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Question about Martin Acoustic Basses, Takamines, and Aliens

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by velalv, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. velalv

    velalv Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA
    Hi Folks:

    I have been wanting to get my hands on an acoustic bass for a while. As a lefty, my choices are extremely limited. I can get a Takamine EGB2S in the mid priced range. See here. Takamine G Series EGB2S Left-Handed Acoustic-Electric Bass and more Fretted Acoustic Bass at GuitarCenter.com.

    I am interested mainly for playing acoustically in living room Bible study settings, coffee house jams, late night practice, and gigs were an acoustic vibe is useful, etc. The Takamine looks perfectly fine for my purposes and reasonably priced. My wife, being the trooper she is, encouraged me to not settle settle for a Takamine, but to go for a Martin or Alien purchased with our tax refund. Her logic is that why get mid grade instrument, when you should get the best possible thikn to play on. Again, for lefty acoustic basses, there really is not much in between.

    My choices are: a Martin bc-16e for $1700 Left Hand Martin BC-16GTE Acoustic Bass, a Martin OOC16-TAE for $1600,Martin 00C-16GTAE Left Handed Bass, now available from Adirondack Guitar. or a used Martin 00C-16GTAE for around $1300.

    Has anyone played these basses? Could someone tell me what their impressions are? Pro? Cons? Also, could someone educate me on what the differences are between the basses since I probably won't be able to try all of these out in person. The Martin nomenclature is about as clear as mud to me. Thanks for your help.
  2. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    It's great you found three lefties. Compare the specs.
    Is the used one a lefty?
    If so believe it or not buy the used one. It will take you a year at least to break in a new one.
  3. velalv

    velalv Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA
    Thanks Chadds. The used Martin is a lefty as well.
  4. khui


    Nov 22, 2007
    i have a bass fetish and love to add new basses to my collection. however its been a revolving door. been playing for about 23 years and have owned many instruments during that time including high end boutique basses. (maybe over 30?)

    however, the instrument that i kept the longest was my martin acoustic bass for almost 15 years. I finally sold it when I made the leap to 5 string bass.

    if you are considering an acoustic bass, I would recommend the martin for its quality, however, it is still limited by the nature of the instrument...you will NOT get the volume needed to keep up w/ an unplugged jam session. you will need to get an amp to supplement your volume.

    I've heard great things about Tacoma basses but have not had the chance to hear one or play one. heard the basses are LOUD and can keep up w/ 2 guitars in an acoustic jam.

  5. harmendebresser


    Mar 11, 2010
    the Netherlands
    Endorsing Artist: Höfner, Pyramid Strings, Dr. No FX & Asterope cables
    I've tried them all, but decided to spend a bit more and go for a Martin BC16. Not only can you tell it's worth it for the quality both build & sound, but also when it's the only bassguitar I play at home. Why even bother plugging in an electric when you can just start playing that beauty?!
  6. velalv

    velalv Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA
    Does anyone else have any experience playing Martins?

    Are they louder than the cheaper basses like the Takamine and Dean? I imagine the playability of a Martin will be way better.

    Anyone have comments on the Alien?
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I just played the new Takamine EGB2 at the NAMM show. It played like a dream. Very even sound all the way up and down the neck. Quite impressive. Big plus for me is Takamine isn't shipping with Phosphor Bronze strings. They're using Fender light gauge Pure Nickel roundwounds. YES!!!!

    I could have had a Martin deal a few times. Never found a bass that was even ok. Just expensive. I asked Martin about the lack of acoustic basses in the line. They quite honestly told me they don't like making them and have stopped a few times. Not their forte.

    The Warwick Alien....Are you kidding me??!?!?!
    Way too expensive. PERIOD!!!

    You might look at ordering from Boulder Creek. Quite loud for an ABG. Don't know if they offer a Lefty.
  8. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I owned an Alien years ago and, yes, it was pretty expensive. Mine was made in Germany, though I thought I read somewhere that they're now being made overseas (= cost less?). Not sure about that.

    I searched literally for years and tried every acoustic bass I could think of, including Martin. The Alien was the one for me. I liked its playability and acoustic tone, and the piezo pickup and sliders gave it the most versatility.

    I also know that there are TBers who are not Alien fans, so as always it's a case of YMMV.
  9. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I've owned a Takamine EG512 for maybe 6 years. It was gigged regularly for the first 2 and always sounded good plugged into my vintage Polytone Mini Brute. It lost its status when I picked up a Takamine B10 and became "the camping bass". Its been rattled around in the back of a jeep and knocked to the ground at campsites, and still, even with a cracked heel joint, holds its own around a fire with 2 quiet guitars and singing. Certainly a well built instrument, although I did have to replace two of its tuners and I don't think the rod turns anymore (never had it looked at). I've never played the Martin, but I can't see it being louder than the Tak.

    Also at the Martin's price point is Takamine's new TB240SC. Doesn't look like there's a lefty at the moment, but since they're making the TB10 in a lefty now, it may only be a mater of time.
  10. #1 - Awesome wife for offering you the tax refund!

    Personally, I love the Alien design but I know an official Warwick Alien is pretty pricey, around $1999 (4 string) / $2499 (5 string). If a world existed where money was no object for me, I'd easily choose the Warwick model. However, this would not be an option for me in reality. Warwick also sells significantly less expensive Rockbass Standard and Deluxe versions, of which pre-amps and top wood seem to be the biggest difference. (I decided with 2 simple questions to myself: If I play the bass acoustically, a pre-amp would not be in use. Also, if the bass will be plugged into my amp with a built in EQ, why would I need to consider the pre-amp?) The only thing that I would enjoy in the non-Rockbass version is a real Warwick bridge vs. the Rockbass' use of pegs.

    If/when I choose to buy an acoustic/electric bass, it will most likely be the Rockbass Alien 5. Mainly, I don't know how often I would actually play an ABG so, budget (or lack of budget) aside, I'm not willing to dish out $2500 for one.
  11. velalv

    velalv Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA

    I agree, I have a very patient wife. Basically, come tax time she lets me have a chunk, its her way of thanking me for keeping frugal most of the year.

    Honestly, I have heard a lot of good things about the Takamine, especially at its price point. I have not necessarily bad things about the Martin either, just expensive. I followed up on the Alien. The most expensive alien BASS guitars are now made in China, and remain in the $1800 dollar range. I don't exactly get that. The made in Vietnam ones are not available left handed yet. I thought they were going to be, but no luck.

    I figured this thread would be a bit different. Most of the threads on acoustic basses have focused on Taks, Michael kelly, Dean's, and Ibanez, and not so much those a little higher in the price point.

    I will get my hands on a martin in a couple of weeks, that will really be the test, but it is great that people have had wonderful experiences with the Takamine.

    I have a feeling I will be staying away from the Alien. It will most likely be the Tak or the Martin.

    We'll see. Does anyone have any tips for testing an acoustic bass? Do folks do something different than when checking out electrics?
  12. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Acoustic bass- hunt for a used Thunderchief, or get one of the newer Breedloves. Anything else won't keep up in a purely acoustic setting. Being a lefty you'll have to be patient.
  13. velalv

    velalv Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA
    I looked up whether either these came lefty. I am not aware of any example, other than a $ 5000 hanging out on eBay. That is way above
    What I can spend. Might ask on the other board I frequent, leftybassist.com to ensure I did not miss anything.
  14. I have a Martin B1 - it's a very nice sounding acoustic bass- and it seems to have gotten better with age as it is now about 15 yrs old- you can get a preety good deeper/rounder sound out of it - nice for playing with acoustic guitars and ukelali's. It's a very comfortable bass to play- once you get used to the larger size - for me it's a little cumbersome standing with a strap, but I'm 5'6" tall- so a person 6" would prob not have that issue. As with any of the acoustic/electric basses *i have found, because of their smaller size they do not have the resonance that an upright has. - I do like to use a 10 band eq because it doesn't seem to have the resonance that I like but that's just personal taste on my part.- i just think it sounds fuller with an eq on it.
    I am not familiar with Takamine basses - however if their anything like thier acoustic/electric guitars- they are probably a well made - well thought of instrument
    good luck
  15. bassgod76

    bassgod76 bass turd burglar

    Mar 13, 2003
    South Florida
    Not to derail the posting, but has anyone replaced their Takamine G series factory strings with Earthwoods?
    I'm wondering if the bronze strings are brighter, unamplified.
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I tried a Martin many years ago (at McCabe's) and thought it was by far the best sounding "normal sized" acoustic bass guitar I'd ever played. Richer, deeper sound than anything else in it's size.

    Now, an Ernie Ball Earthwood or one of those Taylor/Klein big-bodied basses, that's a different story.
  17. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    What's on there now?
    My G came with bronze strings. Couldn't get'em off fast enough.
    Put a set of TI Acousticores on. Nice sounding strings, but so light and almost zero tension. Useless for acoustic playing. I also wore fret notches in the strings after several months. It was only a matter of time...
    LaBella Tapes came next. Haven't looked since.
  18. bassgod76

    bassgod76 bass turd burglar

    Mar 13, 2003
    South Florida
    Some sort of non bronze types.

    I bought a set of Earthwoods with my first ABG purchase, but never installed them upon finding all the discrepancies with that Ibanez.
  19. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
  20. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Try the Earthwoods.
    It's all about finding what's right for you.
    For me, it was a set of LaBella Tape Wounds. I don't know what their shelf life is, but I figure with three unopened packs, I should be good for at least ten years.

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