Acoustic Basses


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Posted by James on January 09, 2001 at 09:35:58:

In Reply to: Re: Welcome, Cindy... posted by Cindy on January 08, 2001 at 21:59:05:

Recently, I purchased a Washburn AB 35 Acoustic/Electric Bass. I love it. Bar none, even the Fenders, Epiphones, De Armands, whatever, this is the finest bass I have ever had the oppurtunity to play. But it came at a price.

First off, you can get a decent sounding four string electric and a nice combo amp for the price that you pay for an Acoustic bass. Acoustic bsses are heavy, their strings are thicker requiring more finger strength and plucking to get a resonant tone out of the instrument. These instuments do not have the same pickups as the elctrics where it can pick up even the slightest tone and amplify it. The acoustics will do it when plugged in, but on their own, they are, as has been noted in the above comments, a quiet instrument. I, however have been able to hold my own in acoustic jams with two and even three guitars without any problems. You just have to learn how to play all over again and this is what turns most people off about acoustic basses.

Now that you're fully discouraged, there's something else that needs to be said about acoustic basses. When I told a friend of mine what I was getting, he looked at me and said that "acoustic basses have no balls!" EXCREMENT COMING FROM THE END OF A BULL!! This thing has more balls then any other bass that I've had the pleasure of playing. True, I can't use all of my effects with it but this has got a really nice sound to it. Acoustic basses do; They're more of a woody, resonant sound, closer to an upright then to an electric, even when plugged in. This tone is unbelieveably warm. Plus, you get the versatility that comes with this instrument. If you're with guitarist friends who want to go play in the park, you can bring your acoustic with you. Try to do that with an amp, power cords, and whatever your basic rig includes! And if you end up going to a gig where you don't know what the sound system is going to be like, you can mic the bass in the absence of a proper output in reach (Don't laugh, one gig at Christmas time had me miked with a Cordless Mic because they didn't want to run a snake to give the instruments the proper inputs.) Another good thing is that the elctronics on it are always at your finger tips. They give you more control over your sound and at they're always at your fingertips. You can do your fiddling with it without having to walk over to the amp, reach over, twist and tweak, then play. They do require 9volt batteries that are kinda expensive after a while.

About a year ago, my local music store had that particular model of Fender(BG-29) in stock for a short time. I played it and it had a really nice sound. It looked and felt nice, it was one of the three fenders that I've played that I've liked. The fishman DI in it is a really good box and I would probably recommend the Fender in the absence of the Washburn. The big difference is in the body. Washburn (AB35 is the 5-string, AB34 is four) has a larger, thicker body to it and that gives you a larger speaker to work with. You could probably get a louder sound out of the Washburn but if you're a small woman with shorter arms, this may not go well with you. At six feet and having a fairly good reach, when I sit down, depending on my arm position, it's sometimes difficult to get my arms around it.

So the verdict on the acoustic bass is, shop around; Look, test, and listen to what people who've played these instruments consistantly have to say about them. Don't buy the first one that you see and get the one that's right for you. You're still going to have to buy an amp for it anyways (If you don't already have one) so make sure that the a/e bass you buy's got a good DI box in it. One last thing to remember is that this instrument requires a lot more maintenance then the regular electrics. They're more sensitive to warping through the body, strings are more expensive if you break one, they require nine volt batteries, and they are larger and heavier then most electric basses. But they are worth it!

My two Cents

James


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