acoustic bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thumber, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. thumber


    Jan 5, 2001
    hello, I'm going to perform a total unplugged gig with no amplifiers, just guitars and percussion. So I wanted to get me an acoustic bass guitar. Will it work or I'll need an amplifier for that?

  2. I'm guessing most folks here will tell you that acoustic basses are crap, and you shouldn't waste your time with it. Don't listen to them! Acoustic basses are wonderful things. I have two, and I hardly every play my electric.

    My large-body acoustic can compete with an acoustic guitar and a guy playing congas, but if we add a second acoustic guitar, I need to use a heavy pick and play pretty hard. If you're talking about percussion as in a drum set, you'll definitely need amplification. But if the place is small and you're playing with one or two acoustic guitars, and if you play hard on a decent quality acoustic bass (a lot of ifs, I know) you can be heard. Some. But don't expect it to sound like an electric.
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I've played a lot of acoustic bass guitars.

    The only acoustic bass I've ever played that could actually play with acoustic guitars in a "front porch" or "living room" situation with any audible bass tones is the Tacoma Thunderchief. The day I played the Tacoma I bought it.

    It will not compete with a your typical loud guitarrist on an acoustic with a medium pick playing hard. However, if your guitar players are playing softly you can play along in an acoustic setting. And for sitting and practicing/noodling it is truly awesome.

    The Tacoma Thunderchief is freaking huge however. Very inconvenient to fit in a car or carry around. It's a gigantic instrument.

    A little pricey though at ~$1000, and I've been told that the prices recently went up across the Tacoma line (for good reason). When I got mine it was when the model was BRAND NEW, I had to wait months for a hardcase because they weren't ready. Back in the day they useda Fishman Prefix Plus on the highest model of the Thunderchief. Now they use a nice looking but seeminly inferior "Tacoma" EQ.

    But even with the Thunderchief a little practice amp helping out a little is highly recommended. I use a little pre-Gibson Trace Elliot Boxer 30.
  4. I have a Martin Acoustic Bass, it sounds great, plugged in or unplugged. I can play with an Acoustic Guitarist and a Djembe (or some Congas). 2 Acoustic Guitarists and you start to push it, and anything more than that and your drowned out.
  5. I have a washburn AB-34 and i can be heard playing with 3 acoustic guitars and a set of congas when i really dig in fingerstyle. If i use a pick i can be a bit louder but i can be heard either way. I have found what strings you use can make a dramatic difference. I am currently using Elixer Nanowebs.
  6. bassheavy

    bassheavy banned

    i have played every major ABG there is.

    Ibanez, guild, martin, washburn, taylor, etc. etc., even the old kramers....

    the only one that i have ever been able to hear unplugged with guitars playing is my regal resonator bass.

    the thing kicks ass and is ultra-reasonably priced. it has a few flaws, but the price tag justifies them.

    check out

  7. You know, you could always try an upright bass...

    [Runs away in terror of things to come]
  8. Mr_Pink


    Nov 30, 2000
    The ones I tried all sounded to soft without amplification. So I would use an amplifier.
  9. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Those resos sound pretty good, but they just don't sound like a bass to me. I can see where they would fit in nice for bluegrass music though.
  10. thumber


    Jan 5, 2001
    thanks guys,
    I think I'll try one at the store but there's no way I'll get an upright bass.
    maybe I'll play bass with an acoustic guitar with heavy strings.
  11. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have an Epiphone El Capitan 5 string, and while it is a nice acoustic bass, it can't even be used with two acoustic guitars without amplification. I'm planning on selling it, since I don't use it anyway.
  12. JaggedB


    Jan 26, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    I have a cheap Oscar Schmidt (by Washburn I think) and it sounds OK but I am hard pressed to be heard with anything more than one acoustic.

    But actually the real reason I bought one, as Philbiker alluded, was to really be able to practice without amplification, either watching TV (and not annoying my wife too much :D ) or say going home for the holidays and not wanting to lug case, amp, and accessories, etc.

    I am glad I didn't spend a lot of $ though.
  13. Another vote for the Tacoma. Every time I'm in a music store, and they have an acoustic bass guitar, I try it out, and almost always put it back after about thirty seconds, cause most of them seem to be just bad. The Tacoma sounds different. It seems like it's about twice the volume as most acoustic bass guitars. It has a clear sound without losing any low end. I've never tried it amplified, but it sounded great when I was jaming with my friend who had a guitar.
  14. I have seen Martin and Guild acoustic basses that seem to be modified acoustic guitars. There is also the Steve Klein designed Taylor acoutic bass that I've heard sounds really good.

    I saw a Taylor at a local shop but the sheer size of it scared me back to the other side of the store.

    Has anyone tried the Taylor?
  15. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Tacoma makes the best acoustic bass I've ever played.. But i don't know if you should buy an acoustic bass just to play once.. unless you plan on using it alot
  16. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    :D The Tacoma is the same size. A bit of a pain to play and to move around, but worth it.