Question about using an Ebow with electric guitar.

gene12586

Member
Hi there,

I've recently started using an Ebow with my electric guitar (Fender Strat) while also using effects pedals to get distortion and delay, etc. In the manual for Ebow and from what I've read online it seems that the Ebow is supposed to be used while the pickup selector switch on the neck pickup (the position highest up and closest to the fretboard; what the Ebow manual calls the "bass pickup"). However, when using it at this position it's not only harder to get a quality sound but also hard to get enough volume to the sound. When I put the pickup selector switch to the middle position however, then everything sounds great and more than enough volume. So several questions:
1) Is it safe for the guitar to have the pickup selector switch set to the middle position instead of the bridge pickup while playing the Ebow?
2) Why might I not be getting as good a sound when using the bridge pickup?

Thanks much,

G
 
Last edited:

Slouching Raymond

Active member
I think it is just down to the amount of energy the ebow can transmit to the strings. (That anwers question 2.)
You'll get more vibration at the neck pickup, because the strings are freer to move at that point.
There's nothing to worry about if you prefer to use the middle pickup, and it works for you.
You'll get something out of the bridge pickup, and if it were a humbucker you'd get more.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Yep - it's a sort of general suggestion. I'm not sure why you might think there is a danger? Two things happen - the most common is not a lot happens, and the other is occasional hums and buzzes, but if pickup 2 is yummy, don't use it, or if pickup 3 is thin and weedy, don't use that.

I've found that if you pick up a strange guitar (to you) then the bridge pickup responds quite differently to the amount of 'twang' you give the strings with a pick. Some picked gently hardy respond, others seem far more responsive. The string gauge and the tension are key factors - ebows have to work quite hard to excite the strings. No need to worry they'll damage anything - at worst you just get a nasty hum in certain positions, so if this happens on a certain guitar, you need to learn where not to use it.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Hi there,

I've recently started using an Ebow with my electric guitar (Fender Strat) while also using effects pedals to get distortion and delay, etc. In the manual for Ebow and from what I've read online it seems that the Ebow is supposed to be used while the pickup selector switch on the bridge pickup (the position highest up and closest to the fretboard). However, when using it at this position it's not only harder to get a quality sound but also hard to get enough volume to the sound. When I put the pickup selector switch to the middle position however, then everything sounds great and more than enough volume. So several questions:
1) Is it safe for the guitar to have the pickup selector switch set to the middle position instead of the bridge pickup while playing the Ebow?
2) Why might I not be getting as good a sound when using the bridge pickup?

Thanks much,

G
You've got it backwards, the bridge pickup is the one closest to the bridge, not the fretboard!
 

LazerBeakShiek

Well-known member
Yeah, the switch isnt reversed pattern...not usually.

You ever try the sustainiac? A device that provides infinite sustain, for padding guitar. I think it was Schecter or someone.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
I've always ignored the instructions and just experimented till I get the sound I like. The Ebow is a useful tool, but I probably use it unconventionally because I'm a disobedient knave.
 

gene12586

Member
I think it is just down to the amount of energy the ebow can transmit to the strings. (That anwers question 2.)
You'll get more vibration at the neck pickup, because the strings are freer to move at that point.
There's nothing to worry about if you prefer to use the middle pickup, and it works for you.
You'll get something out of the bridge pickup, and if it were a humbucker you'd get more.
Thank you!!
 

gene12586

Member
Yep - it's a sort of general suggestion. I'm not sure why you might think there is a danger? Two things happen - the most common is not a lot happens, and the other is occasional hums and buzzes, but if pickup 2 is yummy, don't use it, or if pickup 3 is thin and weedy, don't use that.

I've found that if you pick up a strange guitar (to you) then the bridge pickup responds quite differently to the amount of 'twang' you give the strings with a pick. Some picked gently hardy respond, others seem far more responsive. The string gauge and the tension are key factors - ebows have to work quite hard to excite the strings. No need to worry they'll damage anything - at worst you just get a nasty hum in certain positions, so if this happens on a certain guitar, you need to learn where not to use it.
Thanks!!
 

gene12586

Member
Yeah, the switch isnt reversed pattern...not usually.

You ever try the sustainiac? A device that provides infinite sustain, for padding guitar. I think it was Schecter or someone.
Thanks!
No never heard, but just watched a YouTube vid. Looks awesome!! But I think I'm a bit afraid of modifying my one guitar, so will probably stick with the ebow...
 

Farview

Well-known member
There is nothing you can do that will hurt either the e-bow or the guitar. Try it with all the pickups and anywhere on the string you want. You will learn more about what it can do by just experimenting. You will not hurt anything.
 
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gene12586

Member
There is nothing you can do that will hurt either the e-bow or the guitar. Try it with all the pickups and anywhere on the string you want. You will learn more about what it can do by just experimenting. You will not hurt anything.
Thank you!!
 
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