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Do I need an acoustic/electric bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mebrown20, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. mebrown20


    Jul 22, 2005
    Hi everyone,
    My band, which is a rock cover band, doing everything from 50's to now, is branching out and doing an all evening acoustic set. We have acoustic guitar, electronic keyboards, vocals, and no drums. I am currently using my regular Spector NS2000/4 bass. Will I really get that different of a sound using a Dean acoustic/electric or something similar, or should I just go with what I already have?
  2. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Question: will this be a regular occurrence? If it is only a one time thing I would not sweat it, but...

    You could borrow an acoustic bass is you know someone who has one. Or,

    If you have the time, go shopping and get a bass for $100-200 from Dean, etc.

    Or if you have more cash get a better one. If you spend money, I would try to make it something I like to play. A very different instrument can have the side effect of pushing you to approach something differently and expand your musicality. I have 3 electrics, an upright, and 2 very different U-basses. To every gig I take the one I need, and the one I want to challenge myself with, and I almost always break it out.
  3. stanley00


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    You will have to amplify the acoustic anyway, they aren't loud enough on their own. I play in what is primarily and "acoustic" band and have tried an acoustic bass a few times only to return to an electric. Once amplified, I didn't think it mattered much.
  4. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Honestly, as one who asked this question 6 months ago... did not believe the negative opinions and had to try for myself... save yourself the time and money...
    I'm MUCH happier playing my Fender Precision with my two acoustic groups than with any of the acoustic basses I tried, and so is everyone else.
    On the other hand, if you are craving a rattling E string, unusable acoustic volume, ergonomics as comfortable as dancing with a really fat woman you can barely get your arms around, and the chance to constantly fight feedback... grab yourself an acoustic bass :D
  5. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    I am a member of a praise band that does acoustic sets with some frequency and believe the sound of my acoustic fits in better than an electric most of the time.

    As stated earlier don't spend alot if this is a one time thing....if you think you will do several acoustic sets or songs per year try it out.
  6. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    If you can afford to have one, get an acoustic bass. You may as well. I bought one a) for impromptu jams with my band while we're just catching up and b) joining in on our singer and guitarist's acoustic sets (not played acoustically, just on acoustic guitars...). You CAN do acoustic sets on an electric bass, but the acoustic will sound different and fits the look better, IMO.

    It's also got me interested in acoustic bass solo music, which can really be quiet nice and probably more accessible to non-musicians than much solo electric bass material. I'm thinking about chucking together a set and putting a demo in at some restaurants and coffee places.

    Now that I have one, I just grab it and sit in front of the computer or TV and noodle around, write music, etc. I've taken it to a mates house when we were catching up over a few drinks; he plays guitar and we just jammed on and off through the night - it was plenty loud enough next to an acoustic. You wouldn't gig acoustically, and neither would a guitarist, but it is loud enough for everything but a drum kit (IME, IMO, YMMV, and so on) when you're all playing acoustically.

    They sound different to an electric bass plugged in, but also different from the acoustic tone. I like the sound and feel when playing plugged in. I've also done some testing with volume and can get up to 'acoustic set' volume without feedback. Actually, I've never gotten feedback without trying hard to do it, so, there you go... All of this was standing in front of my amp like I would normally. For acoustic sets with the band, I will just be going straight through the PA, and we don't do these sets at venues big enough to require monitors, so feedback won't be a problem. Hell, our guitarists don't EVER worry about feedback or use feedback busters so I think I'll be right.

    One thing you need to know, and I think this has a lot to do with why people by an acoustic and then let it gather dust: An acoustic bass is not like an electric bass.

    You need to alter your left and right hand technique to get the most out of this instrument. If you play it like an electric bass, your right hand will choke the tone and your left had will create terrible string noises. On an ABG you need to work with the instrument to coax out its best tone, to help it resonate freely, etc. I saw a guy reviewing an Ibanez AEB on YouTube, and he had the thing low slung on a strap and was playing near the bridge like you would on a Jazz Bass. And he was complaining of poor acoustic tone. Hmm! This might sound a bit wishy-washy, but you need to be more sensitive and alert to the instrument when you're playing an acoustic bass - its the same with any acoustic instrument really. You cannot play it like an electric bass and expect results; you really need to approach it like an acoustic guitar.
  7. mebrown20


    Jul 22, 2005
    Wow everyone, thank you all so much for the great answers. I believe I will just stick with my Spector for now, and see how it goes. I appreciate all of the information!


  8. Good post Ben

    After owning and then selling an acoustic Bass, I probably wont own one again. The feel is very different, but the unplugged volume being unusable (with an acoustic guitar) is the deal breaker. They may have the "look" for some gigs, but if your going to be plugged in, A nice Natural wood Electric may suite you better.
  9. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    The sound will be different, but the bass will likey be MUCH less comfy to play and have feedback issues. If you want a different sound for that set, I'd advise either a fretless or maybe a bass set up with tapewounds or flats and apezo pickup.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    You might want to experiment with your eq. a bit to get it to sit better in the mix with the other acoustic instruments. If you can record your rehearsals/gigs and go FOH during a gig to give a listen, I think your electric will do fine.
  11. Aussie Player

    Aussie Player

    Apr 20, 2011
    I bought one of the relatively new Fender Accoustic Kingman bases that sell in GC. It takes a bit of getting used to and the long Jazz neck with block inlays is neck heavy, but it does sound good in an accoustic setting. I have gigged with it a few times now and take an electric for back up but at the moment, I am still enjoying the novelty of the way it sounds with accoustic 6 and 12 string guitars.
  12. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    I think the only worthwhile acoustic bass is an upright double bass. Good post Ben, although I don't agree :) I agree with the others about acoustic basses - they tend to be hard to play. It's better (and cheaper) to stick with the electric bass you have.
  13. deshi00


    Mar 26, 2010
    columbus ohio
    I have an acoustic bass, but it is only used around the house for practice. Any acoustic shows we book I bring my electric, as it will be plugged into my amp either way.
  14. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Buy more ****. That's always the correct answer.
    And post pictures of it.
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Meh, apples and oranges.
    Double basses and ABGs have different and equally valid voices.
  16. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I'd be thinking more along the lines of something like a Jack Casady hollowbody with flats.
  17. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    I had a Tacoma Thunderchief for 2 weeks once.

    If you can afford it, get a Rob Allen Mouse, best "acoustic" bass guitar tone out there. ever.
  18. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    Here are a couple of examples of what I love about the acoustic bass as an instrument separate from electric basses.

    At the end of the day, ABGs aren't for everyone, and most people will have different experiences with comfort, volume, feedback, and so on. My experience so far has been entirely positive, but as you can see here, just as many weren't that into it.
  19. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    Alternatively... Spectorcore. Single EMG, piezo under the bridge, semi-hollow. The piezo cops an ABG-plugged-in tone really well. Apparently the fretless version is killer.


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