Advice for an acoustic bass please

I’m halfway through B2B, having never played bass before. I am using a Fender Squier but there’s a chance that, in a few months, I will be joining a social group for acoustic guitar players of any skill level. They don’t have anyone playing bass. So, I am thinking of getting an acoustic bass as I’d also like to practice on that.

I am looking in to hire options from music stories in my area, but if anyone has something they recommend (any price range is okay, so I can research it all) please share.

On a separate note, I never thought I would be entertaining the idea of playing around other people but B2B has been great for my confidence as well as ‘learning how to play bass’.

Edit to add: I know not everyone is on Team Acoustic Bass, but for the purposes of joining an acoustic-only group (which I would really like for my own skill building) I’m happy to look in to getting one.

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Acoustics are very widely varied. What I found is the really big ones are very unwieldy. I sold mine, and I’m a big guy. @mikeyjayjay i think has some experience here.

Just note all acoustic basses don’t put out as much sound as acoustic guitars. I was so dissatisfied by the non-amped volume that I sold mine and went with a Gretsch hollow body (which almost is as loud) but sounds fantastic amped (small or large).

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My main experience with acoustic basses is a Kala uBass, which is pretty quiet due to the rubber strings and small body. I did play a Taylor mini koa bass recently. 23.5" scale, D’Addario makes specific strings for its scale. It sounded nice, fairly big/loud, and easy to play. I could still see a loud guitar player or two overpowering it pretty easily if they were really banging on the strings, though. Bass frequencies just need more behind them, physics doesn’t change.

It wasn’t as deep as the full-sized Dean acoustic next to it, but it was brighter, so much like steel-stringed electric basses it might cut through better.

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Another option is to choose a Kala UBass which comes with metal strings. I changed mine to flats. It’s small, so it’s easy to sit on the couch and play unplugged but is very quiet unplugged.
However you could pair that with a very small batter powered amp and it would sound pretty close to a regular bass. Video below to show difference between the two.

Blackstar 3 on sale for $59

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Fly3BassNG--blackstar-fly-3-bass-neon-combo-amplifier-neon-green

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I recently got a Mitchell T239 acoustic bass and I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s a short scale (30”) and the body’s not as big as some that I’ve tried in the past. Being an acoustic it’s not super loud when not amplified though.

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I only play an acoustic and am a big fan, though I’ve yet to have any experience playing with others. For my requirements it’s ideal.

I think an acoustic bass could theoretically be heard (but only just) alongside an acoustic guitar or two, though only if they were strumming fairly gently.

Mine seems to project really quite well unplugged, though as said I’ve not had chance to test it out alongside anything else yet, so a small amp may be required to boost it up.

Also bear in mind that many acoustics at the lower range price-wise often don’t have the pickup working great so some fiddling with the saddle is likely to be required

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This is awesome.
Congrats on stepping out.
I’ve played lots of different acoustic basses (the full scale versions by Fender and Martin and the shorter one by Taylor) as well as the Ubasses (mentioned below).
I think that the best option - for any of these - would still need the slightest bit of amplification to be heard and felt with people playing guitar and singing.

Having said that, your Squier would probably sound best.

Yes to this one!
I love the Ubasses, but definitely change the strings from the rubber ones to something metal - either nickel or bronze. They have some very cool options available from their store. The rubber ones are the most quiet, and the hardest to adjust to from electric.

I love the Ubass (have I said that yet?) but my experience with the rubber strings echoes this. Very quiet!
(Though, when plugged in, those rubber strings have a very cool pseudo-upright sound!)

I’m pretty down on the large, full scale acoustic basses. They’re real big, the nice ones are real expensive, and they still don’t put out a deep, low, bassy sound like you’d want to hear unless you’re plugged in.

The short scale Taylor cuts through a guitar mix, but it is still high and twangy.

The Ubasses are great for their size and sound, but to get them to work with a room of guitar players and to be felt with singing, you’re still gunna need to plug them in.

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So much this, I love it :smile:

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If you’re joining an acoustic band, may I suggest you get an upright? You’d fit in perfectly!

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I bought a Hohner Acoustic/Electric Bass years ago…unfortunately, it looks like they don’t make them anymore.

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Playing my Dean acoustic bass with my son playing acoustic guitar, I couldn’t hear myself without amplification.

Otherwise, I really like playing my acoustic for practice. It lives in a stand right beside my chair.

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I see a “Show us your chair” thread brewing! :grinning:

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Nice! :grinning::+1:

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Wow, thank you everyone. Lots to consider. I’ve done a bit of additional reading on the to-acoustic-or-not and it seems the general gist is “you can’t really hear the acoustic bass unplugged so if you’re going to plug in you may as well just use your electric”.

I was looking in to unplugged because I might have to catch the bus to the guitar group and didn’t want to carry my little Rumble 15 :smiley:

Thanks for all the advice (and photos!).

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Very cool comparison @Barney … I never would have expected them to have similar tones like that… That was with the same setup (effects/sims/whatever)?

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Yeah same setup through HX Stomp. I dialed out all the treble on the on board EQ on the U Bass.
I’m laughing in the video because it looks like a toy but sounds like a bass.

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The only advice i got is i need an acoustic bass…

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I have a Traveler Acoustic Bass and like it a lot. Did a fair amount of research and this one fit my needs. it has a built in tuner and sounds good plugged in or unplugged. I added a matching thumb rest (found on reverb) and a strap of course.

Keep it on a stand near my desk (home office) for a quick pluck between calls or when I feel the urge.

I could (should) travel with it too, but haven’t.

Hope this helps.


B

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+1 for U Bass. I just got one yesterday that comes with metal round wounds and it’s loud enough for unplugged practicing. For playing with others would definitely need to plug in though

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I am in an acoustic group and use my Kala UBass with flatwound strings which are audible enough for private practice and when ampped sound something like an upright bass. I also play my Squier with them and it sometimes sounds better than the Kala for some songs. I found settings in my amp that somehow makes the Squier sound right. But some acoustic jams I go to won’t allow the Squier no matter how it sounds and will accept the ampped Kala.

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