Second bass, 5 string or acoustic?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by the low one, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I’m looking to get a second bass and am torn between an acoustic or a 5 string. I’m only looking to spend up to $500 (@ £300) and am thinking about the Crafter acoustic bass or Squier Precision 5 string. Anyone had experience of either?
  2. In my experience, cheap acoustic basses are the worst instruments you can find. You can be okay with a cheap electric, by having good strings and pickups, but a cheap acoustic bass always sounds cheap, and not really loud. It can be frustrating to have to carry around an amp and an acoustic bass just to jam with two acoustic guitar players.

    I think Squier basses are okay, but thy them first, are you can find some good ones and some really bad ones. I prefer to buy them used, because the instruments tend to be more stable with time. The potential problem with any 5 string bass is the low B string. It needs tension to sound like a bass and not like a fart. I have tried some basses above 1000$ that had such a bad low B. So try it before.

    IMO, one good option in your case would be to sell you first bass and buy an even better one. I think one good bass is better than two ordinary basses. With one good 5 string bass, you can play almost every music that you listen to.
  3. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    This is true, don't bother with the acoustic. I bought a decent a year or so ago and it has seen minimal use, virtually none. A 5 string electric would do you a lot more good.
  4. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    $500 means you can get a pretty good bass, especially used. So, don't get a Squier. I've followed these forums on acoustic basses and there seems to be agreement that acoustic basses are difficult to use: not loud enough even for some acoustic sets. I'd look instead at a hollowbody, like a Carvin AC40 or a Casady. I think Washburn also makes them.

    5 strings takes some getting used to because your bottom string difference forces you to rethink. You can decide if you want to put the work into it, but it's more than just an added string (unless you add the C).
  5. What do you currently have? I don't see anything in your profile. So let me assume for a moment you have a 4 string electric in the < $500 range, you have come across $500 more, and you want to invest it somehow in your bass gear.

    If you feel comfortable with 4 strings but feel your current axe is lacking, probably the best investment is to upgrade. You'll get better tone, better action, better finish (longer life), and maybe more respect. Your chops will improve. You'll become a better player and more doors may open for you. Back in the day (yeah, I'm showing my age), this was the main route to take. I got a better axe, got better, and lots of doors opened up that may have remained closed if I had a lousy axe.

    I would NOT get an acoustic for $500. An acoustic has only 1 tone (usually), and in the $500 range, it's usually horrible. I was down this path lately and played every acoustic I could find in the area (about a dozen in 3 or 4 shops). I found only one I liked in that range (actually $595), and that was an Oscar Schmidt. But it's gone now (someone bought it before I could). This is a very specialized instrument - unless it fits a need right now, wait until later to get one. I thought I had a need, but really didn't.

    If you're still asking the 4 or 5 question, then investing in a $500 5-string may be a good idea. Play it extensively for several months. Then start switching back and forth between 4 and 5. Somewhere, sometime, you might decide which fits you best. Then go upgrade down the selected path.

    You also might want to add the fretless dimension to this concept sometime. Get a $500 fretless and determine if you want to play fretted or fretless. But save this for later, since fretless can be a bit more advanced than the 4-5 string issue (and compounded with it, 4 or 5 string fretted or fretless - now 4 choices :( )

    Hollowbodies are great, but I think that plays more into the type of music you play and looking for that upgraded instrument that speaks to you. Don't forget the Lakland Skyline Hollowbody - it's killer!
  6. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    man! get a cheap fretless. they usually are great fun while they take away your dignity. :D
  7. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    ^----Lol @ fretless crack

    Agreed on the acoustic basses. I play them at the local shop when they get a new one in. The only one I've liked so far, that didn't sound thin and forced was a $1300 Martin. When a sub $400 or $300 one that sounds good comes through, I'll be on it.
  8. Stinkoman20xx


    Oct 19, 2003
    The only Acoustic basses that seem to be good are sadly as high as some botique basses. Taylor makes a fine acousitc and I hear the warwick Alien is/was good. I heard the Fender resonater was not to bad.

    But I have to agree with them go the electric route and if you gig you will have a backup with your old electric.Since you dont no what kind of gear you have id say a move to an ibanez 5 or washburn might be good for you over a squire.
  9. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    Thanks for all the excellent replies.

    Currently I'm using a 1982 JV series Squier P bass which I love and will be buried with one day. That goes through a Trace Elliot combo wihch is a good workhorse.

    The reason I thought of an acoustic is that we often play smaller gigs with my band and it would be perfectly feasible for me to plug straight into the PA and not even take an amp. How good are the preamps in the $500 acoustics? I've tried some Taylor and Martin acoustics but they are way too expensive for me.

    On the other hand I do like the thought of the 5 string, I was thinking today how useful the lower notes would be.

    I played a fretless a few years ago and really enjoyed that too.

    Choices, choices...
  10. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    I've made a small searching, and found some brand I have never heard of before. Michael Kelly. It has pretty ratings in harmony central, below 500, and is equipped with fishman electronics. You might want to give it a call. They are all over e-bay too. Factory direct.
  11. Why don't you get yourself a decent 5 string and eventually have the frets of your Squier pulled out ?

    I understand you might love your main instrument, but you can find WAY better basses than a squier.

    About the acoustic bass and your small concerts, if it is a matter of looks, go for a cheap acoustic (90% of the crown won't give a s... about you sound anyway, but dig you unplugged look). I believe music is about what you hear.

    A cheap fretless can be a better option. There used to be some not so bad samick fretless basses. You just eventually add an EMG and it gets better.
  12. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    +1 for fretless. Merry times playing with metal on wood sound and classical vibrato.
  13. Acoustic Bass Guitars are great if you want to accompany acoustic guitars at the pubs. Just plug into the PA. I bought a Tacoma Thunderchief off of an ebay store called Oklahoma Guitars. It had a neck repair and look like it wa abused, but an american crafted peice of weeod nonetheless. I eventually restored it with a new L.R. Braggs preamp and ribbon pickup.

    Although I got it to thump on the couch while watching TV, I have played it many, many times at the local pubs. You can always find a guitar only act to let you sit in. I can guarantee you if you show up at an acosutic open mic night with an ABG, you are going to get lots of stage time. And when you get back on your electric, you will notice an improvement in your hands' strenght and dexterity.

    The Tacoma is big, and projects we.. You have to get good stings, e.g., Thomastik-Infeld Acousticores.

    I play a 5-string too. So maybe you need both. But look for a used Tacoma or even thier Korean "Olympia" lines.

    "Thunderchief is Strong Medicine"
  14. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    If you're going to plug in, you might as well go the electric route. I don't know about more expensive electro-acoustics but my Tanglewood Odyssey has problems keeping up with even a couple of guitars (unless I radically change my playing technique and forgo any attempt at finesse). It won't take any more power to move a signal from inaudible to audible (electric) than it will to move it from too quiet to audible (electro-acoustic).

    On the other hand, what I love about my Tanglewood is the fact I can play it without having to bother plugging in at all. It's great for practise because I just need to pick it up, check the tuning and I'm good to go, with no wires trailling over the place. It won't let me polish the range of techniques that work on electric but it's fine for things like helping transcribe songs or comping through jazz lead sheets.

    I'm really pleased with my "cheap" acoustic because I've found plenty of applications where it works well for my needs.

  15. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    5 string. I'm of the opinion every bass player should own atleast one during their lifetime just to see if they like it. Own one, not just play it in a store.
  16. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    Hey, Japanese Squiers ain't bad... Plus you hear all those stories about people screwing up/selling their first instrument and being all sad about losing it.
  17. I'd get a second electric, so you'll have a backup for your gigs (whether its the new axe or the squier).
  18. I bought a 5 string after about 6 months of playing bass, and it was one of the better decisions I ever made.

    Not only did I score a bargain and end up with a bass way better than the one I started with, but playing on a 5 has made me a better bassist (just slightly :p )
  19. smithy


    Oct 3, 2004
    I bought an acoustic cheap. It's not very good, but it's handy to just pick up and play in the lounge room without having to plug in.

    I reckon they're great if you don't practice enough, because you have no excuses.

    I'd never play it at a gig though - just horrible.
  20. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    You could prolly get a rebop 5 for 500..