Acoustic bass guitars

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steve Carr, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Steve Carr

    Steve Carr

    Jun 25, 2003
    I need to purchace a fretless, acoustic bass guitar for under $1000. I am considering the Michael Kelly Dragonfly or the Breedlove Atlas. Does anyone have any input on these two basses (or any other bass that would sound good without an amp)? Thanks.

    Steve Carr
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The only ABG I've ever played that sounds good without an amp is the Tacoma Thunderchief. Before trying the Thunderchief I had considered the whole concept of the ABG to be flawed and unworkable. I bought my Tacoma the day after I played it, before there was even a case available. As a bonus it's a beautiful, well crafted instrument. Mine came in over your $1000 barrier, but I'll bet you might be able to find one used. I sometimes wish mine was fretless.


    There are multiple preamp/pickup options, I recommend the Fishman Prefix Plus option.
  3. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    I tried a Fender BG29 at Guitar Center, and it sounded decent unplugged, but 1) the guy said they couldn't get it in a fretless (GC sales geek - he could be wrong), and 2) it still isn't loud enough to stay ahead of the dreadnoughts.

    I eventually found a fretless Washburn AB20 at a used music store. (Talked them down to $350!) Because it has slots, not a sound hole, it's fairly quiet when played unplugged... but has a lot more depth (when it's plugged up) than some of the others.

    I know I didn't give you the key to unlock your dreams, but I hope it helps in some way.
  4. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    I second the Tacoma notion. I've got one, and mmm boy is it good. I picked mine up for 600$ used.
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have a Thunderchief on the way (should be here Friday), but on the very affordable end, some of the Epiphone El Capitan's were very good. I say "some" because I've played 4-5 of them, and 1-2 were really good, and the other 3-4 were "meh." I bought the best sounding of the group (which turned out to be the very first one I played), and I've been pretty darn happy with it. I don't know if they made them fretless or not.

    I think Low Down Sound had a fretless Thunderchief in on consignment the last time I was up there. It may still be there.

  6. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    The Tacoma Thunderchief is one of the best ABG's I have played. It has a very warm tone and is very usable unplugged. I had a Ovation ABG, great plugged in but not worth a damn unplugged! I don't own one, but I do recommend the Tacoma from the ones I played....
  7. howie


    Aug 29, 2005
    i also have a fretted tacoma thunderchief. excellent, excellent bass guitar. it is one of the louder ABG's out there. it sounds great unplugged and that is how i usually play it, but when it is plugged in it sounds really good. i got mine new for $1040.
  8. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    I personally don't like the fact that the MK Dragonfly's fingerboard is inlaid so heavily. It's ok on the fretted but not on the fretless.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I completely agree. I would not want an inlay on a fretless neck. That's just bizzare that they do it.
  10. Steve Carr

    Steve Carr

    Jun 25, 2003
    thank you for all your input. I will check out the thunderchief.
  11. I'd like to check one of Mike Doolin's ABGs.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A little more expensive than you're going for, but cool anyway.
  12. Steve Carr

    Steve Carr

    Jun 25, 2003
    How 'bout the Breedlove Atlas? Has anyone played one of these?
  13. craigc


    Sep 27, 2004
    I just purchased a Fender GB-41. It sound as good or better than the Martin. The thunderchief if a fragile guite guitar. The fender was only $650. I put D Addario strings on it and it sound great plug and unpluged. I promise you you will love it.
  14. UtBDan

    UtBDan Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2004
    I too am on the market for a used Thunderchief... any help for where there is one (so many went on ebay by and by but my range is only up to $500-550) would be nice.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It sure is pretty! But I've never played one.