High End Acoustic Bass Thoughts/Recommendations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tanner5382, Mar 16, 2018.


  1. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    Hello all, I am considering predominately switching to acoustic basses (and acoustic instruments in general-guitar, mandolin, banjo, etc). I will still keep at least my favorite electric and my rig which is super compact anyway, but I am thinking about selling a bass and electric guitar and possibly amp to fund going more acoustic overall. I am more interested in the nicer, higher end acoustic basses that do actually have some projection to them. Tacoma Thunderchiefs, older USA made Guilds like B30s, the current Martin BCPA4, older Martins, that kind of thing.

    I am also interested in more independent/custom luthiers with praised acoustic basses like Harry Fleishman, Emerald with their Balor Bass, Santa Cruz with the True Acoustic Bass, Rigel and so on. There is an acoustic luthier reasonably close to me who has built acoustic basses, so I could potentially work with him to build something as well. Obviously, these options are generally more expensive, but I don't want to rule them out.

    Comments that basically say "ABGs are useless" will be completely unnecessary. Yes, many are, but there are high quality usable ones out there too. I am curious to hear more opinions about the Guilds, Tacomas, and Martins because after lots of research, I have seen opinions for each range from them being great and able to keep up and a couple of acoustic instruments, to them being not that good and overrated. If you have any experience with any of these, please let me know. Thank you!
     
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    My Martin does pretty well at producing acoustic volume with not-too-huge physical volume. That said, out of everything I've tried (most of what you've listed), the Emerald Balor beats them all rather handily. The old Earthwood has finally been dethroned.
     
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  3. Robroy

    Robroy Guest

    Jun 21, 2006
    I've never been happy with the volume I've heard from ANY acoustic bass. My solution with mine (a fairly cheap Dean acoustic with flats) is to plug it into a JVC Kaboom that I bought from Costco a loooong time ago. It's perfect. It has a 1/4" instrument input and mic input. It even has a built in drum machine. (they've come up with newer models since then).
    rv-dp100_front.jpg
     
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  4. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I own a Tacoma Thunderchief and a Guild B50. I use them for the tone, not their volume. On stage an amp is needed. Both are strung with nylon wraps strings, and with the right EQ and technique they can sound quite "upright-ish". People who are disappointed with acoustic basses usually bought them with unrealistic expectations of hanging with an acoustic band unplugged.

    I played an upright for years, but at 64 my hands are just getting beat up so I sold it and went ABG all the way. The guys in the band(s) don't seem to mind.
     
  5. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    For unplugged volume you cannot rule out the cheaper Deans, and the original issue BA4s can hold their own as well (made from completely solid woods, I have read): very resonant and mid-rangey. Or a Regal Bassoguitar, but those have become as hard to find as an Earthwood.

    A very good sonic but weird-looking compromise would be a 1/4 DB played seated across the knee.
     
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  6. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    Some interesting suggestions, thank you. Is the Bassoguitar what you have in your profile pic? That thing is cool.
     
  7. Robroy

    Robroy Guest

    Jun 21, 2006
    Yep. I've found that with the Kaboom It brings them up in the deep registers to compete with an unplugged or lightly amplified acoustic guitar. It's just right.
     
  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    Here's one for ya ...

     
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  9. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    Yeah I mentioned that in the OP. Pretty wild instrument. Wish the guy wasn't slapping in the demo.
     
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  10. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    For the record I don't plan on gigging with an ABG, and any recording sessions (very unlikely anyway) I would mic it.
     
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Here's mine:

    Regal 2.jpg
    (seller's pic, no ink on me) ;)
     
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Don't know if he's still building them, been emailing for over a year now, no replies...
     
    pudgychef likes this.
  13. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    It doesn't get much cooler than that. I'd love to hear/play one of those one day.
     
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  14. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA

    I forgot to ask, which model Martin do you have?
     
  15. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Sorry meant to include that, it's the B1. Very nice and surprisingly loud for its size - "punches above its weight class" - still no competition to the Balor.

    If you've got the scratch, also check out Toby Chennell's Arco bass:
     
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  16. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    Cool, thanks, I'll look in to that model as well. That Arco bass is funky!
     
    bholder likes this.
  17. johnson79

    johnson79

    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I haven't played around with an acoustic bass for a while, but if I recall the Martin and Guild models were both fantastic. The best one was the Taylor/Klein AB-1. That thing was incredible.
     
    Haroldo, BassManKK and Tanner5382 like this.
  18. mesaplayer83

    mesaplayer83

    Jun 27, 2017
    I'm pretty happy with the Breedloves I've had and still have - they're 3 for 3 with me...
     
    MrLenny1, nFinnyD, justjake and 3 others like this.
  19. silvertone

    silvertone

    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    I play electric and double basses and have never been motivated to play acoustic bass guitars.
    Regardless, about 20 years back I was made aware of a beautiful example made by Dave Maize, being played by Bobby Vega (with Zero) for one of their rare acoustic performances at a festival.

    Coupla years later I am literally entertaining folks at the same festival (the Oregon Country Fair) at one of the many hidden camps and along comes a guy plucking a beautifully made, behemoth of a bass guitar. We start jamming.
    I asked him his name and of course - it was the one and only Dave Maize:
    Dave Maize Acoustic Guitars: Acoustic Bass Guitars
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  20. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    I haven't played one of these but to my ears they sound wonderful...

    Svoboda | Public Peace

    Hope this helps you in your search....:thumbsup:
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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