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Need Advise - Looking for an Acoustic bass with decent volume

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DutchBass, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. DutchBass


    Jun 28, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Hey everyone!

    I have been a member of these forums for a long time now. I don't post very often but I read the topics here on a daily base.

    Some might call me a lurker :bag: hehe

    I would really appreciate your advice. There are so many people here with extensive knowledge of these things. I'm sure you guys can help me out with this.

    I'm looking for a fully (no semi) acoustic bass guitar which has a decent volume. Me and my band have been brainstorming about doing more gigs outside and in some of these places I do not have acces to electricity.

    I have played on a few acoustic basses sofar but when I jammed on these with our guitarist the bass could not be heared at all :mad:
    The volume was way too soft...

    Can you guys give me some advice on nice fully acoustic bass guitars to try out?
  2. JennySuzuki


    Dec 18, 2013
    It takes roughly three times as much energy to generate bass sound as to generate treble guitar sound. A conventionally guitar-sized guitar is not going to generate that energy without some sort of boost from electricity. That's why most "acoustic bass guitars" are actually acoustic / electric basses.

    If you truly need an acoustic option, you should look at a guitarron or an upright bass.
  3. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    What JS said is probably the best idea if you want to go fully acoustic but if you are looking for a good ABG as a place to start you can't go wrong with the Breedlove Atlas Studio now on sale at The Perfect Bass for well under $500 with the TB discount applied (normally sold to $900). I am considering getting some kind of small battery/electric amp like a Roland cube or something to augment the sound in just such situations but the bass itself is a great bass.
  4. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Battery powered amp maybe?
  5. old-fashioned


    Mar 25, 2005
    Forget about gigging with a fully (no semi) acoustic bass guitar. You must amplify it.
  6. DutchBass


    Jun 28, 2002
    The Netherlands
    So basically there are no fully acoustic bass guitar on the market that can be heared properly when playing along with someone on an acoustic guitar and a drummer that's on a cajon?

    I wasn't expecting that, hmm, that's really dissapointing. I already envisioned myself being able to stand my ground without amplification :(
  7. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
  8. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    If I use a pick and play super aggressive with my Morgan Monroe ABG, I can almost hear myself over an acoustic guitar. Not a great solution in any case.

    Am amp of some kind is really needed IME. Even a small battery powered one.
  9. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    I owned a Tacoma Thunderchief that could hold it's own with a couple of acoustic guitars unamplfied, with no problem.

    I tried them all before I bought, even the Taylor. The Tacoma was the only one that could handle it.

    It was very string sensitive however. It only really liked Elixers at about 50.00 a set.

    I got about 6 months out of a set.
  10. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    "They said it couldn't be done ..."

    But of course it can be done. All you need is to build a "guitar" approaching the size of an upright bass.


    In my opinion you'd get better quality sound from a real upright bass, but I guess this thing is slightly easier for guitar players, and it's easier to get it into a car - I believe the neck is detachable.
  11. I agree - better quality sound from an upright. WAY better in my opinion. The Rigel is a beautiful instrument and a very cool idea, but I'm not digging all that fret noise in the video. I guess the action could be raised, but at that point why not just learn to play on a real DB?

    A serviceable DB can be had in the same price range as the Rigel, and would be much more versatile. It will be a greater time investment to learn to play properly but well worth it considering all the new possibilities it would open up. :)

    Otherwise, the ABG + battery-powered amp idea gets my vote. But having not used a battery-powered bass amp, I have to ask, how is the low-end extension on those?
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I bought the new Martin BCPA4 it's pricy but I love it loud and rich sounding even with stock strings.
  13. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.

    I think string height and a different approach to right hand technique by the player would go a long way to coaxing a nicer tone out of that Rigel. I'd skip the frets as well, IMO.
  14. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I've been down this exact same rabbit hole. I'm in an acoustic band, and I wanted a an ABG to keep up. Ended up getting a Dean. Not even remotely loud enough unamplified. I ended up dumping about $1,500 on a DB and never looked back. It's actually possible for me to play too loud now without being plugged in (try playing a DB in a corner facing out to the audience. Damn!). I wish I would've just got the DB sooner and got an extra 5 months of time in on it.
  15. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I've had the same experience with the Thunderchief and it sounds good plugged in too.
  16. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Most ABG's, nope.

    A couple of unique ones like the Tacoma Thunderchief, or Ernie Ball Earthwood (good luck finding one)...probably.

    An unamplified ABG will have the best "chance" with a full body, bit higher action and played aggressively with a pick. It won't be deep or bassy, but it MAY at least be audible! :)

    Alternatives: Battery amp, upright bass, washtub bass, or give up and strum chords on acoustic guitar.

    Good luck!
  17. I am far from an expert but I have been trying out acoustic basses for a couple of years, with the same thought in mind. I have come to the conclusion that if you need to be wholly acoustic a double bass is the only thing that will be heard in the mix.

    I chose to stay with my electric and will be purchasing a battery powered amp to play in those instances that will be now 'mostly acoustic' at acoustic volumes.
  18. Been there done that and the answer is no. I owned a Westerly Guild B50, just about the biggest one there is. Maybe Tacoma has one about the same size. Great tone and build quality, but unsatisfactory without amplification. I sold it because it put my arm to sleep reaching around the thing.

    So no, there is no such thing. I know nothing about the Guitarron other than my experiences in a Mexican restaraunt. They seem to be louder, but still pretty unweildy.

    So sorry, you need one of these. Get a decent quality plywood upright and you wont regret it:
  19. Packinton


    Jan 19, 2014
  20. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama

    Or similar..

    But even then it may have to be mic'd.