EABC Playmate Review

manufacturer: Dean date: 12/09/2008 category: Bass Guitars
Dean: EABC Playmate
The Dean EABC Playmate Electric Acoustic Bass is the perfect starter bass guitar for the beginning bass player. Now you can play bass with or without an amp! This is a comfortable bass that's loud enough for jam sessions with acoustic guitar players, and has the onboard electronics to let you take it right up on stage. Its comfortable cutaway provides easy access to the upper frets.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 5.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 13 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.4
EABC Playmate Reviewed by: BassDude2737, on october 11, 2007
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Features: The Dean Playmate EABC acoustic/electric bass is a low cost/high quality bass with 32" scale that produces a deeper, fuller tone than basses costing much more. Its body consists of a select spruce top, a two piece mahogany back, sides and neck, plus a rosewood fingerboard. It also comes factory stock with an abalone sound hole inlay. It comes loaded with a Dean preamp for the piezo pickup located under the bridge. The preamp comes with tone and volume controls, nothing too impressive. // 5

Sound: The sound of this Bass with the stock strings (Ernie Ball) isn't the greatest. However once I got the J. D'adario Bronze acoustic bass strings on it, it really started to growl. For what it is, it has a very rich, deep, one might even say, fat sound. It is rather noisy (fret noise) but I think that that is mostly due to the action (see next section). If you are buying this bass to have a nice bass to use at gigs plugged in, this wouldn't be your ideal bass. The pickup creates a very thin, metallic sound (as is customary of the piezo's) that is not accurate to the tone of the bass. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: This bass is playable, right out of the box. The main compliant that I have is that this bass is very noisy. This is especially noticeable when sliding from fret to fret. I think that this is caused by slightly high action. But even this is easily remedied by filing down the tailpiece. The finish on the bass is very beautiful (I for one am partial to natural finishes) However, I don't think that I will last that long. I have had the bass but 2 years and already the finish has several blemishes. But this gives it the worn look that so many players are after. // 7

Reliability & Durability: While I have never played this bass Live, it seems very stable. It doesn't easily drift out of tune. Unfortunately this bass has also been dropped on several occasions and it has weathered that test with only a few blemishes in the finish. It seems to be a very stable, ruggedly built bass. // 9

Overall Impression: For me this bass is a perfect match. It allows me portability, something that bass players so often lack. It is truly a good buy for the money. Combining excellent factory setup, with beauty and acoustic tonality to make an excellent, rugged bass for the price. I would recommend it to all musicians. // 8

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overall: 7
EABC Playmate Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 09, 2008
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Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: used

Features: I have the 5-string version, used, circa 2006. Mahogany back and sides, a select Spruce top, 24 jumbo fret Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, sealed tuners, full size body with 18" lower bout and cutaway, 34" scale length, passive piezo pickup system with volume and tone sliders. The one I have was advertised in a local classified listing. Before going to look at the used one for sale I went to the local Guitar Center and checked out the acoustic basses they had. The 4-string version of the Dean was there, along with a number of much higher-priced acoustic basses costing upwards of $600. The high priced basses had very good tone and playability. The Dean had much less tone mostly because of the passive EQ, whereas the higher priced basses had active EQ. The new Deans (I tried a couple of the same model) did not have their frets dressed properly on the edges which produced a very uncomfortable playing condition. Also, the intonation on these two floor models were not very good. I left GC with low expectations of what I would find when I went to see the used EACB 5 listed in the classifieds. I was pleased to find that intonation on the used Dean was perfect, and the frets were dressed fine and produced no abrasion while playing. The EACB does not come with a case. Guitar Center had a "hard shell" available for about $150. Musician's Friend has a gig bag available for about $30. The EACB is v-e-r-y l-o-n-g. There are not many options for a case. If you are handy with wood working you could build your own. // 6

Sound: My plan is to use the Dean EABC 5 during acoustic sets with my band and at church for liturgical accompaniment. Acoustically the Dean EABC 5 has very good tone and volume... certainly able to keep pace with unamplified acoustic guitars. The amplified tone was as weak as the models I tested at Guitar Center. But, because I was able to get a respectable tone after boosting and tweaking the amp, and being pleased at the intonation and neck feel, compared to the GC floor models, I bought it for what I felt was a good price. After getting it home I ran it through an effects pedal which allowed me to bring up the gain from the pickup and boost the low end, and then this baby really started getting me excited. The fret tap and string noise which is present through the standard EQ can be reduced substantially with additional preamp EQ adjustments, yet the acoustic resonance remains. My plan is to replace the passive EQ with an active unit, including an upgraded piezo pickup. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The setup and action on the used EABC I bought used was spot-on. The new models at Guitar Center were not as well finished. The satin finish of the body and neck is good... preferred by some over glossy, and appearance is good. Remember, we're talking about an entry-level instrument here. But, having said that, the EABC really has some nice features such as body and neck binding and a nice rosette. The nickle-wound strings have to be replaced with bronze to get a fuller tone. The tuners are fine and everything fits together and holds a tuning well. The EABC is no work of ART but it does play, sound and look good for the price. // 7

Reliability & Durability: The build is very sturdy. It is an acoustic, and would not take the thrashing that a solid body guitar would. Only a bottom strap button is installed. I added one on the heel of the neck. Hard to say how the satin finish will hold up. That's up to the amount of use/abuse it gets, I guess. I have no problem with the finish. This bass will be only one in my arsenal of basses and will not get the majority of my playing time, so I don't have a great concern about wearing it out. // 8

Overall Impression: Change the stings and upgrade the EQ to active and you have an acoustic bass that can really put out some nice sound. But, again, let me remind you that the one I bought was used and made in about 2006. If it had played and felt like the floor models I tested at Guitar Center I would not have bought it. I don't know if Dean has dropped it's quality control process or what, but, if you are going to by one Brand New be sure to inspect it carefully for neck alignment, intonation and fret dressing. If any of these items are bad either convince the shop to fix them for free or pass on the deal. If you can find one with a straight neck, good intonation and plays comfortably, you will have a great sounding acoustic bass once you change the strings to bronze and upgrade to an active EQ. Even after those expenses you will still have a good sounding instrument at a bargain price. // 7

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