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RickTurner Rob Allen or Godin A4or5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jankjo, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. Rick Turner Renaissance

    11 vote(s)
  2. Rob Allen

    23 vote(s)
  3. Godin A4 or A5

    6 vote(s)
  1. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    I recently posted a question about looking for a fretless closest to an upright sound. Thanks to everybody for all of the great ideas. After looking at the different options, i am leaning towards cjazz50's suggestions of
    Rob Allen
    Rick Turner Rennaissance
    Godin A4 and A5

    I am leaning towards the Rick Turner -- seems to be in the middle in terms of price, and I like the way it looks. But I was wondering what people who have played these basses think about them. So what do you think about these basses, and what would your recommendation be?
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    There are some differences in construction. The Allen and Godins are chambered hollowbodies, whereas the back and sides of the Turner are different pieces of wood. Also, the top the Turner (and I think the Godin) are braced, whereas the top of the Allen is just an unbraced overlay.

    That said, they all sound fairly similar. I thought that the Allen sounded (and felt) more bass-guitar-y than the Turner or Godin, though none of the three will really fool a careful listener into thinking it's a double bass. You can actually do some half-assed Marcus Miller single-string tapping on the Allen (!), but that doesn't work so well on the other two.

    Construction on all of them is top notch, so I'd say of the Godin or Turner, go with the instrument that appeals to you visually. I personally like the outre medieval appearance of the Turner; it really telegraphs its acousticness.
  3. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I own both a Turner Renaissance 5 and a Rob Allen MB-2f (fretted). They both have more of an electric bass sound and don't come all that close to an upright. My feeling is that a fretless Rob Allen with nylon wrapped strings will give you a slightly more uprightish sound. They both have too good sustain though, especially the Turner that sings and blooms forever. So you will have to get some of the sound with your hands. These two basses are both very nice but also very different. I love the easy playability and the looks of the Turner, I fell in love instantly and would recommend it just for its own unique look and feel. The Rob Allen I like more than anything for its size and light weight, I always use it when my back bothers me. :)

    Make sure you try them both before making any decision.
  4. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    gee, that's a toughie [​IMG]

    IMHO / IME / YMMV :)   tone, playability, quality, looks ... Rob Allen
  5. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    ok what is
    "half-assed Marcus Miller single-string tapping" and why can you do that on the Allen and not the other two. Does this have to do with strings?

    Also...the Rob Allen can be played with tape wounds. The Turner comes with TI nylon core strings. Can you put the tape wounds on the Turner? Can you put the TI nylon core strings on the Rob Allen?
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you listen to "Twin Geminis" off of Marcus Miller's "Tales," he does some fretless Van Halen-y single string tapping that's reproducible with the Allen. It might have something to do with the strings, though I think this has more to do with the construction of the instrument; it responds more like a solidbody in terms of attack. As Anders says, the notes from the Turner tend to "blossom" like an upright, meaning the attack isn't as immediate, which doesn't really lend itself to slapping and tapping.

    Strings on all of these instruments are interchangeable. The LaBellas on the Allens are smoother than the Acousticores on the Turner, though both have a tendency to roll and feel slightly sticky if you dig in with the right hand.
  7. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I don't think so. I can tap on either neck :D

    You can put tapewounds on pretty much anything.
    A Rob Allen, Rick Turner, Godin...an old P Bass, etc.
    They have a metallic (read: magnetic) core.

    Thomastik-Infeld "Acousticores" (nylon core) will
    ONLY work with piezo pickups. There's essentially
    no magnetic materials in the string. They will work on
    Rob Allens, Rick Turners, Godins - not to mention ABG's
    like the Tacomas, Deans, Guilds, etc., which (IIRC) all
    have piezo pups.
  8. About a year ago, I faced a similar decision. (I didn't consider the Turner, because the looks really don't appeal to me, but I can see why many like them.) I wanted a semi-hollow fretless with a piezo bridge, for a somewhat acoustic sound.

    I chose one you don't have on your list, the Carvin AC40F. I know, to some players, the Carvin name doesn't have the prestige of those other brands, but the Carvin had the features I wanted, and the price was better too. I wanted a 2-octave fingerboard, and I wanted neck-through construction.

    Personally, I like Carvin stuff, but I hear other opinions. Since I'm an amateur player, I don't need to worry about prestige--I just wanted to make myself happy. Everyone who has played mine, including a couple of pro players, have been amazed at how nice it is. I'm sure I would have been happy with the Rob Allen (my second choice), but I have never regretted getting the Carvin. It does not sound like a double-bass, but it has a very acoustic sound, and growls like a monster. I might almost say it sounds like a bowed double-bass.

    Anyway, about the strings. I recently took the LaBella tapewounds off my Carvin, to put on a new set. I looked across the room and saw my Cort electric fretless (magnetic pickups, not piezo), which has never produced a tone I liked. It was always kind of tubby and nasal sounding, and I had tried several different kinds of strings on it, including roundwound, flatwound, and Rotosound nylon tapewound. Never liked it, and I had decided to give the bass to a friend of mine who is currently bassless. Just for kicks, I threw the old LaBellas on it, and even though the strings are about a year old, they brought the Cort to life. It's like having a new bass. I'm glad I didn't make the offer to that friend of mine, because I'm keeping the thing now. (I'll offer it as a loaner.) Those black tapewound strings are not for everyone, but I have nothing but praise for them.
  9. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    Thanks for all the help.

    Notduane, that is a very cool looking bass. Did you have that made so that you could put two different sets of strings on? How do you take advantage of the two necks?

    I can barely handle one :)

    Also, I am such a complete newbie, that I don't even know what tapping is. :confused:
  10. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Thanx! :D Your'e exactly right. I had a single neck R/A and
    tried both types of strings on it - fell in love with both tones
    but hated havin' to swap out strings all the time.
    Very carefullly :p. One of these day$ :rolleyes:, I wanna' get a looper
    (phrase sampler)...lay down a line with the `Tapewound` neck,
    then solo over top of it with the `Acousticore` neck :D .
    There's that previously mentioned Victor Wooten stuff.
    I first heard tapping on "Addicted to That Rush" (Billy
    Sheehan - Mr. Big).
  11. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I have played several Rob Allen basses, and they are exquisite instruments. I will agree they have the most "electric" feel/response of the three. Yet, I have found that an Allen with tapewounds or TI acousticore strings, will provide that URB-ish sound.

    I love the Turner Renaissance basses (and greatly respect and honor Mr. Turner's role in the evolution of our instrument...the electronics in all of his Renaissance/Electroline basses are head and shoulders above anything else out there...and the Ren is probabbly the most easily playable A/E I have found. The Ren, tho capable of getting a faux-upright tone, is very much a singularly unique instrument, with a very beautiful a blossoming sound all of its own.

    I have two Godins; a fretted A4 and fretless A5. My Solo CD, "A Caravan Of Dreams", was recorded using the A$ nearly exlusively. These are exquisite basses..in fact, they are my favs of the three mentioned. Someone else pointed the (slight) design differences, and I will second that. Godins are superb basses, that are incredibly dynamic and responsive. The necks are quite comfy and easy to play, rock solid and made with attention to detail you just don not see on other basses (solid or hollow) in the same sub-2k price range.
    Yes, my Godins can do that faux URB thing quite well (and I often get asked just for that on sessions...so, what is with that? Is the URB sound making a VERY big comeback in popular music?)
    BUt, I should add, that has A LOT to do with the strings. I use TI Acousticores on my Godins, primarily. These strings have a very rich and blossoming tone, which swells like an URB. They sound exceptional with palm mutes, and light plucking over the neck. Yet they are also capable of doing much, much more. From snappy Marcus/Stanley plucking to old school r&b p-bass thumps, to rich harmonics , or growly classic j tones. Yes, I slap and tap on my Godins without problem (granted the slap sound is quite different from what is considered the "classic modern" slpa tone with the mids severely scooped and highs and lows boosted to the point of making woofs and clanks...:0)

    To get what you are asking, a passable URB-type tone, I would recommend both the Godin Basses and TI strings...but you must also take a hard look at your technique, as well as your amplification.

    For the money, the Godin Basses offer, IMHO, the greatest flexibility and range of sounds. I use mine on a wide range of gigs, and while there might be a few sceptics when I pull out a semi-acoustic bass, once they hear the tone they are convinced (lately I have been getting studio calls REQUESTING I bring my Godin!!!)

  12. jankjo


    May 22, 2002
    Sounds like I can't go too wrong with any of these three basses. Really nice recommendations for all of them. Since I live out in the middle of nowhere, I have to order something to try it out. So I just ordered a Renaissance from Bass Central. It is a 5 string with a walnut body and top. It should get here on Friday, and I have 48 hours to decide if I like it or not. It is going to be a big change for me... fretted to fretless :eek:, 4 string to 5 string :eek:, TI Jazz flats to the acousticores.:eek:

    I am actually so excited I can't sleep. I'll let you know how it goes after I have a chance to play around with the bass.
  13. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    What exact technique do you use to get a upright tone Max? I have a Rob Allen that sounds great but really can't get an upright tone. It has a really thick, woody sound but I can't that thump out of it.
    Too much sustain.
  14. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    RS: try playing very lightly up by the neck. Roll off the highs and some mids (If I remember right those Fishman units in the Allens can be quite bright...kinda an unlimited top end..). And try to press into the note with your fretting hand as you pluck. This will give the note a "swell". Vibrato, used judiciously will also help bring that out. Articulate the notes more with you plucking hand. Allens, like Godins and Turners, are VERY dynamically responsive; use that to your advantage and play with the dynamic range of the instrument more. Flat, level, consistency is not what make an URB sound. Listen to some URB players and note how "uncompressed" their tone is; how certain notes or beats seem to jump out...that is not accidental. PLay around with your articulation. Play lightly but don't be afraid to get some "finger" in on the note.
    ...hmmm and what kinda strings are playing on your Allen? I have heard folks getting very good results with tapewounds, but for my money I think I would try some acousticores (TI).

    Hope that helps.....

  15. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I didn't vote since my Rob Allen fretless 5 is the only one of the three I've played. It came with Roto tapewounds, the A was originally bad but eventually settled in. The G was bad and stayed bad, so the gentlemen at BNW (thanks Chad) sent me a new string. However, they sent me a LaBella tapewound (guess they forgot what they strung it with). Initially I was real disappointed with the LaBella, but it appears to be settling in as well, I've never run into this phenomenon before, well maybe a little with TI flats except they are good to start with and keep getting better over time. The Roto's seem to have more punch, whereas the LaBella has more mwah. My assumption is the Roto's would get a better doghouse sound.
  16. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    The subject is pretty well covered here...they're all good basses and you should try all 4 kinds mentioned if possible to see what you like...kinda hard in most towns, though.

    One post mentioned that the Godin A4 is a chambered bass, but I think it's really a full hollowbody. The previous Acoustibass was chambered and had quite a different sound...I've owned both. The A4 seems more acoustic sounding.

    On strings, I've used D'Addario ML flats, Labella tapewounds, and TI Acousticores. All are good strings, but have quite different sounds. Use your ears, your hands, and unfortunately, your wallet, to see what works best for your ideal sound. I'm using the TI strings right now on Max's recommendation and they're an unusual but very responsive string.

  17. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    au contraire....
    The A4 is chambered...not completely hollow. I has two carved chambers (one large and one small) carved into the single piece maple body. This is basically the same design as the original Acoustibass. What did change was the bracing pattern (the A4 has a bracing system much like that of a cello rather than an acoustic gtr) and the resonating forks of the original Acoustibass have been removed.
    Nonetheless, the A series basses from Godin are quite extraordinary.
    Yet, janko, I congratulate you on the Ren purchase..I am quite sure you will be pleased with it!

  18. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I use tapewounds on my Allen. The bass seems made for these strings. You can adjust the treble on it, my is set with the highs rolled of so it is very woolly but the notes are still distinct.

    Could you explain (in detail) how you mute notes? I think that's the main reason that my doesn't have that thump, too much sustain. I tried to mute the strings with various devices but they just totally choke out the strings, which sounds like poo.
  19. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    There are probably more muting techniques than there are playing techniques!
    Probably the common..or perhaps useful.. is palm muting. Here you mute the strings with the side of your plucking hand (right hand for most of us), and play the strings with your thumb, or thumb and combination of fingers (sort of "apoyando" or classical gtr style). The edge of your hand should note completely deaden the strings, but rather subtly mute them (and again, changing the pressure can change the "muted" sounds, thusly providing you with a new array of dynamics and tones!)
    I have found this technique to work exceptionally well with tapewounds and TI strings.

    There are also ways of muting using the thumb of your right hand, while playing fingerstyle, or the ring and pinky of the same hand. As well, there are various methods of muting using the left hand (the most obvious being slightly releasing the pressure from you fretting hand, but you can also "slap-mute" the strings with free fingers of you fretting hand).

    Employing combinations of different muting techniques allows you to, quite subtly, "play" with mutes, dead notes, ghost notes, percusssive-type tones, as well as varying shades of "true" bass tones...much like URB players do.

    As I mentioned before, one VERY important technique is to vary the pressure of your fretting hand to get the notes to swell. This in combination with a well placed palm mute technique yields a wide variety of acoustic tones.

    Muting, and dynamics are essential...and like all other techniques, they take practice and patience. Start experimenting with getting varied tones from your bass...and then keep working it until they become natural extensions of your playing technique.

    Good luck...and best wishes,
  20. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I think it would be fair to point out, at this time, that none of the techniques, nor the strings, nor the basses in question, can provide a "true" URB sound. If you are really after that URB sound, then you should be seeking out URBs (even smaller ones like the Azola Baby Bass or Bug Bass).

    At best the Allen, Turner, Godin basses, as well as the Tapewounds or TI Acousticores, or even flats, and all the muting and dynamic techniques will provide you with only tones which "might" share some of the sonic anomallies with uprights. The "woodiness", "thump" "air" or (being most oblique) the "acousticness" of these might hint to the "vibe" of an upright, and as such might fool some, but it will not fool you.

    Don't get too caught up in trying to get a great upright sound from an Allen, Ren or Godin. What I find most intriguing and gratifying is the ability of these instruments to get unique tones all of their own....while perhaps sharing those same "sonic anomallies" which hint at "acousticness" and such.
    That uniquness is what sets these apart from the rest of the bass-crowd. And that quality can translate into something really original in your playing...I quite often use my TI strung Godin not just for jazz stuff, but for rock, funk, r&b sessions (the other night I played a gig with a cover/casual band and did both "For The Love Of Money" and "Brickhouse" on my Godin!).

    Do they give better URB representations than solids? Maybe, but I have heard some great sounding, upright-ish tones from Fender Jazz Basses, Epi Jack Casady's...even Steve Lawson's Modulus 6! Yet even then, those are not URBs, and they do not contain the same aural fingerprint as a big ol' doghouse.

    Bottom line: don't fret so much on getting a "real" upright type tone (pun intended)...and concentrate more on working with a unique and original tone which both fits the music and expresses your personality....which is probably what attracted you to a Rob Allen, Ren, or Godin in the first place (in addition the the lightweight!).


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