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acoustic bass guitar request sent to musicyo.com

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gabu, Sep 29, 2001.


  1. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    This is an email suggestion I just sent to musicyo:

    I liked the tobias acoustic bass you proposed a bit back. But I am concerned that due to the small volume in the body the bass would not be loud enough to play acousticly with an acoustic guitar.

    If you could make a louder, large body acoustic bass, with or without electronics, that would be awesome! I would love to have something that I can play in small settings with an acoustic guitar and sing... all unamplified.


    Since several people have commented on the poor volume of ABGs, I figured I may as well shoot MY a email about it. I think it would be so fun to play acousticly all around. No cords. No ear plugs. No soundmen. No lifting, setting up, blah blah blah. Just pull it out of the gigbag and play. :)
     
  2. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    Unfortunately there's a limitation imposed by the laws of physics. Perhaps you should consider URB?
     
  3. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    What limitation is that? I have seen Mexican bands have ABGs that were fairly loud. I notice that they are larger in volume than a standard ABG. Other than quality of materials, what other issues are there?
     
  4. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    The limitation is the amount of physical acoustic chamber volume necessary for good reproduction of bass frequencies at reasonable volume levels. Think about the size of a violin, then a cello, then a URB. Do you think this is coincidence that as you go down in frequency the instruments get larger?

    There is another thread going on about ABG's, look at the number of responses saying they are for the most part useless unless plugged in.

    Take no offense, I'd love to have a loud, reasonably sized ABG, but I think that you're looking for one made of unobtanium.

    :D
     
  5. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Spanish acoustic bands play the guitarron. It's not the same to normal ABGs really. The main difference is tuning, and size - it's much bigger. Hence, it's louder acoustically.

    [​IMG]

    "The heartbeat of the modern mariachi group is the Guitarron. The guitarron is a very large guitar-like instrument with a short neck, six strings, no frets on the fingerboard and a belly in the back. The guitarron appeared during the 1800's and 4 and 5 string versions also existed.

    The guitarron is played two strings in occtave like the harp which gives a similar sound; The guitarron has come to replace the harp due to its' portability and louder tone. The modern guitarron is tuned to A-D-G-C-E-A with a range of about an octave and 1/2. The function of this chordophone in the mariachi group is to provide the bass line and to cue chord progressions."

    [taken from this site: http://www.ifccsa.org/guitaron.html ]
     
  6. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    That's some good stuff! I want one! Sorry if I came out rough MJ, didn't mean to. I guess the compromise would be something about the size of a Cello, held up like a ABG and tuned ADGC, just like a cello.

    That would still be fun. :D
     
  7. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    Not rough at all Gabu, we're just having a discussion.

    :cool:
     
  8. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Hi...let me chime in also! I have quite a few ABGs, and choose to play instruments with an acoustic nature in the sound.
    But...an "unamped" ABG? With the exception of the aforementioned Guitarron (and maybe Ernie Ball's 70s monster, the Earthwood Bass), it simply is not really possible.
    Besides the volume issue, there is also a matter of tone. Smaller bodies (even full size, deep body ABGs) do not have the cavity area needed to produe the fundamental harmonic of bass notes. Usually what you hear is the 2nd harmonic "disguising" itself as the funadamental, producing a midrangey tone, which may (or may not) cut thru a single acoustic gtr. Add a voice on top of that and think the bass will be buried.
    Some on this list have claimed their ABGs produce massive volume...enough to compete with even two acoustic gtrs, but I find, thru my own experience, that very hard to believe.
    My own aswer was to get a small acoustic amp. In this case a SWR California Blonde, which can double as a small PA (for voice or other instr.). It is very portable, high quality, small stage profile...and a 100 watts quite powerful.
    that works for me...but then again, I don't have a problem plugging in and acoustic bass guitar.
    Max
     
  9. Gabu

    Gabu

    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Do you guys think a Cello would compete with an acoustic guitar volumewise? It is smaller than a double bass... though it doesn't go as low.
     
  10. Cello bowed loudly will kick any acoustic guitar's ass!

    But once you're at cello, you might as well get a smaller URB. Cello's are a bitch to carry around too!

    Guitarron is the shizz. :) I live in San Diego (half hour drive to Mexico) and you can hear these all the time. They have a great sound, though not as low as a bass. They're great in a band setting, obviously, and seem really cool, and a bit more portable than a cello/URB.

    Still, their bodies must be three times as wide as a bass's hard case. They're really deep-chested. That's how they get the deep sound.

    In the end, you can't beat the laws of physics: To get volume at low frequencies requires a big resonating volume, as a bunch of people have noted before. Question is where you make the compromise. Guitarron looks about right for me...

    Hmm.... GuitarronAS anyone? :p
     
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've been considering a guitarron for years, even though I don't play mariachi(yet, anyway;)) I think that they would be very cool to use in an acoustic setting.
     
  12. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    If you travel to the town of Paracho in the mountains of west-central Mexico, you can get a Guitarron (or just about any other Mexican stringed instrument) right from the shop that made it. Paracho is an hour bus ride from Uruapan which is itself a ten hour bus ride from Mexico City. Paracho is a tiny town that is third world by most American standards. The one main street in town is lined with luthier shops, some who custom make stuff from scratch on their own, some who "finish" partially made instruments, and some who sell instruments that were made in the towns "factories". You can get really beautiful instrumets dirt cheap (by American standards) there. I have been there twice, getting a Guitarron the first time and a Bajo-Sexto th e second time.

    Steve
     
  13. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    have you guys ever played the tacoma acoustic Bass... I was blown away by its tone and how loud it was. It sounded better and was louder than the taylor bass I played.. I sat down in the store with this thing and was just playin some stuff with some cat on guitar and you could hear the tacoma resonably well... I liked it... maybe it was just the room I was in.. but it was still pretty sweet.
     
  14. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    Yes, the Tacoma have more volume than most. I have wondered about the Warwick Alien, too.

    Steve
     
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The TACOMA ThunderChief is the answer. PLAY ONE, it will completely change your opinion on the viability of the ABG concept. Before I played my Tacoma I AGREED WITH EVERY ONE OF THESE STATEMENTS! Less than two days after playing my Tacoma I bought it.

    However, it -is- an extremely large and ungainly instrument, I will admit. The huge body is necessary to create the volume that it does. If the guitarist you're jamming with plays hard on a loud guitar you won't be able to keep up volume wise. Also, I have not tried the 5 string Thunderchief. I doubt the bass works with the B string accoustically.
     
  16. I played a Tacoma this past weekend at GC. It is really lound and in your face, in my mind mostly because of the re alignment of the sound hole. The engineer in me wonders if it still projects well or if the sound hole redesign simply pushes the air in the players face. I couldn't test out my theory because no one eles was in the acoustic room except my 3 year old and he is a better drummer that guitar player for the moment. Has anyone heard one in a live setting or heard someone else play one? Otherwise I thought it was a great instrument
     
  17. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    Hi, everyone. The other thread seems to have disappeared. Who ever's listening keep this one alive, we're out here, those who use and love ABGs.
    I play one for sounds sake. When I do amplify it's with an SWR Baby Blue II. Rare out there are the original Washburn AB series with rotary volume and tone pots. They sound great plugged in. The Tobias is according to Michael Tobias more of a trebly aggressive instrument. The Alien sounds trebly too me but go play one. Bass NW has an original one not the reissue. While of a different spirit they have a Leduc that is supposed to really have that acoustic fretless tone because of it's floating sound board. I don't work for them. I like the Taylor with Elixirs as they calm that treble bite. Some people like them with tapewounds.
    It's true they all don't out do acoustic guitars acoustically but I in some settings an electric bass isn't the right piece for the piece. I want more personal info on the Turner Rennaissance. Thanks
     
  18. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    When I tried the Tacoma bass. A friend of mine was standing at the other end of the room and he turned around in amazement.. He was like "holy crap thats the loudest acoustic bass i've ever heard..!!" it sounds good too...
     
  19. I had a martin four string acoustic, but someone broke in the house and needed it more than me. I got a Tacoma four string acoustic/electric with elixors on it and it kicks the martins butt. It is much louder, brighter and more playable, but that is just my opinion:)