4 string acoustic bass-guitar players: What are you using for amplification?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by PJ Muzikmansky, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Hi everyone.

    I've been offered a gig in a gypsy-jazz band, but alas, don't play upright. In lieu of this, the guy who offered me the gig is quite willing to have me play an acoustic bass-guitar, so I've begun to seriously look into purchasing one. After much research, I've settled on the Martin BCPA 4. Quite excited about it actually !

    I'm wondering what I might use by way of amplification for the instrument, given I'd want to retain as much of it's acoustic quality as possible without colouring the sound too much. I currently use a Markbass CMD 121 H for jazz gigs on electric, but want something a little smaller.

    Any suggestions ?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
    Peter Torning likes this.
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics

    Usual suspects that I've actually tried, alphabetically: Acme, Acoustic Image, AccuGroove, Audiokinesis, Euphonic Audio, and Greenboy Audio, for starters. Not all of those will be smaller than what you have now though, and not all are combo format.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  3. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    Isn't there a Fender with 2x8s?
  4. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    Think full range and clean. A preamp and powered PA Speaker would be one thought.
    Passinwind had other good choices.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I can think of lots more, but it depends a lot on what the band lineup is and what size venues will be in play.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    I use the same gear I use for my other basses. Sounds fine to me.

    Disclosure: my ABG is a Rick Turner RB4FL which, BTW, would look perfect for your Gypsy jazz band! :thumbsup: Too bad you already got the Martin, not that it is a bad bass, just doesn't have that Selmer kind of look, not to mention the Rick Turner is easy as cake (2010: The Year We Make Contact reference :)-great film!!!) to amplify.

    Jeff_RT Bass_800_25.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
    waltdogg likes this.
  7. BazzTard

    BazzTard Inactive

    All I want to add is that Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze strings doubled my volume acoustically.
  8. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Too clean of a rig and your ABG can sound sterile in the mix. You want an upright type sound you need the possibility of some coloration.

    DR phosphor bronze are the least brash tuneful strings I've found.

    You may find that Tape Wound strings give you the most authentic tone.

    Often the built in pre exacerbates all the wrong frequencies. I'd bypass the pre install a pair they come as a pair, K & K pickups just substitute the end pin jack leave everything else wired up, plug in and you have the wood sound of your bass. The Fishman piezo thing can sound like the bridge alone. Then adding and subtracting eq on a meh sound isn't great. Notice that in many Ü tube videos their are one if not two studio mics.

    You are asking an ABG to sound like an upright. For many that's a stretch. My experience with ABGs showed me that ones with solid woods not laminations sound the best. Some makers have accomplished a beautiful thing, but it sounds like a great ABG.

    You are going to have feedback issues if their is any volume above coffee house level. My recommendation is blunt. Get an upright or the Turner is a very good idea. It's tone comes from it's body without any feedback issues. You need a strong nearly solid instrument, or chambered, to use the strings that can deliver the tone you want at volume.

    The reissue Washburns with the volume, treble and bass knobs and the slanted sound hole could be a good choice. Since the originals are hard to find this might be a good choice. The AB-40. The originals were designed to be played in amplified situations.

    In all this I'm assuming you're gigging with horns, PA etc. One look at that floor monitor and that round sound holed ABG will start a howling. The frequencies you need to play bass will bring on the feedback. This is why Leo and others invented the EB. If it wasn't about image I'd tell you to get a Fender '51 reissue P, slap some flats on it or even with rounds, play with the side of your index finger and you will be shocked. Leo knew what he was doing! It sounds like an upright. There are several bassists on this forum who know and do this.

    Basses like the Turner, Washburn etc. sound great through regular bass rigs.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
    instrumentalist likes this.
  9. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have the Martin and I love it you notice the quality as soon as you open the case. It actually sounds good with anything I use the BBE Acoustimax it really helps with feedback it also has a great DI and effects loop.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    So many unknowns. If it's new school Gypsy he may want that tic-tac slappy thing rather than a trad thumpy AUB tone, which an ABG might be really cool for.
  11. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have also had great luck with these and as much as I love the Turners it didn't have the sound I was looking for.

  12. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Martin Keith Guitars
    I found that my Ebay-acquired Aphex bass Exciter really helped me to bottom out the tone and negate the piezo clickiness of my Thunderchief. Also, I'd look at what strings to put on and if it is Djangostyle gypsy music, I'd probably pit on my old tapewounds.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  13. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    DPA 4099 (with appropriate mount), and Acoustic Image Ten2

    Passinwind likes this.
  14. raventepes


    Jan 7, 2012
    Reno, NV
    I like the sound I get from Laney with acoustic bass. It's clean and gives a tight, boomy tone.

    Now, having said that, one thing I would also suggest is stringing the bass itself with either flats or nylons (think Pyramid Gold, or RS Tru Bass 88, respectively), rather than traditional phosphor bronze. They both give an amazing tone when strung on an acoustic.
  15. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Hypocognitive

    Apr 23, 2014
  16. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    If you want it to sound like an upright consider a U-Bass
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  17. MDM


    May 9, 2008
    Annapolis, MD
    I use a MarkBass MiniMark 2x8 with my Citron AE Swallow.
  18. Chris Grzesik

    Chris Grzesik

    May 19, 2009
    Storrs CT
    I am surprised no one has offered the Gallien-Krueger MB150S-112III 150W MicroBass Combo Amp. A lot of upright players use it, it is extremely small and light, and has a good powerful punch.
    Winoman likes this.
  19. Chadds: thanks for the tips on sound, and the good advice. Much appreciated. However, I don't want to get an upright just for this gig (cost; issues with carting it around etc), or use an electric bass, otherwise I'd just use my stingray fretless, which has a piezo pickup in the bridge and does a very good approximation of an upright. Electric bass is not what the band leader wants. This will not be a high volume gig and there will definitely not be any horns: three gypsy jazz guitars, a clarinet and myself. I just need a small amount of amplification to project the sound of the bass a little above unamplified level, that's all.

    Ps. Everyone-thanks for your input. This music is very Django-esque and I'll probably be putting TI jazz flats on the bass
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  20. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I have an older Washburn AB20 with the slanted sound hole. They are feedback prone also.