Questions about Acoustic/Semi-Acoustic Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike Ferdinand, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Mike Ferdinand

    Mike Ferdinand

    Mar 25, 2017
    Hi everyone!

    I was a bassplayer for a covers band for many years during high-school/university. Now I (and the rest of the band) finished uni, band ended and we all went our separate ways. I moved to a different city far away, to a building where I can't make a lot of noise. Since I still want to play bass but I cannot take my gear with me (my amp is kinda big) or make a lot of noise, I was thinking of buying an acoustic or an semi-acoustic bass and play it strictly unplugged.

    I have never seen an acoustic or a semi-acoustic bass live so I don't know their sound and have some questions:
    - How loud are they? Are they as loud as an acoustic guitar?
    - Is the quality in sound the same as if they were plugged in? Or is there a large decrease?
    - Is there a big difference in sound from acoustic to semi acoustic bases?

    I was checking out a few of them on: Thomann Acoustic and Semi-Acoustic Basses

    I liked the design of the Höfner Ignition basses but I don't know about the sound unplugged.

    Any help would be appreciated. Sorry if these are dumb questions to you. Thanks!

    TLDR: Do Acoustic/Semi-Acoustic Basses sound good unplugged?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    There is a large amount of variability. You can get acoustic basses that sound good and are loud enough to keep up with an acoustic guitar unplugged, but they're big, rare, and expensive. Any semi-hollow is probably not going to even come close to "cutting it" acoustically. Sound quality differs greatly between plugged in and acoustic as well. Good enough for bedroom practice can be had at reasonable prices, but if you want to play with others acoustically, it's going to cost some more.
    Mike Ferdinand likes this.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    How about a headphone amp?
    RSBBass, Mike Ferdinand and bholder like this.
  4. Mike Ferdinand

    Mike Ferdinand

    Mar 25, 2017
    I understand what you are saying. I was trying to find videos of the Höfner Ignition basses unplugged but couldn't seem to find much. Maybe those are the reasons why...

    I was thinking of buying one those on the off chance that maybe one day I would play another gig (unlikely but still...)
  5. Mike Ferdinand

    Mike Ferdinand

    Mar 25, 2017
    Never heard of headphone amps. I'll make sure to google them, thanks
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    They're good. If all you wanna do is hear yourself on the couch at home, an acoustic would also be fine but they've never been very comfortable to play in my opinion. You take an electric you're already comfortable with and plug in headphones and you're not bothering anyone. The sound obviously isn't particularly powerful and you're not gonna hear your bass's full voice but it's a good compromise.
    Mike Ferdinand likes this.
  7. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    A quality acoustic bass will give you a good sound, but it will not sound or play like an electric bass...they are just different animals.To get useful sound out of an unplugged acoustic, just to mention one point, you need a higher setup. If you want it to feel and sound like a Fender P, just for example, you need to use a Fender and go the headphone route. A decent acoustic...Martin, Guild, Taylor etc...will sound closer to an upright than an electric bass. It will cost more than a decent electric too. The less expensive acoustic/electrics are meant to be amped, and get their sound there. Unplugged, they just don't sound very good.
    Mike Ferdinand and bholder like this.
  8. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    I live in a small apartment and practice with an electric bass plugged into an audio interface hooked to a desktop with output going to 5in powered monitor speakers. I keep volume in same range as TV. All I need is a cable and the bass. Much more satisfying then acoustic, plus I practice the one I play. Have CD library to play with or Pandora / YouTube. I also can run speakers via dbxGorack and guitar trainer.
    bholder likes this.
  9. if you are going out to play for money on the street or subway, and you are going have to use an upright to be heard. If you prefer the bass guitar you will need a battery powered amp such as the Roland below, or one of the Crate Taxi or Limo amps. For practice around the house they are fine.

    Roland Micro Cube Bass RX Bass Amp