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Guitar Scale Acoustic Basses

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

  1. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Grey or black packing foam?

    A scrunci?
    Horrified likes this.
  2. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    I understamd they can vibrate when plucked and may also vibrate sympathetically when the entire instrument vibrates. For an upright, especially when using a microphone, it would be a big problem. But the piezo pickup cant detect those vibrations, so we must be talking about vibrations from those segments of string above the nut altering the vibration pattern of the main length of string. That influence has to cross laterally over the nut and when pressing between frets, across 2 fret contact points and a finger. All 4 of those string contact points isolate the upper segment from the main string. Since the majority of the string motion is in a transverse direction, practically nothing above the nut should get through.

    Another problem using a mic with acoustics would be relatively long pice of string between the nut and fingered fret. Hammer on a high D on your D string and you get a nice dissonance from the ~D flat vibrating on the other side. This won't get through to the bridge or piezo.
  3. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    You don’t think Horrified has that blue sponge up there for looks, do you?;) It’s not that every note played is going to have a wolf tone created by the after-length above the nut, but there can definitely be certain notes that will cause the phenomenon, and open strings are much more likely to create the problem. My example of the problem on an upright isn’t a good comparison because the wolf tones emanate from the after-length below the bridge, which is always in contact with the same area (the bridge) as the speaking length of the string, regardless of where the string is stopped by the player.
  4. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    I'm just curious about how or why. Not saying it doesnt work. I may try it on my electric which has some dead spots.
  5. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Well, I made a trip to a GC and another non-chain music store today to test drive a few guitar scale-length basses. I have a report on the Mitchell EZB and a little comparison info. I’ll do a pro & con list on the Mitchell.

    • Nice finish. The one GC had was the sunburst. It didn’t ‘t look like a boutique bass finish, but it didn’t look odd colored or shabby.
    • Very easy to play and very comfortable to hold on a leg or lap. The action was a little low, but I got the resident GC tech to loosen the truss rod a little, which helped (more on this below)
    • On board tuner seemed to respond well and was reasonably accurate
    • Sounded pretty good plugged in, string to string volume was fairly well balanced. Just bass, treble & volume on the built in preamp.
    • This first con is the primary. The strings on the bass are the D’Adderio, EXPPBB190GS, the GS Mini bass strings for 23.5” scale. This string set is too light for this bass, at least for the way I play. Even with what would normally be plenty of relief (more than .015”) and plenty of string height, it required a light touch to avoid buzzing. The bass is a 24” scale, but these strings feel super low tension. After the GC guitar tech loosened the truss rod, he started cranking on the tuners tightening all strings. I asked if he was increasing tension to try to get the neck to bow. He said, “no, this bass is tuned way too low, somebody detuned it a full step or more”. I told him it was in tune by the on-board tuner. He said he didn’t trust it. He put a Snark on the headstock and began tuning. He had to lower every string on the bass because he had cranked them up over a full step too high. That’s how floppy these strings felt to a “guitar tech”
    • The frets on the bass are tiny, much like traditional mandolin frets. They might be OK with higher tension strings, but they were smaller than average for any bass I’ve played, full scale or short scale.
    • Acoustic tone was fairly weak, but with the spaghetti tension strings, that is to be expected, however, I don’t expect it would be great with higher tension strings. It sounds like a laminated top instrument.
    I also played an Ibanez PNB14E. I had played one in the past, but it’s been a while. It’s acoustic tone is better than the EZB. Plugged in tone is similar. The same strings feel a little tighter (3/4” longer scale than the EZB). I think most would choose it over the EZB.

    Lastly, I played a Gold Tone M-bass 25” scale (I own a 23” scale MBass). It was equipped with Labella Silverback strings. Its acoustic tone was much louder than the Mitchell and somewhat louder than the Ibanez. I think this is primarily due to the strings. The silverbacks are a larger gauge than the D’Adderios on the other two basses, and it feels and sounds like it.
    Plugged in, the 25” scale MBass sounds bigger and thicker than the other two and my 23” scale MBass. I would prefer it over my 23” from what I could tell in the short time I played the 25”.
    MakoMan and Protagonist like this.
  6. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    Thanks for the review. Your experience seems similiar to mine with the Mitchell, you're just more knowledable and spent more time with it. The GC clerk offered to adjust one of the Mitchells they had when I was there, but I just decided it was too buzzy and I didn't want to mess with it. I didn't remember it as a tension issue until you mentioned it, although the action was low on both I tried. I ended up buying a Jumbo Junior instead. It must come with different gauge D'Addarios since it doesn't have the tension problems the Mitchell had.

    Based solely on the scale length, I wonder if the Labella Silverbacks are an option for the Guild. I did double check the thread, and folks had issues with them on the Ibanez because of either tuning or bridge peg fitment.
  7. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    The Silverbacks should work on the Guild, based on scale length. I have silverbacks on my GT MBass that is a 23” scale, and the GT 25” scale comes new with Silverbacks. They are unusual strings. Their design is much the same as the D’adderio, perlon / nylon core with a metal winding on top.

    The Silverback uses a silver plated winding wire and the D’Adderio uses phosphor bronze winding wire. The Silverbacks are much larger gauge than the D’Adderios, but are still a very low tension string due to their core. They start out way too bright and zingy, but they mellow out (“become dead” would be the description some use) in several hours of playing time, which might be a few weeks for some and only a days for others, based on how much they play and if they have the skin oil that kills strings fast or not. I’ll take Silverbacks over Thunderstickies 50 to 1 all day, every day.
    Protagonist likes this.
  8. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    IIRC the problem is tuning post fitment of the E string: in order to use the La Bella Silverbacks on an acoustic/electric basslet that comes with the D'Addario EXPPBB190GS you have to be willing to either do some filing to the E string post slot, or flatten the string at that point (it has no taper, if I remember reports correctly). The Gold Tone MBass doesn't have that problem because it has much larger posts, which can accommodate polymeric strings.
  9. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    I’m going to try some more string options. I ordered a set of Savarez.

    Before I do, though, the above comment about larger tuner shafts has me thinking of this question.

    Have any owners of the Ibanez pnb14e changed tuners so you could use different strings?
  10. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    I don't need an AVNB1 if I have a Jumbo Junior, right? GC and MF have a price drop, and it's on MF President's day sale at 15% off that. $314ish before tax. You all wanna buy them out before I lose the GAS battle?
  11. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    Just saw they now have a Charcoal Burst Guild Jumbo Jr. Looks nice.

    Jumbo Junior Bass in Antique Charcoal Burst – Guild Guitars
  12. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
  13. There’s a lot to recommend about both.

    The 2-band EQ on the Ibanez is more flexible and more powerful. It can give you huge dub tones, or tight, almost regular electric bass tone with some tweaking. In comparison, the Guild s more rooted in great conventional acoustic bass tones. The one-knob EQ is sufficient to tailor the bite and treble to suit a given amp or PA, but not much more. Also, the built-in XLR out on the Ibanez has a stronger output, and is handy if you find yourself with only a mediocre DI to plug into at an open mic.

    The colour and trim of the two basses is very much a matter of personal taste- I find the Guild to be prettier, and the AVN1BE to have more of a vintage, Son House vibe. But the Ibanez is better finished. Mine needed zero work to make it play and feel great, whereas I had to buff out quite a few fit and finish issues on the Guild.

    The extra couple of frets before the neck heel on the Guild make it feel less restrictive to play, compared to the 12-fret Ibanez. I wouldn’t call it a night and day difference, but IME, the Ibby is more constricting, which helped me to play more simple lines, and plan my moves more carefully.
    OtherLisa, macmanlou and Protagonist like this.
  14. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    Well, the President's day code on the page itself apparently doesn't apply to the priced dropedd AVN1BE, but the one in my email does. If anyone else is interested, find that code from your email!
  15. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Regarding the Ibanez pnb14e.

    I’m still curious if anybody has tried tuners with a larger shaft. That’s where my E broke.

    I have a new E and I’m going to round off the edges of the shaft where the string bends. If that doesn’t work I’ll try new tuners.

    Plugged it in for the first time today, I’ve had it for six weeks, and the D and G strings don’t make a sound so I’ll have to try sanding the bottom of the saddle like others with a weak E tried.
  16. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    No real reason to post this other than I've just been taking pictures of my stuff recently. This is what I keep at my office. It's my "piccolo bass" tuned at the pitch of a cello, where my main axe is tuned CGDA an octave lower. It's a very balanced acoustic instrument at this tuning with flatwounds, and useful for quick bursts of practice during the work day.
  17. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I use HipShot license and Gotoh bass tuners, which have a nice fat shaft all the way down.
  18. The first time I changed strings on my AVNB1E, I noticed that the saddle was tight in the slot, thickness-wise.

    I lay it on it’s side on some 320 grit paper, and sanded a hair off it. Not enough that it was loose in the slot, but enough that I didn’t need pliers to pull it out.

    I noticed a definite improvement in the pickup output after the adjustment.

    My Guild just needed it’s first adjustment. The truss rod adjustment was fine, but it needed the saddle raised a pinch.

    Sure enough, the bone saddle was too tight in the slot, same as the Ibanez. A bit of sanding was all it took to reduce the squeeze on the saddle.

    I wonder if they’re made in the same factory...

    Just another thing to check when you’re sorting out piezo response problems.
    MakoMan and Horrified like this.

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