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Electric Acoustic Bass


Jeepin Guy

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I have been playing guitar and bass for several years now and I am cashing in all my non acoustics for electric acoustics. The last one to leave is my electric bass. The main reason is because I can't seem to find an electric acoustic bass that gives good projection when unplugged.

I have been playing on Washburns for years, but I was not impressed with their electric acoustic bass offerings.

After many trips and trials I am still wanting. Does anyone have a suggestion on a good electric acoustic bass? I would like to stay under a $1000 (US) but can be coaxed for the right sound.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

Such an instrument would defy the laws of physics. It does not exist.

Welcome to the forum, Jeepin' Guy! :wave:

jeremy is correct. I own 4 of them, and none of them would project farther than my practice chair.

 

If someone were to invent such an instrument it would probably turn out to be something a little large for human hands... http://www.phoons.com/images/guitar.jpg

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http://www.reyesaccordions.com/Images/Earthwood77.jpg

 

Earthwood bass is probably the closest. Huge monster. Brian Richie of the Violent Femmes (Blister In The Sun) is probably the most famous user.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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OK, I realize my question was worded poorly.

I realize there is nothing that is great, or maybe even good. I really wanted to know if there was anything anyone found that was, um, let's say, endurable?

Looking for something that could be taken out around a campfire so a stand-up or amp aren't really an option. I already have a nice portable amp. I am really just looking for something that may not be completely drowned out by an accompaning guitar or two.

Somebody somewhere has to be using something that makes a noise that can be heard,

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We understand your predicament. Now that you have clarified, we can feel comfortable in refering to Jeremy's first post. Bopping the guitarist over the head will make a hell of a noise, and bring much satisfaction. Pick playing will give you a little more attack, but not much more.

 

I had been looking for a electro-acoustic now for about three months and they all have the same problem - due to the low frequency and long sound waves, if the sound chamber cannot be measured in square miles, you will not have projection and you will need an amp. That goes for the Fender, Ovation, Epiphone El Segundo, Ibanez AEB10 and Johnston (yes, I was THAT desperate).

 

Go with the Johnston. If you are going to be dissapointed, you can be for under $200.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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The loudest cheap AGB I've found is a Johnson. Around $200 on Ebay. Heres mine:

 

http://users3.ev1.net/~woodd/johnson.jpg

Big body = louder than many other AGBs.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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I am a very big proponent of ABGs. I think that they, like all acoustic instruments offer something which complete electrics cannot; a technical and emotional response, a pathos of sorts, which translates thru both the note choices and tone, and can lure listeners deeper into the music...this has always been a unique and compelling quality of acoustic music, and one which electronic music cannot replicate.

First, let me say that it neither fair for either ABGs or EBs to do comparisons 'tween the two; they are different animals altogether....each with their own specific "pros" and "cons".

 

Just as there are plenty of just plain sad examples of solidbody electric basses on the market, there are also a plethora of really horrible ABGs....you have to shop around and try things out (just as with any instrument, what works for me may not work for you...)

 

Playing an ABG unplugged up against other instruments is also a losing battle. As Jeremy stated, it is simple physics: to move a body of air large enough to be representative of the fundamental frequency in what we know as the "bass range" requires an instrument with a resonant body as large as a....well, an upright bass! The closest thing to it is the EB Earthwood Bass which is damn big and cumbersome. The design here comes from the guitarron...also big.

 

Tacoma players seem to really push the fact that their ABGs are loud...and can hold their own against acoustic guitars. I have tried this, and failed. With a plectrum it is close, but a dreadnaught sized gtr (or heaven forbid a Jumbo) will bury it.

 

I have a couple of pretty loud ABGs: a Taylor/Klein, Martin B1, Guild and older model Ovation. They Taylor is the loudest...and largest

of the bunch...also the most expensive....and way out of your price range.

 

I recently tried a Regal Resonator Bass, which is like a dobro gtr. Very cool; a very "lively" sound (different strings could tame, or even highlight this character) and easily the loudest ABG I have played next to the Earthwood (and the Regal comes pretty close....but much easier to play!)

The Regal is high on my list of "have to get"s. I think the lsit on these is around $450...and they come with PU's as well.

 

 

Now, the thing about all of this is these are "electric-acoustic" basses, and they really come to life when plugged in. And, then, when set up correctly, and with amplification which respects the acoustic nature of both the tone and the bass, you have an instrument with a unique aural flavor.

 

My primary basses, and as I liquidate some things they may become my only basses, are both acoustic-electric, hollow body Godins: a fretted A4 and fretless A5. I use these with a variety of acts ranging from jazz to gospel to rock to funk (yes you can slap these basses) to blues and country (and, of course, my solo gigs...)as well as a number of sessions.(in fact I now get calls from producers and engineers requesting these basses).

 

A small amp set up (possibly a small combo: I used to run thru a little Ampeg BA112...or even a little 1x10 or 2x8 cab with a small power amp and a nice preamp, like the D-Tar Solstice, would give you a very nice, portable "acoustic setup" which can serve double duty as a small venue/practice electric setup as well. (right now I am using a Solstice with an Acoustic Image Contra...sounds great and is so small nobody even notices it! This tiny rig has replaced my Demeter tube pre/ Demeter Tube Power/ Bag End system--and boy is my back thankful!!)

 

BTW. I also have a Pignose Hog 30, and while a handy amp, esp. being battery operated, it cannot compete with the Phil Jones Briefcase.....the Crate Taxi series is aslo very good.

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Originally posted by Max Valentino:

I am a very big proponent of ABGs. I think that they, like all acoustic instruments offer something which complete electrics cannot; a technical and emotional response, a pathos of sorts, which translates thru both the note choices and tone, and can lure listeners deeper into the music...this has always been a unique and compelling quality of acoustic music, and one which electronic music cannot replicate.

First, let me say that it neither fair for either ABGs or EBs to do comparisons 'tween the two; they are different animals altogether....each with their own specific "pros" and "cons".

 

Just as there are plenty of just plain sad examples of solidbody electric basses on the market, there are also a plethora of really horrible ABGs....you have to shop around and try things out (just as with any instrument, what works for me may not work for you...)

 

Playing an ABG unplugged up against other instruments is also a losing battle. As Jeremy stated, it is simple physics: to move a body of air large enough to be representative of the fundamental frequency in what we know as the "bass range" requires an instrument with a resonant body as large as a....well, an upright bass! The closest thing to it is the EB Earthwood Bass which is damn big and cumbersome. The design here comes from the guitarron...also big.

 

Tacoma players seem to really push the fact that their ABGs are loud...and can hold their own against acoustic guitars. I have tried this, and failed. With a plectrum it is close, but a dreadnaught sized gtr (or heaven forbid a Jumbo) will bury it.

 

I have a couple of pretty loud ABGs: a Taylor/Klein, Martin B1, Guild and older model Ovation. They Taylor is the loudest...and largest

of the bunch...also the most expensive....and way out of your price range.

 

I recently tried a Regal Resonator Bass, which is like a dobro gtr. Very cool; a very "lively" sound (different strings could tame, or even highlight this character) and easily the loudest ABG I have played next to the Earthwood (and the Regal comes pretty close....but much easier to play!)

The Regal is high on my list of "have to get"s. I think the lsit on these is around $450...and they come with PU's as well.

 

 

Now, the thing about all of this is these are "electric-acoustic" basses, and they really come to life when plugged in. And, then, when set up correctly, and with amplification which respects the acoustic nature of both the tone and the bass, you have an instrument with a unique aural flavor.

 

My primary basses, and as I liquidate some things they may become my only basses, are both acoustic-electric, hollow body Godins: a fretted A4 and fretless A5. I use these with a variety of acts ranging from jazz to gospel to rock to funk (yes you can slap these basses) to blues and country (and, of course, my solo gigs...)as well as a number of sessions.(in fact I now get calls from producers and engineers requesting these basses).

 

A small amp set up (possibly a small combo: I used to run thru a little Ampeg BA112...or even a little 1x10 or 2x8 cab with a small power amp and a nice preamp, like the D-Tar Solstice, would give you a very nice, portable "acoustic setup" which can serve double duty as a small venue/practice electric setup as well. (right now I am using a Solstice with an Acoustic Image Contra...sounds great and is so small nobody even notices it! This tiny rig has replaced my Demeter tube pre/ Demeter Tube Power/ Bag End system--and boy is my back thankful!!)

 

BTW. I also have a Pignose Hog 30, and while a handy amp, esp. being battery operated, it cannot compete with the Phil Jones Briefcase.....the Crate Taxi series is aslo very good.

 

Max

This is the point I always try to make. I don't have a ABG to try to keep up with acoustic guitar players, I have one because it can create tones and moods that you simply can't do on a standard electric bass. In some cases, they are amazingly useful in recording.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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So if I am hearing correctly, there isn't much that is good.

Bigger is better. (Which I already knew, isn't this something men are taught from birth?)

Find one with an excellent tone and always pack an amp.

 

Which is what my research showed me. Kind of frustrating as most of my playing is unplugged. I was hoping there was something out there I wasn't finding in my searching of multitudes of stores. Fortunately, it is always fun to spend time trying out new guitars so I think I will keep searching even after I pick up an ABG. I haven't hit every music store in America, yet.

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