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Acoustic Bass Guitar question?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TenorClef, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Hi folks, have a question here about some of the larger budget ABG's out on the market (Alba/Bently). Presently i have a Ashbury ABG see photo. Also you can hear a sample of how this bass sounds on you tube if you go here-

    However the clip is not me and the person playing is using the fretless version of the Ashbury. Still for an acoustic bass its not bad at all but here's my question- would a non cutaway be slightly louder and also does it seem logical a bigger depth,width and length in the actual body not neck would add to making the bass sound larger regardless if the wood is laminate or solid? I am not convinced that string length is a major factor here but maybe you have some facts to dispute this???

    Cheers all!

    Attached Thumbnails
  2. Captain_Arrrg


    Jan 23, 2008
    Mountains of Colorado
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I'm no expert, but I would have to say that it's a little of column A and a little of column B. My Dragonfly's body is maple and my Firefly' top is spruce, plus it larger, but the Dragonfly sounds better.

    On the other hand, and upright's body quite large and projects better than my Dragonfly....
  3. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    I too have an Ashbury Bass. Watched the You Tube video, how can you tell it's an Ashbury. I must confess I want to go more up-market ona new ACB. Tocamo Thunderchief- Ashbury's good for a low end bass but sometimes you got to bite the bullet and dig deeper for quality.
  4. How do i know its an Ashbury ABG? Simple, i asked the guy what bass he was using :) I know what you mean though, but you have to be careful when you upgrade, the Tacoma for sure is a good bass but ultimately size is everything i think when it comes to ABG.
  5. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    I saw your "amazing" comment, which I have to agree with, but didn't see any other threads regarding gear used. Tacoma T/C is a biggy and apparantly the biggest sounding unplugged ABG on the market.
  6. Ah well is it? Thats a query :) Certainly the Thunderchief is very well made and braced quite uniquely to push air and maximise acoustic projection but the specs don't make it much different from some of the other 'BIG' jumbo acoustic ABG's.

    For example i have owned both a Tacoma and a Harley Benton which was fairly equally sized to the Tacoma. Now don't get me wrong, the Tacoma was clearly a better built bass, better woods, better tone, better electronics but bench tested on pure acoustic volume i'd be hard pressed to say the Tacoma was louder than the previously mentioned Harley for pure acoustic volume. Still it would be interesting to have some sort of spectrographic test in this regard.

    However for me a crappy ABG is gonna win hands down every time compared to an electric bass guitar purely because it has a more warm organic woody tone. For example once a month i play in a 1920's king Oliver style acoustic jazz group and the bassist who normally plays DB brought his electric bass for a change, i sugested he play my Ashbury ABG instead and he gave it a go and you know he was actually really impressed and was able to pull a great tone from it. I think he wants one now ;)
  7. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    You had a Tacoma now you've got an Ashbury! Seen as though you seem to have a good knowledge of ABG I'm perplexed.
  8. Yeah :crying: actually regret selling it and no doubt i'll end up buying another one. Mine was the one with the Fishman EQ however if i was to buy another Tacoma i'm torn between getting one with no electrics at all or with the Baggs system which is way more discreet than the Fishman. Its not however to easy to obtain the Tacoma in the UK and i paid a small fortune to get mine from the States.
  9. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    I'm not a million miles from you in Stockport. I'm ordering the Thunderchief from Sounds Great or Music Ground near me. It's £739. Music Ground reckon they can get it hear in 10 days from Holland.
  10. Well you won't be dissapointed with the Tacoma TC. My google.co.uk did'nt actually display any UK suppliers and when i contacted Fender/Tacoma about this they did not send a reply. I'll check out Sounds Great though if they have a web site.

  11. Lol just bought another Tacoma! :)
  12. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    Hey TenorClef

    Did you get a Thunderchief? I'm ordering mine tomorrow. £725 is the cheapest I've found for a 4 string. They'll also trade in my Ashbury.

    What's your experience of strings for an acoustic?
  13. Cy_Miles


    Feb 3, 2005

    I played a dozen different ABGs before I selected my Thunderchief, and nothing matched IMO for volume and bottom end.

    The closest competitors were 2 of the 4 Martins I played, a Breedlove Fretless, and an Olympia by Tacoma

    I didn't even consider any of the other brands I tried out.
  14. Yeah it is indeed the mighty Thunderchief! Bought it online and waiting for it to arrive from Germany. I got to be real honest here about the whole string thing, black tapes and chrome/flat style strings are not best choices in my humble opinion. I tried La Bella Black tape wounds and also Rotosound Black tapes and yeah they sound really good, i will admit this but the pressure they put on the neck really worried me. The necks are long and thin on the Tacoma and when you play purely acoustic which is my thing you lose a lot of volume. I get fed up of people wanting to sound like a double bass, the ABG is not a double bass and has its own unique voice.

    I hate to say this but the best strings i tried were the phosper bronze types regardless of brand because they had more volume, projection and presence to be heard in an acoustic mix. The good thing i finally noticed about bronze strings is that they do actually finally begin to lose some of the annoying top end presence after a year or so of playing. Not ideal if you want the bottom end more prominent but maybe some body on this forum knows how to make strings age faster? Any one?

    On another note its nice to be back in the club again. I never really cared for my electric bass guitar. Always preferred to hear the wood and the acoustic resin.
  15. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    I've spent most of my time with electric bass but as I age the acoustic is becoming more of an attraction to me. Getting more into folk and celtic stuff.

    So with little acoustic experience I'm at the sampling stage with strings. My Ashbury has phospher bronze on them and I changed them for roto flatwounds. Realised that was my first cock up with strings. Swopped the bonze back and prefer them much more. Next I'm going to sample the Elixer as they apparantly are std with the Thunderchief. I think that will give me the double bass sound which I'm currently interested in. What other options do I have?
  16. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    Just been in to order my Thunderchief. I've been told that Fender have brought the Tacoma factory and Tacoma ABGs will be not be manufactured anymore! Apparantly Fender will be making Deans there. So the Thunderchief will be a collectors item in the future.
  17. CraigG


    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Fender bought Tacoma a couple years ago. Tacoma was a fairly small, struggling company that built some very nice instruments (I had a Thunderchief and still have a Tacoma custom built EKK19C and a DM10 - all three pre-Fender). Apparently Fender saw potential and "rescued" the company ("rescued" used very loosely). While Fender has done nothing to add new models to the Tacoma line, Tacomas are still being made as far as I know. The Tacoma factory is also pumping out some very nice Guilds for Fender from what I have heard.

    As for eventual collectability of Tacomas, maybe the pre-Fenders will one day be worth a little more than they originally sold for. However, the Fender-Tacomas will likely not appreciate much, thanks to Fender.

  18. Graeme Moss

    Graeme Moss

    Sep 3, 2006
    Craig - Thanks for the info. Chinese whispers across the Atlantic!

    I hope that Fender/Tacoma are of similar quality to Tacoma pre-Fender!

    I think it's a shame that Tacoma couldn't keep the big boys out.
  19. bassbrock


    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Acoustic volume on my JB Player 5-string acoustic bass (with cutaway) and a single soundhole is *very* low. I imagine the guy in those YouTube vidoes is seriously digging into those strings. If it were a fretted instrument (like mine), it would be fret buzzing like hell to get that volume.
  20. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I never really liked the feel of bronze strings, so thats why mine are always electric strings, heavier the better for volume.
    One thing I'd like to try in the future is string mine up tenor ADGC. Hoping that the closer to treble tuning might give even more volume.

    As for ageing the strings, just treat them badly, don't wipe them down after playing, bend them lots, stretch them before each playing session and tune up.
    Or the Jaco route, eat greasy KFC chicken and play with the grease on your hands, rubbing it into the strings.
    These methods will kill phospher bronze strings in no time.

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