Guitar Scale Acoustic Basses

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

  1. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
  2. screefer


    Nov 7, 2017
    The Island
    Could you please school me on the Headrush 112. I have an Ibby PNB14E and a patch cord. What else do I need?
    I apologize for my ignorance. I have been using a Rumble 40 and am attracted by the smaller Headrush.
  3. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    The Headrush 112 can play louder louder than the 108 at maximum volume. That could be useful with a solid body bass.

    However, the 108 is already loud enough to drive an ABG into uncontrollable feedback. Plus, the 112 is unpleasantly boomy in the low end. It’s also significantly larger and heavier. I originally expected to prefer the 12, but having tried both, I wouldn stick with the 108 for use with an ABG.

    The Headrush comes with a power cable. Since the only other thing you need is a guitar cord, you’re ready to go!
    screefer likes this.
  4. mahgnillig


    May 19, 2009
    Ugh, just missed out on these. Hope they have them back in stock again soon!
  5. mahgnillig


    May 19, 2009
    I managed to get my hands on the MK Sojourn Port & a set of MBLS flats. Is there anything special I should know before installing the strings? I saw a picture recently of someone who had installed them with spacers at the bridge end. Is this necessary or will they just go right on with no problems?
    bsman likes this.
  6. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Yes, I have a ABG with the same scale length (24.75', fretted, bridge pins), and I wanted to know if I could just toss those MBLS string on it.
    bsman likes this.
  7. bsman


    Apr 25, 2020
    Me too! I have an Ibanez AVNB1E and was curious regarding strings other than the stock D'Addarios.
  8. tymbrewolf


    Nov 10, 2003
    Most acoustic abgs are made for nylon core strings. Mbls or other normal electric bass string would likely damage your guitar. Only a couple are built for them. Also bracing tops bridges etc should be built for a certain kind of string. However, in the case of the gold tone micro, it was never intended to have steel core strings. However, it was tested for a few months to see if any damage resulted. None did. But intonation suffers unless modified.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  9. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Where you last put your tape measure?
    The La Bella/Gold Tone MBLS (MBSLS on Ebay) are reportedly 28" long, from ball-end to silk. If the distance between ball end and closest tuning post on the Michael Kelly is more than that, you won't need a spacer. If not, you might.
    The Sojourn Port comes with steel-core strings and should be sufficiently braced for the La Bellas, as well as intonate decently.
    kohanmike likes this.
  10. mahgnillig


    May 19, 2009
    The distance between the ball end and the tuning post is 28" - the same as the distance between the ball end and the silk. I think that once the E and G strings are tuned up there might be a little bit of the full width of string (below the silk) wrapped onto the post. Is this going to be an issue? I have only ever replaced strings on my electric bass before (once) so I'm not really sure if that's okay. It seems like there are a few people out there with the Sojourn/MBLS combo... wondering how many used spacers.
  11. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Paging @macmanlou, @kohanmike (who apparently did use some short spacers), @Gee Man.
  12. Gee Man

    Gee Man Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2016
    W. MA.
    I did not use spacers on my MK Sojuorn with the LaBella flats, and everything just fit as expected.
  13. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  14. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Yes, the MBLS flats fit my MK Sojourn Port and Gold Tone fretless acoustic 25 without any alteration. It's easier to install them on the Sojourn because it doesn't use bridge pins.
  15. mahgnillig


    May 19, 2009
    Thanks all! I ended up putting the strings on without spacers and the length was close but ok. The problem I did have is with the nut slots on the E and A being too narrow for the MBLS strings. I am going to have to take it to someone who knows what they're doing to widen them as I don't want to mess it up.
  16. Gee Man

    Gee Man Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2016
    W. MA.
    If you have a small round file that isn't too course, its a pretty easy job to open up the slots ever so slightly. Just go very slow and check your progress as you go.
    macmanlou and HaphAsSard like this.
  17. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    You can also use a piece of fairly fine grit sandpaper (400-600) folded smoothly (no crease) around a stock string. As Gee Man said, go slow and check with the new string often. Follow the very slight angle of the original slot - it's supposed to be just a little higher at the fretboard side than the tuner side.

    On my Sojourn, I opened the slots enough with the original roundwounds by putting a little side to side pressure on them while pulling them back and forth through the slot. Don't use downward pressure unless you also want to lower the action at the same time (which could cause fret buzz if you go too far down).

    And lube the slots with a regular pencil when you're ready to finally install the new strings (the graphite works great).
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
    Gee Man likes this.
  18. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    End of an era today.

    After my AVNB1E failed to sell on consignment last year, I ended up with both the Guild and the Ibanez hanging around at the same time.

    Interestingly, I've been chronically unable to decide which one to keep and which one to let go. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and I found both of them extremely appealing.

    In the end, though, it made no sense to keep both. I have a hard and fast rule about not keeping instruments that aren't being played. Plus, I've been jonesing for a true hollowbody guitar lately, and I needed to sell a bass to make it work.

    I had an opportunity to make a part-trade deal with my local Long & McQuade, and finally decided to let them break the tie. I would take both basses in, and release whichever one had the highest trade-in value.

    It didn't actually come down to that,though. As I was prepping them for sale, I made a point of paying close attention to how they performed and felt during the final shakedown.

    It was very close, but still, the Guild definitely came out a bit ahead. Here were the factors that I considered before deciding to trade the Ibanez:
    1. The electronics in the Ibanez are far more flexible- the 2-band EQ lets you go from acoustic tones to almost a P-Bass with flats, and even on to a swampy Reggae tone. The XLR out is a handy thing as well- in a hurried setup, you can skip the DI box, and simply plug into the nearest mic cable. The onboard tuner is nice to have, as well.
    2. The Guild only has volume and a treble rolloff, but the treble control is perfectly voiced for amplified acoustic tones. I put a little D'Addario/NS design tuner on the headstock, which works very well.
    3. The Ibanez definitely edges the Guild out on acoustic volume- it's noticeably louder and more lively. However, it sounds a bit loose and ragged, while the Guild has a tighter, more focussed tone.
    4. While the Ibanez is more flexible plugged in, it has a huge bottom end that can get away from you if you're not careful. The Guild simply sounds more pure and refined. The treble on the Ibanez gets a bit scratchy and clanky, compared to the smooth, acoustic-sounding upper harmonics from the Guild.
    5. The string spacing is wider at the nut and the bridge on the Ibanez, which I prefer.
    6. The neck is chunkier on the Ibanez as well, another win in my book.
    7. The 12th fret neck joint was occasionally annoying on the Ibanez. With only 2 more frets free of the body on the Guild, the differences was small, but still noticeable.
    8. The Ibanez strikes me as a little fragile, given that it has a relatively soft mahogany body and NO body binding on top or back. I've been very careful with it, yet there were already a couple of small nicks on the edges.
    9. The dark-coloured Ibanez has an interesting vintage look to it, like an old low-end Martin.
    10. Overall, the Guild simply looks like a much more expensive instrument. The colours, the binding, the tortoiseshell pickguard, the flame maple veneer on the back and sides, the purfling around the soundhole all add up to a premium look. The Guild gig bag is nicer as well, although it doesn't have enough pockets.
    Bottom line for me was that while I could have gone either way depending on the situation, these are the priorities that made the final decision a no-brainer:
    • I have a battery-powered Bose S1 Pro for acoustic jams, so the lower acoustic output of the Guild is irrelevant.
    • Sale prices on Reverb are about $100 CAD higher for the Guild, but the dealer gave me a better allowance on the Ibanez.
    • Since plugged-in acoustic tones are my main reason for owning a GSAB, the Guild's slight advantage there was the deciding factor.
    So. The Ibanez is gone, and the Guild is all polished up and ready for whatever gigs come up as Ontario starts to move out of lockdown.

    Best of all, I have a cherry red Ibanez Casino Coupe coming from Chilliwack, which will be an interesting contrast to my piezo-equipped thinline Telecaster. I'm feeling like my quiver is pretty full at the moment.
    screefer and Karl Kaminski like this.
  19. Protagonist

    Protagonist Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2019
    Other than what you discussed about the neck and the string spacing, did you notice any ergonomic differences from the body shape? Were you using them mostly on a strap or sitting down? Thanks.
  20. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    I don't know how much my observations will help most people.

    From a distance or in pictures, I look like a medium-sized guy. You wouldn't realize that something is "off", until you see me towering over someone of average height. Relative to my head and chest size, my arms are long enough (37.5" sleeve) that when I hold a Gibson SJ 200, it looks like a 00 Martin...

    Also, these little guys are still pretty small, even when you measure them relative to a normal guitar:

    Guild and Ibanez mini basses vs D18.jpg

    That said, short version:
    • Both play great.
    • Both sound great.
    • Because of the low string tension, both of them require some adjustment if you're coming over from regular electric basses.
    • Still, if you're at either extreme of height, hand size, and reach:
      • Small guys might find the Guild a little easier to play.
      • Big guys will definitely find the Ibanez easier to adapt to.
    Long version:
    • The Guild feels more toylike for a good reason. Look at the string spacing relative to the Fender-style 19mm on the Ibanez!
    • The neck carve on the Ibanez is deeper as well- it wouldn't feel out of place on a regular electric bass.
    • A 2-fret difference doesn't seem like much, but it's pretty noticeable when you have to reach over the body to play an octave A at the 14th fret on the Ibanez.
    • Both hang nicely on a strap.
    • Both feel great seated, although I sometimes notice the wider hips of the Guild when sitting on the couch.
    • The Ibanez is a hair lighter than the 4.0lb Guild. The lighter build of the Ibanez probably explains the louder acoustic output.
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    Protagonist likes this.
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