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Acoustic letdowns *sigh*

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Usul, Sep 24, 2000.

  1. Well,I finally got to do some in depth playing on differant acoustic bass guitars....

    I was disappointed at the sound/volume of them in comparison to the acoustic guitars.Perhas in the hands of a more expearienced player they would be better but for my wants/needs....

    Should I be using a pick or??? *gasp*

    I tried a Takamie Jasmine and an Ibanez and also a Cort...just did`nt have quite the volume I was imagining.Did not try them plugged in so...but that was a major factor of my reasoning for getting one.Freedom and ease of playing yada yada yada....

    There are many times I have the opportunity to practice but need to be "low key/quiet" I ;thought an acoustic would be nice for this.Should I look into one of the hollow bodies ?Does Fender make a hollow bodied bass? Never seen/heard of one.

    Thanks for the info!

  2. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999
    My experience has been the same as yours. Acoustic basses do not have sufficient volume to keep up with acoustic guitars unplugged. It's not your experience level and a pick does'nt help much either.

    Like you, I've tried a number of them. Admittedly some are louder than others. I almost bought a Taylor ... nice tone and playability but after careful consideration did'nt. To my knowledge Fender does not make hollow body basses (unless De armond makes a Starfire knock off). There have been some good reviews around here on the Epiphone Jack Casady bass.

    I have met/seen several people who perform with acoustics they are always amplified in order to be heard.

    Best Wishes.

  3. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I own a DeArmond Starfire, though they were recently discontinued. Fender used to make the Coronado semi-hollow body, see the link. These are loud enough for the player to hear unplugged for "quiet" practice but that's about all. They really need to be amplified for anything else.

    http://www.bassnw.com/Used Basses/fender_1968_coronado_II.htm
  4. I, too, have never been impressed by acoustic basses. For some reason, low notes just don't resonate in an acoustic body as mid and higher notes. Probably has something to do with what wood the guitar is made of, as well as who is playing. Personally, I don't like them. I get more noise out of my P-bass unplugged with a pick than an acoustic.

    Rock on
  5. Steve Whitman

    Steve Whitman

    Sep 4, 2000
    First of all, Fender does make an acoustic bass guitar, but I don't know the model name/number. I saw one at a music store just last week.
    You'll never get a lot of volume from an acoustic bass guitar - the physics of those low notes just can't do it in a "small" body. Think of a upright bass, and how quiet they can be when plucked. I own a Taylor AB-2 and absolutely love it, but I only play it unplugged to practice. I have a small practice amp - Hartke Kickback 10 - that I use to go jamming with my acousitc friends. What I love about the Taylor is its amplified sound - very "woody" and fat when the eq is set right. A lot like an upright, but it is its own instrument, not an upright wannabe. In fact I love it so much I've ordered another, but fretless and spruce/maple. It should arrive next week.
    I checked out a number of acoustics before I got my Taylor, and none of them came close in terms of workmanship and playability and sound. They cost a lot, true, but they're only middle of the price range for quality solid wood acoustic guitars.
  6. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
  7. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I have played and owned a few acoustic basses. I currently own a Guild B30e it is very large and probably as loud or louder than most acoustic basses. But no acoustic bass will equal an acoustic guitar in volume. I haven't tried one of the Taylors yet but I'll bet they are very loud.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    ABG's have been a washout for me. I've played two, a Takamine and one Taylor (out of many that I've tried) that sounded decent to me. Still no substitute for an electric and an amp.
  9. Yeah, they are definitely not loud enough unplugged but they do have a unique sound that needs an amp to bring to life. You wouldn't need a very large amp to keep up with an unplugged acoustic, though. I used to use a battery powered pignose amp for jamming at the beach with my hippie friends. (not with an ABG, though, I used my fretless) It was pretty fun except for the bongo players had no rythym. I really like the Ernie ball acoustic I played once. Very hard to find ABG's in general, though.
  10. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Ed's got it right. There's a reason why upright basses are so big -- you need that much air volume to reproduce the bass notes properly. And that's the reason why most acoustic bass guitars just can't cut it.
  11. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Interesting thread...I recall an article that was written by Rick Turner in Bass Player a number of years ago, featuring the Mexican guitarron. Rick discussed how this thing is absolutely HUGE, but does get decent acoustic volume, probably because of it's size.

    I think anything short of this will not be able to reproduce sound the way we all wish they could. As a result, it's pretty rare to find ABGs without electronics! Whereas acoustic guitars come without pickups as often as they come WITH pickups. Bummer for us.

    There are some wonderful ABGs on the market, however. They require amplification, so if you're serious in the market for an ABG, be careful enough to make sure it sounds the way you want it to through your amp. Most amps will play ABGs as easily as electrics, but don't allow the true ABG tone to come through: it'll end up SOUNDING like an electric. Other amps, however, do a GREAT job of reproducing the "true" ABG tone you may be searching for. :D
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree with Brad on this one - even the best acoustic when amplified doesn't sound as good as a half decent solid body and you can never use them without an amp anyway - I just want to shout WHY?
  13. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    Back in the late 70s I played a hugh Guild that could actually keep up with an acoustic guitar. I've never seen another one. I think Taylor overdoes the bracing on theirs and loose alot of resonance, The martin is OK, but still (like every other AB I've played lately) too small. If I remember correctly the Guild had like a 36" scale and sold for like $1600 (20+ years ago). I think manufacturers just don't see a "niche" for what would be a very big and expensive AB in todays market.
  14. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I have a Fender BG29 acoustic bass and I'll have to agree that it is very quiet. You would never hear it over a good quality six string acoustic and plugged in it just feedsback and you cant get a decent sound so if I was going to plug in anyway I would use one of my solidbodys. What the acoustic is good for is porch picking by yourself learning songs quietly without a amp (thats what my wife likes about it) other than that it doesn't get much use.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If I'm practising quietly by myself, then I just use headphones into a small module that allows one instrument input and one line - really cheap and sounds great. I plug my bass in one channel and either my CD Walkman or Microcomposer in the other. Certainly much cheaper than buying and acoustic bass and is about the size of a paperback book!
  16. Ernie Ball used to make an Earthwood ABG that was absolutely huge.. I've heard tell that it's pretty loud. Only about 2000 were ever made or something like that.

    Brian Ritchie (sic?) of the Violent Femmes plays one.
  17. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I have had a Washburn AB20 for several years. I agree with most everyone else... AB's are not loud enough. Feedback is also a problem when trying to use live. I still like it though, it's convenient. Regal makes one that is supposed to be a little louder, but I have no experience with it.
  18. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I have access to multiple ABGs at Guitar Center. Here are my findings:

    Fender BG29: Crap. It rattles too much and the tone is abhorent.

    Martin BG-1: Best ABG I've ever played. The tone is great, it's built well, you can jam out without any annoying rattle.

    Taylor/Klein ABG: Though a beautiful and intricate piece, it sounds bad unplugged.

    Ovation: Sound better than a lot of cheap ABGs but don't bother with a 5 string unless you string it with a high C.

    Guild: Second best ABG ever played. Good tone, but smaller and thus not as loud as the Martin.

    Washburn: A decent sound, but quiet and some rattle. Not built very solid. But the one fretless one I played was awesome.

    MY OPINION: If you get an ABG, get a fretless one. The fretted ones make more sound coming from the frets than notes coming from the bass. If you need fretted, get a Martin or Guild. And if someone came in to buy the $2000 Taylor from me, I'd hide the Martin :D The martin is half the cost and multiple times better.
  19. Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that when I play my Sigma ABG I will have to use an amp. So I use a rechargeable Pignose "Hog" 30w thru a compressor and black nylon tape wound strings. No problem playing out doors with three acoustic guitars and vocalists.

    But unplugged.... all ABG's pretty much suck.

  20. RAM,

    funny you should mention the mexican Guitaronne as I was looking at one not too long ago wondering" what in heck..?"

    They have a really short neck and a HUGE chamber,also a bunch o strings!Not sure how many but looked like 6?They appear to be made out of some type of fabric.

    When my buddy goes back to see his family in Mexico I am gonna have him pick one up for me.May never be able to play it but will still look nice on the wall! :)

    Thanks for the info RAM(and others)


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