upright bass tone

nathan a

Senior member
I'm not planning a project, but someday I'd like to do a gecko bass. Recently I've been listening to a lot of albums with upright bass filling the low end, and I've been wondering what different paths you could take to get that sort of sound character from an electric.

Of course they're massively different, but there's got to be certain possible wood / pickup combos that would get you closer to that sound than others. Wondering if any of you had opinions on the matter (as if that's even a question).

I remember somebody, maybe Eric saying that a purpleheart neck made for this amazingly piano-like tone in a bass...
Hmm.  Upright tone.  How about starting with a hollow custom T.  Maybe black korina for a body wood.  Maple/rosewood neck.  Single coil P bass pickup or standard P pickup.  Definitely flatwounds and maybe a bit o' foam under the strings at the bridge.

Yes, purpleheart seems to have a very strong, deep and clear tone.

Okay, I think I have it figured out. Tell me how this sounds.

Maple / ebony fretless neck. Big acoustic maple body with a spruce top. Flatwound strings. Hell, who needs pickups?
Just out of curiousity, has anyone ever made an electric bass bridge with piezo/acoustic transducers?
My warmoth jazz bass has a really great "boing!!!" tone that is almost upright in nature. If it was fretless it would be even closer. But it's constructed nothing like anybody else has mentioned. It is solid Walnut with a Maple/rosewood neck with fender original pups and a gotoh 201 bridge. It is strung with 9050M Fender stainless flatwounds.
Excuse me if this is not obvious since I don't really consider myself a bass player, even though I do play for my own recordings in my home studio.  I think you can get an upright like thunk just by playing with your fingers (right hand) up close to (or over) the fingerboard.  I have an alder Fender Jazz Bass with a maple/rosewood neck and flatwounds.