So, I’m considering an acoustic bass. I took my jazz bass in for a small neck adjustment, and I put my hands on the Ibanez AEGB24E. The thumb rest makes a huge difference. And, even though it’s a small body for an acoustic bass, the tone was surprisingly nice (plugged in). Definitely a unique tone, that you’re not going to get from a solid body electric bass. I’m thinking about making the purchase. Thoughts?
I am brand new to bass, zero experience, and I play old time “bluegrass”, mandolin and guitar. I put it in quotes, because I enjoy the style and sounds of the old Appalachian music of the 30’s up to about the 90’s, for several reasons. The bluegrass of today is music to listen to. The fiddle tunes of yesterday was made to be danced to. It was the singing songs that were made to be listened to. Fast tempo songs are not conducive to vocalisation. As a result it was a bit slower, clearer and easier to follow. But why an acoustic bass? The real reason that I chose an acoustic bass, was because there are too many pickers out there that just won’t accept an electric anything in a “real bluegrass band”. I concede that electric basses are becoming more common in bluegrass bands, but the big boys don’t play that game and it’s for a reason. It isn’t popular! The acoustic bass does the job and is less obtrusive in the visual mix. Yes, it is amplified, an in case I run across a “purist”, I’ll just point out that even the upright, double bass players run their basses through small amps. The unamplified bass just can’t compete with those Mastertone banjos and D-28 Martins, and unless you are playing to an audience or 8 to 10 people, you NEED that amplification on your bass.
I think it will make you happy, so you should do it. Plus, the pixies! You clearly need one.
I’ve had an Ibanez acoustic bass for a short time. I really like the look and form factor, but I don’t think it works for the frequencies of a bass. Saddly. That’s why I don’t own it anymore.
I hear you. They also do not like, and in a lot of cases allow, lead sheets being used either. Not very conducive to attracting newbies.IMHO
I have seen a few players over the years that have purchased an unamplified acoustic bass but as you said they cannot compete with the output of the banjo so in my opinion you need to get an amplified acoustic bass if you want to play with others.
I have always wondered if the hollow body of an acoustic/electric bass contributes anything to the overall sound of the bass. Can any of you sound aficionados shed some light on this?
I had a Michael Kelly (way too)larger body acoustic bass for a short time (as well). It didn’t last. A nice hollow body was better for me (Gretsch) sonically and form factor. I looked at Ibanez for their 5-string acoustic as they are the only ones making one non-custom but remembering the other acoustic overall I decided against it.
The “way too large body” doesn’t bother me. I’m used to a dreadnought 6 string hanging around my neck. No, it’s the more than a yard long neck! It isn’t something that I can’t adjust to, but it is quite different for me. It’s like playing a giraffe, and the spacing between frets is enormous!
The only acoustic bass I like as of now is the Kala Ubass. I don’t have much use for acoustic and the size of it is just not fun for me. That said if Fender would offer their Acoustasonic P bass model I’d be the first to get it, lol.
The Ibanez AEGB24E is much smaller than the infamous mariachi band acoustic bass. The body is about the size of a parlor acoustic guitar. So it was very comfortable to play, and the neck didn’t feel any different than my Fender jazz bass. However, with the smaller size, it’s very quiet without amplification. It’s also strung with the carbon coated strings, that do seem to smooth out the tone (some).
I was spying the U-Bass. They seem like they’d be a lot of fun to play.
I’ve always thought those looked awesome. I’ve always liked the looks the Artcore’s as well for semi’s. @terb and @PamPurrs have owned them and liked them.
That’s a good looking bass!
I have an acoustic bass I really enjoy playing. I even used it to go through B2B.
It’s a very different sound. I like playing it unplugged but what others have said about it not being able to compete with other instruments is true. Trying to get the same acoustic sound when plugged in is challenging. I tried the built in piezo but didn’t care for it and the built in electronics don’t seem to be very good. I eventually ended up with two Fishman sound hole pickups that I keep hoping to permanently install. They don’t sound anything like when it’s unplugged but it will give me a different sound to work with. Basically, trying to turn it into a version of what @howard posted above.
If you decide you want to capture the acoustic sound when plugged in, there are some options with internal microphones and piezo transducers you can use.
I love the Guild acoustic that Nathan East uses on the unplugged with Clapton. I’m sure it’s not stock. Although that bass body is like a flotation device, lol.