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Acoustic Gigs, Acoustic bass VS Upright


Fraudbass

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Okay! I'm Fraudbass because I am a reformed guitar player. I play a mean guitar but everybody wants me to play bass. Bassists are a rare breed. Love the band I'm in and I get to sing lead too.

 

The guys are talking about getting acoustic gigs in the summer. The drummer has a cajone (box for rhythm) and the guitarists.... well... you know.

 

So that leaves me as the odd man out. I LOVE playing my allparts jazz bass. Doesn't fit the look and feel of acoustic.

 

Options

1. Acoustic bass (guitar like)

2. Upright bass (played like once)

3. Portable bass amp

 

1. Acoustic bass.... too darn quiet for this type of gig I think. I tried playing one with a guitarist and couldn't hear a damn thing. I don't want to dominate the mix, but I don't want to be audibly absent.

 

2. Upright bass. Not cheap, but there are cheapies. Does anything look cooler? Is it going to be brutal to learn the technique AND sing?

 

3. Portable bass amp. Hardly acoustic now is it, but Roland makes a nice one. Not cheap but nice.

 

Anyone ever fool with a Guitarron?

 

Help a newbie bassist. I LOVE the instrument, but I have a long way to go.

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I don't think you'll find any kind of acoustic bass that will keep up without amplification. An upright MIGHT and would certainly look the part - as well as sound pretty cool.

 

Of course, you may find that yo still need a little "help' to be heard. At that point you may as well use an EUB. Easier than amplifying an upright, but still has the "character" of an upright. Would look cool as well.

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See if there's a place in your area that will rent you an upright for a month or two to se how you like it. You'll have to work up finger and forearm muscles more than you need for playing guitar and bass guitar and the calluses are on different parts of your fingers (plus they'll get thicker). Once you get used to pulling on the strings you shouldn't need an amp to keep up for an acoustic gig but URBs very a great deal as well as the kind of strings, etc.
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A guitarron is not really much like a bass and I wouldn't recommend it.

 

Even a cheap upright bass would be expensive and would take a lot of practice. I'd get an inexpensive acoustic bass guitar like a Michael Kelly bass and maybe a Pignose Hog or a Peavey Battery Amp .

http://www.zozomusic.com/musicstore/pc/catalog/mkff4n_1_488_detail.jpg

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/regular/5/2/1/374521.jpg

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/images345x345/671174.jpg

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This is a problem that I've wrestled for a few years now as about 50% of the gigs I do are in an 'acoustic' setting. I now split the gigs between a Kelly ABG and an EUB depending on set/venue, I use a small Fender Rumble combo for onstage volume and run either bass via a Hartke Bass Attack through the PA (theres always one for vocals and Guitars)to balance in the mix.

 

There's always an option 4 too - the Mandolin, much more portable than the rest, for the nights you just want to hit-and-run !

"Is that 4-stringer easier to start on?"
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Any acoustic guitars unamplified are pretty quiet (if you're doing anything with finesse other than banging on it) for most gigs anyway in my opinion, so more than likely there's a PA of some kind there somewhere. I have no problem using my acoustic bass guitar as I just plug it in to the PA.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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By Roland I assume you mean the Cube?

 

As for upright vs. dreadnought, there's another option: chambered body. Godin makes them, as do several other vendors (including Lakland). You can do for under $1500 and well under $1000 if you go the Godin Acoustibass route.

 

I owned the original Acoustibass for many years, and finally sold it when I decided I ALWAYS like the sound of the upright better. The older Acoustibass was unbique though, with more sustain and a nice thumb rest. The newer A4 and A5 models sound more like an upright bass, making them less unique but apparently more of what the market wants.

 

There's also the Renaissance Bass, which is often liquidated these days, and any of these models is easy to find used.

 

I owned a VERY expensive dreadnought bass guitar years ago, and it was impossible to get it to sound like a bass vs. a baritone or treble instrument. I would stay away from those, unless you go the Mexican route, but those are gigantic and fragile.

 

My car size dictated something smaller than a full upright, so I found a guy in Wisconsin who makes smaller uprights that have standard neck length, but it was a lot of dough. I'm not using this upright full-time as I am back to jazz after many years.

 

There's nothing like the look, feel, and sound of an upright. As I am discovering now that I'm soloing more, this is especially true as you go up the neck, where it really "sings" in a way that even most fretless chambered bass guitars don't.

 

As for adjusting, I play at least thirty minutes a day on busy work days, and two to three hours or more when I can. Way more on rehearsal and gig days, of course. I found that my finger strength developed in under two weeks to where it is now effortless to fly up and down the neck and across the strings.

 

Intonation is intuitive for me. If I miss the correct pitch it is strictly due to my fingers not having the strength or speed to get where they need on time, and this too will improve quickly over time. I do have a few "cheater" lines on the edge of the neck, which are similar to the "dots" on bass guitars that help you quickly find finger positions (vs. pitch positions).

 

I really enjoy the feel of embracing an instrument, and for walking bass lines I don't feel comfortable doing those at a ninety degree angle on a bass guitar of any type. I am totally in love with my G. Edward Lutherie Eminence Bass:

 

http://www.gelbass.com/

 

The new models are slightly different from mine, with improved bridge design, but I had a local violin shop tweak mine and now it's perfect. It has a piezo pickup that works quite well and doesn't get microphonic unless you use a tube amp and boost it all the way. It is perfectly audible without amplification, but even full-size string basses need amplification to complete with a band.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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