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Help me pick my next bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by craigb, Aug 29, 2000.

  1. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Hey Crew,

    I have access to a modest amount of funds and, as usual, am looking at what instrument to get. My current main axe is a G&L L2000 (after going through many others). I have a Steinberger Spirit 4 as a backup and that's it.

    I have two main choices I'm internally debating: acoustic vs. an electric 5. And if I go acoustic I'm debating the 5 vs. 4 thing as well. So here are the ones I'm thinking about and my thoughts on them. Your input is appreciated:

    + Acoustic for practice at home (my only amp is left at the band practice space)
    + can jam acoustically with 1 or 2 acoustic guitars
    + can play for/with my 3.5 yr old son (and try to sing at the same time).

    Acoustic 4 (probably Regal Dobro):
    + I've read that it's hard enough to get a decent volume from an acoustic 4, acoustic 5's aren't particularly "useful" acoustically (extra notes are "too low" to be reproduced by the small body of the ABG)
    + I went with a 4 initially because of occasional wrist problems - narrower 4 is less stressful
    - when I eventually get an electric 5 I would end up wanting an acoustic 5 for practice/use

    Acoustic 5 (probably Epi El Capitan or Wasburn AB35):
    + When I eventually get an electric 5 can practice songs in the 5-string positions
    - more wrist stress
    - not as useful "acoustically"

    Electric 5 (probably Rumblefish 5L):
    + electric is "easier" to play than an acoustic
    - don't really "need" a 5 for anything my band plays
    - can't do acoustic stuff with it

    I'm really leaning towards an acoustic and am trying to decide between the 4 & 5. I need to do a music store run and try out as many as I can (especially 4s vs 5s) to see if I think I could even deal with an acoustic 5 for any length of time. So share your thoughts on what I should consider when making this choice. I'm going to be looking for used versions first so I won't be purchasing right away (doing any of these new requires a bit more saving up).

    Thanks, Craig
  2. bsaxnick


    Aug 25, 2000
    It sounds like you're leaning towards the 4-string acoustic. Go ahead and get that. You said that you don't need a 5 string for your band, maybe you should just stick with a 4.

    Good luck,
  3. mr t

    mr t

    Aug 24, 2000
    manhattan, ks
    i don't know if wrist stress is more prominent with 5 string players. if you're using good technique with your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck and not wrapping it around (or playing with your bass at the knees), the 5 should not be any more "stressful" than a 4. it might even offer less stressful opportunities as you can play in a position closer to the bridge thus requiring less reach. just my opinion.

  4. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Get the Washburn Acoustic 5 String,, its a hell of a bass!!!
  5. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Mr. T - Yeah, I'm not sure if the stress is worse or not (for me) because I've never had a 5 for any length of time. I was playing guitar in my current band and had to quit because holding bar chords was killing my wrist (along with a computer job and a new squirming baby). When I rejoined on bass I was going to get a nice 5 but was afraid of bringing the wrist problems back. I do try to play with my thumb in the middle of the neck and sling my bass up high and try to keep both wrists straight. I get a straighter wrist up at the nut than in higher positions (I'll have to see if I can change that, maybe I'm keeping my elbow tucked in or something). I also think (again no long-term experience) that playing an acoustic bass will generally require more effort (just like an acoustic guitar takes more strength/effort to play than an electric). It seems like the little bit of extra stretch needed to get to the B instead of the E (assuming thumb in the middle of the neck) isn't much but it might change angles enough to make a difference. I'm kind of paranoid about getting back into the wrist problems - I'm "on the edge" and have to pay attention to my posture and what I do with them to keep them happy.

    bsaxnick - yeah, I'm really leaning towards the acoustic 4. If I, in the future, get into a situation where I need a 5, well that's just an excuse to have to buy another axe, right?

    lfabara - have you played the Washburn? It looks great on paper (35" scale, large body) but I haven't tracked on down in the flesh to try out yet.

    thanks for your input

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