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The Dreaded "Acoustic Gig". What to do?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Din Of Win, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Hi All,

    My band was asked to do an acoustic video, this Friday, for an acoustic series by a rad film-maker.

    We're really excited, as most of the bands they shoot are WAY more well known than we are.

    But, being a bassist in an acoustic setting has given me the stress. We're recording 2 songs, but one will be simply the two singers with one playing acoustic guitar. That means, i am stressing out about one song/ haha. It's seems silly, but it's true.

    So, for those that have done this before, here are my options:

    1. I'm borrowing a friend's Ibanez AEB(something). I mainly play with my fingers, but the volume is just non-existent. I can get decent-enough volume from a pick though...

    2. Play my bass parts on an acoustic guitar. Again, i'd pretty much have to use a pick, but the volume would be there...

    3. I can tune my girlfriend's Ukulele to E-A-D-G. I can play with my fingers, and it's probably be more audible than the Acoustic Bass...

    4. Play the bass parts on an old battery-powered Akai synth/sampler. Super wonky, but the most audible.

    The filmmaker has nice sound gear, so maybe the AEB is the way to go, anyways. It's by far the most comfortable and familiar. If anyone's been in this situation before, i'd love some advice!

    FYI - Electric is a no-go, and i haven't been able to find a battery-powered amp, which would be my preferred route :/
  2. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    If it's an "acoustic setting" the AEB is probably what you want to do for visual & tonal purposes. If the filmmaker is running stuff into a board you might be able to get a DI or mic of your bass into the board. If they're just doing an ambient mic thing, though, you'll need an amp. This guy would do the trick: http://www.roland.com/products/en/MICRO_CUBE_BASS_RX/
  3. I would LOVE to get my hands on a Roland Micro Cube. But i have no friends with one that i could borrow, and i don't want to drop ~$300 on a new one for a one-off event. :(
  4. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Is there electricity where this will be filmed? Unless you're playing a DB, you'll need to be amplified. I mean, you could try doing it with just a AEB, but there will be no bass unless you're plugged in, you dig?
  5. AEB... done.
  6. itchyfingers


    Sep 17, 2013
    San Diego
    5. Rent an upright bass.
  7. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Take the Ibanez AEB, play it fingerstyle like you normally would, and act surprised when the audio engineer says "We can't hear your bass."

    Then suggest that you just happen to have an amp out in the car.

    Or they can mic you or DI your bass up.
  8. Would LOVE to... but i'm traveling by Metro, in DC, and we're gonna be trying different random locations. I wouldn't feel comfortable traveling around with an instrument that expensive.

    Also, it;s been a while since i've played one. I don't think i could procure one and practice with it enough to be comfortable by Friday.

    I use to play Cello, and i toyed with trying to find one for this, as well. But i came to the same time restraint conclusion.

    Also, FYI - this was a TOTAL spur of the moment thing. We just found out last week.
  9. Totally thought about it. But i'll be metro-ing in DC sans-car.
  10. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Rent a battery powered amp from your local music store. You are in DC, you will be able to find one. Use the ABG then. If you can't find an amp I'd just play regular acoustic guitar but that only works if you are decent enough at converting your bassline to a rhythm guitar part that isn't just doubling the other guy. Or you could always get one of these guitarrons...
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Do you "need" to play an acoustic for this? Can you just use your normal bass rig? That's what I would do...
  12. Just play a regular electric bass. If you remember when MTV had their unplugged series, the acoustic guitars were accompanied by regular electric basses all the time and it still sounded great. A semi hollow with F holes could look good but anything traditional like a Fender or Hofner would be fine too. Just leave the Steinbergers Kubickis or 6 string Dingwalls at home.
  13. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    Try using the ABG with a felt pick. If your girlfriend plays uke, you might already have one laying around. It'll up the volume without adding too much twang.
  14. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Exactly. The idea that an ABG can be played without Amp or DI is just a total misperception. Personally when viewing the MTV series I thought Fenders were pushing it to limit which I wouldn't try to go beyond but it certainly worked. I would use my Carvin AC50 but it absolutely MUST be amped or into a DI.

    My no electricity choice is my small combo and my Harbor Freight inverter and a battery. For just one song wouldn't take much of a battery! Lawn mower or motorcycle battery. Or as someone else said just rent a battery amp. Trying to go pure acoustic is just silly if it's a bass guitar. If you want pure acoustic then plan on pure upright!
  15. dkissfan1


    Apr 9, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    If you can't use an amp, I'd just go with the pick. It'll be louder, and I personally like the slightly more aggressive tone that it'll give, but that's just my preference. If you have a choice of guitars, I'd use a different one that the AEB. I played one and wasn't very happy with the playability or the tone. Ibanez has an exotic wood line of acoustic basses that I really like, though.
  16. eloann


    May 14, 2012
    I personally hate seing an electric bass (or keyboard, or whatever) in an acoustic performance. Not that it's wrong to play electric bass with acoustic guitars, but I feel labelling it "acoustic" is.

    I don't play/own upright but one thing I'd use for such an event is a hammond bass melodica, which you probably don't have, or perhaps an amplified Kala Ubass.
    Also, maybe instead of playing a "bass part" you could come up with something entirely new on an acoustic guitar, a small glockenspiel, a recorder or whatever you have lying around
  17. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I have played regular bass most times. I had a Taylor bass they gave me for radio stuff which was a cumbersome beast.

    1 song though - seriously don't sweat it. Just play. It's not worth over thinking all this stuff. I put all my thoughts into songs and performance. If you get a loaner that you like, use it. If not, use your bass and don't worry about it.
  18. I like jamming with acoustic guitars with a fretless mim jazz or even my conklin 7. Make the bass rig look clean or even unnoticeable if possible. For example throw a black blanket over a small cab and sit on it. Or have the amp "offstage" and use a wireless to keep cables out of sight
  19. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    +1. With the caveat that I wouldn't worry about it; that's the audio engineer's job. I'm sure he'll manage it quite well.
  20. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    U Bass!!!

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