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Acoustic Bass Advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MrBassman17, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. I had a Dean EAB 4 string acoustic bass with the phosphor bronze strings and it just barley was able to hold its own with an acoustic banjo. I sold it and purchased an Engelhard upright DB. Much better for acoustic playing. :cool:
  2. bebass

    bebass Sho Me Music Commercial User

    Sep 3, 2006
    Bolivar, Missouri
    ShoMeMusic.com; Authorized dealer for Bergantino, Dingwall, Darkglass, Genzler, Phil Jones Bass, Quilter, Blackstar, Cort, Traynor, and other
    Those look nice!

    I own an acoustic bass, inexpensive but good build quality, but personally I have never heard one where I thought it sounds anything like an upright. I like it because it sounds great for sitting on the couch and writing songs or just messing around. At one point in my career I tried using them on stage but decided that I would rather play a solidbody on stage. But for what I use mine for I absolutely love it.
    GrooverMcTube likes this.
  3. It's a pretty bass. I think the volume/tone controls are cool. Sweetwater has them in stock. Buy it and return it if it ain't your cup of tea.

    It's a 30.5" scale, so don't expect it to sound like a db. It never ever will. It will never ever produce enough volume to play in any ensemble without amplification. That said, I have had an abg for nearly 25 years and they are fun to practice and compose on.

    For me, $1k is high for a practice instrument, especially when a similar but much less cool looking one can be had for much cheaper. Now that I think about it, $1k is crazy expensive for a Chinese acoustic.
  4. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    These days when I need an upright bass tone, I use a fretless Dean acoustic with an old set of Black Diamond flats on it. It's not 100%, but close enough to fool the casual listener. I haven't gotten many jazz gigs with it, though. Must be all the stickers...
  5. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    I bought an inexpensive acoustic bass guitar to see if I liked playing in a group setting it was designed to accommodate. I found I really enjoyed such a setting, and set out looking for a nice bass. After trying out a number of them I settled on a Martin. I then found the tone of the Martin was improved considerably with a set of Thomaski-Infeld Acousticore strings. They're bronze wound but have a nylon core. The tone is far mellower with less phosphor-bronze zing; the tone fits in the mix much better with acoustic guitars. They're a bit odd in that they tend to roll under your fingers when played finger style, but you'll get used to it. By roll I mean they flex in the in a circular motion mimicking the winding rather than either horizontally or along the length of the string.
    Edmang likes this.
  6. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I have a Mike Kelley Dragonfly V fretless that I use. It has tape wounds and I use a foam mute just in front of the bridge. The EQ is mostly lows on the bass and I pluck it like you do an upright with the side of my index finger supported by my middle finger. It also helps to pull the volume on the amp down and use a hard attack to get the percussive sound of the upright. As I said originally, it isn't perfect, but it's good enough for live stage work. Right now I'm only using it on one tune, Stray Cat Strut, and it works well for that. As we are developing the song list, I'm sure I'll add more songs. Who wants to schlep another instrument along for 1 song?
    BassManKK, macmanlou and mrcbass like this.
  7. Looked and played one of the EPIs in the Sam Ash today. Found the black tape wound strings sounding very dark. Darker than my La Bella tape wound copper whites I put on my Dean. Overall I found it to be much quieter than my Dean.
    As for your B string issue, I experienced a lot of issues and buzzing on the B and E strings when I first got my Dean. Eventually I changed the nut and it all cleared up. I found the previous owner had done some nut filling and repairs to it after I had removed the old one. Those bronze strings suggested by the manufacture go dull very quick and do not retain any brightness like these La Bellas over time.
  8. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Here's the "company demo" of the Breedlove fretless from a few years ago. The back and sides of the latest models are rosewood instead of mahogany, so it's possible that they might be a bit louder than the older ones. I use TI flats on mine, which give me a little less finger noise than the stock Chromes.

    AztecViking likes this.
  9. +1 to the Kala UBass suggestion. Closest I've found to an upright sound- but the scale length takes a bit to get used to... and I look silly playing it... but it sounds good....
    I used to have a Guild Acoustic Bass- Jumbo body, not upright-y at all. It was the loudest 'acoustic guitar-like' bass I could find- but it wasn't loud enough for much but solo practice without an amp. Lots of folks used to talk about the Rob Allen mouse as a "close as you can get" for an upright vibe too. IMO/IME- I would count on needing an amp to keep up with anything but a very quiet acoustic guitar.....
    Edmang likes this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Gold Tone is doing a small 25” scale bass called the Microbass (in acoustic and solidbody versions) that can be strung with either the usual rubberband type poly strings - or a metal set called Silverbacks they had designed for this bass by LaBella that gets a pretty good upright-ish sorta sound. I liked it so much that I’m now thinking about getting one.

    DaveKirkpatrick likes this.
  11. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    I'll chime in here with my 2 cents. I play upright, 4-string fretted, and 4-string electric. I've tried many different ways to get to the urb sound. In my experience, the acoustic basses didn't really cut it for me. No real advantage to the acoustic body since they're not loud enough to use without an amp, like an urb is. The Epi sounds to me more like a fretless jazz than anything. After trying many different combinations of basses and strings the two that I've found that are the closest are a Rob Allen w/black nylon tapes, and a Rick Turner Renaissance with TI flats. Rob Allens are pricey - had one at one point and sold it (bonehead move). My current bass for urb-like sound is the Turner Renaissance. Very happy with it, it came with TI bronze strings and it sounded too twangy to me, but at Rick Turner's suggestion I tried TI flats and its a great combination.

    I play urb in a New Grass band, but can also use the Turner if we're playing in a bar where I don't want to deal with the URB, and it sounds great. Bandmates (young but traditional bluegrass players) love the sound of the Turner. I also use it in a jazz trip (guitar, bass, drums) where we do alot of fast latin stuff and the urb gets too tiring.

    I've owned the UBass, Microbass and many other species of fretless, but none worked as well for me as the Turner. If price was no option, I'd probably be turning to the Rob Allens again, but Turners can be had for less than 1/2 the price (especially if you can find a nice used one - not easy!).

    As others have said, technique and strings are a big part of getting the urb vibe, but the bass has to let you get there. Hope this helps....
    40Hz and DaveKirkpatrick like this.
  12. Bobb Nagel

    Bobb Nagel

    Aug 30, 2000
    Chicago area
    I agree! I have a Kala exotic mohagany model from a few years back, and use it on a few 50’s songs we do. It emulates an upright quite well.
  13. jaybones

    jaybones Banned

    Mar 4, 2015
    Kelleys Island, Ohio
    Probably a big part of getting that sound is elevating the headstock and plucking the strings with the sides of your fingers.
    macmanlou likes this.
  14. craig0316

    craig0316 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2017
    i have the same set up and i agree
  15. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    I love my 30-year-old Martin B-65e for how it sounds unplugged and plugged in. It plays like honey butter and can get funky or thumpy.

    It does not, however, sound like an upright. I use my fretless basses for that timbre and tone and, although they don't nail it, they sound awesome in their own right.

    I do play the Martin at our acoustic gigs with a sound hole filler handy if we get loud. I'm sure the Epiphone will have good sound on its own, but don't expect it to sound like a Blast Cult. Close will have to do!
  16. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Because, even though it doesn’t sound like an upright, it’s character is completely different than a slab.

    It’s not a one or the other: an AEB represents a legitimate middle ground.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  17. I can only say that my Tacoma Thunderchief with it's simple B-band pup and tape wounds gets rave reviews for it's tone both live and studio.
    TheBear likes this.
  18. Ghastly


    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    My Guild isn't bad…

    1998 Guild Bass-.
  19. I played one of these - well, the 5 string version - on Monday as I was out fretless shopping. Yes, certainly worth checking out if you are looking for that kind of thing. Short attack/ decay and pleasingly thumpy. Well made. But didn't strike me as being particularly versatile. But then I was checking it out primarily as a fretless bass guitar rather than a pseudo URB. And is nothing without an amp.
  20. dannylectro

    dannylectro Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I just got one. It’s beautiful and plays very well. Early criticism, without plugging into my own rig, is a slightly weak E string, when amplified. Plays much better with fingers than a pick. Shipped with D’Addario Tapewounds. Build quality is incredible. Ignore the not made in USA criticism. I’ll post a review when I get enough miles on it.

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