U-Bass, EUB, or ABG?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DoctorZee, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. U-Bass

    6 vote(s)
  2. Electric Upright Bass

    3 vote(s)
  3. Acoustic Bass Guitar

    7 vote(s)
  1. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    I've been thinking about putting together a duo/trio to hit the acoustic patio music circuit. This also gives me an opportunity to buy a new toy. ;) For playing rock/pop with an acoustic guitarist, would you grab a U-Bass, Electric Upright, or Acoustic Bass Guitar?

    Worth noting that, if I got an EUB, it would be a Dean Pace Contra or Stagg. I'm not venturing into NS or Eminence prices for this.

    Also worth noting that, despite my profile pic, I have no training in upright bass.
    bpmben likes this.
  2. bpmben


    Jan 13, 2018
    Hertfordshire UK
    Probably depends a lot on image. For some gigs only one of the three types would do. I’d go for a U Bass as all of the three: EUB, acoustic bass and U Bass would need to be amplified anyway and the U Bass would take up less space and weight.
    stuntbass77 and DoctorZee like this.
  3. fermata

    fermata Guest

    Nov 10, 2015
    It comes down to comfort and tone...I think there are pluses and minuses to all of these types of bass, but they differ from person to person.

    And you're missing one more type of bass from your list: Guitar Scale Acoustic Basses
    Ibanez, Guild, Taylor, Gold Tone, Michael Kelly, Orangewood Guitars, and maybe others are making acoustic basses in the ~25" scale range. Some of them use special nylon-core bronze-wound strings; some use steel-core strings.) If I were after an acoustic bass, I'd go for one of those.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I love ABGs but (don't worry, this isn't mean)...
    Since you have to amplify any of these options to do a gig with a guitarist (as said above) why would you need to pick one of these? Is it for the appearance? Guild makes some really nice acoustic bass gits that aren't crazy money and they are very useful in the studio and downright fun to play. I think the upright would be first off the list or first on the list depending on you. Do you need to learn to play upright?
  5. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    Partly for appearance and partly for the fun/challenge of playing something new.
  6. I’d pick my Rivoli or one of my p basses.
  7. We had a bass player in our acoustic trio a couple years ago (I was playing mandolin) and he was searching for an acoustic sound. He bought an EAB and it sounded like crap. I suggested a Kala Ubass and he laughed at me and said “I don’t want to look like Tiny Tim.”
  8. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid

    Jun 7, 2013
    I recently purchased the Ibanez UB804 and it quickly became my favorite bass. It sounds somewhere between an eub and a fretless bass, leaning heavily toward the eub side. It has way more mwah and expressive tone than any fretless I’ve ever played, but it can be subdued with technique. It has way more bass content in the upper registers than a fretless bass guitar. It is 34” scale so you won’t have as much difficulty with intonation and left hand technique. Regular bass strings too.

    I could not imagine a better instrument to accompany a piano. Big blooming notes if you want them or syrupy fretless glissando on tap. Looks classy too, comes with a nice stand and bag.

    I’ll be happy to field any questions about the instrument that you may have. The level of fun playing this is too high not to share.
    GrooverMcTube likes this.
  9. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    The EUB will certainly need to be ampped. I think the same goes for the U-Bass. Although it may be a tad louder unplugged than the EUB, it'll still need to be ampped.
    The ABG however, with a good setup geared for acoustic volume, and an aggressive pizz technique, should do ok on its own. We'll figure, for general loudness concerns, the guitar player isn't a knuckle bleeding head banger - not there there's anything wrong with that! My old G Series Takamine would certainly be a good choice for the APMC - acoustic patio music circuit, as set fourth by the OP.
  10. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I have an Ibanez acoustic and use it mainly for noodling, taking on trips, occasional drunken campfire, not something I have ever tried to play on a gig. I also have an NS Designs NXT4 and have used it a lot with bluegrass and jazz groups. It does take a little work to get used to the longer scale and it was a process to make it sound good, pre with high z input, quality hifi cab and new strings that were not cheap but have been on there six years. I do like the NXT and have gotten many compliments on the sound. I've only played a u bass once and it was fun, not sure how I would feel gigging with it but probably would be ok, wish I had bought that instead of the Ibanez. The acoustic has too much sustain and I've never seen anyone play one at a gig where I thought the tone was good. I've also played a bunch of acoustic gigs with my Fender P which goes well with acoustic guitars, etc, especially on more rock type songs. I play mine regularly with the acoustic band at Church and it works well.
  11. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    Budget/goals/experience are key factors here.

    If you want upright sound without the price and size, U Bass all the way. I had one for a few years. Liked it a lot, but eventually it wore off and I sold it.

    If you just want an upright to have one, that is about the only reason I see to get one here. If you are on low end of EUB they just don’t get there tone wise for the few I have tried. Upright Also plays a little different if you are not used to it. I also had one of these for a few years, but the image wasn’t worth the effort of hauling it around.

    Acoustic electric bass is probably where I would land for this. I might be a little biased though as I love my Emerald Balor. At the Dean Contra price I would probably look for a used Warwick Rockbass Alien. Maybe spend a touch more and get a used Godin semi-acoustic. Michael Kelly makes solid acoustics in that price range too.

    Noting that even the loudest acoustics still need at least a small amp for any real gigging work IMO. Balor has a huge body and great projection, but I wouldn’t rely purely on its output for anything other than home practice or a campfire. Worth noting on the acoustic you might need a feedback killer of some sort. I used a lute hole cover on my old Michael Kelly. I use a notch filter on a preamp pedal with the Balor.
  12. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    I said Kala U bass because that’s the most fun for me to play, personally. It’s smaller, lighter, easy to transport, fun to play, and sounds great. Many ABG and EUB sound terrible IMO, both acoustically and amplified.

    That said, all three options you are looking at will need an amplifier to be heard clearly along side an acoustic guitar.
  13. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    Can the UB804 be bowed? Not that I know how to bow yet, but if I was to get an upright, I’d want that option.
  14. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid

    Jun 7, 2013
    Yes, although I have yet to do so myself.
    DoctorZee likes this.
  15. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    Nearly all of my gigging over the last 10 years has been with folk/rock duo's and trio's with acoustic guitarists and I've always used an electric bass. If you just want an excuse to buy a new toy then go for your life but you really don't need any of those three for that gig.
    DoctorZee, jthisdell and bpmben like this.
  16. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Acoustic bass has the look. That’s what I would go for, personally. Some find the sound too midrangey, but I think it’s right for an acoustic bass guitar

    If everyone is going to be unamplified (purely acoustic), not even mics, get an upright unless you only plan to play in "intimate" situations. For example, my acoustic bass is fine for a living room jam with an acoustic guitar-playing friend or two (who’s not strumming/banging away like an un-amped busker) plus a little unprofessional singing (weak voiced - not some triumphal operatic singers, lol), but it would start to get lost in bigger situations.

    If portability is the main concern, the U Bass. Also, (although I haven’t played one myself) they’re said to have a more upright-like sound if that’s what you mainly want. But of course in the much smaller and more affordable package

    Anyway, ABG
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  17. thumbnail_IMG_0059.jpg I bought a Kala Journeyman for my Cuban band. I am so pleased with the tone. It sounds woody, uprightish, just super cool.

    Don't know if this is the kind of visual vibe you are looking for. But tonally, this is simply amazing for an acoustic/upright kind of feel and sound.
    bpmben and DoctorZee like this.
  18. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    That’s a beautiful one!
  19. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Any of your choices will require an amp, and only the ABG will do anything for image (neither the uke nor the EUB look anything let me an upright). Get and play the best instrument you can afford.
  20. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I switched between my Hofner Ignition Club Bass, UBass and DIY EU for a few years but eventually went with just the Hofner.