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Old 01-20-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
pullingthrough
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Acoustic bass thoughts

My uncle has decided that he would like to take up bass, and being the family "musician" he has come to me looking for some advice. I play a little bass, I have a cheap hofner for playing around with, but acoustic guitar is my main instrument so I am looking for a little advice so I can properly advise him.

He wants to play bass with his church band, and thinks that an acoustic bass would be a nice sound for it, and while I agree that it would probably sound well in the context, I dont see it being the easiest way to learn considering he has basically no experience other than some dicking around with a guitar some 40 years ago. Ive played a few acoustics, and would say that they are harder to play in general, and that he would be better off learning on an electric just for the ease of it.

Basically im asking if you think the same way I do or if you think an acoustic is just as well for him. He has his eye on an epiphone acoustic bass and wants me to check it out with him, but in the mean time ive loaned him my bass to play with. He has also asked about an upright or even an electric upright, but I have literally no knowledge in that area, so any help there would be appreciated.

TL: DR- Is it better to learn on an electric or acoustic bass, and if acoustic, any recomendations for a cheap starter that will still sound nice and full. also any input on uprights?

Last edited by pullingthrough : 01-20-2013 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
Sudaka
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Well the upright route would definetly be the hardest one, because the lack of frets will require him to develop his hearing to a level that a non musican adult (from what you said he should be like 50 yo I suppose) would find extremely difficult, so I wouldn't go that way.

Now the electric/acoustic discussion is different. I only played an acoustic once (an inexpensive one) and I disliked it. I dislike the feel, the strings that were rather old, the sound, etc. But that i sjust me. I don't think that learning on an acoustic should be any different than learning on an electric. Still, the piece of advise that i find most important is that unless you buy a high end acoustic bass, you won't get a bass with enough output to survive a drummer. You'll need to amplify it in order to play in a band. So, even if you get an acoustic, you'll need an amp, (also, check teh acoustic you buy is pluggable...)
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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I think he'd be better of learning on an electric, unless he really has his mind set on playing acoustic.

Unlike an acoustic guitar an acoustic bass guitar is quite a niche instrument. In most situations your acoustic bass is going to be amped, since ABG's are not loud enough to play with other acoustic instruments (unless it's just 1 guitar).
In a group setting you're better of with an electric bass as well due to more tone shaping options, in my opinion.

I have an ABG myself and it's great for playing around with at home, trying out some new things and improving technique, but if I could only keep one bass, or choose one to start with, I'd choose an electric bass and not think twice about it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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As one wise person once said to me--you can turn an electric down, you can't turn an acoustic up.

Most of the P and W bands I've seen the bass player has been playing an electric bass. A Precision with flats would work well for what he has in mind.

Upright? Very big to haul about, expensive if you want to get anything that sounds or plays decent and really difficult to learn without a proper teacher.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarkee
As one wise person once said to me--you can turn an electric down, you can't turn an acoustic up.

Most of the P and W bands I've seen the bass player has been playing an electric bass. A Precision with flats would work well for what he has in mind.

Upright? Very big to haul about, expensive if you want to get anything that sounds or plays decent and really difficult to learn without a proper teacher.



This was along the lines of my thinking, and maybe also worth noting, the bass I loaned him has flats on it. Either way whatever he decides to get in the end he wants me to go check it out with him, so I'm going to try and not steer him wrong. I just figured that the price he will have to spend on an acoustic that will play nice and have a full loud sound would be a hell of a lot more than the price of a decent electric.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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There is the semi-hollow, electric Epiphone Zenith which I've been looking at recently and would give him a bit more volume. They've been discontinued but there are a few still around. I don't know how close to an acoustic bass it can sound since I've never actually played an acoustic bass but it looks like one and it can sound quite like an upright at least.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:42 PM   #7
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I like that Zenith thing that GAPendragon suggested. I know Godin also makes some amazing semi hollows. Though they're expensive.

Especailly in a praise band setting I would suggest an electric. Probably a fender or some bass like that. I own an acoustic bass and I don't use it in the praise band. I find it sounds too much like the acoustic guitar and just gets burried to easily. I usually play my fretless bass.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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I like the idea of an acoustic bass and everytime I'm in a store I grab a few and try them. Fender was was almost loud enough but OMG the buzzing and slapping of the strings was terrible. Seems to be a fender ABG thing too as others have mentioned it.

You can get a good low end / beginner bass for $100 used and a 100w amp for $200ish. An ABG will run $500 give or take.

An upright bass (double bass) is a whole nother beast and you'll need a large SUV to tote it around - my BIL has one and needed a suburban - not a tahoe - to take it to gigs.
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