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Convincing "upright" tone - Godin A4, Rob Allen MB2, or?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gkintn, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    This is my first post around here...

    I'm looking for a fretless, piezo pickup type bass to use mainly in a Bluegrass band, and for rootsy studio work around Nashville. I have very little true upright experience, though I can play a lined 34" scale fretless with no problems. I best stick with a horizontal instrument, close to the scale length of a P-bass.

    I have tried a Godin A4 and was quite impressed. It would surely do the doghouse thing much better than my old P bass.
    The 1/4" long cheater lines really do the trick.

    However are the much more expensive Rob Allen MB2 basses worth the extra cash over the Godins?

    Any suggestions from folks that have played these?
  2. genderblind


    Oct 21, 2004
    Seriously, the Status Electro is perfect for your specifications.
    Piezo bridge with one humbucker, a vast array of tones, and amazing playability. I have one, and it is the best bass i have ever owned. I think it looks much better than the Rob Allen too, it's a real modern art baby.
    Check out the Status Graphite site for some pics, look in their "stock basses" section to see two more versions. don't be put off by the graphite neck, they sound clear AND warm! Mine is all wood, chambered mahogany with a maple top, maple neck with rosewood board - flawlessly designed and built. Beautiful thin neck, amazing action.
    I'm lucky...
  3. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I would seriously suggest you check out:


    I had the Godin for a while, and it was nice, but Dave's passive piezo pickup system has the woodiest tone you could want. Dave has a clip of me playing one of his basses on the sound clips page. I have no commercial interest with him or his company, I'm just a satisfied customer and he asked if I would be willing to submit something for his website.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Something with good piezos, flatwound or nylon strings, and at least medium high action. Pluck up near the neck, and you will get pretty darned close.

    Cheap piezos won't get you close enough. And neither will roundwound strings. Low action will introduce too much mwaah into the tone. And other string noise.
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The Rob Allen's a great bass, and nails the upright sound better than most, but I wouldn't rule out a Rick Turner Renaissance. It's a fantastically warm, smooth playing acoustic, and I couldn't say good enough things about those that I've played. :hyper:
  6. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Anyone for the Godin? It IS half the price of most other alternatives.
  7. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    While I'm very pro-Godin (love my A4, want an Acoustibass) I've neither had the opportunity to try the Turner or Allen (if I ever see one in a store I'll be spending some time checking it out) nor am I looking to emulate an upright with it. When I've played around with some palm muting and thumb plucking I like what I hear, but I don't feel qualified to say either how much it sounds like an upright or whether it does better or worse than the other basses you are interested in.

    If you search and find some of Max Valentino's comments on the Godin you'll get a lot of good info from him (and there are some other Godin/Allen/Turner comparison threads out there in the archive).

    I expect Max will chime in when he sees this.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Having tried a number of these electro-acoustic BGs (and being the owner of a Turner Renaissance), I can honestly say that they won't necessarily get you closer to an upright tone than a standard magnetic-pickup-equipped solid body BG that's strung with flatwounds and played using the appropriate technique, i.e. over the end of the fretboard with muting.
  9. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Out of the 3 basses, I recently played the A4 and liked it. It was definately much more in a woody direction than say my Precision bass. In the store I played it through the same amp I'll be using, a GK MB150. I could tell that "playing the part" and using good technique will also really help to catch the upright vibe.

    I'm convinced the Godin might be the most bang for the buck out there.

    That said the Rob Allens sure look amazing. The 2 clips I've heard possibly sound a little less precussive than what I heard from the Godin, which may be just they way they were played. That said several have mentioned the Allens can sometimes get lost in a band context.

    Like I said, I have played the Godin and liked it but wonder if I shouldn't possibly consider a more high end alternative?
  10. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Godins are alright, but the RA's are very nice... probably my favorite with runners up being a Carvin AC model and that Ol'skool Fender hollow P with Piezo (long thumb-rest)... can't remember for the life of me what that model name was.
  11. One bass that really nails the sound is the Ashbory bass. Although it definitely isn't the same scale length... or anything like a Fender. But check it out, DeArmond makes them now. Very convincing upright tone, and fun to play, although you may get a few stares.
  12. The Manne Acoustibass gives you a wonderful, upright-ish sound, closest I've ever heard anyway.
  13. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    I got a chance to play the one that was reviewed by BP last year... pretty OK tone, but I personally think that even the Godin is still above it tone-wise.
  14. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Keep in mind I'll be wanting more of a percussive thump out of the bass, not as much of the every popular "mwahhh..." sound.

    My guess is higher action can take any fretless bass more in that direction.
  15. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    I'v ementioned this a few times in several similar threads but here she goes again:

    Takamine B10 - they are rare, but do yourself a favor and check one out if you have the possibility.

    You can also check the sound samples of me playing one on deborahjcarter.com.
  16. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Does the B10 have any markings on the neck? From the pics I've seen it appears to not have any lines, but maybe it has position dots.

    I mainly play guitar and I'm pretty good at slide which means positioning things directly over the frets. SO that said I can play a fretless fairly well as long as it has lines.

    Without lines I may get fired from the band :)

    The Godin A4 has little 1/4 lines under the E string. That is just enough to work for me. The Rob Allens have full filled fret slot type lines which would be nice too.
  17. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    The Rob Allen is the closest I've ever heard to an upright tone and they are simply gorgeous.
  18. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Ooooops....GAS kicked in and I just ordered a Rob Allen after all. It was in stock at a dealer, no waiting list so...

    Now I have to put a BUNCH of things on ebay to make up the difference as I had only planned on the Godin...

    Thanks guys for the input. I hope I like the Rob Allen fretless 4 stringer. This one has a mahogany body, maple top and I hope that works out to be a nice tone combination. I know it works nicely on Les Pauls.

  19. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    You will not be sorry that you did.

    A year or so ago I caught Les Paul at Irdium and he had this female bassist playing an RA and it had the most warmest beautiful tone.