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Why an acoustic bass guitar can't compete acoustically

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tommygun_ted, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. So I understand the limitations of an acoustic bass guitar, but my band leader is adamant that we play some "fully acoustic" gigs. When I mentioned bringing a small amp for the bass, she tells me no, fully acoustic. I've tried explaining that bass guitars can't compete with drums and acoustic guitars without an amp, but she doesn't think I know what I'm talking about. So I ask the experts to chime in, maybe show her it isn't just my opinion, but a fact, that am acoustic bass guitar just can't realistically compete with two acoustic guitars and a small drum kit or cahone (Not a drummer, don't know how to spell that) we also use an assortment of hand drums and percussion elements. If I'm wrong here please teach me the truth and let me know which acoustic basses can really be played acoustically.
  2. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    You need to find a new band leader.
  3. Th
    This isn't an option, she writes the music. I would have to quit the band and that isn't something I want to do.
    HolmeBass and saabfender like this.
  4. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Guess she'll have to learn the hard way. Keep an amp in your trunk, it won’t take her long to find out.
  5. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    Get a DB — you’ll thank me later.
  6. This can. Notice how large it is? Or a DB. The End. 220px-AcousticBassGtr.
  7. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Because she knows so very much about the physics of how an acoustic bass works. Shaking my head.
  8. I've been looking into double bass, but I can't justify the cost of one right now, and the band isn't earning enough yet to justify it when I own small amps and multiple bass guitars. Maybe someday though
    LukeSlywalker likes this.
  9. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    She simply needs to come to grips with the fact you will need an amp. Might have to actually do it without one and prove it to her.
  10. They were a 3 piece acoustic band for about 7 years and wanted to expand their sound, so hired myself and a drummer. She hasn't played with a bass before, but assumes since they make acoustic basses that they must be meant to be played acoustically
    No Treble and QweziRider like this.
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Yea, you’ll need one of those basses the guy from the Violent Femmes used or a double bass.
  12. Most likely, I need a bassist in the audience to tell her that nobody could hear it, the average person wouldn't notice the bass is silent
  13. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Just do a gig with your ABG. That should settle it... If the guitarists use acoustic shaped guitars but play them like electric guitars it might almost kinda work.
    barrenelly, jerry, brbadg and 2 others like this.
  14. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Smile, put on a good show, and get paid. It's showbiz. So what if you are inaudible in the mix. Your band leader is expanding your bookings and putting more money in your pocket. Acoustic/unplugged gigs are fun. Keep an open mind and give it a try.
  15. At this point money goes back into the band, we're gearing up for the studio so I don't really get paid yet. I like acoustic gigs, but we never play without power, the vocals are always mic'd, every other member can still sound their best and actually contribute. Music is sound, can't really enjoy making music if you aren't making music.
  16. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Wait, I thought the leader said all acoustic? Shouldn’t the same go for the vocals? Bet not.

    Don’t mind me, just yankin' chains.
  17. Exactly, I'm all about being a good sport and a team player, I'll play songs I don't like because I'm a part of a band and it isn't all about me. She sings, and understands the limitations in her instrument in that regard. I'm more looking for other bass players opinions on this to back up what I am saying.
    barrenelly likes this.
  18. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm not a big fan of being told what to do by people who aren't paying me. But putting that personal prejudice aside, and thinking positively about the opportunity:

    Do I understand correctly, there is a PA for the vocals, and it is not therefore a completely "unplugged" gig? A few options you might consider:
    1. Put a mic in front of your ABG, or use your ABG's pickup, into the PA along with the vocals.
    2. Learn to play double bass.
    3. Play a different instrument for the unplugged gigs. When I bring my ABG to unplugged jam sessions, I'll often bring a hand drum or harmonica as well, in case the volume level gets too loud for my ABG to be heard. Another example, John Paul Jones played mandolin on some of Led Zeppelin's acoustic material. Or just contribute backing vocals. Look on this as an opportunity to branch out from being "just the bassist" to becoming a multi-instrumental contributor to the band's success.
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It's a ridiculous notion.

    So, let me get this straight.

    The ONLY thing being "powered" is her vocals? The acoustic guitars aren't amplified in any way either? Where are you guys playing? Living rooms????

    Sorry, but she's a dipstick.
  20. I play some percussion, the spoons, djembe, tambourine, but they brought me in to play bass and prefer that I play bass. The acoustic stuff is generally churches, or other buildings with crazy acoustics. She has a soft voice and a loud lead guitarist so I understand micing the vocals. We have had sound guys offer to plug the bass into the pa but she thinks it will sound better unplugged. Again, I think it's just a case of not understanding the limits of an instrument she doesn't play.
    barrenelly and TH63 like this.

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