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Guitar Scale Acoustic Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SBassman, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Horrified


    Jan 6, 2020
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks - yes good advice. The CD is temporary. I'm planning to make a wooden soundhole cover in the future with some 1x8 white pine I have in the garage. The pine is soft and easy to shape with a jigsaw and a small router/trimmer towards a Lutehole-type shape.
    Maybe an oil rub to add some colour.

    Regarding the sponge above the nut - I did a test with it on and off, and it clearly kills some wolf notes. There are so many sounds that come from this sweet lovely acoustic bass. The sponge cleans it up a bit. I had to do the same thing with my baritone - the thicker strings bring some overtones.
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Maybe a scrunchie would do the same thing?
  3. Horrified


    Jan 6, 2020
    Vancouver, BC
    Yes, I read about your trimming adventure on an earlier page of this thread, thank you. I went looking for a similar soundhole plug, but for some reason they are really pricey in these parts.
    I played with this CD cover and it vibrates against the guitar top. Not really usable for me. I could see using a CD cover in an emergency, but otherwise, no. I might put it in a box for now.

    That's a good idea! Don't know why I didn't think of it. I'll ask the girls here if they are willing to donate one to the cause.:cool:
  4. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I've been waiting for an acoustic bass uke from China that looked very nice online, arm rest area, swoosh sound holes, $163 shipped. It arrived today and turns out to be fretless, I specifically asked that it be fretted, and round sound hole, no swish style, so I'm returning it. Which really got me thinking about filling that empty space in my collection with a resonator.

    I too a closer look at the Jonathan 17 on AliExpress and it seems to be a good candidate for converting to a bass. The 37" length can easily be shortened by cutting an inch off the headstock, the rest of it seems very doable. Here's a quick mockup I made. I chose the color because I already have a set of bass tuners that are antique brass. I'm also going to add vintage color fret stickers to follow the look of the sound holes.

    Jonathan 17 resonator.jpg
    RedVee and OtherLisa like this.
  5. tymbrewolf


    Nov 10, 2003
    634mm scale. That is long for you
  6. tymbrewolf


    Nov 10, 2003
  7. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    RedVee likes this.
  8. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    The CD cover is actually a great idea. I wish I had thought of it. I tried making one out of a computer mouse pad, but it just wasn't solid enough, would flex and sometimes fall out. I just happened to have a regular soundhole cover laying around that was also too big for the one guitar I have. So I really had nothing to lose by hacking at it with a carpet knife.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    Horrified likes this.
  9. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I just took a close look at the Republic web site and the 61 total length is 37" the same as the Jonathan 17, since that's the case, being shorter scale does not help me. They also show a Highway 49 Tenor 4 string, which is 34" and 22" scale also with a slotted head stock, so I'll most likely go for the Jonathan 17 and cut an inch off the head.
    RedVee likes this.
  10. NS Design electric uprights have slot heads, and use regular Hipshot ultralite tuners (Imports on the NXT, probably US on the more expensive models). However, the ends of the posts are not trapped.

    I would go to the Hipshot website first and get the post dimensions (I think you can get Ultralites in two different post sizes), then I would take a look at some slot-head guitars to measure the existing holes.

    You could easily ream the outer openings free-hand with a regular reamer. However, I would be going straight to the drill press if I needed to drill out the inner ones at the centre of the headstock...
  11. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I already have a set of tuners that match the antique color of the Jonathan, and looking closely at the slot head, it would be easier to install them on a standard head stock. If I do order the Jonathan, I will have the head stock cutdown by an inch and new holes drilled for the bass tuners. Seems to be the least costly way to go.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
    steve_rolfeca likes this.
  12. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Has anyone taken a Mitchell EZB Acoustic-Electric Mini-Bass for a test drive? I’ve searched all over TB and on the general internet, but I can’t find any semblance of a review or even much of an overview, except by the maker.

    I like the characteristics of the bass as listed on the Mitchell web site, but would really appreciate reading opinions of those who have tried one out in person. I’m over an hour away from any retailer that stocks them (GC).

    I wouldn’t expect anything spectacular (made in China, $199 on sale at GC), but at that price, if it’s average quality, it might be a good practice / backup unit.

    Mitchell EZB Acoustic-Electric Mini-Bass | Mitchell Guitars
  13. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    Yes I tried two at my local GC. Both basically had action low enough that when I fretted a note the string was resting on the rest of the frets. Could just need truss rod adjustment? I liked them otherwise, especially the scale length and the number frets accessible above the body.
  14. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Not good on the action, but I guess that’s a little better than being able to throw a frisbee under the strings. Was probably set up by the resident GC guitar tech who normally plays a Steve Via signature tenor guitar.

    Could open strings be played? If so, any report on the sound / volume? Did you try to play it any plugged in?

    Did the fit & finish appear to be decent?

  15. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    Open strings rattled on frets. The second one was pulled out of a box. Setup was factory on that one. I just decided to go with something else.
  16. The 14th-fret neck joint on a dreadnaught body shape is interesting. I wouldn't expect it to have as much acoustic volume, or as much low end, as the designs based on mini-Jumbo or 12-fret parlour bodies.

    Given that, the setup issues that @Protagonist ran into, and the relatively small price difference between the Mitchell and the Ibby PNB14E, I would be going with the proven Ibanez.
  17. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    The Dreadnought body shape is what yields the loudest volume and best low end response in six string guitars, which is the primary reason I was interested in finding out detail. I’ve played the Ibanez and didn’t think it was as loud acoustically as others in the category.

    I’m not going to dismiss the Mitchell just yet. One review is a little too small a sample for making decisions.
  18. I wouldn’t dismiss the Mitchell out of hand, either. But based on similar budget Chinese brands that we get in Canada, I wouldn’t buy one sight unseen...

    Anyway, I agree that standard-sized dreadnauts are definitely good for bark and volume.

    Not so much for a fat, round low end, though. Try a good SJ200 back to back with an equivalent dreadnaught, if you want to see what I mean...

    Also, all bets are off once you start downsizing the body. For a perfect illustration of this, check out two small-bodied Martins of the same class, with one being a 14-fret, and the other a 12.

    There are two reasons for the warmer low end on the 12-fret:
    • One is the extra air volume in that oddly swollen upper bout
    • The other is the placement of the bridge. Pushing it further back into the top to make more room for upper fret access affects the bracing pattern, impacting the low end and mids more than the treble.
  19. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I’m not sure what dreadnought would be an equivalent to a JS200. Not a lot of maple back & side dreads. I owned a J200 for several years many moons ago. Almost any decent quality dreadnought would cover mine up. That’s why I don’t own it any more.
    I play an HD35 nowadays. A jumbo lower bout is 2 cm wider than a Dreadnought, but a dread has the bridge almost centered between the soundhole and the end, where a jumbo bridge is significantly closer to the soundhole.

    Mitchell appears to have the bridge near the center of the lower bout as does the Ibanez, but the Mitchell lower bout appears to have a little larger surface area. I’ll head to GC this weekend and see what I can find out.

    3EC46941-5771-4A97-A938-444C45C62272.jpeg 00425B08-FD92-4C68-A398-3DA4DFD1B97B.jpeg
  20. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Pluck the strings above the nut on your bass and you will see how dead they aren’t This is a major issue on upright basses, to the point they make special weighted devices to attach to the after-length to tune out the overtones. It’s also a major problem on mandolins, even unamplified.

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