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acoustic basses, may I bother you for some assistance??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by andrewrepasky, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. andrewrepasky


    Oct 30, 2009
    Houston, TX
    so im at a crossroad....keep my first "real bass" that serves as a backup for my first "good bass".....or trade it in for an acoustic bass so I am able to jam out when everythings unplugged.....my "real bass" is an Ibanez SRX390, and my "good bass" is a SR500....im currently looking at the AEB10 by Ibanez, or cheaper models in the Dean EABC or Michael Kelly Firefly....

    anyone have any experiences with these in jam sessions? I will be playing with 2 6 string acoustic guitars, djembe, shaker/other percussions, and a singer.......basically wanting to have the freedom to go where ever i please to jam out unplugged.....

    going by GC and my local music shop to shop around.....just needing some input....

  2. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    I have an AEB 10, not that loud unplugged. Manageable and louder if you play with a pick but you will be the first thing drowned out when the people you play with start to dig in. Granted I really enjoy the bass.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Most acoustic basses aren't very loud, and you'd still probably need an amp of some sort to be heard.
  4. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Not to take the wind out of yer sails, but dont expect too much from an acoustic bass guitar. They're unable to produce a proper volume due to the (relatively) tiny body. The body would need to be massive (close to size of a DB) to produce good volume (unplugged).
  5. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    Never owned a MK firefly but I played a fretless once in the store and loved it.
    I'm actually considering buying or maybe even attempting to make one of those standup basses composed of cardboard. For me,if I go acoustic i really want to go stand up (but can't afford it really).

    Their's not many acoustic basses i've played that i've actually really liked to be honest. I'm curious to see what input you get on this topic.
  6. MattS


    Jan 17, 2011
    Cheshire, CT
    I have an old Ibanez AEB30 that I converted to fretless a couple years ago. It sounds great, but I haven't really played it with more than just one other guitarist. Acoustic basses seem to be not of optimal volume compared to my acoustic guitar; If i were to get an acoustic bass of my choice, I'd get one with the biggest body i can find to have that volume/bigger sound.
    I would recommend NOT selling or trading in your backup bass for an acoustic and try to get an acoustic that's affordable. Check out ebay, there are a ton of decent acoustic instruments on there that are great quality but not a big brand name.
    I bought something like this on ebay for less than $90 as a gift for someone a few years ago and it seemed pretty nice. If I had more $ and room for more instruments i'd probably grab one, but that won't happen anytime soon.

    I hope this is helpful. rock on dude!!!
  7. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    The only two "off the rack" made ABG that were loud enough
    to use without an amp where.

    Guild B50
    Earthwood ABG

    These are both no longer made.
    I had to have one custom made by Marco Bass Guitars.
    It is amazing.
  8. I have an Ibby AEB5. It is not that loud. I've tried playing it with guitar players. It does not cut it. If you are looking for something for "unplugged jams", maybe a portable amp like this one http://www.guitarcenter.com/Roland-Micro-Cube-Bass-RX-Bass-Combo-Amp-104827795-i1394896.gc

    I haven't tried one, so I can't vouch for it, but this and your electric bass has to be less hassle than an AEB. I only have mine because I can practice by myself with it and play it through small PA systems where they won't let me play my electric bass.
  9. andrewrepasky


    Oct 30, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Man so much input on this topic! Thanks guys! Ill be venturing off to music stores today to try some out. But the true test will be to hear it with all the instruments...maybe i could talk my band into jamming at GC lol....

    We have a radio gig coming up and were asked to play an acoustic set...i just don't know if they are able to accommodate an electric bass..unless i bring a small amp and turn down
  10. i have an epiphone el capitan and i really like it. it was a gift. i love it, its got great looking wood and craftmenship. the neck on it is my favorite part and its just so smooth. a great "players" bass.

    that being said, i probably play this bass the least out of any of my basses. its just not practical for me, and gigging with it i would definetly still need an amp. even a small one to hear myself over everything.

    keep your backup, pick up a cheap acoustic. its fun but dont expect too much.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Acoustic basses are not loud enough to jam meaningfully without amplification. I've heard the best is probably a Tacoma, but even that will disappoint. Mine is a Breedlove and, while it's a very nice bass, it can't hold its own in an acoustic setting with other instruments.
  12. Guygrooves

    Guygrooves Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Tampa Florida
    Ive got the AEB10, picked it up cheap on CL with hardshell for 200 in great shape. I had played these prior at a GC it played nicer than anything they had on the wall -(a whopping 4-5 other acoustic basses).It plays great and for the dough you cant beat it-actually for that dough you can BEAT it and not worry at all! Its not terribly loud alone but i plug it in -(either 1/4" or xlr into my MarkBass 212combo) and it souds sweet-built in tuner-fishman-eq, its all good!! I practice with it to songs on my computer without an amp and im really happy with it!
  13. the GC down here has a sealed (two big heavy french doors) acoustic room and i have definetly gone in there with my two guitar players and laid down acoustic jams together just sitting in GC lol. its fun, just dont be "those guys":ninja:

    to the second part, that would be my first option. get your electric and a small amp. i would use my 120w hartke 1x10 combo (my normal practice amp) and just play quietly.
  14. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    1-used Dean 5 string acoustic/electric bass w/case . . . . $100
    1-used Roland 4x4 Micro bass (battery powered) amp . . . .125
    1-set D'Addario flatwound Chromes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
    1-soundhole plug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

    Total $275 . . . I can get louder than the other three acoustics in an all-acoustic band . . .
  15. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Now you've got me intrigued.
  16. andrewrepasky


    Oct 30, 2009
    Houston, TX
    hmmmmm.......same as i!
  17. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Yeah, you may be pushing the limits with that line up. But who knows... with a good setup (high action) on a jumbo body ABG and if the guitars aren't knuckle bleeders where fff is the only dynamic, you might have a shot, but you'll have to work for it. A small amp would certainly help all around. If you can be miced for your radio gig, that might work to get you in the mix.

    As far as having the freedom to go where you please and jam, you'll have that. Again, it depends on who you're playing with. My Takamine G Series is loud enough to hang with 2 quiet guitars around a campfire and people singing, but it's a quiet setting to begin with.
  18. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    ^^^The short answer is I agree.

    The long answer is that if you find one of the louder ABGs like a Tacoma, raise the strings to a more double bass feeling height and spend some time developing the technique to draw out the volume you can get an instrument that will just barely work as a purely acoustic instrument. Your max volume will still be lower than an acoustic guitar or a drum and if you're playing with insensitive louts who won't play down to your max volume you will be frustrated. I've made this work in the past but it's a huge effort. Honestly it's easier to get a battery powered amp.
  19. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've heard it work BUT big "if" is: it CAN work fine IF the guitarists are tuned into that need of playing under your threshold. If you're just expected to chisel into a section of the sound with them playing as loud as they can, I don't think you can go without the amplification.

    Another downside of playing an acoustic bass that's "just" enough is that it's just enough if you're playing hard (with high action) all the time, which isn't what you want to do anyway. It'll kill your finesse if every stroke has to be full throttle. I'm a huge mark for having a bit of headroom, even in unamplified situations. I'm not happy if there's only one dynamic I can play at, and I can feel it affecting what the music as a whole sounds like.

    OTOH, I'm not up on what's out there in loudish, moderately priced acoustic basses. Maybe if you use the criteria of being shown to the simply loudest thing there (regardless of some other aspects) you'll have a winner.

    But it's like that saying "You want it done right, done fast and done cheaply. Pick two." : ) A bass loud enough to do the trick might be twice the size you'd prefer and twice as expensive. Something might have to give : )
  20. ztpbassman


    Apr 11, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I play a martin acoustic BM bass a lot in a Gypsy jazz band and at gypsy jazz jams, but sadly I have to agree with most other postings, especially the last one.
    If the guys care enough about the music to play down to your level, then you have a nice shot at being heard without super high action and banging it out. At an acoustic jam session I was at, after the first time I went there, the leader told me: "I don't allow amps at these sessions, but we'll make an exception in your case." I've been bringing a tiny amp since, and it's worked out great. When we go out on the street or in a yard and play, then I'm on my own. If the guys (guitars and snare drum with brushes)are cool, and they usually are, then I pretty much can hear myself, but it doesn't have that round sound you want from a bass.
    However, the Martin does have a nice acoustic sound that blends well with the band, and on very small gigs, I believe the acoustic sound works with just a touch of depth from an amp.

    The martin is so a favorite bass of mine. It wasn't cheap but the Martin lifetime warranty is invaluable. When I had a problem with the neck or bridge, Martin fixed it no charge. It took a long while in adjustments and tweaks to get it to where I want it, but it just has a nice sound. Period. Fender acoustic strings. The only other bass that had a nice acoustic sound was the Tacoma, which they don't make anymore. And if you find one, be careful. The tops were very thin and fragile and tend to pull up and off. And Tacoma is out of business now.

    Good luck with Breedloves, and Kelly's, et all. They just don't have any acoustic balls, if you will, but they sound fine through an amp. But if you're playing anything other than jazz, new age, or folk, I don't think you'll get much satisfaction. In fact, I've been looking at a Traynor TVM50 (about 275), a battery amp that sounds decent, to use with my upright or Martin when we jam outdoors.

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