So who is using an Ebow?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by partytrain, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. partytrain

    partytrain Member

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    The Ebow is one of my favorite effects of all time. I have been using it for years. It opens up so many possibilities on the guitar. So my question is, why don't I hear it more often? I can really only think of a handful of bands who have used it on a regular basis. Who here on the gear page uses one?
     
  2. gtrplayer23

    gtrplayer23 Member

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    i had an ebow plus for a while but sold it for school books. Very cool effect with lots sounds. I know david gilmour used it in the studio and the guy from collective soul uses it.
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    I've been using one for years.

    Never go to a session without one, it's useful for a ton of stuff.
     
  4. pbhtrip

    pbhtrip Member

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    I love the Ebow! It's such a great recording tool. If you're interested you can check out a song that my band recently mixed that features lots of Ebow. Go to www.myspace.com/shimmersound

    It's the first song, "Just Out Of Reach". I think the song starts playing as soon as you go to the page. On that track there are no keyboards, it's all guitar. I laid down four different tracks with the Ebow, each with a different effect, playing through the whole song basically. The various tracks were used to taste in the final mix.

    I think you hear more Ebow on recordings than you know. Lots of people are using the Ebow to create cool textures in their recordings. I would like to use mine live, but I'm the only guitar player in our band and I'm singing, so it's hard for me to incorporate the Ebow in that setting. I can barely handle what I'm doing now. :eek:

    Peter
     
  5. Gril Grissom

    Gril Grissom Member

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    Ebow since i saw and heard Phil Keaggy in the 70's early 80's do some cool sounds, although he didn't reed an ebow to be amazing! hehe ;) Coolf effect!

    Gril
     
  6. Dr Rico

    Dr Rico Member

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    <raises hand in back of room>

    Why, I do.

    My "problem" with it is that it sounds synthetic. The goofy thing about THAT, is that I use synths and all manner of sound manglers in my work. Its just that I can't use it without channeling Tones On Tail or Big Country. Ya know?

    But its cool, in a quirky gee wizz 70s sorta way. I wish I could arpeggiate with it more smoothificatedly. But anywho..what was the question?
     
  7. MAZ

    MAZ Member

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    Yup Yup.

    The key to using an EBow well is to avoid that stock EBow sound... anytime I use one if I get that sound I put it away right away.

    Lots of EBow sounds will be used for just a little touch in a mix, methinks.
     
  8. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    There's a piece on one of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet CD's (w/Frith, Mark Stewart, Rene Lussier and Nick Didkovsky) where the four of them play this chorale-type stuff using four electric guitars with E-bows at the same time that gives me chills....
     
  9. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Any of you hardcore EBow experts have tips for newbies? I've had one for a year but have never really got the hang of it.
     
  10. 6789

    6789 Member

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  11. mustangman

    mustangman Member

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    i've always thought these things looked cool, but how exactly do they work?
     
  12. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    I have one, but really just use it for messin' around. I haven't really taken the time to really figure it out.
     
  13. CallmeJT

    CallmeJT Member

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    I've used an EBow for years as well, a chrome one, then black and now the gray Ebow Plus with the additional high harmonic mode (fun to switch between modes on a single note).

    The EBow site highlights recorded examples, but one fine example not mentioned is Steve Howe's use of the EBow on acoustic guitar in the intro to "Awaken" from the Going for the One recording. The low volume Moog sounding tones in the intro are actually EBow on acoustic guitar.

    EBow on acoustic on a darkened stage or around a campfire is most satisfying. No one is expecting to hear sustained, woody clarinet / flute tones from the acoustic guitar in that setting.

    Dropping to DADGAD tuning, I've been able to generate both the flute tone as an intro to a Celtic tune as well as mute the strings with the heel of my Bow hand to produce sitar-like bridge buzz on a linear melody on the B string string (just don't hold the hand in that cramped position too long...). Use of a bottleneck and EBow on 12 string generates microtones for further unexpected acoustic guitar tones.

    Regarding technique on acoustic, I've found the sweet spot by aligning the drive channel over the B string (just rest it gently on the G and E strings) then slide the Bow from bridge toward the neck near the top half of the soundhole. You'll see the magnetic field grab the string and vibrate. I don't use a soundhole pickup, but that would affect the volume.

    Eager to hear others EBow techniques.
     
  14. D.G.

    D.G. Member

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    Use the neck pickup and roll the tone knob all the way down. Some ambient delay goes a long way as well. I usually stick to the B and G strings. Do NOT place the ebow directly over the pickup unless you want a lot of volume. Using a dirt pedal will smooth this out.
     
  15. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Long time E-bow user here, and my approach/experience is very similar to that of pbhtrip. I too am often the sole electric guitarist in some of my projects; and for live use, I find the transition between standard parts playing and setting up for the E-bow within a tune to be too time-consuming for practical application. For live, I occasionally break out the bow for atmospheric sections where I have time to properly set it up.

    With E-bow, I go to the neck pickup, and roll volume and tone knobs back to at least halfway. I always use a liberal dose of analog delay, and occasionally use a wah as a filter. For recording, I often use a compressor to tame the spikes a bit. I sometimes dink with arpeggiated figures and such, but have gotten the most mileage by weaving snakey lines from one string at a time.

    There are two tunes that feature E-bow on my pop rock band's record-in-progress, and there will likely be one more as well. For one tune, I wanted to ape the vibe of an analog polyphonic synth wash, as sitting low in the mix, underneath the rhythm guitars. I also wanted to grok the portamento function on old synths, for which I used a glass slide. I charted out harmony for three parts/tracks, to follow the movement of the chord changes. It can be tricky business to get three slide parts properly intonated; in addition, it's a trick to get the initial attack/fade in, and outs, for each line to merge properly; in retrospect, I'd have used a volume pedal for the ins and outs on each line. Nonethess, I was quite happy with the results, as it was a rare occasion when I'd managed to lay to media what I'd heard in my head.

    For the other tune, the last verse broke down in dynamics and had somewhat of an ethereal vibe... the first thing I heard was some sort of string section thing - problem being that I own no cellos! I wrote two parts, and played on the lower strings of a Danelectro baritone guitar, with its tone pot rolled completely off. As the highs were rolled back in, the Dano and E-bow took on the timbre of a really lousy sounding fuzzbox... however, with all the high end rolled off, it got spooky close to a cello vibe. The result, to my ear, was a highly organic sounding timbre, quite the opposite of the synthetic sound that Dr Rico mentioned (yes, I know that E-bow tone too!). I'll put it this way - I'm a total snob when it comes to keys, and even the very best sounding digital workstations often make my teeth hurt. If I can't get the "real deal", I'll choose to get these textures with a bow, over a digital synth, every single time. It can be a painstaking process, but is well worth the trouble, in my opinion.

    I don't use the device all the time, but an E-bow goes wherever myself, my amps, and my guitars go. I have an older black model, and two of the more recent grey units.
     
  16. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Actually that's one of my fave things to do with it!

    If you're using the neck pup there is a definite hot spot right above it, this is fun to play with, you can get those quick bow-like articulations, and sliding the eBow quickly over the pup gets some cool sounds too.

    Another one is to use the bridge pup and put eBow right over that, gives good screaming type noises, especially if you use the eBow as a slide too...

    I like using it on lap steel a lot.

    CallmeJT-good ears dude! I've been pointing out that acoustic eBow part on 'Awaken' to people for a while, most people find it hard to believe it's guitar until you demonstrate it.
     
  17. reachjkh

    reachjkh Member

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    Since I only play live and don't enjoy recording, it was a waste of money. Too much trouble for live use for me. I do think it's pretty cool though.

    I'm going to sell mine and buy another pedal kit.

    (mine is now in the emporium)
     
  18. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    I've had the same ebow since they first came out in the 70's. While I don't use it all the time, it is a very cool device and works well for various tones. I also like it on my acoustic guitar.

    Although I can ape some ( not all ) of the Ebows tones with a delay and volume pedal, the general fatness and harmonic content of the ebow is in a class by itself.

    Tim B pretty much nailed it as they way I use mine. Neck pup with the volume around 1/2 and the tone rolled back works for me. Running stereo with a modulated delay really fattens things up. Adding a volume pedal to the mix also adds to the tonal delights.

    I have not tried the newer ebows with the harmonic switch, but this old one does some pretty amazing tones.

    I love freaking people out with it. Most have never seen, let alone heard, such a thing and it never fails to elicit oohhs and ahhs and many questions.
     

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