Acoustic bass for practice
Beginning bassist here. Currently I own a squire jag and I love it. But I'd also like an acoustic bass to practice on, because I have to cart my current bass back and forth a ton, plus it'd be cool to experiment with an acoustic. What's a cheap suggestion y'all have?
Ibanez SGBE 110
Just sold one, actually... totally fun bass. Thinner than the usual... concert body... decent pickup.
Check it out.
I have an Ibanez AEB 5. They are available new nearly everywhere for $200. It has a 32" scale.
I had a Skye acoustic bass, which can be found on Amazon for less than $100. Horrible neck, BUT you MIGHT find it adequate if you only play it at home. It's almost small enough to be a "couch" instrument. If you have any thoughts about playing it out, get something better. Something better would be any other acoustic bass guitar made.
+1 ibanez AEB5. It's cheap, and with a good setup sounds/plays pretty well as a couch or practice instrument. It's been my beater for a few years now and still let's me hammer out new material or plunk along to song on the computer without having to plug in.
Downsides are that playing it acoustically, it is near impossible to keep up with a guitar in terms of overall volume. Everyone can generally hear it but you can't project low tones.
Also the pickup is pretty sub par. In a pinch it would be ok to plug in but it's a giant no no to gig with.
Ditto on the Skye. I picked one up new and shipped for $64 on ebay. I had to change the strings, do some minor modding to the bridge to make it more playable, and had to reattach the internal pickup. Now it's actually fun to play, but I wouldn't gig it.
There are no acoustic bass guitars that can realistically keep volume with an acoustic guitar. Expect to plug it in if you play with anyone other than yourself. I'd only get one for the tone. I might suggest a cheap headphone amp like the Earwig if you just don't want to lug your amp back home for practicing.
I think the Michael Kelly Dragonfly line is decent for the price... The parts seem a tad cheap but tone is awesome. I haven't tried the ibanez everyone is recommending though.
I've got a Dean EAB that I got for the exact reason you mentioned. It's perfect for sitting around the house and plying/practicing without having to plug in. I like it so much for that application that I haven't even bothered to plug it in to see what it sounds like through an amp. I doubt I'll ever use it that way.
Never cared for the Ibanez acoustic basses (or Fender for that matter). I've owned three so far. A Takaminie Jasmine, a Michael Kelly Dragonfly (five string fretless), and my current acoustic bass, a Dean EABC.
I sold all but two (my Yamaha BB300 and my Schecter Diamond Series Elite 5 string) of the six basses I owned a few years ago when money got tight after my wife got laid off.
All three of those acoustic basses project well, play well, and sound amazing. To my ear, the Dean and the Michael Kelly sound the best. I have played each of my acoustic basses along side acoustic guitars, one of them an '81 Alverez Yari, with no problems being heard (not once plugged into an amp or other means of artificial amplification).
I love the cheapo Ibanez AEB10E that I picked up for $200. The preamp is worthless, but it has good playability, a nice tone, and enough volume to keep up with an acoustic guitar(A heavy hand, high action, and midrange dominant strings will get you there, the projected tone won't be "bassy" though).
I suggest you go play a bunch of ABGs and get whichever one sounds and plays the best to you, my cheapo Ibanez outperformed every other ABG I tried out(including other AEB10Es and other more expensive basses). The stock bronze strings were really bad IMO, but I strung it up with some Chromes and it sings.
Dean EAB (nice: a 5-string with 24 frets exists) or a Boulder Creek. Or a used Olympia OB3CE.
My $0.02: only buy an ABG if it's an instrument you want in its own right, not as a practice substitute for a solid-body. As others have said, there is no ABG - no cheap one, anyway - that can keep up with other instruments unamplified. You aren't helping yourself any on that front, you'll still need an amp. And with such a different body shape etc., it really has a very different feel than a solidbody, and I don't really think it's any improvement as a practice instrument at home than just practicing on your Squier jag unplugged. If you want the sound, feel, and overall "vibe" of an ABG, go for it - I have one, a Washburn AB10 (I also owned a fretless Michael Kelly Dragonfly, which was great - really rue the day I sold it). But don't bother with it just as a practice substitute for your Squier.
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