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Ashbory Bass anyone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KB, May 10, 2000.

  1. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Does anyone own (or has played) an Ashbory bass? I have thought about getting one for fun (and because I currently don't own a fretless and its only $299). I wouldn't use it as my main bass, but it might be useful for certain situations. If you've owned or played one here are a couple of questions:
    1. How's the sound...does it really sound like an upright like they claim?
    2. Are the electronics noisey?
    3. how easy is it to set up (strings, etc.)
    4. Is it easy to play with such a short neck?

    Any onther info in appriciated. I have read a lot about it on the internet and I know it looks goofy (but that is part of the appeal) tongue.


    [This message has been edited by KB (edited May 10, 2000).]
  2. JohnA


    Mar 21, 2000
    This has been covered pretty extensively on this board... look around, you'll find it.
  3. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I found some info. But not enough. It sounds like it is a bass that a lot of people would like to own but not too many actually have.
    I am still looking for more comments on it.

  4. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I just went looking for one of those today and had no luck finding it. I want to play one. They are cool looking and cheap, so if you find more info on what stores deal them, I wanna know.

    "I'm no hero. I just like to hit people on the head." - Nelson
  5. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999
    I test drove one about a month ago ... through a EA Head & Cabinet.
    To answer your questions in order,
    1. It has a reasonable upright sound.
    2. IMO the electronics where acceptable.
    3. I can't see how you can get much of a set-up with those oversized silicone
    strings & tiny fretboard, (strings on this one looked like they were tied to the tuners).
    4. Visualize pressing down a HUGE rubbery E string onto fretlines that are spaced about like the 2nd octave of a six string guitar. I thought it would take way too much effort to master the intonation.

    I wanted to like the Ashbory but decided that it was too much of a "Novelty" instrument for my taste. However YMMV.

    Best Wishes,
  6. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I have found that you can get one of these from Musicians Friend for $299. None of my local stores carry it (not even Mars).
    As for the sound, does anyone know of any music with this used as the bass? I think Tony Levin has used it on some Peter Gabriel stuff but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure which songs. I was also wondering if it would be a worthwile fretless (since I don't have a fretless).

  7. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    The Ashbory is such an enigma to me. On the one hand it sounds wonderful to my ears. It is very rich and the electronics are adequate. The signal to the amp is S T R O N G! It was breaking up the Warwick combo I was playing it through at the store. As far as playability is concerened, consider the second octave decorative and you should be fine. I think I just may have to pick one up sometime soon. You could do some pretty cool stuff if you let you imagination run wild.

  8. sbassett


    Apr 2, 2000
    I played an Ashbory at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, MI. I am a new bass player (about 8 months), so my opinion is not authoritative by any stretch of it. Anyway, I really liked the thump/growl upright-like tone. This thing sounds like it is 6 feet tall. Playing it could take some getting used to. I have never played a fretless before, and I am sure intonation will be touchy with a neck that short. Nonetheless, I play in a jazz quartet that plays standards from the 30's-50's, and the sound strikes me as ideal for that type of music. I almost bought one a couple of months ago, but opted for a used Ibanez SR 1205 5-string instead, and I have started using a slice of sponge under the strings near the bridge to reduce the sustain on the Ibanez and make it sound a bit more like an upright. Does anyone else do this? Are there other ways to mute the strings for more of an upright sound?
  9. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I took a piece of suede from an old jacket and wrapped it around a a piece of foam. I wanted it to sound like palm-muting, and it worked great on the low strings. The G string was a little too muted, so I think I will make that area smaller. I haven't tried an Ashbory, but it sounds intriguing.
  10. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I tried one out recently. I agree with the preceding posts by TonyS, KB, and G. They are cool and neat, but not practical. After the novelty wears off, you'll end up selling it. Save up few dollars more, and get a lower price fretless jazz bass or electric upright.
  11. sublimebpp


    Mar 20, 2000
    Anyone want to buy an Ashbory??? I'm not selling it cuz I don't love it to death, but I need money now. So email if you want info sublimebpp@yahoo.com cool.



  12. I liked the Ashbory too, but I also felt a good fretless bass (standard scale) would probably be more versatile.

    I opted to spend a little more money for the Godin A4 fretless - now that is a realistic upright sound! Also the materials and workmanship are in a completely different league.

    I did like the Ashbory, but I suspected I would find it limiting in the end.
  13. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Musician's Friend just cut the price to $249! (red ones only -- blue and black are 279. ?????)

    Really thinking about it now...

    I know the hardware is now considerably better, but what's the line on how the tone of the new ones compares to the new ones?

  14. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I have owned one of the original Guild Ashborys for a while. They are a unique animal good for unique situations IMHO. As a Bass#2 or Bass#3 on a gig, for specific needs, or when its unique sound is what's called for on a particular gig.

    It's fun to play, but also can be a hassle with its unusual action-- a light touch is called for in order to achieve the best results IMHO, and if you are in any way intimidated or unsure of yourself on a regular fretless, be prepared-- you have almost 1/2 as much tolerance with a 19" scale, or twice as much of an opportunity to play a clam.

    Mine is a bit dark-sounding; it needs some EQ to help it cut through a mix if that is your desire, but otherwise provides some deep and warm tones, with a bit of an edge if you want.

    Mostly, IMHO, it's a cool toy, but a useful cool toy depending on your needs. And cheap enough to buy and small enough to haul. YMMV.

    BTW, if you saw Mikael Jansson's article on the Ashbory in Bass Player mag a few months ago, that was my Guild in the photo.


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