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Acoustic/Electric Bass, GOOD OR BAD??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by touchofgrey549, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. i am in the market for a new bass, and I love the go anywhere traits of an acoustic/electric, however I was wondering what you guys think about it? also, I love the funk/slap technique and was wondering if anyone knows if i can still do that sounding as sweet with an acoustic.

    then I also wonder if anyone has play the BG-32 fender. thats what I am looking at and if anyone has any other suggestions, post here!

    thanks guys:bassist:
  2. I just love my ABG but the slap sound --NO.
  3. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I tried out at least 5 different acoustic/electric bass guitars.

    Most of them sounded like they just took an existing acoustic guitar body and attached a bass neck and bridge to it.

    Only two of the ones I tried were obviously designed to be bass guitars before they put two pieces of wood together: Tacoma CB10 Thunderchief and the Taylor AB1

    The Taylor felt like a high quality instument. Very solid. The Tacoma is very light and has a somewhat homemade feel to it.

    Both have off-center soundholes. The Tacoma's soundhole is above the neck where your plucking/picking/slapping hand can obstruct its acoustic projection. The Taylor's soundhole is on the bottom side, out of the way.

    Projection: The Tacoma is quite loud and very warm. I could barely hear the Taylor, no matter how I held it, even facing a wall.

    The Tacoma came with a 20 fret neck. The Taylor goes up to 24.

    I can't say that slapping sounded good on either, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the Taylor.

    I got the Tacoma and I love it. I'd probably get another if they'd relocate the sound hole and give it 24+ frets.

    Too much info, I know. I never got to try a Fender acoustic bass.
  4. IMO, the Fender is the best budget ABG around. The 32" scale makes it very comfortable. It plays well, and has a nice amplified sound. In the high end models, I found the Taylor to be a disappointment for the $$, the Tacoma sounded and played better. Another budget model which is quite nice is Cort.
    Slap on an ABG? No, I dont think so.
  5. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I agree. For a post asking for help, that link was very unhelpful.
  6. sorry about the lame link, it was a typo! seriously! now click HERE to actually see. it took me awhile to see that. i am sorry guys. now what I erally want to know is:
    IS IT BETTER TO HAVE AN ACOUSTIC THAN AN ELECTRIC? FOR ME? i want to play anywhere, with me friends but i also want that cool electric sound. i wish i could just get 2!! dang. i am having trouble figuring this out guys...
  7. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Most ABGs just aren't loud enough to play unplugged with other intruments.
  9. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    That's been my experience too. It's not loud enough.
  10. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Yes, I agree, most ABGs are not loud enough to be played unplugged. Some DO have sizeable volume (Tacoma and Taylor) but really do need SOME added amplification.
    That is the point...ABGs are Acoustic/Electrics...from which you can achieve an open "acoustic" sound, which is unobtainable fromsolid bodies....and that is with amplification.

    In addition, with hollow body instruments, the string vibrations drive the top creating a different sort of tone, and it's associated anomaillies, than on a solid where the top drives the strings.

    I have quite afew ABGs...have have had,and sold, even more. I have tried almost every variety out there at some point.
    My main basses, esp. for solo performance, but also in studio sessions, are a Godin fretted A4 four string and a Godin fretless A5 five string.
    These sound great...and yes I slap, I tap, I play chords (chording is especially good on an ABG) ...I even slap sometimes on the fretless. I have no problems with slap on an ABG...of course it is a bit different sounding than the usual slap faire...a bit deeper, but doable. It will require a bit more "finese"

    I also slap on a 32" Dean Performer Plus, which is a budget ABG, which has a traditional soundhole and body shape.

    For some wicked slap on a ABG check out some of Jonas Hellborg's work. He has used Ovation, Wechter, and most recently some very cheap korean-made Samick ABGs, with DR strings (nickels I believe) and gets a slap tone which rivals any (even his own legendary tone) on solid bodies.

  11. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    To touchofgrey549:

    Why do you want to get an acoustic Bass?

    Do you want an Acoustic Bass to play acoustic gigs (such as on a street corner or at small gatherings)?

    Will you be playing acoustic gigs with more than one guitar?

    What I have found is that acoustic basses that I have played are not very loud and it can not compete with multiple acoustic guitars (and other unamplified instruments - sax, trumpet, even a harmonica). I think others have found this true also.

    There are several Battery powered amps on the market that work well for street corner or similar gigs where power may not be available. I have used a Pignose Bass amp once and have seen another guy use a Crate. The battery powered amps work well with acoustic guitars.

    This may not be the place to post this, but an Upright Bass works very well in Acoustic situations.
    The downsize is the size and weight.
  12. i would like an abg because i wanna play street corners,small gatherings, and with my friends. I am torn becasue i love electric sound as well. I have an electric right now so i could use that as the alternative. has anyone tried the jumbo sized fender b-33 yet? that is what i am looking at, but if you liked the dean performer plus i will look into that. basically, i want to be able to play unplugged and if that is not possible with a bass then thats what I want to know. Is it better for me to just go for the electric and get a battery powered amp?
    thanks for all ur help
  13. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Try an acoustic bass at a music store with a couple acoustic guitars playing at the same time to see if you think if it will be loud enough.
  14. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I'd get a small amplifier if I wanted to play "street corners,small gatherings, and with my friends" and wanted to be heard. I like my Washburn AB20, but it would be unsuited for the things you say you want to do. A/Es are great and convenient for sitting around playing by yourself, but start adding more instruments and you need some kind of amplification, and then you have feedback issues.
  15. check the Olympic's out for a good budget minded ABG, these things are (almost) as good as the US made Tacomeas, just amde overseas. Usually around $400 with hsc
  16. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    As I mentioned above, I have a Tacoma.

    I have come across two Olympias since then. UGH!!! :spit:

    First off, they are not constructed the same. You can see the neck bolts on the back of the Tacoma. Not so on the Olympias. The Olympias I tried were much quieter and sounded terrible compared to my Tacoma.

    The inside of my Tacoma's soundhole smells like wood. The insides of the Olympia smelled like... maybe particle board?

    They may look similar, but I would recommend an Olympia only to someone who can't afford somthing better.
  17. strange- I'd have thought it was cheaper to make a bolt-on than a set-neck.

    so bolt-on = more acoustic volume?

    I've noticed Ovation bowlback basses are loud for their size- maybe the loudest ABG would be a bowlback/synthetic body of some sort, with a bolt-on neck?

    the position of the soundhole on Tacomas/Olympias would be a problem for me, as I usually play my ABG with my thumb on the end of the fingerboard- which would mean the soundhole would be obstructed.
  18. Monkey


    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    549, I would recommend getting a battery-powered amp. I got very frustrated with an ABG's lack of volume. I bought a little Peavey battery amp, and it is fun to take along for outside, campfire playing. The tone is pretty bad, but it can be heard. I can get a fairly nice, middy fretless tone, and have much more fun than trying to beat a tone out of an ABG.

    I would like to have an ABG sitting right next to the john, though... Get a little practice time in....
  19. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    Oh, I don't know about the advantages or disadvantages of bolt-ons. All I meant was that even though the two may be about the same size and shape, they are not only made of different quality materials but they are constructed very differently.

    The only difference I could see in construction was the neck mountings. I have no idea about what else affected the amplitude of the Olympias' sounds. I was expecting it to sound almost as good as my Tacoma and was immensely disappointed.

    I agree about the arch-back Ovations. In fact, one of the times I have emailed Tacoma about their future ABG designs, I asked if they had looked into arched front/back construction. It seems to work well for the violin and its bigger brothers.

    I also agree about the location of their sound hole. It is a great sounding instrument, best ABG I have personally tried. Now if they would make a few more improvements. . .

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