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Whats the best way to adapt to acoustic bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jay boogs, Aug 1, 2017.


  1. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    I just recently got an acoustic bass and I realized the way I play things on my electric p bass feels different in the acoustic so I was wondering how to adjust to using an acoustic bass?
     
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Get a teacher. I taught myself electric bass. A friend let me play his acoustic.
    1. It's so big the fingerboard has to be re-learned.
    2. Everything is vertical.
    3. Large learning curve looms ahead.
    I would have to have at least a couple of months with an instructor.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I'm guessing that OP means an acoustic bass guitar, not a double bass. Is that right, OP? And if so, what exactly is it that you're having trouble adjusting to?
     
    MDBass and CooWoo like this.
  4. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    I mean acoustic bass guitar
     
  5. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    Im having trouble sliding the way I did on electric bass
     
  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    But what's the problem? Is it just that the strings are rougher or feel stickier than you're used to? If so, it's just a matter of "adjusting" to a different set of strings, not to the bass itself. Or, of course, you could replace the strings with something you like better. If you do a search for "acoustic bass guitar strings" or "ABG strings" you'll find lots of info and suggestions.

    If your problem isn't with the strings.... well, I can't think of a reason it would be any harder to slide on this bass than any other.
     
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  7. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    That's the only reason but other than that it's a nice little thing to play with
     
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Oh, absolutely. I keep one on a stand in the living room so I can grab it at any moment for an impromptu practice or to work out an idea, and I like being able to take it out on the deck in nice weather.

    If you read some of the threads about ABG strings, you'll see that a lot of people (tho not all) say that you can use pretty much any kind of string that you'd use on an electric, so one option would be to swap the strings on the ABG for whatever you like. Other people recommend tapewounds, which will give you a duller, thumpier sound but would probably be awesome for sliding. I can't help beyond that, as I'm happy with the strings that came on mine and have never shopped for new ones. Good luck!
     
    Jay boogs likes this.
  9. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    How did you come by the acoustic. That may answer your question right there.

    Friend let me borrow his acoustic bass when I was learning. I used it for a week and bought an electric bass. Did not like it at all.

    Do not remember specifically what I disliked, but, it was not something I wanted to spend time with. I gave it back right away.

    You now have an acoustic bass, I hope you have better luck with it than I did.
     
    Jay boogs likes this.
  10. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    The only difference in sliding on my acoustic vs electrics is that the action is much higher on the acoustic. It makes it a little more difficult, but not something that can't be overcome with practice.
     
    Jay boogs likes this.
  11. I'm gonna quote Brian Richie from The Violent Femmes. "Get the biggest acoustic bass you can find and hit it as hard as you can".
     
  12. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Trinity, FL
    find the lightest strings and lowest action that will work ... try to make it easier to play . !

    but lighter strings = less volume on acoustics

    lower action = can't play as hard/loud , or play closer to the bridge ...

    practice some basic finger exercises on the acoustic to get used to it ..
     
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  13. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Banned

    Feb 21, 2017
    in a sense the harder the bass is to play the less I tend to play which is helpful for a lot of situations
     
  14. morgan138

    morgan138

    Dec 10, 2007
    Boston
    I once passed on getting one of those gigantic Ernie Ball acousic bass guitars like he used, and I still regret it a little.

    But, I ended up holding out for an upright instead :thumbsup:
     
  15. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    First, lose the beer gut.
     
  16. Nev375

    Nev375

    Nov 2, 2010
    Missouri
    The Fender Kingman has a neck that is shaped like a jazz bass. Maybe try one of those.
     
  17. TwentyHz

    TwentyHz

    Apr 9, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    String lubricant can make a big difference. And yes, flats or tapes will be more finger friendly than rounds - but read up first, and/ seek specific help here for your make/model as you may need to file the nut groove.

    But...Yeah, it's new learning to go from EBG to ABG; it takes time. The same would be true if you went in the opposite direction, - if you started on ABG and then got an electric you'd have different new challenges to discover.

    Aaahh, a new instrument. We spend time with it, listen, and adjust our playing to how it sounds and feels. That's what'so so fun about it! I play very differently on each different bass instrument I have. Maybe that's cause I'm tragically mediocre, but I don't mind. It's fun have different basses bring out some new ideas/approaches.
     
  18. Not sure I have an answer for you, I personally didn't have the need for any adjusting between A/E and E basses? sorry
     
    SurferJoe46 likes this.
  19. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Rarely, and for (so far) for Church only, do I play my Boulder Creek AEB. I't's a fretless and is weird to go back to when the opportunity comes up. I usually only spend about a 30 minutes getting back into the groove. My action is decently low, has yours been looked at/set up?

    Last time I played it I had to really dig in and use a pick because amplification was not an option. That was a treat....
     
  20. When I first acquired mine I was reminded of when I started classical guitar lessons as a kid. The way my 5 string Dean is sized, I think the comparison is about right. Tapewound strings make it easier to play and give it a thump like an upright, but to be heard in a group setting you will need a small amplifier and maybe a sound hole cover to control feedback. The tapewounds also cut down a lot on string noise. If you can get comfortable with the physical aspects of a large instrument it can be fun and rewarding.