Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

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StephenH
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Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by StephenH » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:17 pm

Hello all and Happy New Year to you...

I'm looking to get back into music and the idea and sound of an acoustic bass guitar appeal greatly to me. But I have no idea where to start.

Questions that seem to be right...

4-string or 5?
Which brand?
New or secondhand?

Then, of course, there is the question of lessons...

I'm in Wellington, don't mind driving to sit down with someone to talk it through or getting on the phone if it's easier than writing.

Many thanks,
Stephen Hay

StephenH
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by StephenH » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:42 pm

I've been doing some digging and this looks really interesting...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&featu ... 4ADQhv2flw

It is this: http://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_ ... etless.htm

with these strings: http://www.thomann.de/gb/elixir_nanoweb_long_scale.htm

It fits my ideal, any thoughts on the practicalities?

Many thanks,
Stephen

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john
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by john » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:04 am

Hello Steven. Welcome to the site.

That bass looks similar to the one in the you tube, but the youtube bass is a 4 string.

The bass being a fretless will be a bit harder to learn on since to get the note in the right pitch you have to play exactly where the fret would be. On a fretted you have a centimetre or two to put your finger and the intonation will be good.

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joppo
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by joppo » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:50 am

Hi Stephen. Welcome to the site.

Acoustic basses aren't very load unless you play them through an amp. It can be a bit hard to hear yourself against one loud acoustic guitarist if you are playing unplugged. And if you play it through an amp and the amp is really loud, they tend to feedback. But if you like the tone (and I do :D ), they are great. John has already said a fretless is a little harder to learn. The best advice is to try some out if you can. The Wellington Rockshop should have one or two to try. You're unlikely to find a fretless one in a shop, but you'll get the idea.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by StephenH » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:55 pm

Thanks both for your replies.

Once upon a time I played the violin so fretless doesn't worry me. I'm really looking for the tone, sort of a double bass I can put on my knee...

I'm attracted to 5-strings because it gives me a deeper register. In your experience is it used?

Thanks,
Stephen

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joppo
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by joppo » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:43 pm

Both John and I just have 4-strings, but a lot of people here play 5's. I've been pretty tempted to get a 5 from time to time. Occasionally I play with keys and we'll transpose from E to Eb to make it easier on them and I end up jumping up to Eb on the A string. That's the situation that most makes me think I should get a 5-string, but I could also solve that problem with drop-D tuning. I can't really give an opinion, but I think the main thing to watch for in a five string is that the B string has reasonable tension and isn't too floppy. Some five strings can also have a narrower string spacing than 4 strings which some people don't like. In the end it all comes down to preference, and what you are used to. It is still worth going down to a shop and playing a few 4 and 5 string basses (even if the aren't acoustic) to see what feels right to you.

If you're like most of us it won't be the last bass you buy. It is so much easier knowing what you want after you palyed on something for a while, so think of it as a journey :wink:

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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by deecee » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:51 am

Beagle has a Cort SJB-3 Acoustic, with flatwounds on it. Awesome guitar, and even with the flats it sits in with my acoustic.

When he finally gets out of bed I'm sure he'll comment :wink:
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beagle
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by beagle » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:32 pm

deecee wrote:Beagle has a Cort SJB-3 Acoustic, with flatwounds on it. Awesome guitar, and even with the flats it sits in with my acoustic.
When he finally gets out of bed I'm sure he'll comment :wink:
Yawn... good morning world. :D
Yep the Cort ac bass I have sounds really good and is great value for money.
I'm not sure if they do a 5 string version.
As joppo said... they are quiet unless plugged into an amp and feedback is pretty nasty if you have to play loud.
Unfortunately the intonation isn't very good which means that any notes from the 12th fret upwards are out of tune so check that out before you buy.
Obviously a fretless version wouldn't suffer from this.
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by pins » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:23 pm

Hi Stephen ,I have no other experience with any acoustic basses aside from the one I own,had it for many years and out of the 6 bass guitars i own (all 4 stringers) it is the most played by far.
It is easy to play (once my mate set it up properly) and although i have only rarely used it live do to the issues with feedback and volume as pointed out above,its just so easy to pick it up at home on a whim and jam it, that's what i love about it,every bassist should have an acoustic bass lying around the house, shouldn't they ? doh

Mine a Fender BG31 MTD

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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by StephenH » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:26 am

Well, a few months down the track and it has arrived and I find that I can make it make noise... Actually, I really like the fact that I can just pick it up and mess around on it whenever and wherever I like. And I love the fretlessness...

I've worked out scales and arpeggios by myself, guess it's time to find a teacher.

Stephen

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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by beagle » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:02 pm

Nice one Stephen. What did you end up buying in the end? Got a photo?
Agreed.. the ability to just pull it out anywhere is really good.
I just a did a few gigs on my acoustic over the last month and really enjoyed it.
The style was acoustic blues / delta blues and in that context I experimented a fair bit with different precussive sounds i could get out of it
knocking the body, slapping the strings (not the 'slap' thumb style), try to emulate some of the upright acoustic prescusive patterns / sounds when playing fast 'galloping' rhythms
Also I found the flatwounds has a much more organic 'upright' sound to it.
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by foal30 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:08 pm

[quote="beagle"]Nice one Stephen. the ability to just pull it out anywhere is really good.
[/quote] :shock:
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by beagle » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:11 pm

foal30 wrote:
beagle wrote:Nice one Stephen. the ability to just pull it out anywhere is really good.
:shock:
Lol
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StephenH
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Re: Acoustic bass advice for a brand newbie...

Post by StephenH » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:19 pm

I bought the Harley Benton 5-string, the one shown in the link to Thomann in my first post. Guitar + decent strings + shipping from Europe set me back the princely sum of NZD 425. It became a no-brainer...

I've not yet restrung it for two reasons: I wouldn't know where to start and, for the moment, I like the fact the standard strings are so unforgiving - makes me concentrate on what I'm doing.

Any suggestions for teachers down this way? Should I be looking for someone who teaches both bass guitar and double bass? For technique and sound?

Thanks,
Stephen

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