Acoustic Bass guitar with no electrics

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TenorClef, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Hi i'd looking for some links for a pure acoustic bass guitar, whilst they are not so hot in volume they do work fine for my portable studio applications. I have an electro-acoustic at the moment but find that the electrics can rattle on the occasional harmonic, i'm mainly laying down trio type jazz, 2 selmacs and guitar bass, the condenser mics do most of the work so projection is not a major issue. Thanks if you can provide some useful links.
  2. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I actually havn't heard of any pure-acoustic basses, minus the DB....
  3. The Mexcian guitarron is a pure acoustic, but it has six strings, you pluck two at a time in octaves, and I have no idea how to play one! My nephew and brother have mastered this instrument, I compensate my lack of ability by playing 12 string electric bass!
  4. peter G

    peter G

    Sep 28, 2004
    ohio's northcoast
  5. Yeah thats the sort of thing i was looking for thanks, although i checked the link and you'd have to have arms like a gorilla to play that particular model with a wopping 17 frets to the body, my present electro-acoustic has 15 frets to the body which is way more manageable. I'm not sure if their are many all acoustic guitar basses out their as their uses are some what limited due their lack of volume, regardless of what some guys say you put one of these instruments with more than one or two other instruments you are just not going to hear them. However they sure take up a lot less space than a double bass and for recording you get to hear the acoustic bass guitars unique voice, very different from the slab bass.
  6. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Tacoma Thunderchief ABGs can come with no electronics, in both four-and five-string models. Some people prefer them that way, so they can add their own pickup (like a K&K) later.

    I got a Fishman pickup/preamp on mine, and use it occasionally. It doesn't rattle at all. It sounds good, but can feedback when plugged in. A phase switch and notch control work pretty well in controlling this, as long as I don't run around with the bass while playing.

    Getting a Tacoma w/o any pickup drops the price from around $1000-1100 new to around $800 new. They show up on ebay for lots less used sometimes, too.

    Oddly enough, Musicians' Buy ( seems to be selling the no-electronics five-string version ($769 w/free shipping) for less than the four-string one ($825). :confused: I got mine from them.

    Here is the link to their Tacoma page -- scroll down to the bottom two models, which I'm pretty sure are the ones with no electronics -- you could call them to make sure.

    I agree about the unique voice of a good unplugged ABG. Not terribly useful for performing, but my Tacoma has one of the sweetest tones I've ever heard, and it's my second-favorite bass for practicing after my Lakland. I spend a lot of time just fooling around on it, and still enjoy the heck out of its fabulous tone.
  7. UtBDan

    UtBDan Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2004
    ^ *** no electronics 5 string for $769?! that's a great deal. I bought my 4 stringer used for I think 700 it was? Mighta been 750. I forget.
  8. Yeah tacoma seem to be a popular bass these days, i used to have the Thunderchief with the Fishman matrix but it used to rattle unless i kept the battery lid slightly open. I came across this little beauty which appears to be their latest pure acoustic bass offering, unfortuneately more than i'd care to spend though-

    I should also add whilst Tacoma make great basses they still have the same volume issues as other ABG, however that is not an issue for me.
  9. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Yeah, that's the model with the amazing premium mahogany top, etc. -- I found my spruce/mahogany one to be just fine, and the premium ones were almost twice as much, so I went with the standard spruce/mahogany. The $800 no-electronics spruce/mahogany models are just fine, IMO.
  10. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I dunno that I would consider mahogany a premium wood for an acoustic guitar top anyway. To me, and AFAICS to most acoustic guitar builders out there, spruce probably is tonally better. The greatest steel-strings most often have spruce tops; most of the best classicals have spruce or cedar. Great violins and URBs have carved spruce tops.
  11. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Not anymore they aren't. ;)
  12. I have a Tacoma as well. It came with electronics but they're well-fastened and don't sympathetically vibrate. I play it unplugged most of the time and I rarely use the L.R. Baggs electronics although when I do it sounds great.

    One of the nicest ABG's that I know of without electronics is the "halfling" made by Tom Ribbecke. I talked to him years ago about making me an ABG but he was asking more than I was able to afford. The Perfect Bass has one in stock for a great price. It's a great price only when you consider that they were going for $20,000! They're still pricey but probably worth it. Did anyone get to play a Halfling at NAMM?


    Halfling at The Perfect Bass

    Also, I know that Wechter made Jonas Hellborg an all-acoustic custom ABG which Jonas played on his album "The Silent Life".

    Jonas and Wechter bass
  13. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
  14. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    If you can find a good used one, the Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustics are huge sounding and have no electronics, they are however very large with deep bodies at least 8" deep and a bit difficult to hold. I had one in 1975 and had it re-necked and fitted with Barcus Berry pickups and it sounded amazing both with and without the pickups. Look out for slightly caved in tops around the bridge if you find one.

  15. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings

  16. The fact that you had to have pickups installed suggests that even with the extra huge body cavity this instument still could'nt cut it acoustically? I'm inclinded to believe that small acoustic bodied bass guitars are a joke in a real acoustic setting, what sicko thought up that idea??? Fair enought if you only intend to use it as a practice guitar but the whole point of double bass's mass is amplitude, who decided a little tiddler acoustic bass guitar could fill a pram? It is real nonsence, unless they add some real heft to the body cavity an acoustic bass guitar is just a paradox wrapped up in an enigma. Now for example the tacoma thunderchief in an acoustic setting sounds to me as loud as a 1/4 size double bass, just to say hear in in context to a sax and guitar, so it still struggles and the tacoma is a nice acoustic bass, the major problem is its just to dam small. Add a few inches its girth, reduce the nonsence size neck, what the hell is that all about? why does an acoustic bass guitar need a neck that moves into hendrix solo region, strim it down to 12 frets and get the bass where it should be and we have a real contender for acoustic bass. This is of course all mute as most musicians play with amps but moves away from whatthis thread was all about, a true acoustic instrument. One of these days i'll ask a luthier to make me a bass similar to the Ernie ball Earthwound bass as this bass seems to me to be the really only true contender for the role of acoustic bass guitar. Heareth endeth the lesson/rant.................[​IMG][/IMG]