, tone/knobs. A volume pedal also goes a long way with an Ebow.
are you using phosphor bronze strings are nickel strings? i suppose the bit about keeping strings out of contact with the ebow makes sense. i thought that odd metallic clang was amplified fret buzz or something.
by feedback i meant the harmonic overtones/whatever that happen about the 1:00 min mark in the video, when he does some single note stuff. is that just what the ebow does or can it be controlled? i guess a volume pedal can soften the attack and be a kind of foot ebow- that's clever. thanks.
12-12-2011, 08:22 PM
Bon Iver does a lot of this on For Emma Forever... it's a cool sound.
now that you mention it, that's more or less what the break in flume sounds like, too. with the little clanks and everything.
12-12-2011, 09:34 PM
I use it on acoustic, but just for single-string ambience with a delay pedal. No string hopping.
anyone else? guess i'll have to keep an eye on ebay and around here to see if one comes up at a decent price.
wouldn't you know it, there's info and youtube links on the ebow site. shows what i know.
12-14-2011, 08:39 AM
I've use an ebow on my Takamine for pads and swells during acoustic sets. Sounds very nice. I use phosphor bronze strings. I do not however like it on my Taylor. Just sounds weird and wrong to me compared to the other, don't know why.
12-14-2011, 08:39 AM
12-14-2011, 05:07 PM
i use one all the time. i jam with a buddy every so often during summer gigs. we do "with or without you." i use an ebow to drone a D during the verses. easy. no pickups required. it does take an extra few seconds to get the string to vibrate properly, but nothing really to worry about. but you do need to find that sweet spot.
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