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acoustic basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Your Uncle Al, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Your Uncle Al

    Your Uncle Al

    Jul 26, 2017
    does anyone know of a fretted acoustic bass guitar that truly sounds good acousticaly(not plugged in) one that can stand up in a setting of two acoustic guitars and a mandolin? one that the low notes of the E string don't peter out. I have found that anything below low A loses volume. any suggestions?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    They exist but they are big, rare, and expensive. Ernie Ball Earthwood, Guild B50 are great if you can find either. Of those currently made, I think the Emerald Balor is likely the volume winner: Emerald Balor Bass - Emerald Guitars
    or just get an electric ABG and a small portable amp.
  3. Edmang

    Edmang Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2013
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    I just think that we’re fighting physics. You’re going to need a small amp of some kind. Fortunately, there are quite a few good choices out there.
    CosmicRay, TrevorR and J_Bass like this.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Upright bass bodies aren't the size they are for fun. It's the physics of amplifying low notes.
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Even the giant acoustics that could sort of be heard don't sound very good and are very unpleasant to play.
    Jeff Scott and jd56hawk like this.
  7. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Those are very nice but just as loud as a Dean or Epiphone for one tenth the price.
    scuzzy and lamarjones like this.
  8. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  9. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Bass guitar is all about tone. Not a day goes by here without someone talking about tone. Whether you like the P bass, Ric, Stingray tone, etc...it's not just the pickup(s) but the on-board controls, the strings and the amp. Earthwood bass, jumbo-body Guild, Taylor AB-3, no matter what acoustic bass you use, you're limited to that basic tone.
    I have a great acoustic bass but I wouldn't dream of playing unplugged and limiting what it can do, and believe me, I can get some sounds out of it that I can't even get out of my G&L L2000...that's why I bought a battery-powered amp.
    Sure, you can be heard on your Warwick Alien, to some degree, when playing with an acoustic guitar or two, but the bass won't be fully realized when the tone is restricted.
  10. Any acoustic bass with bright strings and a pick.
  11. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    You didn't define what "sounds good acoustically" means. Some folks around here think an ABG is supposed to sound like a standup. Others think you're supposed to be able to pedal on the low G and boom like a P bass through an ampeg.

    An ABG is neither of those things. Doing the wrong thing on the wrong instrument gets you the wrong result.

    If the singer gets a Mic, the ABG gets an amp. Otherwise, use pick on a big bodied instrument with roundwounds. Transpose your figures up one octave if the key forces you to depend on the E string.
    dmt, bearfoot, jd56hawk and 2 others like this.
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    It's been a lot of years, but iwnt on the hhnt for an ABG i could play unplugged with my dad and brother and after trying just about everything available at the time, including a Martin and some giant old Guild, i wound up just getting a little 60W amp to use with a regular electric bass when it was time to chicken pick with the flat top crowd.

    Most of the ABG's sounded good and carried really well on their own but trying to find a spot with a couple of flat tops found every one of them losing out from the 5th fret on the E all the way to open E. they would simply go away. Granted, ABG's have gotten much better but i still don't see any being used unplugged in a group setting.
  13. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    A resonator bass could be your best bet...

    When properly set up they have more mid range and cut through better.


    Moonshine. :bassist:
    Novarocker and HaphAsSard like this.
  14. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    But "that basic tone" can vary widely on both electrics and ABGs, depending on where you pluck the string. Move your strikepoint in three- or four-inch increments from just before the bridge to up around the 15th/17th fret, and you get quite a diversity of sound. The harmonic mixture changes as you move away from the bridge.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  15. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  16. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    The guild and the earthwood and about it, I've had decent success with the Tacoma thunderchief as well. But basically to be present while jamming, it's nothing like have my old Kay upright.
  17. Average run-of-the-mill ABGs might stand up to 1 acoustic guitar, but two and a mandolin... only if you're jamming with each other in a small room ie no audience and even then ...

    There are a number of threads on this topic — you'll find much the same info already given here: Earthwood, Guild, Resonator, go-big-or-go-home...

    There's a fretted upright bass somebody's floggin', basically a modded CCB.

    TB Thread: The Fretted upright

    Various other esoteric solutions such as an old '30s Regal, Mandos etc...


    They do come up for sale occasionally ... a year ago on Reverb:





    Can't fight the physics.

    It's either go BIG, or amplify.
  18. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    I like that guitar-sized mando on the bottom left of the top pic above.
  19. Your Uncle Al

    Your Uncle Al

    Jul 26, 2017
    any battery powered amp you can recommend/
  20. MrBassman17


    Dec 30, 2011
    Brewster, NY
    The reason amplification was invented, and first used by the Amp Co., was so the bass could be heard in the live mix with a full band. All the above is true : two guitars and mando will drown out an unamplified bass, no matter what instrument you are playing, so you need to use a small amp!

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