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Acoustic Basses Volume, Tone and Wow!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by guestOU812, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. guestOU812

    guestOU812 Banned

    Jul 30, 2011
    Hey ya all bass folk! Can any of you recommend an acoustic bass guitar that has Volume, Tone and what I call Wow!? Amplifying it is totally secondary. What I am looking for an acoustic bass that can hold it's own in an acoustic jam with no amp, several guitars and hand drums. Is there one?
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
  3. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    There are so many threads asking the same question and the answer is invariably the same: none of them are loud enough for what you describe.
    4 Strings Good, JRA, Frank77 and 4 others like this.
  4. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    When I first saw that this one was being built, I thought it might turn out to be "the one" that would be able to do what you're asking for (not that I would ever have been able to afford one).

    Then, I later saw a video of Jack playing it on stage...through a small amp.

    Oh well...

    Bass of the Week: Jack Casady’s Ribbecke Guitars “Diana” Bass
    Dee-man and emjazz like this.
  5. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I had a Michael Kelly 5 string club Custom
    Very nice sound
    The steel strings that it came with you could hear if you played using a pick but not well and sounded tinny
    So what they said no
    Get yourself a small 110 combo and go
    matthewbrown likes this.
  6. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Depends. Are your jam mates listening to each other, or trying concuss each other? If you have two or three acoustic guitars playing fingerstyle and at midlevel volume, and your hand drum is laying a light beat, then a really large body high quality acoustic bass can be heard by the other musicians. If the guitars are whanging out as loud as they can get and the drummer is trying to beat his unit into shreds, then no, nobody will hear your bass.
    djp420, Grumry, Curtbass and 4 others like this.
  7. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    To my ear, the ones that sound best are fretless.
    djp420, LouieV2, pudge and 3 others like this.
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Sorry, you need an amp...battery powered, small enough to wear on your back...unless you stand right in front of the crowd and the guitarist(s) are standing twenty or thirty feet behind you.

    Every time someone asks this question it should be answered with another question: Why wouldn’t you use an amp?

    Remember, we’re bassists...it’s all about the tone. I don’t care if someone comes up with an acoustic bass twice as loud as a Tacoma Thunderchief...there’s no way you can match the tone of even the cheapest bass plugged in...and that’s including an acoustic bass with those horrible sounding bronze wounds.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  9. guestOU812

    guestOU812 Banned

    Jul 30, 2011
    Thank you! I was hoping someone somewhere came up with something for us to take to the camp fires and parks.
  10. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    It's something we all wish for. I do play every week with three acoustic guitars, and they have no trouble hearing my acoustic bass. They all play with restraint.
  11. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    It’s all about expectations. An acoustic bass guitar isn’t gonna get the booties shakin’. Try some out; that’ll be within the range of what to expect.

    You said in the original post, "an acoustic bass guitar that has Volume, Tone and what I call Wow!? Amplifying it is totally secondary. What I am looking for an acoustic bass that can hold it's own in an acoustic jam with no amp, several guitars and hand drums"

    Just from the capitalization of the word "volume" and the use and capitalization of the word "wow" and then the exclamation point after it, my guess is that you’re not going to find what you’re looking for. Add in the several guitars and hand drums requirements, and people just aren’t going to be saying "Wow!" about the bass.

    Can you be heard by people who are right nearby if the other musicians are listening and playing with restraint (and you’re using a pick and playing on roundwounds), yes. But "Wow!" bass tone in the mix of a number of other musicians outdoors, no
    JRA and djp420 like this.
  12. taught


    Jan 5, 2015
    I wanted to have the same thing you wanna have.

    I advise you to get a decent battery amp.

    By decent I mean either the roland MicroCube if you have $ for it:

    I had the chance to try this amp and I was blown away that you can achieve this on battery.

    If you are on low budget I would recommend Blackstar Fly 3 with the extension cab:
    FLY 3 Bass - Compact Mini Bass Guitar Amp | Blackstar Amplification

    It would not sound WoW! and it would not blow anybody's hair off but it will get the job done.
    Sunnburn and jd56hawk like this.
  13. Dabndug


    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    No ABG is going to cut the brief, but an acoustic upright bass will. Learning upright is demanding, and upright basses are expensive (and cumersome) compared to ABGs. For a range of genres, however, being competent on upright has huge upside.
    spooonius, JRA, Garret Graves and 8 others like this.
  14. If you can find an old Earthwood, you will have a fighting chance with multiple acoustic guitars. Lamonte guitars makes large deep bodied acoustic basses. You might want to check them out. :thumbsup:
  15. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Well, if you can bring this to campfires and parks,
    you can bring this.
  16. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    It would have to be the size of an upright. Or be an upright.
    pcake, nixdad, salcott and 6 others like this.
  17. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I agree.
    Though there are some campgrounds where “no amplified music” is allowed.
  18. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    The Wow! factor is usually this: Wow! I thought you'd be able to hear this next to an acoustic guitar, and was wrong...
    St_G, pcake, aprod and 6 others like this.
  19. wesonbass


    Nov 26, 2012
    Graniteville SC
    No. Throw a banjo in the mix and you won't hear the acoustic guitars either :smug:
    JRA, fretlessguy, HolmeBass and 2 others like this.
  20. bigmikebass

    bigmikebass Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    Fairview Park , Ohio
    Only the earthwood has enough sound to cut with a small group. It’s cumbersome to play, but for meat and potatoes stuff, it works fine.

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