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Acoustic Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RenzB, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. RenzB


    May 12, 2005
    Baldwin Park, CA
    I need to look into buying a new acoustic bass for an all-acoustic band we are forming and I have no idea which ones are worth looking into. Help!
  2. I'm gonna be straight with you. Really, in my experience, the only acoustic bass instruments that will compete with guitars, percussion, etc. are upright basses and guitarrons. Acoustic bass guitars just don't push enough air. Also, I really don't like the way they sound very much.
  3. RenzB


    May 12, 2005
    Baldwin Park, CA
    Thanks for the quick response subsonic. So even in an amplified state, acoustic basses still does not have what it takes? Everybody in the band actually decided to go acoustic-electric instead of miking the instruments.
  4. Ahhh. Now that's a different story altogether. Acoustic-electric basses can push volume just as well as their solidbody cousins, but beware of feedback. I'd reccomend the Godin A series (4 or 5), as they are designed to be exclusively plugged in and not have feedback. There's a couple on the 'bay right now, search for "Godin bass."
  5. I'm more than happy with this:
  6. DRZ400Bassman


    Nov 6, 2005
    The tacoma is the only real option. It is in an entirely different league compared to all other acoustic basses. It has the volume and presence to be heard with other acoustic instruments and has more punch than most standups. ALL the others are pretenders and will disappoint you.
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    +1 on the Tacoma.

    Many, many threads on this topic - search for "ABG", and all will be revealed.
  8. From a strictly acoustic POV, all ABGs are limited IMO. But then so are acoustic guitars in general. No acoustic guitar is usable without amplification in any band that has drums, for example. Nor, really, is upright bass either, except maybe in some very quiet jazz bands.

    To expect an ABG to cut through 3 guitars, two singers, and percussion would be unrealistic. That doesn't mean they're not worthwhile, though; it just means you have to use them within their constraints.

    I think the whole ABG unplugged volume thing is kind of overstated. That is, IMO it's kind of a waste of energy to obsess too much over that one variable. So what if they can't cut through 14 acoustic instruments. Just use 'em for what they *can* do, and accept their limitations. Rather than unplugged volume, you might as well spend more time worrying about the *quality* (rather than just the quantity) of sound, the playability, and the quality of the pickup system.

    Personally, I'm happy with this item below. I use it plugged in for gigs, but I've recorded both with just a mike and with just the built-in pickups.

  9. craigc


    Sep 27, 2004
    The GB-41 Fender Acoustic bass will play circles around all thses basses. I have one and have tried the others.
  10. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Do a search, man. Theres a lot of threads on this.
  11. beadgc


    Oct 10, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I went through this exercise a couple of years ago, tried a bunch and bought a Tacoma, which was easily the loudest one I tried. But I was never very happy with it, especially unplugged (plus I found it to be badly suited to me, ergonomically).

    I wound up buying a Rob Allen fretless. Expensive, but sweet, and very familiar feeling to someone who's used to playing electric basses. It's not an "acoustic," but it's got a piezo just like they do, and plugged in, IMO sounds more acoustic than any ABG I've played. If it's in you price range, I'd recommend trying one, or perhaps a Godin, which are similar, a lot less expensive and also very nice.

    And, yeah, there are a bunch of threads on this, but I always feel -- hell, it's a message board, not an encyclopedia. And if you just stick to searching, you may miss something new, or a reply for someone who didn't respond to the earlier posts.
  12. ritterbass


    Oct 17, 2005
    You know i was wondering about this whole acoustic bass thing as well...I mean is there really any good bang for the buck "good" acoustic bass? The most bang for your buck one I ever tried was an epiphone el capitan($750)...and yeah i know epiphone! but seriously it wasnt that bad...the next step up was a Martin acoustic bass($1600.00) again even better and to top it off was one of those $3000.00 taylor bass acoustics which was the absolute best sounding one at least for me and pretty much everything else between I have tried has been really cheap. I guess I should give Micheal kelly ones a go but I dont know...anyone got any secret weapon bang for your buck bass acoustic sugesstions?
  13. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    This discussion about ABG's brings up something I have allways found lacking with them. To me it's not the versatility or the volume. It is simply that of all the ones I have played(I have tried out about a dozen or so of the most popular ones) dont have a very inspiring tone. They allways seem to lack the nice "groove" or "vibe" that electric or upright basses both have (albeit much different tones but still sound good).
    To me I think that piezo pickups in ABG's just don't translate to bass tones very nicely. They allways sound a bit quacky and flat.
    I would much rather play a good Precision with some slightly dead Flatwounds or nylon tapewounds with the tone dialed down a bit.
    That way I know I'll get a nice woody tone that will fit in with acoustic guitars. You would need to be plugged into the board or a small amp anyway so the audience can hear you.
    The Problem is the looks of a electric solidbody bass does not fit in with a typical "unplugged" setting and especially not with something like an acoustic folk or Bluegrass band.
    I have been toying with the idea of building a thinline semi hollow electric bass which is shaped like a traditional acoustic guitar but uses a p-bass pickup where the soundhole is. That way I could have an instrument that sounds better but dosent look out-of-sorts with the other instruments.
    Oh well just my humble opinion.
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    In my experience this extreme position is mostly correct.

    The Tacoma sounds wonderful plugged in, too. If you're planning on always playing plugged in, a whole world is opened up and you don't need acoustic volume. Look at the electro-acoustics from GODIN first. They are wonderful.
  15. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Breedlove has just started putting out imported 4 and 5 string fretted and fretless ABGs in the < $1000 price range. They didn't really compare to my EVD (handmade), but seemed pretty nice and are definately another option to check out...

  16. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Depends.....if i want to be able to go acoustic [no amps] with an acoustic guitar or two-and at max a drummer w/brushes, i just take out my Upright [given-i'm a doubler]. I'm beginning to look into AEBs since i got a call to record with a buddy of mine, and he thinks that's a tone he wants.

    I'm looking into the Agile 5 string AEB from Rondo. Why? I've been happy with my SX basses, so i figure, giving the Agile a shot wouldn't hurt. FWIW-i do plan on checking out at least the Dean, Squier, & Fender basses if i can get my hands on them. I don't know for sure that i'm going to be buying an AEB at all though.

    That's all
  17. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I have an Aria AMB-50B. Not a bad bass but mine has a markedly reduced volume on the "G" string when plugged in that does not occur acoustically.
    So on mine the Piezo pickup is a bit off. I don't know about any others
    The criteria when I bought mine was "inexpensive" It was used and slightly dinged up from Ebay. Which I knew when I bought it.
    I'll be giging acoustically with one guitarist later this week and will post results.
    I now have five basses and the most acoustic (woody) sounding of the lot is a 1966 Epiphone Rivoli.
    The Aria sounds like a louder lower guitar, probably the sound it is supposed to have.
    It is a pretty ok instrument, not my soul mate by any means, but it does the job when I need that type of sound. And it was inexpensive, $145.00 shipped to my door. No case or gig bag included.
  18. the tacoma is probably one of the best IMO but it has to be sed the victor bailey custom fender acoustic is lush!!!
  19. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member


    Unplugged, I'd take my Tacoma over all others. That being said, it IS an ABG, and subject to the limitations of the instrument (feedback, volume doesn't fill a large room or stand up well with a lot of accompaniment). It sounds great plugged in, too, though feedback can occur and has to be accounted for.

    Plugged in, the Godin A-series are terrific. Yummy!