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Acoustic Bass guitars

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BSallee, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. BSallee


    Oct 5, 2004
    I am wanting to buy an acoustic bass guitar. I don't want spend a great deal for it (say up to around $300.00). I don't
    know if I am going to like using one after being so use to a
    solid body for 40 years. What about JB Player, Grand, AXL,
    and some like these? It will not be my primary bass. My American Fender PBass is that. Any input will be appreciated.

  2. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    most acoustics tend to be fairly quiet, have a sound which isn't exactly stellar, especially for less than 300 bones and are not too versatile. I've had one for over a year and honestly haven't touched since I got out of college 5 months ago. They're just not very useful unless you want to practice quietly by yourself without bothering the wife/neighbors/kids. Hope this helps, they can be very cool but many are not.
  3. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    I haven't seen an ABG (new) in the $300 range that's worth the money. Or, maybe a more friendly way to say that would be that they are all pretty much alike. At least those that I've had a chance to play, Fender, Ibenez, Honer. So if you don't want to risk a lot of money, check a few out and go with the one that seems well made and fits your hands.

    Coming from a plank guitar, I'd recommend considering one of the thin-body styles over the more traditional dreadnaught guitar size. They are easier to manage and when amplified they sound fine. Washburn and Carvin both make thinner body ABGs. There are others. You might find one used.

    Slightly more expensive ones are made by Godin, their "a4" also thin body, and the report on them is universally good.

    Tacoma makes more traditional large-body style. Beautiful instruments but very pricey.

    You're proably familar with the usual caveats: they don't have much volume unamplified and tend to feed back at high volume (though that seems to be less of an issue for most players). And if you amplify one, well, then you just have an electric, don't you? (though that is a bit oversimplified)

    I've had a Washburn AB10 for years and am very happy with it. I don't need volume when unpluged. It's built like a Mac truck. I can (and do) practice any place. It sounds great unpluged and has enough range of tone when run through an amp. Light weight is a plus.

  4. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    I pluck the acoustics whenever I'm down at the shop, the sub $300 ones always sound mediocre. Thin and cheap sounding. I'm looking for the same thing, as soon as I find a good one...
  5. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Had a thunder chief, and realy dug it. Sold it, and somehow got a kind of beat up Kramer Ferrington. The Kramer rocks. Ugly, just the way I like it, and a pretty big sound. If you spot a used one, shoud not be all that much.
  6. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have played most of the lesser expensive basses. For the money IMO, if you can find an Applause bass they really perform very well. They are usually pretty inexpensive. There are a slew of acoustic/electric basses. I have found that the cheap ones are just that - CHEAP. No real tone, no control, but they are cheap. Play what you like and like what you play. Cost should only matter when you are planning to move onto something better.
    By the way~~~ :hyper: I do have my Acoustic Bass for sale==
  7. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    another vote for Washburn .... mine is an AB20 .
    got it in 1998 for around $ 300.00 ...
    nice unplugged tone , and the built in equalizer helps
    to get great amplified sounds .
  8. Tacoma Tacoma Tacoma

    I got the Olympia model for 130 and they are just as good as the american. I recently sold an american fretless because I suck at fretless and wanted something else. I would get a Tacoma if I were you because everything else I tried just didn't have the volume I wanted unplugged.
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I second the Olympia (Tacoma's "Applause"). I've played it, a real Tacoma, Hohner, Ovation, and Fender ABGs. The only ones I thought were worth buying for unamplified playing are the Tacoma and Olympia. I went with the Olympia as well since it was a lot less and I didn't need it as a main guitar. I paid $300 for mine brand new, which came with an onboard Fishman pickup but no case.

    Without amplification it won't compete with two strummed acoustic guitars though. No ABG will, no matter what anyone tells you. But these are pretty decent.
  10. Whether you get a cheap one or a good, used one you MUST GET THOMASTIK INFELD "ACOUSTICORE" ABG strings. These things have nylon cores like a classical guitar. But they are comfortable and sound awesome. You can dig in and get bark, bite and growl much like an upright. Nothing else comes close. They costs like 60 bucks.

    Acoustic Bass 4-string set Round Wound Set: AB344 medium light | Set No.: AB344

    ins mm lbs kp
    AB34041 G 1st Phosphorbronze Round Wound on Nyloncore .041 1.05 26.5 12.00
    AB34053 D 2nd Phosphorbronze Round Wound on Nyloncore .053 1.35 29.2 13.25
    AB34068 A 3rd Phosphorbronze Round Wound on Nyloncore .068 1.73 27.3 12.40
    AB34086 E 4th Phosphorbronze Round Wound on Nyloncore .086 2.18 26.5 12.00

    On basses, Deans are nice for the coin. I have a tacoma thunderchief that I bought on ebay for 275.00. it had a neck repair and no case and a gutted preamp. I eventually took care of those things step by step. The neck is fine. It obviously had a traumatic past. People go ape-shxx over this thing an acoustic jams.

    Get a good strings and get a good piece of wood.
  11. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I don't really think that $60 strings on a $300 bass is that good of an idea. NOT a bad one, but necessary? If someone has that much money to put into just strings, I think that they should consider more of the bass and electronics and worry about the strings as a secondary issue. Plywood/laminate as opposed to solid top and issues like that. While I agree that regular bass strings are much less a good idea on an acoustic, there are alternatives to $60 a set acoustic strings that should be considered for a $300 bass. :eyebrow:
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I also recommend the Tacoma Thunderchief.

    FYI, Tacoma is now a happy member of the FMIC. In light of all the recent low-cost competition from Martin, Taylor, etc., they couldn't pay the bills.
  13. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    Great strings, yes. And highly recommended. But don't pay $60 for them. Check out Dude's prices at VingageBass

    Sound like a URB? Not to my ears. I've had D'Addario ribbon-wounds on my Washburn that had a nice dull thud and no finger noise. The TI's sound great but are bright and punchy compared to the others (and brighter than the GHS phosphors I had earlier). It's a sound I like and I thing would be especially great on a Tacoma.

    But even on a less expensive guitar, good strings make a difference.

  14. Mellem


    Feb 1, 2002
    Greenville, MI
    I haven't had much experience with acoustic basses, except for screwing around on a friend on mine's, which I don't remember what kind it was. But will a $300 one balance unplugged with a single unplugged acoustic guitar well?
  15. ksukev


    Aug 24, 2004
    I just got my Tacoma Thunderchief 5 fretless in yesterday. All I have to say about that is...WOW, what a bass!!! I'm getting rid of my now "never to be played again" Fender BG29. I'm asking $300 for it but would probably take $250 +shipping from a fellow TBer.

  16. welcome to the Thunderchief Nation.

    I stand by the Thomastics. If you had tried them and don't like them, that's one thing. But I'm telling you, they make all the difference in the world.
  17. ksukev


    Aug 24, 2004
    My Thunderchief has the DR Phosphor Bronze Bass strings on it. I think they sound pretty dang good, but I've always been a fan of DR strings. Have you tried the DRs? I'm curious as to the differences from the Acousticores. What's the actual finish of the Acousticores strings? I gotta tell ya, with the natural warm glow of the understated Tacoma body and neck, the warm glow of the bronze DRs slung across it make for a visually striking bass...almost makes you don't care how it actually sounds...which by the way is WAY GOOD!!
  18. most definetly. its the nylon core that makes it comfortable to play. They are phosphor bronze like any other, but way more comfortable and warm sounding. They take a week to stabilize, meaning they will go out of tune until they strech out.

    I don't pay 60 for them either, but they do costs a lot. You can dig in because they bend and feel a little mushy until you get used to them. If you pluck the open G or D string really hard about 3 inches from the bridge, the bass will "bark" like an upright. You got to put a lot of finger on it, not just the tip, almost like plucking an Uprite. This is difficult to explain. But basically, when you are walking a line, you can accent b/t beats by quickly plucking the hell out of the higher open stings and palm muting quickly.

    The regular steel core string are at a much higher tension, or at least they subjectively feel that way because steel doesn't stretch or bend like a nylon core. Thomastic is an orchestral string comapny from austria so they know their shxt.

    But I would like to try nylon tape-wound Rotosounds one day. They are a lot cheaper.


    Feb 28, 2004
    I have a Martin B-1E. It's the best sounding ABG unplugged,(I've tried Fender, Tacoma, Washburn) DR Rare Phosphorus Bronze are the only string I use!($24)
    When you plug it in, you can use a feedback buster in the sound hole to prevent feedback. If you plug directly into the effect return you bypass the preamp and the controls on the front panel. This gives you a cleaner more acoustic sound.
  20. My thunderchief is a feed back timebomb. And it scares me and everyone else around when it goes. I do not think they make a tear dropped shape feedback buster for the thunderchief. But if they did, nothing will tame this beast. You just got to stand in the sweet spot and work with an eq.

    Acoustically, thunderchiefs rock/ Stand by a wall or corner you you increase volume. Those Martins are nice. The Taylor Bass is even nicer.

    I think the imported thuderchiefs are the ticket. And non-musicians instantly know it is not a guitar, unlike most ABG.