The EBow or ebow (
brand namefor "Electronic Bow" or Energy Bow) (often spelled E-bow in common usage) [ [http://www.ebow.com/ebow/faq.htm#0130 The EBow FAQ ] ] is a hand-held, battery-powered electronic device for playing the electric guitar, invented by Greg Heet in 1969. Instead of having the strings hit by the fingers or a pick, they are moved by the electromagnetic field created by the device, producing a sound reminiscent of using a bow on the strings. [ [http://www.ebow.com/ebow/sounds.htm Sound clips of the EBow] ]
The EBow is used to produce a variety of sounds not usually playable on an electric guitar. By varying the EBow's linear position on the string, the user can produce different string overtones, and also fade in and out by lowering and raising the EBow. Furthermore, starting with the current generation of EBow (PlusEbow, the 4th edition Ebow), the user also gains an additional mode known as harmonic mode, which produces a higher harmonic sound instead of the fundamental note.
An early pioneer of EBow playing was Bill Nelson, who introduced it to
Stuart Adamsonof The Skids. Adamson went on to use it heavily with Big Country, and it formed an integral part of their well-known " bagpipesound". Guitarist Steve Hackettused the EBow to create the ethereal counter melody in " The Carpet Crawlers" from Genesis' 1974 concept album " The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway." Mick Ronsonused an EBow at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concertplaying the song "Heroes" live on stage with David Bowieand the surviving members of Queen. Blondie, Tom Pettyand Blue Öyster Cultwere also early users. The EBow has also been a familiar element in the sound palette of guitarist Phil Keaggysince the early 1980s. Béla Fleckhas used one on an acoustic banjo in concert, also creating a bagpipe like sound. The 80's band A Flock Of Seagullsused the EBow in three songs off of their 1983 album [Listen] in the songs Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You), The Fall and briefly in the song Nightmares. The Smashing Pumpkinsuse one in the song, Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans, off Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and also throughout much of the following album, Adore. Australian band The Church make extensive use of the EBow and featured an EBow solo in their 1988 hit single " Under the Milky Way." The sound of Robin Guthrieof the band Cocteau Twinsis partly derived via the EBow and a host of effects pedals. Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle has been known to use an EBow to replace synthesizer parts with guitar as he did on the 2000 album Mer de Noms, where he had stated that almost no synthesizers were used on the entire album.
One sometime user of the EBow is
The Edgeof U2. In the documentary, "U2: Unforgettable Fire", he and producer Brian Enocan be seen using the EBow during the recording sessions for the band's " The Unforgettable Fire" album. In live performances during the 1980's and the mid-1990's, when playing their #1 hit single " With or Without You", Edge used an EBow to create the song's distinctive intro. However, in the original recording of the song, which is on their 1987 album, " The Joshua Tree", Edge uses an extremely rare Infinite guitarrather than an EBow. (This instrument can be seen in the song's video as well as the video for " Night and Day"). Edge has also attained the sustain effect by using a Fernandes guitar with a patented "Sustainer pickup". This guitar can be seen in U2's "" video.
On the album "
(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" Noel Gallagher of Oasis is listed as playing "lead guitar, vocals, piano, mellotron, (and) E-bow." An E-Bow is used by R.E.M.guitarist Peter Buckin many of their songs, most notably on their album " New Adventures in Hi-Fi" and featuring in the song titled "E-bow The Letter". The Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rósuses the E-bow in their song "Untitled 6," which is nicknamed "E-bow." Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien uses an EBow on the song "My Iron Lung" and the Scotch Mist Webcast version of "All I need" Just to name a few.
While the EBow is not normally used with the electric bass guitar, which has heavier strings,
Michael Manring(who uses light bass strings) has persevered, and it features heavily on his 1995 album "Thönk". He has even been known to use two at once. Steve Willettof Strange Boutiquehelped pioneer the use of bass EBow in the 80s post-punk goth scene.
Although the EBow is most commonly played on the
electric guitarbecause of the ease of use and the responsiveness obtainable from the pickup, it has also been used in applications with the steel-string acoustic guitar. For example, Pink Floydguitarist David Gilmourused one on his Gibson J-200acoustic in the 1994 song " Take It Back" to great effect. Generally an acoustic guitar gives a limited response for varying reasons, including the density and spacing of the guitar strings. But despite these limitations, using an EBow on an acoustic guitar gives a rich, fluteand clarinet-like tone with a slow-swelling response.
In the song
The Drapery Fallsby Opeththe EBow is used during the verse and intro riffs.
In 2007, the E-bow was featured very prominently in the soundtrack for Ken Burn's documentary, "The War". Doug Wamble performed a haunting slide guitar solo in the piece "Movin' Back", which was a mix of harmonic and primary tone E-bow soloing on an acoustic with a magnetic pickup.
Also in 2007,
Brad Delson, lead guitarist for Linkin Park, experimented with an E-bow in a song he inventively called "E-bow Idea", which would later become "No More Sorrow".
Besides its appearance in Rock and Jazz music, the E-Bow also made its way in the domain of contemporary art music, being used by
John Cagein his harp piece "A Postcard from Heaven" (1982), Karlheinz Esslin [http://www.essl.at/works/sequitur.html Sequitur VIII] (2008) for electric guitar and live-electronics, Elliot Sharpon SFERICS (1996), Arnold Dreyblattin "E-Bow Blues" (released 1998) and David Firstin "A Bet on Transcendence Favors the House" (2008).
TexasBob Juarez guitarist for Domino Records Psychedelic Punk group
Television Personalitiesalso heavily incorporates the E-Bow Plus during Live Performances.reflist
* [http://www.ebow.com/ EBow website]
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