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Best Plugged-In, Fretted ABG for $1200(or so) or less?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassin' 'Round, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Bassin' 'Round

    Bassin' 'Round Banned

    Apr 30, 2005
    Would use it unplugged to practice but (mostly) plugged-in playing out. Looks like Martin, Tacoma, Godin are the front-runners? Other suggestions?

    Should I consider anything other than Fishman electronics?

    Looking for lower action/faster neck, too. Probably w/TI Accoustacore(sp?) or TI flats.

    Anyone want to chime in? Thanks.
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I love my Tacoma. It sounds great both ways.
  3. I'd say Tacoma. For me, it's better than the Martin, and the Godin isn't really an ABG anyway. If you find a used Taylor-Klein, that might work for you.
  4. Godins A4s and A5s are awesome plugged in, but they aren't really designed to be stand alone acoustic instruments. They won't compete with the volume of an acoustic guitar, especially if strummed hard. However, in my experience, it is rare that any acoustic bass guitar does, and the ones that do really don't have the sound that I like (you may have a different opinion). The Godins are loud enough to practice if you are in a relatively quiet place, and they have a really nice low action. They sound great plugged in (ease off the bass on the EQ a little, or they sound boomy) and look great, IMO. Anyway, try a bunch of options out at your local guitar store. See what you like.
  5. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I own a Tacoma, and love it. I haven't had any problems with feedback, and it's REALLY loud (for an ABG! ;) ) unplugged. I love its tone plugged in, as well, though I mostly play it unplugged. It's the ultimate couch-potato accessory. :D

    That being said, a LOT of people have complained about the Tacoma feedback plugged in. The very thing that makes it so great unplugged is apparently what causes it to feedback so badly -- its ability to resonate so much. Again, I haven't had a problem with this, but it may be my particular EQ settings on the Fishman, or the fact that I've never run it through a PA system, only my bass rig at home (4x10 and 2x12 powered by a GK amp).

    If I were to get an ABG primarily to play plugged in, I'd recommend the Godin A4 or A5. The A5 I played in the store had a Baggs pickup, IIRC, and had INCREDIBLE plugged-in tone. It also had really low action and a fast neck -- very comperable to a great Jazz neck. If I hadn't wanted my ABG mainly for unplugged playing, I would have bought it right then and there.

    The Tacoma has low action, top-notch construction, and slightly less fast neck-feel. However, it really is best unplugged. The Godin, OTOH, is fairly quiet (louder than an electric bass, but not by too much), but has a plugged in tone that is REALLY nice, and is far less prone to feedback. The Godin is also very well-made (at least the one I played was).

    So for your purposes, I'd recommend looking at a Godin A4 or A5.
  6. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Martin ALternative X Bass was the one for me. I had the same criteria as you and I auditioned MANY basses. The Martin sounded way better than everything else I found. The only other real contender was a Fender Victor Bailey Signature ABG. Great slap tone out of the Fender but it has Fishman Classic 4 electronics and the Martin has Prefix Pro, so the Martin is more versatile. Good luck with your search.
  7. Bassin' 'Round

    Bassin' 'Round Banned

    Apr 30, 2005
    What kind of volume, if much at all, does the Martin have unplugged. Would it even have a chance of being heard played unplugged anywhere other than the bedroom?

    I'm sure the Godin is very nice, but I narrowed it down to the Martin or Tacoma with the Fishman Prefix Pro.

    Anyone have experience with a Prefix Pro Tacoma. Any feedback issues?

  8. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I owned a Tacoma Thunderchief and a Warwick Alien - the Warwick won hands down - better sound and louder unplugged, and NO feedback when plugged (caveat: my Tac was one with the LRB pre and not the Fishman, though, it fed back like a mother).

    The Alien is about 1100 bones or so and only comes in 4-string, though.
  9. Bassin' 'Round

    Bassin' 'Round Banned

    Apr 30, 2005
    You aren't talking about a German-made Alien, are you? I know you referenced $1100, so I guess you mean the Korean model. Just Checking.
  10. Tritone

    Tritone Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America

    I had a custom soundhole cover made, and that helped out tremendously. Putting damping material (foam, etc.) inside the bass helps too, just be careful of the electronics.
  11. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Out of curiosity, which Martin model are you considering? I own an ALternative X Bass which has an aluminum top, and the rest is made of synthetic materials. It sounds decent unplugged. It projects well, just not as well as a larger bodied bass. Plugged in it can sound really warm and natural or it can sound like a really hairy P-Bass. I have also played a BC-15E which is made of mahogany and sounds much warmer and louder unplugged. I prefer the BC-15E to ANY other ABG, as far as unplugged tone and volume are concerned, but I bought the Alternative X because of its capacity to sound unconventional. At any rate, every Martin I have ever played has been a fantastic instrument, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. My acoustic guitar is also a Martin and it sounds and feels spectacular. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  12. I got the Fender Victor Bailey sig ABG, I like it alot. I played Takamine, other Fenders, and some martins, and I liked the Bailey. I found the Cheaper ABG's didn't sound as good, and the martins were too expensive. Oh, I tried the Nikki Sixx Ovation ABG, it was really nice, but waaaaay too expensive for an ABG. Around 3000 Canadian, it wasn't THAT nice. But yeah, the Victor Bailey was about 1000 Canadian, and I felt it was worth it.
  13. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    If I ever buy another Fender, it will be a Victor Bailey ABG. That bass is awesome. :)
  14. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    I don't know about plugged in, but in a blind "taste test" between my Dean Playmate, a Martin and a Tacoma, my $200 Dean won hands down.