I'm just curious. I'm a bassist, and I have lots of guitarist friends who love both electric and acoustic. I've jammed with them on electric before, but never when we're both playing acoustics.

Why are acoustic guitarists usually playing alone? I get the whole "singer-songwriter, do-it-yourself" vibe, and I think acoustic guitar sounds great by itself...I'm just surprised you don't see the guitar/bass acoustic jam done more often.
Probably because 1) acoustic basses are expensive AND 2) most solo guitar players aren't aiming for a bigger sound
Acoustic basses also aren't loud usually... I'm a bass player and I jam with acoustic guitars with an electric bass usually just so that I can be heard.
I wouldn't say that theyare usually playing alone. I can think of a whole heap of bands that use acoustic guitars, at least in some songs.

Otherwise they're a great portable instrument. They're light, can be relatively cheap, sound great and you can sing while playin them. For those reasons guitars are the solo musician's instrument of choice.
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Because acoustic guitar sound works on its own (in "singer-songwriter" kind of music). Electric guitar kind of doesn't - at least not as well.

But if there are drums, there's usually a bass too. I don't think bass is that much needed unless there are drums (and IMO if there is a bass, you also need drums - they kind of work together). Guitar + drums sounds pretty thin. But acoustic guitar on its own sounds just fine.

But yeah, if you watch MTV Unplugged, all bands have acoustic guitars, bass and drums.
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I reckon that an acoustic bass is more expensive that an acoustic guitar.
Once I jammed with one guy that had an acoustic bass and it was awesome, I really loved, in fact, I would like to have one.

But then, guitarists are pricks so maybe is this the main reason.

Novaselic from Nirvana at the MTV Unplugged used an acoustic bass.
i have an acoustic bass, they aren't that expensive BTW. they are more hard to find in my opinion. a lot of people i meet don't even know they exist. plus it's hard enough to just find a good bass player, finding one with an acoustic bass is even harder. i'm assuming you mean acoustic bass guitar? i think it's usually because they aren't loud enough for gigs. and if you're going to plug it in for the gig, you might as well use an electric one because the tone usually sounds better. just jamming acoustically though you could get by, a pick makes it louder and more focused, but less bassy. if you were mic'd instead of plugged in, you might get a better tone but you may get more feedback issues. acoustic guitar on the other hand you may still want to plug in to have a different, more percussive sound than electric guitars. electric guitars usually sounds smoother. an upright bass has enough volume, but it can over power a guitar and obviously it's pretty big to lug around. plus THAT'S expensive.

so i think the answer is it's just easier to either have no bass player, or to just use an electric bass. i have seen artists use the acoustic bass guitar though. eric clapton's bass player sometimes uses one when they do acoustic sets in the gigs.

like i said, i have one. i like it, usually i use it on acoustic recordings to try and have a more live acoustic sound. if you get the right mic placement, it can sound really nice on recordings. i just find it's hard to get it to work in a live situation as well. maybe if i had a decent preamp or amp to plug into it might help.
Simply, they are not a really common instrument sadly.

Most bass players don't even have an acoustic bass, not to mention guitarists.

And they aren't always as loud as they should be, and if you pluck them too hard they tend to sound too fuzzy and ding-ding-dinglysh. Normal fingerplaying often sounds as slap.

Acoustic fretless would offer better playability for those who are used to fretless instruments.

And often, people chose an upright bassists or pianist for the bass part in unplugged stuff.

Nirvana, Green Day and Korn used acoustic basses on some songs, maybe Flea used it too.
I figure much of it comes by design.

Instruments need a certain soundhole size to sound loud.

I don't mean pure volume, but that sweet spot to hear the depth/fullness of the notes.

A bass like instrument needs probably a sound hole as big as a cello/upright bass.

Now that shit is hard to carry around, at least compared to an acoustic guitar.

I played acoustic basses, and they are not as nice sounding as you might feel they would be if never played/heard one (un-miced).

Our hearing also works in a relative way, and we just need to hear a spread between 2 octaves or so to spot bass mid, and a bit of high. Now there's not as much high as mid and low, and this is probably why singers sound so good with it.

Bass as we oh so popular like it, needs some volume and we like the fullness it adds more then what is played on it.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Oct 30, 2013,
good acoustic basses (IE warwick aliens) run high and just aren't very useful in comparison to lower-end uprights in that pricerange. you need a solid construction to carry the bass properly without an amp in the mix and it's usually not necessary because acoustic guitars have enough "bump" for themselves to fill out the sound if need be.
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